Over the past while I have set my mind towards undertaking a career change! As exciting and challenging as that can be, one priority for me to consider was to ensure I could continue to actively recreate while commuting to and from work. In considering where I could/should look for work every consideration came with evaluating my ability to access work actively. I considered the following:
- The “BIG” City: Toronto, Ontario Canada: my commute to this location would include a 15 minute bike ride, a 30 minute bus ride and 2 1/2 hour GO Transit ride. I have worked in Toronto before and I love Toronto, it is an amazing City. Although careers in Toronto can be very exciting they can also be a challenge to get to with the magnitude of grid lock that exists for commuters travelling on the major Ontario Highways or choosing public transit. Spending over 6 hours per day commuting is not desirable no matter how much I might Love Toronto.
- A “near-by” Community: Kitchener and Waterloo, Ontario Canada are often referred to as the “twin-cities” because the boundary between the two, for the average visitor, is non-existent. A career in Kitchener near to the city borders would be an easy commute by bike or by a combination of bike and bus. As you head out to the suburban areas of Kitchener a commute by bike and bus could easily become in excess of 1 or even 2 hours each way.
- A “neighbouring” Community: Guelph and Cambridge, Ontario Canada are a 30-50 km commute each way depending on where you are going in those communities and the roads available for a cyclist. I would need to use a light-weight road-bike to undertake these distances and I would require the destination to have access to a shower for sure. For Cambridge I could combine my commute with bus transit. For Guelph I could consider using the GO Transit which has limited hours. Either choice would result in a significant multi-modal commute (minimum of 1 1/2 hours each way) that would become rather in-flexible without easy access to a car.
- Stay in town: When you narrow your search for your “dream job” down to a reasonable in-town bicycle commute of 10 km each way, you certainly narrow your opportunities too.
Fortunes shone on me and I accepted an position as a Senior Engineer working for a Architectural firm located just 1.3 km further than my previous commute! I am navigating so much change this week. For 23 years I worked as an environmental consulting engineer and now I am shifting gears to working as a senior engineer with an Architecture firm. Imagine the joy and nervousness that is combined with this move!
I made my first trek to my new office yesterday.
Weather: February 11, 2016: -12°C (with wind chill -20°C), Cloudy. flurries. Wind northwest 20 km/hr gusting to 40 km/hr. Main roads clear, side roads snow covered. On-road bike space ranged from clear to snow covered with some icy sections.
Consistent Attire: As previously discussed.
Variable Attire based on the temperature: MEC thermal arm coverings, sleeveless wool dress, 180s ear muffs and Bula balaclava at night.
The ride in the morning was sunny with light flurries. The cold did not seem to be to unmanageable, but the ride home at 8pm was a bitter cold. It was the first time I have had to stop riding to try to warm up my hands.
My new ride in the cold and snow is about 20 – 30 minutes depending on how much snow is on the roads.
Bottom Line? I have a new job and I have tackled my first winter commute to the new location and it was GREAT!