I am new to Toronto, having lived in Guelph for the last 23 years. My biking experience (other than a great 7 day bike trip through the highlands of Cape Breton) consisted of the occasional 7 kms commute to work but was primarily restricted to the occasional evening or weekend trail ride out to Guelph Lake.
Living by Lakeshore Blvd in Etobicoke, about 2 km west of the Humber River, I often watched the cyclists from the bus heading into downtown TO in the morning. I had no idea how far it was from my place to downtown, but it looked far! One day this spring, I was waiting for the bus and a cyclist whizzed by. I didn’t think much about until I noticed the same cyclists whizzing past the bus in front of Ontario place.
That got me thinking and, frankly, watching the cyclists heading into the downtown core in the morning looked really appealing.
Finally, I decided I would give it a try. I am afraid my decision was not based on saving the environment, or reducing the consumption of fossil fuels, or even exercise for that matter – it just…well…looked like fun!
I dusted off my bike, headed into MEC and got some stuff (including some slick tires to replace the knobby things on my mountain bike). I researched bike lanes and was intensely frustrated trying to find a good way to get from Queen’s Quay to the bottom of Beverley at Queen (I am still looking for a good route). Once on Beverley though, it would be a straightforward run north to College, head east to Bay and I am there!
I was a little nervous about the whole ordeal; what with all the bicycle/car tensions and issues I had been reading about and added to that some uncertainly about downtown routes. Really though, I was nervous about what kind of shape I was in (or not in) and what kind of state I would be in arriving at the office.
So, on April 19, 2010, I got up a bit early, donned my brand new bike shorts, loaded up my brand new pannier bag, plugged my brand new bike computer into its holder thing and headed out: over the Mimico Creek bridge, over the Humber bridge, past Sunnyside, past the Boulevard Club, past Ontario Place, followed the trail to the west side of Queens Quay, up lower Spadina, Blue Jays Way, Queen St for 20 feet, Beverley, east on College to Bay and pulled into the bike racks conveniently installed right next to the parking security station feeling like a million bucks. A 40 minute ride and 13.7 kms and I felt great. Took some time to cool down, got changed and was more than ready for the day.
Oh, incidentally, from that ride on I was hooked! And have ridden every day since, rain or shine. Even if it is raining in the morning, I will ride because I don’t want to miss the ride home when the weather clears. And it’s only spitting a bit anyway right?
This past Friday, on Queen’s Quay at the foot of Spadina, my bike odometer hit 1,000 kms. That really knocked me over – the fact that I self propelled myself that far in such a relatively short period of time. If I had been heading north, I would be in Wawa by now! I have, over that time, saved a whack of money (but have spent it all on biking gear), lost about 10 pounds, slept way better, got to know every bump along the entire route, learned about certain things to watch for (like getting doored, cabs pulling u-turns without looking (or maybe they do look and do it anyway). Perhaps more of my thoughts on all of that later.
Great way to travel and looking forward to tomorrows morning’s ride!
Posted: June 20th, 2010
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