Congratulations to Alex Mok on winning the Bike to Work Day prize! We hope you enjoy your Norco Indie 4 commuter bicycle on your many cycling adventures. Thank you for participating in the Markham/Richmond Hill Bike to Work Day Ride on May 30. We interviewed Alex to get his thoughts on what it's like to commute between downtown Toronto and his home in Richmond Hill. Here's what he had to say:
Tell us a bit about you:
I'm currently a Doctor of Pharmacy student at the University of Toronto, where I just finished my 2nd year and 7th year overall. I've lived downtown during school terms and uptown in Richmond Hill during the summer. Living in both locations has been certainly interesting in terms of commuting. Getting downtown from Richmond Hill during the school term solely by public transit was not a fun experience and I quickly realized how much time I could save by biking parts of my daily commute. I believe that if you live in the GTA, you can get anywhere by bike (weather permitting).
When did you start cycling?
I started cycling regularly this past year when I moved back downtown and couldn't help but notice how great the cycling community is in Toronto. I bought the bike I’m currently using from a friend in 2013 for $50. Ever since then, I've learned how to fix, repair, and maintain my bike. These skills have helped me ensure a smooth ride, during my longer commutes uptown and as well for my participation in Richmond Hill's Bike to Work Day.
Why do you ride a bike to school?
A big reason why I bike to work is that as a student on a limited budget, it's key for me to save time during hectic commute hours (vs. walking) and money (vs. TTC, YRT/Viva).
What would you say is the best part or benefit of your commute?
The best part of my commute is that I can try different routes every day. It's great exercise as well and gives me a reason to wake up every morning ... Read more
As an avid rock climber, I always felt comfortable enough in climbing gyms. I would go with both guy and girl friends and on my own, was happy to make friends with other climbers, and never felt overtly discriminated against. Occasionally I would have to put up with others, usually male, giving patronizing tips I hadn’t asked for and didn’t want or trying to engage me in conversations that made me feel uncomfortable.
Then my bouldering gym started a women’s only time, adding a couple extra reserved hours onto their schedule.
Intrigued, my female friend and I went and found something in that space that we hadn’t realized we were missing. Women at all levels of climbing were cheering each other on, there were baked treats, and even the music was female-fronted. The biggest wall, usually overrun by the stronger male climbers, was being climbed by women who said they’d never felt comfortable trying it when the largely male clientele were showing off their skills one after another.
The women’s-only time was a comfortable, judgment-free zone for women to experiment and feel more comfortable in their skills, which would help them later when returning during regular hours.
I’ve made it my current mission to recapture that enthusiastic, supportive atmosphere in the different, also male-dominated world of bike repair.
After learning to work on my own bike in the friendly spaces of bike repair coops, I got further involved by volunteering at a coop in Vancouver after moving there last year. I assisted with a series of women’s only bike repair workshops which were welcomed by the community and created a warm camaraderie among the attendees, many of whom returned to attend multiple workshops in the series.
Upon moving to Hamilton, I took up my community bike repair ... Read more
Vulnerable Road User Laws are long overdue in Ontario
More and more frequently, people are ditching their cars and opting for an active and more convenient method of transportation for their commute to work. Although cycling advocates in Toronto are working hard to become a bicycle friendly city, we still have a long way to go.
When reviewing cyclist deaths across Ontario between 2006 and 2011, we found something upsetting: while 62% of all bike related deaths were found to be at least partly the fault of the driver, only 27% of drivers involved were ever charged for those deaths. Even worse, those charges did not involve any jail time, license suspensions or court appearances, just small fines usually under $1,000.00. Just this last month, the driver that killed Edouard Le Blanc, a rider that was instantly killed when he was hit on the Gatineau Hydro Corridor, was fined a mere $700.00.
The Ontario Highway Traffic Act defines the bicycle as a vehicle that belongs on the road, which means all road users need to be aware of, and follow the rules. So we all work together to ensure all road users are safe, right? Wrong. As most of us know, this is not necessarily the case. It is very clear that motorists are not aware of, or choose to ignore the rules of the road and compromise the safety of Vulnerable Road Users.
So how do we fix this? We implement Vulnerable Road User (VRU) laws for the Province. If a driver could face potential jail time, or serious penalties, it would force them to take greater care when sharing the road with cyclists and other at risk road users. The penalties when a driver has seriously injured or killed a VRU would require the court to consider increased fines, license suspensions and jail if necessary.
Bike Law Canada has been working to implement VRU laws and we continue to do so. Our efforts have been great but we need the momentum behind us from our ... Read more
Explore York Region By Bike with the new tour map! There are many on and off-road cycling routes that run from our border with the city of Toronto in the south up to the shores of Lake Simcoe in the north. These routes provide cyclists of all ages and abilities an opportunity to stay active and explore York Region's natural beauty. The new cycling tour map provides some routes for exploring York Region by bike, from ten tour routes to mountain biking, BMX and family cycling options.
Butter Tart Ride
Group of Seven Trails
Markham Town and Trail
Pedal to the Kettle
Main to the Moraine
Tour de Holland
Nokiidaa Trail - Aurora, Newmarket, East Gwillimbury
Rouge Valley Trail - Markham
Oak Ridges Corridor - Richmond Hill
Bartley Smith Greenway - Vaughan
William Granger Greenway - Vaughan
Let us know about your cycling experience in York Region with the hashtag #yorkcycling or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit York.ca/cycling.
Bike To Work Day 2016 was an incredible success! Thank you to everyone who came out to show their support for cycling in their communities - and had a great time doing it! We've rounded up the top media articles about Bike To Work Day - check it out:
Riding a bike to school – around the world, it’s a daily ritual for children and youth which helps them start their day refreshed, energized and ready to learn. Research demonstrates that active school travel helps kids do better in school, while also getting the exercise the need.
But sadly, in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, fewer children bike – or walk – to school than ever before. This worrying trend has motivated educators, transportation planners, health promoters and community members to come together and envision ways to change our collective travel habits.
Bike to School Week is an opportunity for today’s busy families to discover that biking to school is possible and even preferable! Many schools have received Cycling Education Kits and other incentives. They will be tracking students’ bike trips to school, offering safety activities, hosting contests, and more. With this campaign, the GTHA is joining other jurisdictions across Canada and the United States which promote cycling to school in May and June.
In 2015, 144 schools registered events for during and around Bike to School Week in the GTHA, and over 16,000 students participated. For 2016, registration has doubled to over 280 schools! And registration is still open at biketoschoolweek.ca. We can’t wait to hear the stories – tweet #biketoschool @bikemonth and @smartcommute to share.
There's less than a week left to sign up for Bike to Work Day! Bike Month is just around the corner - join us and thousands of other cyclists for this annual kick-off event. But don't stop there. Why not bike to work all year round? We've rounded up the five best reasons to bike to work every day - check it out!
REASONS TO BIKE TO WORK
It's way cheaper than driving! Once you own a bike, maintaining it costs just $500 a year.
It's a free gym membership. Imagine getting your daily 30 minutes of activity simply by commuting!
Goodbye, traffic jams! Bike lanes, multi-purpose trails, and side roads are your best friends when whizzing past car traffic.
Arrive at work refreshed and ready to go. Riding your bike fills your lungs with fresh air and clears your head, helping you take on your day.
Bike parking is free! All you need is a good lock and you can lock your bike nearly anywhere. Your business or school may even have special facilities for you to keep your bike, or they may let you bring your bike into the building.
Sources: grist.org, businessinsider.com, The Sierra Club
Don't let that flat tire stop you from riding to work this Bike to Work Day.
Whether you have a working bike or not you can participate in Bike Month if you live in a community with a bike share system! Bike share gives you a convenient solution for reaching your destination without the worry of storing your bike, having your bike being stolen or dealing with repairs and maintenance. The bikes are well designed for new riders and allow for easy one-way trips 24 hours a day.
Bike share is also a great option for people who need to get from transit stations to the front door of their office. For example, if you arrive to Union Station on a GO train or get off at a TTC station, you can grab a Bike Share Toronto bike for the last leg of your journey. Bike Share Toronto is also offering free extended time to participate in the Toronto Bike to Work Day Group Commute to Nathan Phillips Square from 6am-11am on May 30!
Riders in Hamilton can utilize the SoBi Hamilton system that spans across nearly 30 square kilometers of the lower city. The blue smart-bikes allow you to lock at one of the 115 hubs in the system or at any regular bike rack or post in the service area. Anyone riding a SoBi to the Hamilton City Hall event on Bike to Work Day will even get a $10 riding credit to sweeten the deal!
Both services offer short-term and long-term membership options and you can see how many bikes are available at any location in real time online, or on the free SoBi app if you're in Hamilton.
Our annual contest is now live! Sign up here to ride to school, work, or to a Bike Month event for your chance to win a Norco Indie 4 commuter bicycle. You'll get another contest entry for every person you recruit on email or social media through your page.
The snow is melting and the days are getting longer, which means that spring cycling season is just around the corner. We can’t wait for those long trail rides in the sunshine, arriving at work or school refreshed and ready to take on the day. To celebrate, we’ve rounded up the top five ways to get your ride ready for spring:
1) Tune up your ride
Before jumping on your bike this spring, make sure it fits you right, all the brakes and gears are still working properly, and that your tires are properly inflated. You can visit a do-it-yourself bike shop to tune up your bike yourself, or you can take it to a bike shop in your neighbourhood for a safety check and tune up. To find a bike shop near you, click "Where I Ride" in the toolbar above, choose your area, and go to "Tools and Resources" in the sidebar.
2) Show your ride some love
If you’ve been riding through the winter, give your bike the TLC it deserves! Wash the chain and parts with warm soapy water and a rag, and be sure to re-lube your chain afterwards. Tip: If you don’t have access to a hose or garage, you can visit a self-serve car wash and use theirs instead.
3) Safety first
When was the last time you replaced your helmet? Helmets become less effective the more they’ve been dropped or knocked around, so consider getting a new one in your favourite colour for spring!
The days are getting longer, but you still need to have bike lights between dusk and dawn. There are many options in a wide price range, and some are even rechargeable via a USB port.
4) Get the right gear
Spring weather can be lovely - most of the time! Dressing right for the weather will make your ride a lot more comfortable. Wear layers that you can add or remove as necessary. Investing in a rain jacket and pants will keep you warm and dry, and you can wear all your regular clothes underneath. Tip: If you don’t already wear glasses, a ... Read more
If you’re planning an event soon, why not hold it during Bike Month? Bike Month kicks off with Bike to Work Day on May 30 and continues until the end of June. The Bike Month website is home to every kind of cycling event, from art shows and scavenger hunts, to film nights, parades, bike rodeos, cupcake rides, and oh so many more. The online calendar is open for submissions on April 1st and you can post cycling related events that occur between May 1 and June 30.
Follow us on Twitter: @BikeMonth and on Facebook for updates!
About Bike Month
Bike Month 2016 kicks off on Monday, May 30 and continues until the end of June with hundreds of interesting and fun things to do, including rides, guided bike tours, festivals, art shows, film screenings, and so much more.