I moved from Toronto 3 years ago to work at 2Paths in Gastown. In Toronto, getting to work consisted of taking the subway or battling the traffic to Bay Street and fighting for one of the few, precious downtown parking spots. For those reasons, I had given up on driving in Toronto, and sold my car in favour of a transit pass. And I never looked back....life in the passenger seat was great. Until I moved to Vancouver. The first week in Vancouver, I waited for a bus on Cambie at 12th in the pouring rain. One bus passed by, too packed with commuters to pick her up. Then another bus passed by completely full, and then another. Nervous about arriving at my new job shamefully late, I tried to catch a taxi, but as we all know in Vancouver, this can be a futile activity. After a few days of attempting to leverage the public transportation system to my advantage, I resigned to the fact that driving the short distance (6 km) to the office was going to have to suffice. $8 in parking was a small price to pay for a guaranteed arrival to work. And so it went for the next couple years.
Then, in the summer of 2008, 3 years after I moved from Toronto to Vancouver, My husband Will and I were enjoying a newly purchased home in North Vancouver, and my employer, 2Paths Solutions, moved the office from Gastown to Granville Island. Driving over the bridges to get to work proved challenging at times, and taking public transit involved at least 3 different buses to get to the office. Then Will's car died, and the couple decided trying out being a one-car-family might be worthwhile. I started biking from North Vancouver to the Granville Island office. Initially, it was 3 times a week, and then there were some weeks that it was every day, and it began to feel like a really good habit. The new office boasted 2 showers, and my closet of work clothes started migrating to the office. Hairdryers, cosmetics, and creams also found a home at the office. What better way to start the day than riding over the Lion's Gate Bridge in the morning light, through the trails of Stanley Park to English Bay, and then over the Burrard Street Bridge to wind up at work. Arrival at work meant a clear head from all the fresh air and exercise-meditation.
And then it happened..... Daylight Savings. It is now dark at 5:01 pm. And rush-hour drivers are busy doing everything but paying attention to the road..... they're chatting on the phone, puffing on a cigarette, and adjusting the radio station, all whilst adjusting the steering wheel with their knee. How does the expression go? There's nothing to fear but fear itself? I'm not sure about that one after a few trips in the darkened streets of Vancouver at night.
But, the addiction is already there. The exhilaration of the cool Autumn air rushing through the hair, the thrill of passing the traffic stuck on the causeway, and the feeling of accomplishment upon completing the last hill up to the house in North Vancouver. It's reminiscent of m days at UBC working for Siegel's bagels, which was a 20 minute bike ride. At that time, there were no stop signs along west 9th by the School for the Blind, and if the lights were green at Alma, the momentum of the UBC hill would carry me to MacDonald! Yes, the habit has already cemented itself enough to justify a few dollars spent at the local Bike Store, Reckless, which should buy the appropriate gear for weather-proofing and nightproofing, and the winter commuting can continue. An excited (and a little nervous) new commuter is born!
Wish me luck!