So…I’m doing my semi-regular run home from work the other day and my brain, freed from all the emails, phone calls and meetings, drifts into problem solving mode…specifically, what am I going to write for this edition of Talkin’ Trash to help promote UHN participation in Smart Commute’s Active Switch Challenge, a contest to promote a healthy lifestyle though commuting by good old fashion people power.

Active Switch Challenge Ebanner - 600x200px (Workplace)

At the same time I’m watching this car that I seem to playing leapfrog with.  Just some random car (that just happens to be a Porsche Panemara Turbo S Executive with Platinum Metallic exterior and 20” Sport Classic wheels painted in a high gloss finish…but who’s got time for details?) that passes me every once in a while but then gets a look at my better side as it sits in traffic and I go “sprinting” by.

Then it hits me (the idea, not this ho hum average everyday car with and tinted LED tail lights).  Me and this random car (with black rear spoiler) seem to be going the same speed…what might be some of the other similarities and differences we share?  Forty-five minutes of brain drifting later and I’ve got…


A Completely Arbitrary Comparison Between A Car and A Guy Running Home 

  • Ho Hum Every Day Average Car:  Would like to go a gazillion kilometers per hour, but might get a ticket.  Is allowed to go 50 kilometers per hour, but not uncommonly finds itself going zero kilometers per hour.
  • Actively Commuting Manager of Energy and Environment: Goes 10 kilometers per hour…on a good day…downhill…with a tail wind.


  • HHEDAC: Is powered by petroleum hydrocarbons through the magic of an internal combustion engine.
  • ACMEE: Is powered by those couple of extra free-range anchovies eaten at lunch (that he probably shouldn’t have but tasted oh so good) though the magic of respiration and all this other biology type stuff.


  • HHEDAC: Emits carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, unburned fuel and probably a few other things.
  • ACMEE: Emits carbon dioxide, perspiration and the occasional word that you probably wouldn’t want your mother to hear.


  • HHEDAC: Can lead to fines of $280 if being driven while distracted.
  • ACMEE: Is really, really hoping to be distracted, especially going up hills.


  • HHEDAC: Engine emits a low rumble when stopped at red lights.
  • ACMEE: Stomach emits a low rumble when passing by all those restaurants with happy, smiley people eating and drinking and having a good time.


  • HHEDAC: Encourages sitting…which is the new sugar…which is the new smoking.
  • ACMEE: Encourages a healthy, active lifestyle, including breathing stinky air.


  • HHEDAC: Will cost the average Canadian car owner $9,500 per year to operate.
  • ACMEE: $9,500 will buy you a heckuva lotta running shoes and all the designer sweat bands you could want…not to mention a year-and-a-half of groceries.


  • HHEDAC: Separates you from your surroundings in your own little cocoon…with Cognac natural leather seats and high-end surround sound system.
  • ACMEE: Embeds you at street level in the vibrancy and life of your surroundings…even on garbage day…in August.


So as you can see, be it internal combustion or free range anchovy powered, different ways of commuting have their own pros and cons…it’s up to you to decide if you’re ready to take the Active Switch Challenge


Actively yours,



Links to the Inside-Out

  • UHN is hosting a buncha bike repair clinics at TGH, TWH and Lyndhurst/Rumsey during the end of July and beginning of August – get more information at
  • Active commuting needs energy, and what better energy than food.  So if you eat and work in, have stayed in or have visited a hospital, we’d love to Talk Local Food with you…get more information and start sharing your tasty ideas at