Monday, May 7, 2012


Last night I had a change of heart.
For years, friends have been telling me to buy a bicycle. Toronto seems to be a fairly bike-friendly city (as long as we can get rid of our mayor soon), but I either walk or take public transit everywhere. To be honest, I’ve been too scared to get a bike. Toronto drivers are awfully negligent. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been bumped or nearly hit by drivers that aren’t paying attention. The possibility of having someone open their door and decapitate me is too real. Being on something as unstable as a bicycle just adds too much danger. At the same time, most of my friends are doing it and they haven’t gotten hurt. I also can’t decide whether to look like an idiot and wear a helmet, or go without as I did when I was young:  look like an idiot without a helmet.

I think it might have been the two long, midnight walks home from the sailing club this week. It takes me an hour to get home – it’s not a bad walk, but it’s a little tedious at the end of the night. And there isn’t a convenient transit route – the easiest involves going a block the wrong way before getting on one streetcar, and transferring to a second that’ll get me a few minutes from home. The most “directionally-correct” route would involve at least 2 transfers.   Buying a bike would turn a 60-minute walk into a 15-minute ride.  A huge difference, especially when I have to get up for work the next morning.

I haven’t ridden a bike in nearly 25 years, except for one afternoon in Cancun. As a teenager, I was in a car accident that tore the cartilage in my knees. The cartilage grew back together incorrectly, causing years of knee and leg problems that have since been resolved. But still, that’s more than ½ my life without cycling. I know I’ll remember how to do it pretty quickly, after all there’s a saying about that…

I mentioned it to Wife last night, and she was quite excited. After demanding that I will ALWAYS wear a helmet (that answers one decision), she was happy that we can go on bike rides together through the more picturesque areas of Toronto.

I’ve got a friend that builds bicycles, and I think he has at least a dozen in his basement right now. I’m going to ask to borrow one of his for a couple of weeks to see how I like it. I’ll have to buy a helmet and lock, but that’s a small deposit – if I don’t like biking I can give them to my friend. If I do like biking, I’ve got most of what I need.

It sounds like nothing, but buying a bike is a surprisingly big deal for me. Especially after decades of saying “no way.” But I never said never. Not that I remember, anyway.


  1. Good for you for getting back into it. It was a long time between rides for me too - I have such a long commute I just didn't even consider the possibility. But then last spring, someone gave me a Montague bike, and I started riding to work...mile by mile. I still drive part of the way (and in the beginning, I was driving almost all but the last couple of miles), and I ride the rest. It's a nice way for me to get some exercise before work, and since I park at the edge of the city now, it's nice not to have to pay for downtown parking!

  2. Hooray! Biking is awesome. I highly recommend the CanBike training program for anyone who's nervous about riding in the city.

  3. I love the many ways a person can get around when they live in a city! Here? I have to drive everywhere.

    Protect the skull.