Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bike time!

I've been meaning to post about this all summer but every time I sat down, I had another random idea and posted that instead. So today:

Get a bike, get on it and go somewhere!

As a kid, my parents drove me to school every morning, and later, I drove myself. There were no school buses going to my school so we drove the 20km to school, while other friends walked (from a much closer distance). It sounded crazy to me that anyone would ride their bike to school. (Though I knew it'd be possible if I lived closer too.) If someone had asked me what a good distance to bike to school would've been, I wouldn't have been able to say, because I had no concept of the distances vs. speed vs. effort ratios of riding a bike. I had also gotten into the bad habit of driving absolutely everywhere...

Fast-forward a few years and a move to Finland later, subtract the car and money to buy a car but add a shiny yellow bike, and here I am.
This summer I decided to challenge myself. My work place is 7km away (by car) and about 7.5km along a bike path. It sounded like a crazy distance to me at first but I tried it out anyway. It turned out it wasn't the distance that was challenging on this route, but the incline. One morning, after crawling out of bed and procrastinating as much as I could before leaving the house, I biked to work. Even better, I biked back too. It felt really rewarding walking into the office (admittedly a little sweaty, but you can bring a change of clothes too) having already done half an hour of exercise that day. I only took the bus once or twice more after that (on days I thought would be rainy after already biking during the rainy ones - again: change of clothes are key!) but I much preferred my bike. I also have to say, that I have a one speed Jopo (somewhat of a favourite in Finland, pictured above) and I need a fair bit of effort to make my way up hills. As a result, I have people zooming past me every morning as I make my way slowly towards my destination. But I've had a lot of time to think during those trips, and it's quite nice to slow down and take the world in.

In any case, if I can do it, you can do it too!
I have to admit that Finnish bike paths are far more prominent than Toronto ones but short trips to the grocery store are a great way to start, and are especially easy with a basket.


  1. I just started going to the grocery store by bike :) The only problem is, there's no place to lock it up. So I end up locking it in a random corner of the grocery parking lot on one of the big water pipes that run through the mall. lol. Maybe I'll make the trip to bbt tomorrow :)

  2. And it really does feel great to bike! Even if it's just for 10 minutes :)

  3. That's awesome!
    A friend of mine had the same problem a few years back so she wrote to the store, asking them to put up bike racks there. Maybe you can go talk to the mall manager or Loblaw's manager? (She ended up on the radio saying that she's written to them and when they heard that, they were really quick to carry out her request ;) )