Tyred of your old routine? Saddle up with Andrew Roberts’ Cycling Journey
By: Samantha Maurice
July 31, 2017
On Mondays, we blog motivation #MotivationMonday!
If you are a pop culture enthusiast or find yourself surfing the social media , like myself, you know that Monday is known as #MotivationMonday. In addition to inspirational quotes or heartfelt photos to help you start your work week, you may also find that Mondays are an excellent opportunity to post photos or write about your exercise regime … or as the kids like to call it “the post workout/gym selfie (hashtag fitspo)!” Regardless of how you choose to celebrate #MotivationMonday, starting your work day with a bike ride is a great way to jump start your work week, especially for our fellow cyclists.
Don’t believe me?
Check out these 11 facts on why cycling to work can make you physically AND mentally fit. By choosing to cycle even a few kilometers a day, you have the ability to make physical and mental changes, and studies have found that productivity rates for employees who cycle to work were better than those who didn’t (as seen in the 11 facts above)!
Someone who knows this first hand is Andrew Roberts, a team leader for approvals and permitting at WSP Canada. We interviewed Andrew about his cycling story, the skills he’s picked up along the way, how cycling has affected his overall work performance, and tips he’d offer first-time cyclists or those who are hesitant to take their cycling journeys to the next level.
Photo: Andrew Roberts, WSP Canada
Hi Andrew, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to share your cycling story with us! My first question is: what mode of transportation do you frequently use to get to WSP Canada?
Andrew Roberts: I use public transit as my most frequent mode of transportation.
You’re our first transit user that we’ve interviewed in our Cycling Superstar series, thus far, and it’s really refreshing to hear about another mode of commuting. But I have to ask, what ignited your motivation to start cycling to work or even just cycling in general?
AR: Exercise motivates me to cycle. Plus, cycling is a lot faster for me, commuting wise, as opposed to taking transit.
And how long have you been cycling to work?
AR: I’ve cycled on and off to work since 2005. The choice to cycle was dependent on where my workplace was located. During that time, there was a period where I worked downtown and I didn’t cycle as much because of distance. But now I cycle about 3-5 times a week between May – October.
Wow, 3-5 days a week … that’s dedication! Because you cycle so often, during warmer months of the year, what do you find is the major difference by choosing to cycle as opposed to taking transit?
AR: The main difference between cycling and taking transit is that I arrive at the office feeling energized and clear headed, especially in the morning! Also, cycling is a great way to work off any stress or frustration from the work day on the way home.
You mentioned that you feel energized and clear headed in the morning by cycling, but you also mention that you cycle because it’s fun and faster. Could you elaborate on that for our readers?
AR: Cycling is fun because my route takes me through some quiet streets and multi-use paths where I get to see interesting things, including rabbits, foxes and the odd coyote on occasion! I like how there is always something new to see!
Cycling is faster for me because my typical door-to-door commute on YRT/Viva is about 50+ minutes, depending on traffic and construction. By cycling, my typical ride takes less than 30 minutes.
Those are some really great points for our readers to consider, especially when taking the next steps to try cycling or to cycle more frequently. I think readers would also be interested to hear about your route. Could you describe it for them?
AR: My route consists of taking Weldrick Road East, Spadina Road, Beaver Greenway, West Beaver Creek, Commerce Valley Drive West and Highway 7.
It great to know that you have your route down to a science! Thanks for sharing it with us. So because you spend most of your cycling journey commuting to work, what amenities does WSP offer for you and other cyclists in the building?
AR: WSP has bike racks and showers. These amenities definitely play into my decision to work, especially the bike racks.
Those are awesome amenities that WSP offers their employees who cycle! So since you’ve been cycling on and off to work for 12 years now, I’m sure there are many tips and tricks you’ve learned throughout your journey. Could you share them with us?
AR: Start small! If you are concerned about the distance, consider taking your bike part way and riding from a parking lot until you are comfortable.
You may find that route planning is difficult, particularly the less busy roads because they may not take you directly to your destination. But this is fun! You get to explore areas to find the best streets and paths.
Helpful hint: good bike locks are heavy. Instead of taking it home every day, leave it locked on the bike rack at work!
And are there any words of encouragement you can provide for first-time cyclists or those who are hesitant to take the next steps in their own cycling journeys?
AR: Just give it a try! If you are concerned about how to get from Point A to Point B, consult bike maps that are available from your municipality or see if your workplace provides any! If you’re also concerned about getting tired, remember that YRT/Viva buses have bike racks to give you another option when cycling becomes too much.
I know, for certain, that your words of encouragement will resonate with our readers. Have you ever attended any cycling workshops to learn more about cycling?
AR: I haven’t attended any cycling workshops, all I know about cycling is from my experiences and taking the chance to cycle.
Before I let you go, I have one last question. If you can sum up your cycling experience in one word or sentence, what would it be?
We’d like to thank Andrew Roberts for submitting his responses, as well as additional responses, for our Cycling Superstar series. Andrew, thank you for submitting and sharing your cycling journey with us and providing our readers with another perspective on the benefits that cycling to work has to offer!
We’d also like to thank WSP Canada for continuing to provide amenities and promoting sustainable commuting options to their employees. Your support for these initiatives are greatly appreciated! Thank you for being a leader in the Markham business community and for continuing to make Markham a sustainable community.
Readers, if you, or someone you know, are a part of a Smart Commute MRH workplace, we encourage you to submit cycling stories to help individuals within the community achieve their cycling goals and ambitions. To submit your story, please visit https://explore.smartcommute.ca/s/cyclingsuperstar. We look forward to reading your submissions and getting in touch with you to learn more about your cycling journeys.
We’ll see you mid-August! Until then readers, keep putting the pedal to the metal!