#irideYEG – Andy W.

Andy_W_TCardWhat is your commute like?

28 km – I start on 111 street MUP, make my way to 109 street time restricted bike lane, cross the high level bridge, and then head to 101 street to continue north.

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

The abundance of free ODRs (outdoor rinks). Patio season on Whyte. All of the green (or white) spaces that let you escape the city without leaving the city – all you need is a bike!

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

I grew up at the end of a 40 km gravel road and could hardly keep my balance on a two-wheeler when I moved to Edmonton in 2010. I got my first bike from EBC and never looked back. Now I cycle every day for my health and the Earth’s!

In my first year of studies I met Jayson de Vera while volunteering at the University of Alberta Campus Food Bank. To assist me in my goal of a reduced ecological footprint, Jayson introduced me to winter cycling, an activity I would not have thought practical in our climate. He then brought me to Bikeworks where I picked out my first bike and the volunteers helped me get set for the winter. I cycled to school every day that winter- you can imagine my excitement when summer and dry pavement finally rolled around.

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

I love crossing the high level bridge and meeting other cyclists at the intersection by High Level Diner. I love the community of dedicated cyclists and cycling activists who recognize the shortcomings of Edmonton’s bike infrastructure and education but also just love to get out and have fun on two wheels!

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

Can’t beat Edmonton’s river valley trails for fast, slow, flat, hilly, sunny, icy, or any other type of ride!

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

Lack of education for both motorists and cyclists. Scofflaw cyclists can be just as hazardous as ignorant motorists whose habits only contribute to the danger of cycling in Edmonton.

What would you like to see for bike infrastructure in Edmonton?

Increased connectivity of current bike lanes! The ones we have are often inconvenient to use or dangerous to enter/exit. Some examples:

West side of 111 street between Whitemud and 60 ave: The south end connects to a sidewalk crowded with Harry Ainley students; the north end connects to a sidewalk full of right-turning strip mall traffic. There is no safe and efficient way to connect to the east side MUP that goes from 23 ave to Whitemud.

106 street between 51 ave and 63: It’s made up of a mixture of sharrows and painted lanes that is extremely dangerous and confusing for bike traffic.

How safe do you feel on your commute?

The MUPs on 111 street begin and end abruptly, causing some awkward and dangerous transitions in those areas. 109 street is relatively safe when the northbound lane is restricted in the mornings, but not so in the evenings on the southbound side.

Getting from the high level bridge to 101 street and back involves navigating some heavy but slow-moving traffic, which is fairly safe if I follow the rules and make my intentions known to motorists. Heading north/south on 101 street is the most dangerous segment of my commute, with daily abuse and unsafe passing by motorists. I have not had any better luck using 109 street, but I stick to the middle of my lane and give a hearty thumbs up to any raging drivers.

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

Nothing makes me more jealous than looking out the window from a warm LRT car or vehicle to see a bundled-up cyclist bearing down and pedaling through a -40 blizzard. I love everything about winter cycling, from the surprised looks on the faces of traffic-stalled motorists to the beard that melts and drips onto my desk for the first half hour of the day.

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