a key to biking in toronto all year

rainy dayi am, by no means, a hard core cyclist who has been commuting for years and spends much of their free time riding around enjoying the fresh air from the seat of their bike.  i have no idea how to fix a bike- except maybe to tighten a brake.  in my youth and teen years, i had my bike out every and all summer to transport me to friends’ houses or for rides around the ‘hood.  once university hit, there are spans of several years where i haven’t even owned one.

what i’m saying is i’m, at best, a bike’s fair-weather-friend.  so there are probably a ton of people with a thousand tips for riding.  this is just one that i find helps me get through the crap canadian weather more often than most people.

that aside, i’m now an adult with a mortgage and many other bills to pay and my recent purchase of an ebike was for budgetary reasons.  so from the day i bought it i’ve tried to ride in to work as much as humanly possible and save the $5 transit cost.  but i also live in canada, where weather and temperature are not always friendly to a bike rider.  right now, we’re in the midst of a very gray, drizzly autumn, which may lead into a blizzard ridden winter.

when i bought my bike, i figured i could proably ride up to mid-november for sure.  and thinking back to last year, if this one was similar, i’d likely even be able to make it right to christmas vacation, have a lull in january but be back out by mid-february; however, this was forgetting that any time of year, and in this case specifically fall, can be a bitch.  going by the forecast i wouldn’t be able to use my bike most days because of all the friggen rain.

and this is how my partner plans his riding, which is also why he has taken transit 3 days this week.  i, however, don’t and this is also why i haven’t taken the ttc once this week.  the difference is flexibility.  for me, i don’t want a crappy ride into work, but coming home i’m less worried (i’m coming home to dry clothing and a hot shower!).  so if i think i can get into the office without being soaked then i do- i don’t believe the forecast, i just plain look outside.  does it look like you could scoot in before that cloud lets loose?  then go!  is it just spitting or drizzling and barely going to make you damp?  grab a good jacket and go!

and you kind of have to get through each day from fall through to spring on this fence every morning… will i get to the office in 30 minutes for free, or in 45 minutes to an hour (or more) for $5?  that’s what usually stops people in winter.  the snow comes and they put their bike away and hunker down for two months of ttc.  whereas people i know who are flexible each day have made it right through winter with maybe a week or two of bike storage.

i’m not saying ride in dangerous weather just to prove you can make it all 12 months, but don’t let the first snow flip your hibernation switch to on and don’t take what the weather man says as gospel.

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