Although for me it’s more like “if you want to be able to procrastinate a bit longer, go by bike.” Either way, I’ve been logging some of my bike trips for several Energy & Environment department active travel challenges and I noticed a pattern. No matter time of day, month, rush hour, transit delays, weather, traffic, parking, etc, it always takes me about 26 minutes to get to UHN by bike. The consistency and reliability of getting around by bike is quite amazing. Here’s a chart of my measured commute times starting from last December:
Standard deviation is only 3 minutes! Cars might be faster on average, but you always have to account for common delays to make sure you’re on time. With a bike, you know how long it will take with high degree of reliability. This applies to getting to work but also any other trip you might need to do.
The route I take is about 7.5km and the odd instance where it took less than 20 min was because I was running late and took a less bicycle friendly 6km route. Yes, unfortunately I regularly ride 25% extra distance to find a safer route. But, hey it’s free exercise. You might notice that I didn’t get many rides in this January – that was because the bike lanes weren’t plowed for about 3 weeks after a big snow storm, but normally year-round biking is pretty easy in Toronto. You just need a decent pair of mitts and face covering.
In addition to being on time, another great thing about biking to UHN is that we have secure bike storage at most of our sites accessible with a simple swipe of your ID badge. Myself and the TGH Bike Vault are pictured above! There are lots of people riding but also lots more spaces open for new riders to give cycle commuting a try. If you’re looking to dust off your bike to try it out and you think it needs a little work to get it road worthy, there is a bicycle maintenance workshop scheduled at TGH on August 24. Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to RSVP.
I must acknowledge that not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to bike to UHN due to various reasons. For those that have the option, cycling is a great choice! Not only does it help me be on time, but also means I get free exercise, pollute less, create less traffic for car drivers, don’t need to pay the astronomical costs of owning and operating a car, and it’s just plain fun (when you have a safe route).
I feel lucky to be able to bike regularly and hope more people can join me in choosing two wheels to get around.