This is my first blog post. It’s an exciting moment for me to talk about a passion of mine that persuaded me to start a blog. How a riding a bike in the city has left me feeling liberated.
Living in the suburbs
I grew up in the suburbs of Ontario, next to a corn field. Distances to things were kind of far. Public transportation was great at first, but got worse with stops are routes slowly disappearing over the years. Mooching rides and asking my parents often involved bargaining. Though playing with friends in the neighbourhood, trips to the local convenience store, Sunday afternoon baseball, often involved riding my bicycle. Taking the bike was still the best way to get around.
Changes were naturally abundant during the adolescent years. Among them was the priority for any 16-year-old living in a small town. You need to get a driver’s licence. Having access to a car represented maturity and freedom while raising your social status within the teenage ranks. My bike was often swallowed up at the back of the garage.
Everyone needs a car, or do they?
In early adult years, my life was engulfed by car culture. Highway commutes along with all its vexing tendencies became the norm. My job required it and it was a fact of life as if any. My speedometer would suggest that swaths of time. One day I moved to Toronto and found myself working and living within the city core.
Living in downtown Toronto
Toronto is often jokingly referred to as having two seasons, winter and construction. Getting around felt as if I was at the mercy of the city, even with all the transportation choices. I began to view the car as impractical, the subway annoying, taxis expensive, and the streetcar frustrating. My personal evolution, heavily influenced by my travels to Amsterdam led me to eradicating all of these nuisances.
Born out of necessity and impatience, I purchased my first bike, albeit a used one from a local shop. I found myself once again pedalling to my destination, overcome with a feeling of nostalgia and youthful exuberance but kept in check with curious reserve. It began with short trips to the market, expanding to leisurely expeditions and soon commuting to work.
Liberation by bike
As with learning anything new, I made plenty of mistakes and put myself into some precarious situations. But there was never any regret in choosing to ride my bike. Quite the contrary, any mishap I chalked up as a learning experience while I embraced a new adventure every time I unlocked my bike.
In time, I realized that cycling in the city was more than just a rewarding choice. Riding my bike was becoming therapeutic, not just physically but spiritually. It was a vessel for my soul. Every journey now began and ended with the bike. It was a prerequisite to living and a fact of life as if any. It had become my liberation de facto.