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10/7/04

How to bike on sidewalks and highways

Right now I'm on the corner of Bronte and the QEW. There isn't much of a shoulder. It's evening rush hour, and the traffic is quite loud.

As a cyclist in places like this, the main fear is of being stranded, where there are turnoffs and the streets don't connect to each other. It's also a worry in those curvy suburban streets. You better know where you're going. You learn to ride on sidewalks, gravel shoulders, and you check your map or directions often.

The only cyclists I often see in these places are kids, or people (generally low income) who are cycling to commute, rather than for recreation or fitness.

There's a sense of being an astronaut in an alien landscape. I rarely see other people and the buildings (big box stores or other large structures) look uninhabited, from a distance.

Sometimes you cross huge areas of empty land, often with a sign that says that it's for sale, or promising a future industrial park or subdivision. There are flowers, still out even though it's the fall. And you can hear crickets everywhere, something you may not hear from a car.