Location: Elmira, Ontario
Bike: Steel, Single Speed, Disc Brake, Gravel Monster
Occupation: Laboratory Instructor
Started Commuting: 2007
Commute Distance (one way): 18 Kms
Meet Joe, a 2WG ambassador commuting in Elmira, Ontario since 2007. Joe's advice for new commuters, "Try it! All you need is a bike and a will to give it a try - all the other "things" are just luxury items. You do not need to dive in full-time off the bat. Start with just one day a week or even try riding to work and taking the bus home and then alternate the next day. Then build from there; ride any day it isn't forecasted to rain then the commute you get caught in the rain you will realize it isn't all that bad and realize you can be unstoppable (and that spills into winter riding too)."
Is your city commuter-friendly?
Better than it was?
Why did you decide to start commuting?
Health reasons, both mental and physical health.
What is your most important piece of gear?
Next to a bike (and helmet), I would say it is my pannier. Getting rid of a backpack was the greatest!
What is your favourite aspect of daily riding?
It is like a small adventure (twice daily) that allows you to unwind and reconnect with nature.
What is the worst part of commuting?
That final snowy and cold when you know spring is around the corner and you are just ready for some warm weather. That, and of course, angry drivers that need to ride their bike more for some stress relief.
What is the coolest thing you've ever seen while on your bike?
Lots of fantastic wildlife (deer, foxes, beavers, turtles, herons, snowy owls, etc.). Sunrises and sunsets are always appreciated!
"Since I began commuting I have seen a constant increase in fellow commuters. Nothing brings me more joy than seeing more people on bikes. Let's keep that trend moving in the right direction!"
Do you have any commuting hacks to share?
If you are just starting out, bring a weeks worth of clothes to work on days that you drive. It will save you packing stuff each day to wear at work. Or maybe you are luck enough that your commute is short and you can wear your work clothes - if that is the case, bring some extra food to work (you will snack more!)
Have you ever been in an accident while riding? What happened?
Thankfully not while commuting. I have been yelled at, spat on, and intimidated with erratic drivers, but never hurt. The joy of riding, makes all that feel like a minor distraction.
What is your stance on wearing a helmet? What are the laws like in your area?
My dream is that infrastructure will allow helmets to be entirely optional, we are not there yet. I always wear a helmet, feel odd without one, but I also tend to tackle routes that are anything but smooth pavement when possible.
Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your ride?
I did work from home a good deal for the first few months of the pandemic, but this didn't last long. I do have the option to work from home a day or two a week, so those days I just "commute" before or after work.
Follow Joe here.