Biking in Toronto
I've biked 2266.42 km so far in 2014, but today I did something for the first time. In fact, today I did something for the first time in my life. Today, I killed a bird.
It was completely unintentional. The little bird flew into my spokes while I was going about 28 km/h. It was dead on impact. There was nothing I could do to avoid the accident.
To make things worse, it was witnessed by two little kids walking the waterfront with their parents. They just got a good lesson in the fragility of life... especially if you're a little bird.
Now I know how Randy Johnson felt.
In the spring I wrote about the stretch of the Waterfront Trail between Norris Crescent and First Street. This is really the only part of the trail that's not off-road, not on quiet side streets and doesn't have a designated bike lane.
Since then, I've cycled this stretch with my two oldest kids many, many times, and I've seen how dangerous it can be. My daughter is a confident street rider, and she knows how to ensure she doesn't get doored by parked cars on Lake Shore, which forces her into unmarked lanes. Experienced cyclist Sue Trainor was killed in this very section just last summer. Surely we can do better for a key part of the 1400km Waterfront Trail.
I tweeted Mark Grimes, the counsellor for this area, about this concern and learned about PW32.6.
The Waterfront Trail stretches over 1,400 kilometres along the Ontario shores of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, and Lake St. Clair, as well as the Niagara, Detroit, and St. Lawrence Rivers. It connects 68 communities and over 405 parks and natural areas. The Waterfront Trail follows Toronto's waterfront on a combination of multi-use trails, quiet residential streets and in a few locations along major arterial roads. The long-term goal is to relocate the Waterfront Trail from these arterial roads wherever feasible and to provide a continuous route on multi-use trails and quiet residential streets. The Waterfront Trail was recently extended from just west of Humber Bay Park to Norris Crescent. However, there is no opportunity to provide a continuous Waterfront Trail route further west, between Norris Crescent and First Street, because there are no connecting streets south of Lake Shore Boulevard and no public access along the Lake Ontario shore line. To continue west, trail users must travel along Lake Shore Boulevard to First Street to connect with the Waterfront Trail, continuing along quiet residential streets and multi-use trails to connect with the Mississauga section of the trail.
The Public Works and Infrastructure Committee has requested Transportation Services to investigate the feasibility of providing a cycling facility along Lake Shore Boulevard West to connect the Etobicoke sections of the Waterfront Trail. This report provides an update on the ongoing investigation. A final report on a proposed solution will be submitted to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee in the first quarter of 2015.
I'm looking forward to reading the proposed solution early next year and I'm pleased this issue is getting the attention it deserves. I'll be following this home and will update along the way.
John F. Kennedy
"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride."
"It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best."
"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving."
Arthur Conan Doyle
"When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking."
"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle I no longer despair for the future of the human race."
Now that the big ride is behind me, my go-to route is a brisk 14 km ride that takes me 30 minutes. I strapped on my GoPro when I went out this morning so you can follow along at home.
In 1982, the state of Idaho made it legal for cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs. Essentially, if it's safe, you can slow down a little and blow right through the stop sign.
I consider myself a safe cyclist. I signal, I respect vehicles on the road and, for the most part, I follow the rules of the road. When I encounter a stop sign and the coast is clear, however, I treat it like a yield sign. I risk the ticket and practice the Idaho stop.
It would be nice to see the Idaho stop adopted here, so that becomes legal. I'd also like to explore the option of treating a red light like a stop sign. In essence, if you're on a bicycle, stop signs become yield signs and red lights become stop signs.
It just makes sense, doesn't it?
In late January, I decided I needed to do something epic. My friend was battling cancer, and I was turning 40 in June, so I registered for the Ride to Conquer Cancer and started collecting pledges.
At the end of this email are the names of the 86 people who helped me raise $5,080. That's double the minimum required to participate in this ride. That's awesome and I owe you big time.
Yesterday, I rode from Ontario Place to Mohawk College in Hamilton. It was 123.95 km and it took me a little over 5 hours. Here's the route we took.
Today, I rode back to Ontario Place. This time, it was only 103.38 km and it took me a little over 4 hours. Here's the route.
In total, that's 227.33 km. I'm very pleased with my times and had a blast camping out with the other 5000 riders. Together, we raised $20 million.
Here again, for the last time, are my 86 heroes. Thank you.
- Ellen M.
- Rick C in Oakville
- Mike Kic
- Brian A.
- Al The Royal Pain
- Christine H.
- Mike from Lowville
- Il Duce
- Michael Muzzin
- Liz B.
- Blind Dave
- Alex Patino
- Mike Engell and Colleen
- Cousin Jen
- Aunt Maura
- Brother Ryan
- Jason from Sudbury
- Steve M.
- Kevin W.
- Katherine R.
- Marie C.
- Erin Davis
- Matt W.
- Chad H.
- Nigel Trousershrapnel
- Brother Steve
- Cathy S.
- Julie N.
- Daniel M.
- Claire H.
- Jackie S.
- 519 Rob
- Pete F.
- Glen S.
- Darren C.
- Niel W.
- Humble and Fred
- Mike P.
- Chris M.
- Adam T.
- Teena in Toronto
- Michael Z.
- Patricia B
- Jenny M.
- Bruce M.
- James E.
- Peter S.
- Steven M.
- Greg Brady
- Karim K.
- Stephen Y.
- Jason C.
- Matthew W.
- Barb M.
- Cousin Mark
I finally took a look at the routes I'll be biking this weekend in the Ride to Conquer Cancer. It's 125 km there and 100 km back.
View RCTO 2014 - Day 1 - 125km (Toronto to Hamilton) in a larger map
View RCTO 2014 - Day 2 - 100km (Hamilton to Toronto) in a larger map
I went for a nice long ride along the Waterfront Trail, making my way to downtown Oakville before heading back.
Here's a taste of my journey on the Waterfront Trail in the west end, starting in Long Branch and ending at Port Credit.
I went for a 60 km bike ride yesterday. Maybe you're snickering because you went for a 200 km ride this past weekend, but 60 km was an important milestone for me. It was the longest ride of my life.
You don't just hop on your bike one day and decide to ride 60 km. You start small and gradually and safely increase your distances. Last summer, for example, my typical ride was about 10.5 km. Here's what my August 2013 looked like.
By December 2013, my typical ride was only 3 km longer. Not a single ride that month hit 15 km. Note the time I had to stay off my bike due to the ice storm.
I tried to bike every week of this winter, but sometimes it was simply too cold or too dangerous. This was a rough winter for biking. This was my March 2014. By the end of the month, I was up to 22 km rides.
I had to take some time off for the birth of my son and while he was in Sick Kids hospital, but by the end of April 2014 I was regularly biking 30 km. My longest ride at the time was 36.63 km on the last day of the month.
And that brings us to yesterday's 60 km ride. With the 36 km ride on April 30 I planned to ride 40 km during the first week of May, 50 km in the second week and 60 km in this third week. That's exactly what I did.
Last summer, 13 km was a "long ride" for me. Today, 25 km feels like a "short ride". If you haven't been biking lately, get out there for a 5 km cruise. You don't start at 60 km, but with gradual and sensible increases, anyone can get there.
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