Biking in Toronto


A 60 km Bike Ride: Gradual Progression

A 60 km Bike Ride: Gradual ProgressionI 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.

August 2013

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 9.41.55 AM

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.

December 2013

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 9.41.08 AM

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.

March 2014

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 9.40.17 AM

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.

April 2014

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 9.39.11 AM

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.

May 2014

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 9.38.27 AM

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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One Month to Go, $455 to Go #RTCCTO

Pledge My Ride to Conquer CancerThere's only one month to go before my Ride to Conquer Cancer. Here's a little update on my progress and another plea for pledges as I gun for $5,000.

I chose to ride this 220 km on June 7-8 for my dear friend Mike Kic, who was battling stage IV esophageal cancer. Sadly, Kic passed away in April. He was only 32 and left behind a wife and young daughter.

I try to ride as often as time permits. Yesterday, I rode 40.37 km. Last week I managed to ride 131 km. If you're curious, here's how my training's going.

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So far I've raised $4,545, but I'm aiming for $5,000. If you see your name below, I owe you a huge thanks. I couldn't do this without you. If you don't see your name below, click here and get pledgin'!

  1. Ellen M.
  2. Rick C in Oakville
  3. Mike Kic
  4. markosaar
  5. Speysidephil
  6. Dale
  7. Brian A.
  8. Doug
  9. Rick2
  10. Al The Royal Pain
  11. Christine H.
  12. Mike from Lowville
  13. Cheryl
  14. Il Duce
  15. Michael Muzzin
  16. Liz B.
  17. Blind Dave
  18. Alex Patino
  19. Mike Engell and Colleen
  20. Cousin Jen
  21. Aunt Maura
  22. Brother Ryan
  23. Jason from Sudbury
  24. Jamie
  25. Mom
  26. Zachary
  27. Faunie
  28. Douglas
  29. Steve M.
  30. Kevin W.
  31. Katherine R.
  32. Marie C.
  33. Erin Davis
  34. Matt W.
  35. Chad H.
  36. Nigel Trousershrapnel
  37. Brother Steve
  38. Philly-Bob
  39. Audrey
  40. TheSweaterTuck
  41. Cathy S.
  42. Tim
  43. Domenico
  44. Julie N.
  45. Helmut
  46. Daniel M.
  47. Claire H.
  48. Andrew
  49. Jackie S.
  50. Gwyn
  51. Mofo
  52. Nicki
  53. CJ
  54. 519 Rob
  55. Pete F.
  56. Glen S.
  57. Darren C.
  58. Niel W.
  59. Humble and Fred
  60. Mike P.
  61. Chris M.
  62. Adam T.
  63. Jeremey
  64. Teena in Toronto
  65. Rosie
  66. Daniel
  67. Stephanie
  68. Lorne
  69. Elvis
  70. Argie
  71. McNulty
  72. Boomer
  73. Michael Z.
  74. markosaar
  75. Patricia B.
  76. Bruce M.
  77. James Edgar
  78. Jenny M.

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Mimico, New Toronto and Long Branch: About These Bugs...

Mimico, New Toronto and Long Branch: About These Bugs...This is my first spring living by Lake Ontario. Today during my mid-day bike ride, I must have consumed a pound of bug flesh before finishing the ride with my shirt pulled over my nose and mouth. There are swarms and swarms of these bugs along the bike trails parallel to the lake.

How long does this last?

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Toronto's Waterfront Trail: We Can Do Better

Toronto's Waterfront Trail: Cyclists Deserve BetterOur Waterfront Trail is pretty awesome. I'll ride as far east as Ashbridges Bay Park and as far west as Rattray Marsh Conservation Area. The Waterfront Trail actually runs from Niagara-on-the-Lake to Brockville, but I primarily use it in Toronto and Mississauga.

Most of the trail in Toronto and Mississauga is off-road and paved, which is ideal, but some parts are on quiet streets. I don't mind that at all, but there's one stretch that's far less than ideal. This is a stretch in Mimico / New Toronto from Norris Crescent to First Street.

Between Norris Crescent to the east and First Street to the west, the Waterfront Trail forces cyclists onto Lake Shore Blvd W. This is where Sue Trainor was struck by a car and killed last summer, and where I took my hardest fall while crossing streetcar tracks.

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I don't know if the Pan Am Path will address this stretch, but something needs to be done. Toronto cyclists deserve better from our Waterfront Trail.

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Not All of Toronto's Trails are Ice-Free

Not All Toronto's Trails are Ice-FreeI'm training for a 220km bicycle ride in early June, so I'm trying to increase my daily distances. Yesterday, after a nice ride at lunch, I declared via Twitter that the trails were completely snow-free.

That tweet was premature.

Today, I took a completely different route, away from the waterfront. Plenty of spots along the route were snowy and icy, and some parts were unrideable. Here's what Etienne Brule Park looks like along the Humber River.

How am I supposed to bike across this?

Throw in a very snowy hill in King's Mill Park you can bike down but not up, and you've got to be ready to improvise when biking Toronto's trails this early in April.

The roads, however, are dry as a bone.

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I Hate This CGA Ad

I Hate This CGA AdI saw this ad for Certified General Accountants on Twitter last week, and it's still irking me.

cga

It insinuates anyone of status would not bike to work. Only lowly, poor interns bike. The premise is that CEOs don't have to bike because they're important people who make good money.

And that's what's wrong with the perception of cycling in this country. Successful people bike, because in addition to the obvious money savings, there's positive and proven environmental benefits, health benefits and it reduces gridlock in an overly congested city.

CGA should know better.

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Bicycle Friendly Community?

Bicycle Friendly Community?During my bike ride today, I passed a sign at the eastern entrance to Marie Curtis Park that I don't believe I've ever seen before. It reads "Bicycle Friendly Community".

Bicycle Friendly Community

As I passed it, I chuckled. Marie Curtis is a fantastic biking park for most of the year but it's been unusable for over two months. Until recently, it was literally a sheet of ice, and it's still too dangerous to ride. I took this picture today.

Marie Curtis Park

Wouldn't it be nice if bicycle friendly communities actually maintained these bike paths throughout the winter? These are the months, after all, when a bike path without cars, buses and trucks would be most desirable, yet these are the months we're forced onto streets because the paths are full of ice and snow.

Actions speak louder than words.

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Damn This Winter

Damn This WinterLast fall, I promised myself I'd bike through this winter. Sure, there'd be the odd deep freeze and snowfall in the way, but Toronto winters are typically pretty good for winter biking.

Not this winter. This winter has sucked. It's wave after relentless wave of polar vortex windchill warnings and snowfalls. As I type this, snowflakes the size of marbles are falling to the ground. It's another wrench in the winter biking plans.

Yes, I'm aware this is Canada, and Canadian winters can be both cold and snowy, but in my 40 winters in this city I can't recall a winter as shitty as this one. I can't remember a winter that toggled so consistently between deep freezes, ice storms and snowstorms.

Can you?

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Support Me and Help Conquer Cancer

Thanks and Pleas: RTCC 2014On June 7-8 I'll be embarking on a 220km bicycle ride across Ontario in support of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. This means a great deal to me personally for two reasons:

1. It's the month I turn 40, so a monster physical goal like this is the ideal way to celebrate.

2. Just before Christmas, my good friend was being cared for at the Princess Margaret. This is my way of saying thanks.

Donate to my ride by clicking right here. The following fine people have already done so, and I'm extremely grateful:

  • Ellen M.
  • Rick C in Oakville
  • Mike Kic
  • markosaar
  • Speysidephil
  • Dale
  • Brian A.
  • Doug
  • Rick2
  • Al The Royal Pain
  • Christine H.
  • Mike from Lowville
  • Cheryl
  • Il Duce
  • Michael Muzzin
  • Liz
  • Blind Dave
  • Alex Patino
  • Mike Engell and Colleen
  • Cousin Jen
  • Aunt Maura
  • Brother Ryan
  • Jason from Sudbury
  • Jamie
  • Mom
  • Zachary
  • Faunie
  • Douglas
  • Steve M.
  • Kevin W.
  • Katherine R.
  • Marie C.
  • Erin Davis
  • Matt W.
  • Chad H.
  • Nigel Trousershrapnel
  • Brother Steve
  • Philly-Bob
  • Audrey

This is a great start, but I've got a long way to go to hit my target. In fact, if I don't hit $2,500, I won't be allowed to ride. Do it for my 40th, do it to help conquer cancer and do it for my buddy Mike.

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E-Bikes in Bike Lanes? Don't Legalize It!

Electric Bikes Don't Belong on Bike PathsBack in June, I shared my thoughts about e-bikes in bike lanes. I thought it was a bad idea. I still do.

A newly released city staff report recommends that the city make it legal for e-bikes to ride in most bike lanes.

This is a very bad idea. If you're not pedalling your bike, you don't belong in the bike lane. I fully understand the allure of e-bikes as an alternative to a car or motorcycle, they don't require a license or insurance and are a far greener mode of transportation, but for a cyclist in a bike lane they're downright dangerous.

If you're not pedalling, you belong on the street with cars, not on a bike lane with cyclists.

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