More on Charlie’s FreeWheels here.
I’ll admit that I got a late start to bike commuting. It took me more than 3 years of city living to finally give it a try. In June 2009, on a bit of a whim, I took my new bike on a 25 km journey to my office in the outer reaches of Toronto (so far in fact that it’s not even in Toronto).
At first, I’d bike just twice a week as I needed the next day to recover. If it looked like rain, I jumped on the subway (then bus, then another bus and sometimes yet another bus).
All it took was one rainfall that I didn’t see coming and I lost the fear of getting wet. I was already soaked with sweat, so it made little difference, and rain actually feels good in the heat and humidity of a Toronto summer.
By the end of 2009 I had bought cycling shorts, tights, a shirt or two and a waterproof jacket. I now have a sturdy lock (and back-up lock for paranoia), panniers, two pumps, various lights and more cycling goodies than I can even remember.
So, what can I do more in 2010? Well, there’s been one big change for me. My commute, which was recently shortened to just 20 km each way has been drastically cut. I’ve joined the ranks of the work-from-home brigades, no commuting necessary. At least not daily.
This opens new doors for me. I get the chance to take morning or noon rides on trails I previously never would have seen on weekdays. I get to ride for pleasure, and if my route starts to wear on me, I get to change it. Lucky me, I know.
Yet, working from home also provides the opportunity to become lazy. I worked so hard getting comfortable as a bicycle commuter that it’s hard to give it up cold turkey. So, I’m going to make my morning rides my own sort of commute. It will be the longest distance between my bedroom and my home office possible, much more than a few shuffle-steps.
Over on Commute by Bike, Bike Shop Girl has compiled a list of 2010 bike commuter goals. Here are her 8 goals with my comments:
1. Learn how to properly lock your bike
There are a lot of different places to lock your bike in Toronto. It took me some time and practice to find the “sweet spots” for locking to post and rings and other spots. I find that a sturdy u-lock through the frame and front wheel is best for eliminating vulnerable gaps between lock, bike and rack. This also helps keep your bike upright as other people use the rack.
2. Start a Commuter Challenge
I’ve personally resisted getting a cycling computer. I’m a little too competitive and really want to keep my eyes on the road. But, if you find your commute getting stale, then why not strive to make the best time possible or work out how to catch every green light?
3. Motivate a co-worker to commute by bike
You could start by taking them with you on a ride one weekend. Show them your route when the roads are less busy. Unfortunately, no one at my office joined me last year… but walking in all sweaty with a bike in tow certainly got us talking about something new.
4. Join your local advocacy group
In Toronto you can start by joining the Toronto Cyclist Union. Joining is a great start, but getting active and participating in events or volunteering is even better. My goal is to do more with the Union now that I’m a proud member.
5. Take photos to inspire others and yourself
There are more than 2,000 photos in the BikingToronto Flickr Pool… why not help us reach 3,000? Edit: As mentioned in the comment below, the pool is now approaching 4,000!
6. Setup a commuter zone
My bike accessories once filled a small tupperware container. Now, I have a dedicated shelf near the door where I keep bungees, gloves, lights, the odd tool and helmets. Making space for your bike stuff, and making it accessible, are a great way to remind yourself that it’s better by bike.
7. Practice preventative maintenance
Not sure what to do with those tools a family member gave you over the holidays? Make a visit to Bike Pirates or the Community Bicycle Network and learn how to fix your own bike before it decides it no longer wants to go. If you live in Toronto’s East end, why not get involved in starting a DIY shop as well?
8. Invest in your gear
It’s certainly not necessary to have a full cycling wardrobe. But, adding pieces like waterproof gloves, a waterproof jacket or even shoes can help make your commute more enjoyable no matter what the weather is like.
That’s all 8… but I’m certain there are many more. What are your 2010 cycling/commuting/living goals? Share yours in the comments below.
Bike! Bike! 2010
Bike! Bike! is an international annual conference organized by and for Not-For-Profit bike projects. It takes place in a different city each year. This year it will be hosted by Bike Pirates in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
If you have services, housing, or supplies you would like to contribute, or would like to help out in any other way, please fill out our volunteer form and/or send us an e-mail at: bikebike2010 -at- gmail.com
There will be an assortment of different workshops at Bike! Bike! geared towards helping bike projects better serve their intended communities. There will also be social events to help/encourage projects to netowork. Some things which may (or may not) take place include (but are not by any means limited to): Anti-oppression, Consensus Decision Making, and Working with Kids workshops as well as Spandex Dance Parties, Movies, and Bike Rides.
We appreciate your pre-registering for Bike! Bike! Donations to the conference will be accepted in person during the conference. We are suggesting a donation of $28-$49 as you are able, but also want to encourage anyone who does not have the means to pay for the conference to please feel free to come. Contributions in the form of volunteering during the conference to help with food or workshops are just as valuable as cash donations. We want no-one to be turned away for lack of funds. If you are in a position to be able to pay more, please do so in order to help subsidize the conference as a whole, and more people coming.
We have compiled a list of directions Which should get to Bedlam Theatre regardless of how you’ve gotten into the city.
We’re working hard on getting everything organized. Soon we’ll have much more info available online as well as the ability to pre-register. For now, Canadians should sit tight, and Americans should make sure they’ll hold valid passports for next summer.
Via Bike Pirates:
Join Bike Pirates for a special documentary film night on Friday Oct 16th at 8pm.
Showcasing small independent docs directed by Toronto cyclists riding the streets.
Calling out to all Toronto cyclists to bring in their homemade films about riding in Toronto, please submit?
Films will be showed at Bike Pirates, 1292 Bloor Street W. at 8pm
Contact Bike Pirates here
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