Commuter Stories

A bike, a trailer, and a passion for cycling

At 70 years old, David Anderson, Artistic Director of Clay & Paper Theatre located in Liberty Village, is a passionate cyclist who has inspired hundreds of Toronto residents to get on their bikes. Yes, you read that right – hundreds!

Cycling is in David’s blood, evident from the age of six when his father bought him a bicycle called The Hopper. “After the war bicycles were only built in adult sizes,” David fondly reminisces. “I had to put one leg in the triangle and pedal kind of sideways until my dad built pedals that I could reach from the seat.” David’s enthusiasm for cycling continued into his adult life as he joined cycling teams and became an amateur racer.

David Anderson with his bike and puppet squadToday, David’s passion for cycling is still apparent. He and everyone at Clay & Paper cycle to work and to performances, using a bike trailer to transport props. The theatre company seeks out cyclists in the audition process and encourages cast members to take a CAN-BIKE cycling safety course.

David also helped develop CYCLOPS (The Cycling Oriented Puppet Squad) so the troupe could perform in not so acces­sible public spaces and promote cycling at the same time. “We are very much committed to cycling as a solution to our city’s transportation problem,” says David.

This summer, David will launch a show that requires the audience to cycle from scene to scene in a bicycle parade. Inspiring people to get on their bikes and promoting cycling is David’s passion.

The Liberty Village BIA is one of many Smart Commute part­ners. Recently awarded the 2011 BIA Association Achievement Award for environmental responsibility, their initiatives include Bike Here, an art integrated bike locker/parking system. As a Smart Commute Toronto Central partner, which is administered by the Toronto Environment Office, LVBIA members can access services such as discounted TTC passes and the Liberty Village Carpool Zone.

Commuting Off The Gridlock

“Cycling daily has truly transformed my life – the mental and physical health benefits have been enormous. The fact that it also helps the environment, and gets me to and from work is simply the icing on the cake.”

Mary Ann Neary, Clinical Director, Krembil Neuroscience Program, Critical Care and Hospital Flow, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network.

Mary Ann Neary with her bikeWhen Mary Ann first began to cycle to work, she had no idea it would have such an impact on her life. Just a few short years earlier, Mary Ann was like most residents in Toronto: commuting by car, bearing the costs of driving alone, and frustrated by the traffic around her.

It was this frustration that led Mary Ann to pursue other means of commuting. Although public transit was better than driving, Mary Ann wondered if there was another, more efficient way to travel. How could she reduce her carbon footprint further?

Mary Ann committed to cycling to work two times a week. At first, she found the 12 kilometre commute a challenge. But, with each passing day, Mary Ann felt stronger. She also invested in a new bike and a pannier (messenger bag) to help transport things to and from work.

Before long, Mary Ann started to love her daily commute – and the way she felt. She was more energized at work, physically fit, and in tune with her environment. Now she spends the same amount of time commuting – but none of it caught in traffic. Cycling is the perfect beginning and end to her day.

Mary Ann is now an avid cyclist, riding to work five days a week. She’s also active in helping to advance cycling at University Health Network. A Smart Commute partner since 2009, UHN is committed to increasing bike ridership to 15% by the end of 2010.