Now that the weather is warming up (with small bursts of snow-filled fury), I decided to pull my bike out of the cobwebs of storage and starting cycling to work.

The first step was to plan a safe bike route so that I would have as little interaction with vehicles on the road as possible. Luckily, I found a cyclist’s dream: a nice cruise along the waterfront trail and then north on Sherbourne to Bloor. The route is about 20 km and would take me about 40 minutes each way. Sherbourne has a well-placed bike path and it appeared to be the perfect journey.

I checked over the tires and brakes before setting off and made sure to wear spring appropriate weather gear. I wore harem pants, and a tank — what I hoped would be appropriate for work and comfortable enough for my commute. I started my ride and all seemed well. The waterfront trail was relaxing and not as packed with bikes as it always is in the summer. This route is quite flat and, besides a windy portion at Ontario Place, it is a nice ride into downtown. It also feels satisfying cruising past all of the vehicles stuck in traffic on lakeshore while taking the environmentally-friendly and healthier commute option.

All was well until I reached Sherbourne St. The bike path itself is well-engineered and cyclists can only travel one direction on either side of the road. This limits collisions with other cyclists. The lifted curb keeps motorists from entering the bike lane and cyclists are safer. I believe lifted curbs on bike lanes are a must-have and a relatively inexpensive solution to sharing the road.

Going up Sherbourne, the treats I had consumed in my winter hibernation caught up with me. I began huffing and puffing as I slowly ascended the street and my legs began to ache. Soon, I was in fiery pain and I decided to disembark at Carlton St. I walked my bike for a few blocks, shamefully hanging my head as other cyclists whizzed by as if they were going for a casual uphill stroll. I rode on to my destination after a break and was proud I had succeeded, even if it was a struggle.

On my ride back, I rode downhill as if cruising on a cloud. It was almost worth the struggle on the ascent, although my aching knees would disagree. Then the weather hit and it began to snow when I got to the waterfront. The wind nearly blew me off my bike and I slowly made it across downtown to my destination. My spring gear was not sufficient for this change in the weather.

Though my first journey to work on my bike had its tribulations and moments of difficulty, I look forward to continuing my cycling adventures. A few tips from my first day: always stretch prior to biking a long distance and bring weather protectant clothing in case of a spring blizzard. Eventually, I hope the huffing and puffing will stop and I will cycle blissfully to and from the office.

Author

Kaeleigh Phillips is Women's Post sustainability coordinator. She specializes in writing about issues relating to the environment, including renewable energy, cycling, and vegan recipes!

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