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The Half Cycle Commute

If you’ve thought of commuting to work by bicycle, but figured it’s just too far, you’re probably right.

But that’s not an excuse to avoid it.

If we’re lucky, there’ll be a few times in our lives when we can justifiably say to ourselves “it doesn’t get any better than this – not for anyone, not even Diddy or The Queen.”
bicycle 2
For me, one of those times was a cycling commute.  From St. Clair & Warden to Lawrence & Leslie, I could ride almost all the way on trails beside Taylor-Massey Creek and Williket Creek.  In other words, a 13 km commute along a riverbank, through morning mists, over wooden bridges, past rabbits and snakes.  Every day. Twice.

Commutes don’t get better than that. And then it stopped.

I got a new job at Queen and Dufferin.  Double the distance and an earlier start time.  Not only was the constant riverbank gone, but distance and time meant I couldn’t ride to work at all.

Don’t know if someone gave me the idea or if it was desperation to find a way to ride, but it was then that I discovered the Half Cycle Commute.  I realized that if I drove half way to work and rode the rest of the way, I would get to work in a reasonable time and also get to ride.  So I put my bike in the back of the family minivan, parked at The Beach and rode along the Lakeshore trail into town.

Without getting into too much detail, my new commute took me across the Don River, past Harbourfront, through Confederation Park, in front of the Princes’ Gates, through the King West neighbourhood, past Dufflet Pastries, and onto Queen near The Drake.

Once I got familiar with the route, a thought struck me one day – commuting doesn’t get much better than this.

Hold the phone.

It wasn’t the riverbanks, tourist destinations or trendy neighbourhoods that made my commutes unbeatable.  It was that I was doing them by bike.

That was 2006 and since then I’ve changed jobs again and now the van is parked at a play field and I ride through north Scarborough and Markham – across seven lanes on Steeles and again at Hwy. 7 – and commutes don’t get much better than that.

Also since 2006, more buses are equipped with bike racks, there’s a Bike Station at Union Station and post & rings are popping up in suburban parks (like E.T. Seaton near Don Mills and the DVP) that make all kinds of half cycle commutes possible.

So if you live too far to ride your bike to work, you have no excuse not to.

Any other half cycle commute ideas out there?

My 1st Half Cycle Commute Cycle Route

My 1st Half Cycle Commute Cycle Route

Posted: May 13th, 2010
Filed under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

3 Comments on “The Half Cycle Commute”

  1. 1 duncan said at 9:05 am on May 14th, 2010:

    Absolutely! We have so many transportation options at our disposal, it’s almost silly not to consider them all when commuting.

    With the addition of bike sharing to Toronto it will be even easier to see the benefits of multi-modal commuting.

  2. 2 Weekly Wrap-Up: Igor Kenk, Bixi Toronto and University Bikelanes Defeated | Biking Toronto said at 9:08 am on May 14th, 2010:

    [...] The Half Cycle Commute [...]

  3. 3 Stephen Da Cambra said at 11:41 pm on May 14th, 2010:

    Duncan – Yes, lots of options and many have popped up only within the last 5 years or so. I remember when I was riding to Queen West in 2006, I think only a few buses on two or three routes had bike racks.

    To me an interesting question about bike sharing is: will it take more people out of their cars, or off other modes of transpo, like walking and the TTC?

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