Cyclist Profile - Daniel Egan

Name / Occupation / Age

Daniel Egan, Manager of Pedestrian and Cycling Infrastructure, Transportation Services, 51

What do you use your bike for?

Mostly commuting and just getting around town. I used to do a lot more recreational cycling and I would like to fit that back into my life again.

How often do you ride?

Five or more days a week for most of the year. I used to ride in any weather but I ride less often in the winter now.

How long have you been commuting by bicycle and what made you decide to do it?

I got my first 10 speed bike as a teenager in 1972 and rode it all over North Vancouver. As a university student, I started commuting regularly in 1977. It was just the logical thing to do - transit was almost non-existent in North Van in those days.

Can you give a brief description of your route?

My most frequent route to work takes me south on Broadview to Don Jail Roadway, west on Gerrard to Bay and straight down Bay to City Hall. Because of my day job I like to check out the other east-west streets from my Riverdale start and often ride on Dundas (it's great right now with the bridge closed to traffic), Queen or Carlton Streets. Occasionally, I'll go north to Bloor-Danforth for variety.

What's the best thing about commuting by bicycle?

I just loving being on my bike. It's a good way to unclutter my head from a day at the office - I have some of my clearest thoughts riding home from work. It's also way faster than taking the streetcar.

Any advice for new riders?

Start on a quiet day and figure out routes that work for. Don't be in a hurry, enjoy the ride. If it feels like the world is against you, take a CAN-BIKE course or ride with a friend who knows what they're doing.

What would you say to convince someone who is considering commuting by bicycle to get on board their bike?

The standard answer is, it's fast, cheap and good for your health. But I think the most important reason to ride is that it's fun. I always feel great at the end of a ride, no matter how short or long. I will only stop riding when it stops being fun.

What do you like about biking in Toronto? And dislike?

Most of my cycling is downtown and I like the fact that most downtown streets are pretty slow, there is lots to look at and most drivers are aware of cyclists. How can you dislike cycling?

Where is/are your favourite place(s) to bike in Toronto?

I love riding through downtown neighbourhoods late at night when the streets are quiet, the porch lights are on and raccoons are on the prowl.

What's your favourite cycling street in Toronto? Least favourite? Why?

One day a year, it's the Gardiner because you can really enjoy the view at bike speed and the DVP because there's not a single pot hole and it kind of feels like a park. The rest of the year, my favourite cycling street (actually a string of streets) winds through Rosedale from the Castle Frank subway station and ends up at Roxborough and Yonge. It's nice to get off the grid and you can get lost in there.

What's your favourite piece of cycling kit/clothing/gadget?

My clip-less pedals and shoes.

Favourite bike stories?

In 1983 I spent two and a half months cycling around China with my partner. In '83 the bike truly was king (or queen) of the road and we saw lots of the country that wasn't open to regular tourists. We had to request permission from the Public Security Bureau for permission for most towns off the tourist circuit and often were refused access. Near the end of the trip we decided to skip the PSB and just headed out across the mountains, on dirt roads, through tiny villages, and made our way to Macau to exit the country. That was a great trip! It makes me sad to think of Chinese cities overrun with cars today.

Scary bike stories?

In 1980, I had two collisions with drivers turning left in front of me. Luckily, I wasn't seriously hurt in either. After the second crash, I bought a helmet and joined the Vancouver Bicycle Club which was just starting a new advocacy group.

How could the City help you enjoy riding more?

Give me more staff to build more cycling infrastructure, narrow roads and slow traffic.

How did you start biking?

As an nine year old I rode my cruiser (it must of weighed a hundred pounds and was way too big for me) around my west end Ottawa neighbourhood. We used to ride these narrow trails alongside a creek - I only ended up in the creek once.

What sort of bike do you ride? 12 year-old specialized mountain bike.

Helmet or no helmet? Helmet

Bikelane or no bikelane? Bike lane if I have a choice.

Crossposted to Spacing