Getting around by bike or foot
Active transportation is good for you, your budget and the climate.
Take advantage of beautiful weather this summer to get some exercise while you commute. Active transportation includes any way you move from one point to another using your own power.
Whether walking, jogging, cycling, rollerblading, skateboarding or even using a manual wheelchair if you need one, active transportation is the healthiest way to get around. And since transportation is responsible for nearly one-quarter of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, you can avoid creating more unnecessary carbon pollution while saving gas money too.
A good way to see what’s possible for you when commuting by foot is to check Google Maps.
Start by mapping your current location to your final one – you might be surprised at how close it is. Then select the walking or cycling option to see the route, distance and estimated time of arrival.
You can also check with your local community centre for cycling and walking maps. Many cities and towns have this information readily available, and it’s likely that people in your community have developed it through years of experience. The City of Winnipeg, for instance, has created a great set of maps and videos to guide people toward pathways and points of interest around the city.
Commuting by bike? Consider this
If you’re new to cycling, it can be a bit daunting to navigate city streets. Being comfortable and safe on the road requires developing safe cycling habits. Taking a course can help build skills and confidence — Canbike is a great resource for riders of all stripes, offering classes that are specific to commuters, rural riders, women, children and more. Also, if you require a wheelchair, there are a variety of manual sport models and hand cycles available to promote fitness and help make your commute more enjoyable.
Even though most towns and cities in Canada have been designed for drivers, there are advantages to not thinking like one when cycling. Quiet streets, parks and trails can be much more pleasant than busy roads. Check Bikely.com for bike routes specific to your neighbourhood.
If you’re commuting to work, you’ll also want some good gear to help you transport extra clothes, your laptop or briefcase. There are lots of options including backpacks and courier bags. It’s safer to cycle without something strapped to your body, though, so look into purchasing a basket or panniers that will keep your torso free of movement-restricting straps.
It’s worth considering your destination before you leave. Check for safe bike parking before your first commute to ensure where you park is close to your final destination. Bike lockers are also becoming an increasingly popular safe option in many cities.
Working up a sweat is part of healthy active transportation — it means that you’re getting a good cardio workout — but it’s not always convenient or comfortable when commuting to work or a meeting. Ideally your workplace would have shower facilities, but if not here are some tips to avoid steaming up your suit en route to the office.
Whatever method you choose to self-power your commute, active transportation is part of a healthy lifestyle that will keep money in your pocket and both you and the planet healthy.
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