Blog-o! Notes from latte.ca

Thu, 09 Sep 2004

For a while now, I've been meaning to bike to work. It's healthier, less crowded, more relaxing, and costs less than taking the TTC. Okay, so the two middle reasons are kind of made up, but the first one has been getting more and more compelling, and just recently the last one has taken on a new urgency. I calculated that I was spending $19 per week travelling to and from work, and since we had to scrimp on our last grocery trip, having an extra $20 in the fund would have made a fairly large difference. So I started biking to work. It was fairly easy on the way there, but much harder on the way back, and it wasn't made any easier by my working out just before the ride home, nor by the fact that it's mostly uphill. The next couple of times I tried it, however, it was much easier, probably because I'm getting more used to it. So, without further ado, here's the path I take to and mostly from work, with some annotations.

1. This is by far the easiest way for me to get started. It isn't marked on the map, but there's a series of laneways there that take me right to the start of the Belt Line, an abandoned railway track that was turned into a bike/jogging/walking path quite a while ago.
2. Zoom! This big curvy section is all downhill, and there is a total of one stop sign on it. There is also a lot of traffic, and some speed bumps, so on my way to work I get to zip by a billion cars, and feel extra fast. Of course, with every good comes a bad, and on the way back I nearly die trying to get up the same hill. (I take the path just to the right on the return trip.) The first time I rode up it, I stopped halfway up. The next time, I geared down to 1-3 (where the first number means the easiest gear of three on my front wheel, and the second number means the third easist gear of seven on my back wheel). The next time, I only geared down to 2-1. And the last time, I was still at 3-4 when I hit the top of the hill. I spend most of my time on flat roads switching between 3-5, 3-6, and 3-7, so my eventual goal is to stay in that range on large hills. At which point I'll probably look into changing the ratios of my gears, so that I can get more speed on the flat and downhill portions of my trip.
3. For something on a signed bike lane, this is a remarkably hard street to cross, since I have to jog over half a block to get to the new bike lane. The right turn at the light isn't so bad, but the left turn from the major road onto the side street can really suck rocks if traffic is moving. I hope they improve it, but I can't really see a good way for them to, since that's just the way the road goes. It's also a pain coming the other way, involving a left turn at a light onto a major street.
4. I always miss this on the way back, leading to discussion #3 again. (I actually did a little more hunting around, and I found out where that bike lane actually starts, and ends up, and I think I might take that route more often now.)
5. There's a light at John and Queen, but not at Beverly and Queen, so I always cut over a block here, because crossing major streets is a lot easier when the traffic stops for you.
6. I actually lock my bike up about ½ a block north of the door into my office, partially because it's right outside the back door to my office (which is exit only), and partially because it's less likely to be used by the bike couriers who are also tenants of this building.

And that's my transportation. I've skipped a couple of days for various reasons so far, and I expect I'll continue to skip some days, but I am getting a lot more exercise than I used to, which can't be bad. I'm really pretty excited about it, which you could probably have guessed by my creating an entire new category just for this post. Surely I wouldn't do that if there was only going to be one post here, would I? On the down side, I now want a lot of new toys for my bike, like a bike computer to tell me how far and how fast I've gone, and clipless pedals, and maybe a more comfortable seat.

[Posted at 14:05 by Blake Winton] link
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