BIKE MONTH CYCLIST PROFILE SERIES PRESENTED BY MEC: YORK REGION

Published April 18, 2017 13:55

This is the first in a series of blog posts about cyclists from around the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Today we are profiling Krysten Bates who lives in Richmond Hill in York Region.

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Photo by Danielle Griscti

It was a beautiful day to head north of Steeles Avenue into York Region. At Regional Road 7 and Commerce Valley Drive, we met Krysten Bates, who rides her bike about 5 km to work here. With the wind in her hair, she says her black hybrid saves her about 5-10 minutes per trip each day.

Krysten rides her bike to work in Richmond Hill, as well as some recreational and trail riding when she can. We asked Krysten some questions about why she chooses to bike, her essential gear, and tips she has for people who want to try riding!

Tell us about yourself.

I’m an avid soccer player, knitter, tree-hugger and of course, cyclist! I live and work in Richmond Hill, so
my commute is fairly short (just over 10km round-trip).

When and why did you start cycling?

I lived in Victoria, BC for a short while back in 2014. I did so little driving there that I ended up taking my
car off the road and bought a bike to use for commuting instead. When I moved to Richmond Hill in 2015, a friend from work encouraged me start getting back into the habit of riding to work again. If I recall correctly, my first official day riding to work was Bike to Work Day 2015. I continue to ride for a number of reasons but one of the main drivers is the environmental benefit of commuting by bike. The smaller my carbon footprint, the better!

What style of bike do you ride?

I ride a hybrid made by Raleigh. It’s the perfect fit for my needs (mostly light trail and road riding).

Tell us about some of the things you ride your bike for.

Function, fitness and fun . Whether it’s riding to work, to see a friend or to grab groceries, most of the
time I’m riding to get from point A to B. I do, however, enjoy spending my leisure time being active and
getting outside. Cycling is a great way for a nature-lover like me to explore the beautiful trails and parks in Richmond Hill.

Any favourite bike routes? What do you like about them?

My go-to route to get to work involves a combo of road, trail and bike lane riding. Of course I prefer trails
whenever possible – the scenery alone makes it worth the trip (especially along German Mills Creek or
through the Richvale Greenway system). However, when I need to get somewhere fast I’ll take advantage of the bike lanes on Highway 7.

Highway 7

Krysten staying ahead of traffic on the Highway 7 bike lanes in Richmond Hill. Photo by Danielle Griscti

What would you say is the greatest benefit you get from cycling?

I cannot over-emphasize the added mental health benefits of cycling. Not only is cycling way less
stressful than driving, it provides clarity of mind before a busy work day and allows me to mentally
decompress on my ride home.

What’s your most essential piece of cycling gear?

A comfortable seat! In my opinion, a comfortable seat can make or break a person’s entire cycling
experience.

How will you be celebrating Bike Month this year?

This Bike Month I’ll be celebrating by strapping on my helmet and hitting the trails as much as possible!

What is your favourite thing about riding a bike in York Region?

I love that there’s a nice mix of on-road and trail-based cycling infrastructure – it allows you to change up your scenery depending on the purpose of your ride.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to try bike commuting?

Seek out champions at your work or in your community – they’re full of wisdom and can provide an added boost of encouragement. If it weren’t for the mentorship provided by my friend when I first moved to Richmond Hill, I would have been much more intimidated to start riding to work. If you do decide to try
commuting by bike, I’d also recommend starting slow and setting reasonable goals and for yourself to
help build up confidence.

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About Bike Month

Bike Month 2017 kicks off on Monday, May 29 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.

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Coming May 1, take the Bike Month pledge!

Pledge to ride to school or work on Bike to Work Day, Monday May 27 and/or throughout June for a chance to win one of three trips for two courtesy of VIA Rail (to Quebec City, Montreal or Ottawa) or a weekend getaway courtesy of Welcome Cyclists. Contest closes June 18.

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