Posted Mar 22, 2010 in GREEN Berets | 0 Comments

Alternate Transportation

As the weather begins to turn from winter to spring, things are waking up across the country. Flowers begin to bloom, the landscape turns from white to green, and people everywhere come out of their winter hibernation. (Except for those on Vancouver Island, who never really got that cold anyway). Throughout Canada, the seasons change at varying times, however a collective sigh of relief can be heard nation-wide at the thought of summer looming ahead. Unfortunately for snowboarders, skiers and ice road truckers, the ground is no longer coated with snow and ice. However, this means people do not have to dread their everyday commute. No longer are mornings spent shivering at the bus stop or attempting to scrape layers of ice off your windshield with nothing but a credit card grasped in your already frozen hand.  Many people still drive or use public transportation to get around, but the warmer months allow many of us to use our bikes, longboards and skateboards to get us where we need to go

“The bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created:  Converting calories into gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon.”  ~Bill Strickland, The Quotable Cyclist

Biking is probably the most popular way for people to get around, next to driving or public transportation. Most cities are becoming more and more bike friendly, putting in separate bike lanes and places to park your bike.  I asked one Concordia Unviersity student, Tam Vu, why he chooses to bike to school. He basically summed up why biking beats taking the bus or metro; “It’s faster, cheaper and way more fun.”

Skateboarding is only fun if you know how, and it is definitely only a good way to get around if you are a competent skater and you have a well paved road or sidewalk ahead of you. Otherwise, you are going to end up skidding over a rock and flying headfirst into traffic, which is not how you want to start your Monday.  Longboarding, however, is a much more efficient vehicle, as the larger wheels and streamlined board allow you to go much faster and travel more easily on bumpier roads. Longboards are popular on the West Coast. People in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba call it  ‘prairie surfing,’ and even here in Montreal I have noticed countless people cruising around on them. It is fair to say that longboarding is a legitimate way to get from Point A to Point B, not to mention super fun to carve your way along the pavement.

Photo credit: Aki Ozawa
People with cars usually end up driving places because it’s more convenient. For those with long highway commutes every day it is easier to drive a car, winter or summer. However, more and more cities are trying to promote ‘greener’ ways to get around, which is why “Bike to Work Week” is a big deal in almost every province. Montreal even holds the Montreal Bike Fest, which runs this year from May 30th to June 6th 2010.

Of course, the bus and metro systems are going to be busy all year, but who really wants to spend any time crammed into a small space with a bunch of grumpy people when it is 30 degrees outside?

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