We're counting down to our Annual Coldest Day of the Year Ride! What better way to build momentum than to feature Toronto riders who commute by bike year-round - regardless of the weather?
Data Analyst by day and stand-up comedian by night, biking gives Theresa the flexibility to maintain a busy schedule year-round. For her, biking isn't an all-or-nothing matter - it's often the best solution, but there's nothing wrong with switching to transit or walking if the weather gets really rough.
Tell us about your typical commute.
I either bike or walk to work - I'm so thankful to live close enough to work to be able to do that!
Why do you ride in the winter?
I find biking or walking to be way more reliable, as I can time exactly when I need to leave, without worrying about delays. So for me, so long as their isn't too much snow, it's just the fastest way for me to get around the city - whatever the weather.
How does your riding change in the winter?
I used to cycle to work even in intense snow storms, and just walk with my bike if it got too much, I was pretty hardcore about it. Now I am close enough that walking to work is easier, if it looks like the bike lanes will be messy that day.
What’s one tip you’d share with someone new to winter biking?
Just give it a try - it's really not so bad. Worst case scenario, you can always give up and leave your bike securely locked to a post until the weather clears up!
What challenges do you face as a year-round cyclist?
I find the mid-seasons to be the most annoying as whatever I am wearing to set off in in the morning is too hot to cycle home in, or vice versa. I also like to pick up groceries on the way home and it can be tricky trying to balance everything on my bike.
Top winter riding accessory or bike part?
I have a rear bike rack on my bike which is great - I have carried home all sorts of crazy shaped packages and groceries tied under that handy clip.
Best spot to warm up after a chilly ride?
I miss having a gym my office building. When I biked in all weathers, I would get to work super early and go to the gym and get a shower before work which was a great way to start the day and warm up. Otherwise, I guess my house - having that time to bike home clears my head so when I get home, all I have to worry about is warming up!
What’s one myth you’d like to dispel about winter biking?
That you can't do it! People always think you're so committed to do that but it's really not a big deal; you can always lock up your bike (or use Bikeshare) and walk the rest of the way if it gets really gross.
Have you visited a true winter cycling city? What can Toronto learn from it?
I have ridden around Amsterdam and it's amazing as there are no cars so it feels really safe to bike around, and the streets feel so open. Maybe trying out some more no-car spots (like Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington market) would be a way to ease into shifting the focus away from car traffic.
Want to take a cue from Theresa's can-do approach to biking in all weathers? Join us next Saturday, February 3 for the Coldest Day of the Year Ride - it's the perfect opportunity to build confidence riding in colder weather and pick up a few tips from fellow riders.
Stay tuned for our next #bikewinterview, coming Wednesday, January 31!