On June 20, 2010, I posted a blog called 1,000 Kilometres, having just passed the 1,000 K threshold in my first season of commuting by bike. Well, a month and a half later I get to write a new blog, having passed the 2,000 K mark a couple of weeks ago at Peter and Richmond! Enough to have put me close to Winnipeg if i had been going in a straight line rather than back and forth every day!
Much has happened over the last 1,000 kms.
To start, I think I have now accomplished balancing the calories I consume with the calories I burn. At first I was dropping weight like crazy but now seem to have levelled off at a good weight for me. Biking for 90 minutes a day burns a lot of energy I have discovered! And that, in turn, entails eating a lot more food which is a good thing. Who can complain about eating an extra desert whenever they want! Bring on the Rolo ice cream!
I am now experiencing bike envy. I am thinking that tires narrower than my 26 x 1.95s would be a really good thing! Maybe a lighter frame. How about some ergonomic bar ends…a new seat….OK, I will stop. My bike is a 17 year old mountain bike. It is a Boulder Pheonix, which is a brand that appears to have become extinct. But it got me around Cape Breton with all my camping gear once; it fits me like a glove, I know every little nuance in its performance; certain dings and scratches bring back fun memories. So I am not sure that I really want to part with it!
What is perhaps far more significant is my increasing awareness and interest around bike culture and car culture in Toronto. I pay attention to issues that arise along my route; I notice cabs parked in bike lanes; cars turning right and blocking bike lanes in the process; I watched two cyclists riding side by side and as a car passed them honking its horn, they proceeded to spit on the car. I see firsthand some of the resentment, but perhaps more important, the lack of understanding between two communities trying to share a single road. I ride in bike lanes that are great until they just stop without any connecting bikelanes. I notice the Toronto bike/car issue surfacing in the media on a regular and consistent basis. Clearly a hot topic in this town.
But I also see the potential! I came across a reference to bicycle infrastructure in Portland Oregon and was amazed at how that town seems to have embraced cycling culture. I am sure they have their issues as well, but what really struck me was retailers in Portland lobbying City Hall to remove the car parking in front of their stores and replace it with bike parking. Interesting! After a very successful trial, it finally became apparent that a lot more bikes can be parked in a similar area than cars and that means more customers and more business. I look closer to home and read about the bike lanes and trails that Montreal is putting in. Impressive.
So much potential and then I run across references to our Toronto mayoral race and quite frankly shudder at the lack of foresight and, in one case in particular, sheer ignorance! I look at Toronto’s lackadaisical performance around installing bike infrastructure and wonder. I look at the gridlock of cars downtown and wonder even more!
Kudos to all of you who work so hard to raise the profiling of bicycling in Toronto!!! Put your efforts together with some political will and thousands of bicyclists and we have our selves one dynamic city.
Ok – off to start my next goal….3,000 kms.
Posted: September 1st, 2010
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