Disclaimer: biking in Toronto will change your life. I remember my very first bike ride in Toronto. I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was 16. It was equal parts terrifying and equal parts exhilarating. Seven years later, I’m still an avid cyclist (while owning a car off and on), and really wish I’d kept a tally on how much money I’ve saved on TTC fare and cabs over the years. Here’s why you need to start biking in Toronto (or a good list of self affirmation if you already participate). Oh, and did we mention it’s good for the environment?
If you’re like me and your exercise routine involves strategically justifying why you shouldn’t get up early to exercise, or how climbing the stairs at work calls for skipping the gym, biking is for you. You’re getting exercise when you would otherwise be sitting on the TTC or in the back of a cab. And when you’re feeling lazy after the work day finishes, you’re forced to drag you and your bike home, and it’s faster to ride it than walk it. Apps like strava can also offer some harmless competition where you can track your speed and progress.
Depending on where you live, biking to work or to meet friends can be the quickest way to get there. You can take roads less traveled by cars if you’re worried about biking in traffic (hi one-way streets), or you can stick to routes that have properly separated bike lanes. The best part? You can literally bike from door to door, saving time on runaround TTC routes or annoying Uber pool.
Not only will biking save you time, it will save you a ton of money. Say goodbye to overpriced Toronto parking, cab fees and pricey metro passes and hello to your new best friend. While you don’t need a flashy bike to get around in Toronto, I do recommend getting a good lock (bike thievery is annoying and all too common).
You can avoid people
I love people, and I love being social. Do I love the TTC? No. I don’t like hearing people’s conversations or being awkwardly close to people that smell bad. When you’re cycling, you have your own space, you can bike away from people that try to talk to you, and you can easily transfer into a walking pedestrian if you’re really trying to get away from someone.
Everyone else is doing it
You should never do something because everyone else is doing it. But in this case, it means biking is a safe and reliable form of transportation and confirms everything I said up there is factual information.
But don’t be an asshole
I know I just said, “biking is a safe and reliable form of transportation,” but the reality is, safety comes from your ability to be a safe, courteous and attentive biker! You’re riding on busy streets with angry drivers (because they’re stuck in traffic and not on their bicycle), and you really need to follow the rules. I can’t stress that enough. Take a minute to brush up on the difference between sharrows (painted bike arrows) and separated bike lanes, as well as the hand signals you likely haven’t practised since you were 8.