May 27 - June 30



Published May 09, 2017 09:50

This week, we headed to Durham Region for our fourth blog post in our cyclist profile series. We met up with Rick Robertson on Taunton Road, and headed to the brand new multi-use trail nearby for some shots. Rick commutes daily from Ajax to Whitby by bike.

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Rick Robertson riding to from work on his daily commute. Photo by Danielle Griscti

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Ajax in a family of 4 boys. Growing up I played a lot of sports including hockey, lacrosse, baseball, soccer and of course bike riding. I am an avid Green Bay Packer fan and part owner! I now live in Whitby with my family and cycle back and forth to Ajax for work.

When and why did you start cycling?

I started cycling as a kid as a way of getting around Ajax. At the age of 13, I was riding to my first summer job picking weeds for a local farmer. I was commuting 11.6 km each way but back in those days it wasn’t called ‘commuting’.

What style of bike do you ride?

My very first bike was a purple coloured bike with a banana seat and pull-back handlebars which I thought was pretty cool back then! Now I proudly ride a TREK dual sport 8.4.

Tell us about some of the things you ride your bike for.

I use my bike to commute to and from work, as well as casual rides on weekends with family and friends. We have also started incorporating cycling trips into our summer vacations. This year’s trip is to the Mount Tremblant and Ottawa area!

Any favourite bike routes? What do you like about them?

I really like our local waterfront trails. I very much enjoy being in nature and the waterfront in Durham region is an ideal spot. Another benefit to these trails is that most of it is away from traffic.

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Photo by Danielle Griscti

What would you say is the greatest benefit you get from cycling?

I mostly ride my bike for the health benefits it provides me. There is heart disease and diabetes in my family and riding a bike helps me stay physically fit. There is a huge sense of accomplishment for me after I’ve completed my rides. I also like that during my ride,  I have space to sort my mind. 

What's your most essential piece of cycling gear?

Being a cycling commuter, lights and reflective gear are a must. As cyclists we need to be as visible as possible to vehicles. 

How will you be celebrating Bike Month this year?

I will be attending the Town of Whitby’s Active Transportation Plan (ATP) meeting and will continue cycling on a daily basis.

What is your favourite thing about riding a bike in Durham Region?

I like that the biking infrastructure is improving every year. As we speak a multi-use path in Whitby on Taunton Road is being extended. I’m looking forward to more of these improvements in the coming years.

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to try bike commuting?

Maybe draw a planned route first and then just get out there on your bike and do it. You may find it easier than you thought and it just gets easier as you continue. Today’s bikes are more comfortable and efficient, and clothes now provide better protection against the elements in all seasons. I didn’t just start off riding my bicycle back and forth to work year round, for me it was a gradual process. I went from having an entry level bike, to a hybrid bike that I recently outfitted with studded tires to help with my daily winter commute. 

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Photo by Danielle Griscti

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Coming May 1, take the Bike Month pledge!

Pledge to ride to school or work on Bike to Work Day, Monday May 27 and/or throughout June for a chance to win one of three trips for two courtesy of VIA Rail (to Quebec City, Montreal or Ottawa) or a weekend getaway courtesy of Welcome Cyclists. Contest closes June 18.