The Most Unlikely Cyclist … Cycles!

The City of Vaughan, in collaboration with Smart Commute NTV held its 2nd annual Most Unlikely Cyclist contest in June. Contestants were invited to tell us why they were indeed the Most Unlikely Cyclist, and why we should buy them a bike. Meet our winner, Ruthanne Price.

Yesterday I met Kailyn, Khushpal, and Tyler at a bike shop on Yonge Street to pick out my new bicycle. I was so excited, I could barely contain myself! A couple of test rides, one unfortunate incident with an unsecured pedal, and some safety gear later – I was driving back to work with my new bike in the back of my car!Happy Unlikely CyclistThankfully, the cognitive dissonance of that particular moment did not make my brain explode! I remained overly excited, however, and while I didn’t wear my new helmet all afternoon like I said I would, I did put it on whenever I heard anyone coming. That way people were forced to ask me why I was wearing a bicycle helmet in my cubicle, and I was able to tell them about winning the contest and how excited I was!

This morning, I will admit, excitement gave way to a bit of nerves as I prepared to hop aboard and bike the 10 or so kilometers from home (near Yonge and Major Mackenzie) to work (the Bathurst Clark Resource Library, near, well, Bathurst and Clark). Nevertheless, I donned my new “Bike to Work Day 2015” shirt, piled all my things into my little backpack, put on my new helmet and ventured out.Unlikely cyclist with a new helmetI took some time in my neighbourhood to get to know my gears and my brakes. Once I was reasonably comfortable that I knew how to manage, I rode down through Harding Park (shade, ducks, a lovely stream) and got onto Weldrick.The new bikeWeldrick has what is apparently called a “sharrow” – one of those roads where they paint a bike and a couple of chevrons on the far right side of the lane. (I learned that word reading the Cycling Handbook from the Regional Municipality of York – you can find it here: http://www.york.ca/wps/wcm/connect/yorkpublic/bdbe711f-3bc8-4fe8-8414-dcabf4545d6d/YorkRegionCyclingHandbook.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.)

After Weldrick, it was the big leagues – Bathurst. I will admit to being hugely intimidated by the idea of riding Bathurst.  In the end, I arrived whole and early for work. I locked my new bicycle up just outside the window where one of my colleagues has her desk, where I could keep a careful and proud eye on it all day!

If you spot me northbound on Bathurst on the way home, give a little honk (but a friendly one!). I will do my best not to deserve anything more aggressive.