I have owned a car for the better part of my adult life… a remnant of my mongrel suburban pedigree. It was vital to being an architecture student at the University of Waterloo (suburban wasteland that it is) and 60 miles from Toronto (home to all that is good/bad, cultural/retrograde, engaging/revulsive….). Interestingly, upon graduating, I came to work in Toronto and, instantaneously, my automobile addiction took a precipitous drop.
I am privileged to been able to live (read: afford it) and work (see “live” previous) in an urban centre blessed with superior public transit and (in the past 10 years….) bike lanes. Consequently, I have cycled to/from work every day for 9 months of the year rain (think: waterlogged shoes) or shine (think: sweat-stained + wrinkled dress shirt). I tell you this, not as a boast, or from some sustainable point of moral superiority… I tell you this because every day I am aware of what a privilege this is.
I arrive at work with my head clear (you have to be: to avoid receiving the “door prize”) and my body wide awake (8 miles, 30 minutes @ 150 bpm will do that for you). Coming to work at HOK TOR last year, my cycling habit has now taken on a whole new dimension for the first time in my professional career. I now have an iPod (often Beck or The Tragically Hip) and a set of panniers to carry a towel/toiletries/fresh-pressed-folded change of clothes. I park in our bike room and enjoy a shave and shower before heading to the HOKitchen for a bowl of cereal and coffee. A new definition of decadence!!!
Although I love Toronto, I’ve always known that “other cities” accommodated cyclists better, some worse… I just came across this blog offering a window on cycling in these “other cities”. Check it out…