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  1. #1
    Junior Member Aidan_Kiah's Avatar
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    'Evening from Toronto, Canada

    I've been riding a bike since the age of eight - a bit late, I think, compared to most kids. I've more than made up for it, though, as I've been an avid cyclist for the past eight years or so now, commuting to school the last five.

    I've tackled my first winter commute this year, and aside from the piles of snow that can smother the streets here, it's been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Strange, the journey to and from school and work has been one of constant rewards. No better heating system in the winter than the human body.

    For most of my cycling 'career' I've owned a general department store mountain bike, and all of them have been stolen. I upgraded to a road bike this past fall, and it has not been stolen since I was ultimately in my first accident on the road involving a motor vehicle - t-boned by an SUV (helmet saved my goddamned brain!). The fork and handlebars were ruined, though I'm thinking of building up a fixie with the remaining frame. It wasn't a big loss really... the bike was not very good, kind of heavy and I'm not sure of the quality of the steel. However, it was a beauty of a bike - bright, red cherry red, along with the wheels.

    In any case, I'm riding a Fuji Ace ('04) now. I got it about a week or two after my accident. I could not bear to take public transportation any longer knowing that I could simply whiz to and from school. It actually began to affect my mood; the lack of daily exercise made me feel less engaged with everything. Mind you, a lot of it probably had to do with the effects of the accident on my head (and really, I shouldn't have been on a bike so soon after...) but, I mean, who can go back to dozing off on the bus when pedalling was their daily ritual?

    The aluminum frame has given me a substantial boost in terms of commuting time! I've also got five locks - three of which I use regularly to lock it when needed it. Not taking any chances. I've put this bike through so much, and it has remained a very strong and reliable ride so I am pleased.

    I am planning to cycle across Canada with some friends in the summer of 2006.

    Thus concludes my overdrawn introduction! I'm looking forward to all the information I obtain and contribute to on these forums!

  2. #2
    Get the stick. darkmother's Avatar
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    Nice to have you on the board! Glad to hear your helmet worked for you, I've had to use mine a few times as well.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Nice to hear your story. How far do you ride to school. I lived at Finch/Islington in the 70s and commuted to Downsview. Using several kinds of locks makes you bike more secure, because a thief then has to carry multiple tools to overcome them all. Leave some of your locks at school where you park your bike, then you wont have to carry them with you all the time.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Aidan_Kiah's Avatar
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    Darkmother - Thank you! I hope I don't have to use mine again... I've gone through a few of them, though, in my relatively young lifetime. Not all experiences have been as dire... falling off my bike because of a shoe-string being caught... foot slipping off a pedal. Enough impact to have me avoid use of the helmet again, but not any kind of substantial injuries to me. Funny thing is I used to always ride without on (maybe not funny... but the irony is coming...) and then I simply decided to start wearing one... not sure why, just felt impelled to. A week later I was in a situation where my head collided with the concrete. I've been sold since. What's your commute like?

    AndrewP - Thanks! I ride just about five miles to school every morning. Five miles back. Not too bad really. It's about the same for work, but probably double that for when I do my volunteer work. Travelling through the Bloor viaduct in this weather is horrible... received a flat tire two weeks ago because of all the debris collected at the side of the road in the bike lane. As for leaving my locks at school... hard to do because of needing to lock-up for work/volunteer work/girlfriend's house/various other places I ride to on a daily basis. I'm experimenting with what combination would be less stressful on my back. I just bought a new Onguard lock to replace one of my older, less reliable u-locks. So, three u-locks, two cables. I would ultimately like to carry only the Onguard u-lock and the two cable locks. What was your commute like? It seems like going north to Downsview isn't as much fun as weaving in and out in downtown traffic.

  5. #5
    human velocipedio's Avatar
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    goody. more canadians.
    when walking, just walk. when sitting, just sit. when riding, just ride. above all, don't wobble.

    The Irregular Cycling Club of Montreal
    Cycling irregularly since 2002

  6. #6
    Get the stick. darkmother's Avatar
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    [QUOTE= What's your commute like?[/QUOTE]

    Around 16 km, from Bayview and Eglinton, up to York University. Not too bad distance wise, but the drivers up there don't understand or expect to see cyclists. I prefer riding downtown. How about you, where are you riding?

  7. #7
    Junior Member Aidan_Kiah's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's the impression I've gotten from riding around there. I remember a time when I rode to the border of Markham and Scarborough; it was probably one of the worst experiences I have ever had, as far as driver-awareness is concerned. Downtown driver's are bad, but not so callous, I don't think. There are so many other obstacles and hindrances to their commute that I think adding a bicycle to it doesn't make much of a difference to them.

    My commute is about 8 km one way, and 8 back. I ride from Rogers and Caledonia down to the U of T campus on most days, and other days until Danforth and Donlands. I much rather prefer riding downtown, and on a street like Bloor. I'm not sure why... I'm not a fan of bike lanes, to be sure.

    Have you ever seen Sheldon's Lookout along the waterfront bike path?

    What is the commute to York like otherwise? I am probably going to do Teacher's College there and I'd like to be able to commute by bicycle. A lot of bike thefts?

  8. #8
    Get the stick. darkmother's Avatar
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    I agree with you about the downtown traffic. Some of it is just the speed of the cars. You can pretty much outpace traffic downtown during rush hour. The drivers are defenseless against the speed, compact size, and manouverability of a bike. I was downtown last night, and I had a feild day blasting through traffic-I had almost forgotten some of my moves. When you get into suburbia, it's car country, and your on their turf, their terms-you can't play with them the same way.

    The commute to York isn't that bad for me. There aren't many streets to choose from, depending on where you are coming from. I manage to take about 1/2 side streets, but it took me a number of years to figure out that I could make it that way. Bike theft, I would assume, is bad given the surrounding neighbourhood. I park my bike behind the physical plant building where I work, and there are no students in that area, so my bike is safe. When I lock up on campus, I've never had a problem, but my bike is pretty beat up looking-I keep it that way on purpose.

  9. #9
    Get the stick. darkmother's Avatar
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    What's sheldon's lookout? I have ridden the waterfront path, but I'm not sure what you're talking about.

  10. #10
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    My commute to work was across Finch and down Keele to Wilson. Going home I went W on Wilson past Crang Plaza to Thistletown, then up Islinton to Finch. Sometimes I would take a detour through parkland by the Black Creek. I generally found the roads better paved in the suburbs than downtown, and also snow clearing was better in the suburbs. The worst place to ride was going down a steep little hill just W of Casa Loma - it had street car tracks crossing all over the place.

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