It has been months since I have had time to write a blog for my own site because I have been travelling. Most notably to the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference which took me away from May 31-June 16, 2012. During that time I was busy working on our Study Team Blog – Quebec1. For information on this amazing conference and my tour check out: http://leadershipcanada.ca/blogs/category/qc1/
Upon my return, my travels were not done and other than one or two trips into the office by bike this week marked the first time that I could really get back on my Trek saddle. It has been 3-Months since I started by urban commuting travels and based on my tracking I have logged over 375 km on my bike associated with work. I have logged much more when I add in personal travel on weekends and evenings.
What have I learned in the past months:
- About Myself: I have learned that I am stronger, healthier and “in-control”. The strength in my legs is noticeable and I am thinking a 3 gear bike might not be enough going forward. In terms of healthier, I am noticeably tanned and have muscle tone. Prior to my cycling journey I lost close to 30 pounds so cycling is helping me to maintain my weight. I feel “in-control” because I don’t rush as much. I know the bike travel may take me a few minutes more so I account for the time and tend to arrive on time with a clear mind.
- About Sustainability: I have learned that as a City we need to continue to educate, demonstrate and invest in sustainable commuting options for all citizens. In terms of education, it would be easy to put out the standard wording on cycling safety and such, but I want to talk about educating business owners related to infrastructure. Over the past few months I have locked my bike to a wide variety of objects including a tree, a removable handicap sign; a chain link fence and a lamp post. Somehow we the cyclists or we the city or we the citizens need to encourage land owners to want to invest in simple; sturdy and safe cycle parking options. There are so many sites that are amazing such as Conestoga Mall. But others that are terrible such as the plaza onNorthfieldhousing the Keg; Williams and Sushi 99.
In terms of demonstration, I think all cyclists in Waterloo Region need to work harder to encourage other cyclists to ride correctly and safely; to emphasize how it is we are sharing the road and to be patient with our four wheel companions. As well, we need to demonstrate to our children, our children’s children and our neighbour’s children safe cycling habits including: riding on the correct side of the road; riding on the road or multi-use trail as opposed to the side walk; following road signage; signaling turning intentions and wearing helmets.
With regard to investment, there is no question that the City is on the right track with regard to building complete streets that support all commuting options including cars, transit; cyclists and pedestrians. It is cost effective. However the courage to make this investment against the opposition of individuals who do not want to share the road corridors is really hard to both find and maintain. I worry about this aspect of investment and encourage all of you reading this to think about the ways in which you demonstrate support for those in decision making roles within your community.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this blog, if you have please let me know.
Councillor Diane Freeman