In less than a month, school starts again and I haven’t ticked five items off my summer to-do list. So, I’m currently working on learning how to ride a bike. I have to accomplish at least one task!
When I told my friends and family I didn’t know how to bike, they’d say, “What!? Are you for real!?” Apparently, every person should have learned how to bike in their childhood.
Well…I’m learning now. Better late than never, right?
Learning to ride a bike has always been something I’ve wanted to do. Now that I’m living in downtown Toronto, biking is a more environmentally friendly method of transportation also proving to be faster than walking (or even taking public transit). Using a bike to get to school, work and social events literally cuts my travelling time in half.
“You gotta fall at least once to learn.” That’s what my family and friends told me.
Were they right?
I think the idea is to fall so you overcome your fear of falling. When you’re scared to fall, you focus on balancing (so you don’t fall sideways) and then you forget to pedal. At least that’s how it was for me.
Luckily, I had someone I could lean on (literally).
I fell when my friend let me venture out on my own. I got scared to turn so I braked and then the bike flipped and down I went. It’s been three weeks since then and my bruises have finally healed – so it’s time to get back on the bike and learn! You know what they say, “If at first you don’t succeed…”
I thought I could teach myself how to ride. I even had a dream that I did. But reality hit. I couldn’t even start without help from someone else. The bike I borrowed from my friend was too high – even on the lowest seat setting – so my friend had to hold on to the bike for me to get up.
Brent Maguire from Oxygen Bike Company in Etobicoke gave me a different advice, though. He told me that first you have the learn how to balance on the bike. Brent recommends learning on a downhill slope (not towards the road, okay) because you can focus on balancing on the bike instead of putting your attention on pedalling. I found this to be true. When I went downhill, depending on how big the slope was, I didn’t even have to pedal at all. The slope did the work for me, so I could focus on balancing.
I asked my roommate (he’s a bike fanatic) for the best biking areas for beginners in downtown Toronto to practice Brent’s technique, amongst others, and he suggested the Martin Goodman Trail (MGT). MGT runs along the lake shore area and ensures leisurely rides, putting the focus on enjoying the scenery while keeping at a moderate pace. Runners and walkers are also on this trail, so bikes can’t exactly “speed.”
Depending on where you start, you can pass by Centre Island and even reach High Park via Bloor Street W and Parkside Dr.
If you continue to bike on MGT, you’ll eventually reach Humber Bay Park. From the trail, you can see the appropriately named Humber Bay Arch Bridge.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can take the ferry over to Centre Island for a picturesque ride. Not to mention, you can also rent four-person bikes for you and all your friends!
Though I haven’t ventured to Centre Island on my own just yet, I know I will once I get the handle on biking.
What are your favourite biking adventures?