Biking has always been one of my favourite leisurely activities, but even as a born and bred Downtown Toronto kid, I’ve always had a fear of biking around in the #the6ix. Now that my daily schedule consists of so many meetings and appointments around the city, and the fact that the city has finally started to seriously implement more and more bike lanes in downtown, I finally feel ready to start using a set of two wheels as a mode of transportation. Of course, I love that biking is environmentally friendly and great for daily fitness too!
So how do you get ready for biking in Toronto? What do you need as a total beginner? Obviously, a bike. But there are also a few more items you need to get set up and enjoy a safe ride. I reached out to my friends at Canadian Tire to help me out, and with their help I was able to narrow things down to a list of 8 essential items you need for biking in Toronto.
Are you a first-time cyclist in the city like I am? Here are 8 items you need to get ready for biking in Toronto:
This is pretty obvious, but the first thing you’re going to need to stat biking in Toronto is a bike! Since I’m always short on time, I loved that I could conveniently shop from Canadian Tire’s selection through their online shop where I found this beautiful aqua coloured Schwinn Network 2.0 Women’s 700C Hybrid Bike. As someone who is new to the roads, I wanted a sturdy bike for a slow and steady ride. There will be no whipping between cars for this gal anytime soon – safety first, people!
Speaking of safety, the next most important item to buy before hitting the road on your new bike is a good helmut. Sure, they may not look cool, and they definitely ruin any good hair day, but, they do save your life and that trumps all! The skater girl that still lives within me was instantly attracted to the Schwinn Pharos Expandable Bike Helmet in and it’s fun matte purple colour. Please note that the only reason I am not wearing my helmet in these photos is because this was a posed photo shoot on a very quiet street.
You wouldn’t drive a car without a horn, so why would you ride a bike without a bell? Make sure people know you’re coming! Not only is there a lot going on the road, but even pedestrians can be careless and need a reminder that they’re walking in your path, when they’re likely busy looking at their phones. There’s really no excuse not to have a bell when you can a great one like the Schwinn Tool-Free Bike Bell for just $8.99.
Similar to the horn, I highly doubt you’d ever get into a car if its headlights didn’t work. I’m always shocked when I see cyclists riding around at night without a light or blinker on. Don’t you want cars and people to see you!? In my opinion, you should get all the lights, and wear all the reflective gear, all the time. Click HERE to shop a range of lights from Canadian Tire.
Now that you actually have a snazzy new bike, it’s worth looking after it! It’s no secret that bike theft in Toronto is real, and it’s worth investing in a quality bike lock to avoid having someone else ride away on your new set of wheels. My choice is the Kryptonite Key and Cable Bike Lock that’s available for just $24.99.
If you’re like me, then can probably be found carrying a number of bags at any time of the day, any day of the week – I am a true bag lady! For this reason, a good basket is essentially to getting around the city with all of your stuff. Make sure you get one that will be able to hold your bags. As you can see from the photo above, I went with the Supercycle Bike Front Wire Basket.
7. Bungee Chord
Once again, if you’re like me, it might be almost impossible to find a basket that’s actually big enough for all of your bags so make sure you’ve always got a bungee chord on hand (aka in your bag) to help strap in all your stuff while you’re zipping around town. Trust me, it’ll be a lifesaver when you leave with too many groceries, or spot a new pair of shoes you can’t live without.
8. Water Holder
Staying hydrated while you’re on the road is an important part of staying safe. Take a minute to install a water holder to make accessing your H2O faster and easier while you’re on the road. I like the Schwinn Bike Water Bottle with Cage for a 2-in-1 option that also comes with a cover for the mouthpiece to protect it from city road dust that you definitely don’t want to be drinking.
For more information on biking in Toronto and the bike lanes that are available in the city (along with a FREE download of a Toronto Cycling Map) click HERE to visit the city of Toronto’s cycling information page.
Have fun and ride safe everyone!