Bike Month 2014 Kicks Off In Toronto

Above: Commuters are encouraged to make the trek in on two wheels as the GTA celebrates Bike Month
Above: Commuters are encouraged to make the trek in on two wheels as the GTA celebrates Bike Month

Lose the keys and roll up your dress pants—a celebration of cycling is about to take over the GTA. Bike Month kicks off with the 25th annual Bike To Work Day on Monday May 26th when thousands of morning cyclists meet at the corner of Yonge and Bloor for a 2.5 km ride down to Nathan Phillips Square. Their reward? A hot pancake breakfast before heading to work.

Why bike to work?

“It’s really good for your health, it doesn’t pollute, it eases traffic congestion, it’s quiet, it’s easy on the infrastructure. People are happier and healthier when they drive by bike,” says avid urban cyclist and OPUS product manager David Clifford. Biking to work reduces your carbon footprint and is a great alternative for those days you’re too busy for the gym. Plus, there’s no more sitting in rush hour traffic.

Buying a bike

Bike Month is great incentive to start biking (if you don’t already). But if you still need a ride there’s a ton of models available for the urban dweller. Make sure to choose the right style for your preferred use. You don’t want a racing bike for commuting, or something too heavy for the city. After deciding on a bike, have it personally sized in-store. The right fit is the single most important thing for a safe and comfortable ride.

Commuter tip: get a bike that’s lightweight, has a flat bar and narrow tires. Look for something that’s more practical and high performance than stylish. Clifford says, “If you invest some money and buy a good bike that fits you well and is easy to use, you’re really going to get a lot of enjoyment out of commuting and riding in the city.” If in doubt check out Opus Bikes’ new urban line—there’s 25 different bikes perfect for city riding.

Staying safe

Since Toronto is known for congested streets filled with aggressive drivers, bikers can’t afford to leave anything to chance. Bicycles are considered vehicles, so they have the right to share the road. Wear a helmet, know the rules of the road and stay safe.

Whenever possible use a bike path instead of the street. If you aren’t sure where they are, the City of Toronto has maps available for download. Print one up and bring it with you on Monday when you bike to work and plan out the safest route home.

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Alicia Kolenda

Alicia Kolenda is a freelance writer based in Toronto. Her work has appeared on 29 Secrets, AmongMen, Nexopia, Baby Post, Savvy Mom and Recipe Geek. She can often be found drinking high tea and ghost hunting—though never at the same time, it wouldn’t be dignified. Find her at aliciakolenda.com or catch her on twitter @AliciaKolenda.

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