There are only a few things in life I have an unwavering fear of:
1) Touching the bottom of the lake in bare feet.
2) Speaking in front of people.
3) Biking on the streets of Toronto.
Now with the lake thing, no worries friends, because your girl’s got water shoes. They’re hot pink, pair sooooo well with my bikini look, and let me wade in the shallow waters off the dock at the cottage. As for public speaking – the more I do it, the more comfortable I become. I force myself to do Insta Lives, sit on panel discussions, and I even signed on to speak at Blogpodium at the end of the summer (you can buy your tix here!). But the biking thing? Well, there’s a bit of history there…
The thing is, I can physically ride a bike. Every summer as a kid was spent biking to parks, poppin’ wheelies and throwin’ Band-Aids onto scraped knees. As I got older and started driving, there was no need for two wheels when I had four. And so when I got to my late twenties, I hadn’t ridden a bike in ages. Then I met Damien and moved to the UK, and I knew he was pretty hardcore into cycling, so I thought, “Oh that’ll be a nice weekend thing to do. Hop on a bike and scoot around the English countryside.”
That was until he gave me a bike to ride and I found myself head-down, ass-up on a proper cycling bike, barely able to touch my feet to the ground if I needed to, and trying to navigate the streets of rural London. Every time a car approached me, I started wobbling, Damien started laughing, and the best part of the whole experience was when we stopped at a pub for a drink two hours later. Safe to say, my British cycling days were short-lived.
So when I was approached by BC-based Lochside Cycles about trying out one of their bikes for my urban lifestyle, no one was more surprised than me when I said ‘yes’. When I had moved back to Toronto two years ago, the city seemed to have gotten so much busier. The traffic was worse, the construction was never-ending, and don’t even get me started on horror stories from cyclists getting their wheels stuck in the streetcar tracks.
Despite all of that, I craved the freedom that a bike would allow me. I recently moved to the east end of Toronto and I love it, but getting downtown or over to the west side is a bitch when I don’t have the car. And when it was announced that the Queen streetcar would be replaced by buses all summer, that was the icing on the cake, because my aversion to buses is real. So I made it my goal to get comfy riding a bike
The thing that attracted me to Lochside in the first place was that they had a selection of city bikes, one of which was a cruiser. No more of the face-down, ass-up terror I experienced when riding in the UK. Somehow, riding in an upright position just seems so much more natural and feasible to me. Plus, I could put a basket on the front and pretend to be Mary Poppins.
So I chose the Madeline bike in black with white wheels because, well #monochromelife, and ordered a cute mint green helmet online because I’m all about that safety friends (wear a helmet guys… don’t be a f*cking idiot). When the bike arrived a few days later (free shipping, y’all!), all we (Damien) needed to do was attach the parts to the main frame and I was ready to ride!
Even though I’m obsessed with my new bike and it’s comfy AF, I was still shit-scared to take on Toronto’s busy streets – even though downtown has plenty of bike lanes, it’s gonna take some getting used to. Luckily, the east end has plenty of residential side streets for me to practice on and to start feeling comfortable scooting around on two wheels. Also, what better way to prep dis booty for my wedding dress in the fall than to cycle to events and meetings all summer long?
I’ll be posting more about my cycling adventure throughout the summer, so keep an eye out on Instagram for pics and Insta Stories of me facing my fears on two wheels!
Cheers to Lochside Cycles for hooking me up with a sweet ride for the summer!
Do you have any tips for cycling in the city?
Let me know in the comments below!