Thursday, August 27, 2009

Biking in High Park and elsewhere

My brother lives in Toronto and gets around by bike most of the time (and transit the rest of the time.) He loves it; and we're in the middle of an ongoing conversation about the differences between cycling in Ottawa and cycling in Toronto. This video playlist illustrates one of the major differences, which I think is just a matter of the size of the cities: if I want to get downtown from where I live in Ottawa South, I'm shunted onto major roads like Bank or Bronson. Alta Vista, which has its own bike lane, is the least uncomfortable street, and it is a little less direct.

In fact I talked to a friend who also lives in South Keys about this last night - to get anywhere from Ottawa South you have to cross the train tracks, and the river, and the only way to do that is on the main traffic roads. Toronto seems to have a lot of smaller streets and neighbourhoods that you can take instead of having to be on arteries.

And it's awfully pretty.

I'll add that I'm also impressed at how much you can see in this video: it beats the hell out of the visibility in Giacomo Panico's frightening video, taken for CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning, of a ride down Albert Street in Ottawa. Which is listed as a 'posted bike route' on the City of Ottawa bike map. And is also part of the Transitway, meaning it's a major bus route. Anyway, Giacomo seems to have been looking down a lot more: understandable given the completely different atmosphere on Albert, but it means you see a lot of pavement and not a whole lot else.

Compare and contrast, kids. Compare and contrast. I'm pretty happy my morning commute takes me along the River Pathway in peace and quiet. (Except for the families feeding the ducks, pigeons, seagulls and Canada Geese in the middle of the path at Parc Riverain. One of these days I'll arrive at work with a goose I've hit slung over the handlebars, ready to be barbecued.)

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