Name / Occupation / Age
Geoffrey Bercarich/ Student / 23
What do you use your bike for?
I bike to and fro between York University and my home at Queen and Shaw.
How often do you ride?
Every chance I get I ride my bicycle.
How long have you been commuting by bicycle?
Since 2001. I started riding a Bike Share bike to and fro between home and high school.
What would you say to convince someone who is considering commuting by bicycle to go for it?
It’s cheap and effective. It brings speed, liberty and freedom to persons in transit. You’re not trapped in a tunnel or encased in a car’s cage.
When did you start commuting in winter and why?
Since 2001. I never saw a problem with riding in winter.
What are the biggest challenges for winter bikers in Toronto?
The disappearance of poor city street infrastructure under plowed snow, like bike lanes and much needed curbside. You must take your place as a cyclist in the lane-way, sometimes blocking the cars.
What could the City do to make winter biking better?
Plow the roads to the curb. Plow the bike trails that are not connected by roadways.
What reaction do you get from co-workers?
Same as in summer; disbelief that I ride a bike. More so in winter than summer. People at York University do not ride bikes, and I am taking environmental studies.
What’s the best thing about commuting by bicycle in winter?
The speed of getting through slow, bogged down cars in traffic. Every car in winter
is slower and on alert for snow and ice that can brake their car’s… paint.
Do you use a different bike for winter riding?
I constructed a special bike for winter. I constructed it from a donated frame from Bike Pirates. I built new wheels with a fixed gear for added breaking power, and used special touring tires for good traction. It’s my winter bike so I clean it every night after my daily ride.
Can you give a brief description of your route?
It’s 20 miles. I try to avoid hills as much as possible. Biking up to York I go up Caledonia, until the 401. Then I’m stumped by car traffic. I get by.
Where are your favourite places to bike in Toronto? Least favourite?
The Martin Goodman Trail. I learned to ride a bike on that stretch of pavement. It’s unfortunate that there are extra poles that are designed to catch cyclists in their ride and cripple them. I have had friends hit hard by these traffic calming instruments near the Queen/King bridge that links to the lake shore. The Martin Goodman Trail has been, and is, my least favourite and also best place to ride.
What do you like about biking in Toronto in winter? And dislike?
The feeling of a simple life. There are greater opportunities to be the only vehicle on the road during the dead of winter. It’s my dream to ride on a car-less road.
Have you ever combined transit and biking or used a bus bike rack?
No, I don’t trust bike racks. Subway travel is hard to handle with the bike.
What’s your favourite piece of winter cycling clothing?
A proper shirt is key. Wool it up over winter, it can save your life.
Any bike gadget/gear winter cyclists should not go out without?
Gloves. Some people get desperate and use cooking mitts — and they do the trick to stop wind chill. Always were tights or long underwear to help keep your knees warm and in proper rotation.
Favourite winter bike stories?
The winter storm before Christmas that stopped all cars in their tracks. I used their tracks as a bike plow system to do my “Holiday Shopping”.
Scary winter bike stories?
Every time you fall (you fall a lot more in winter then in summer) it’s no good, but it’s easier to fall on ice and snow then asphalt, I think.
Look into the Martin Goodman Trail traffic calming posts in front of the Boulevard Club (page 2, item 2) on Lakeshore. Cyclists are the only real traffic calming tool.
Make it safe for bicycles and you will calm car traffic to a safe pace.