I was talking to my buddy Oliver recently about relaxed cycling versus wound-up, nervous, bitter cycling, and came to the conclusion that the majority of the miles I pedal through Durham fall into the latter category.
Here's kind of a definition of the terms I'm using - "relaxed" cycling is when you're on a true bike trail, and you're sitting up on the saddle, your shoulders loose and your arms just dropping down to the bar and you're looking around enjoying the scenery.
"Bitter" cycling is when you are hunched down on your bike, gripping the handlebar tightly, a nervous pissed off aggression in your shoulders as you pedal over crappy pavement that is threatening to throw you left or right suddenly, and you have single occupant vehicle after single occupant vehicle squeezing past you with centimeters to spare.
"Bitter" cycling basically epitomizes bike commuting in Durham region, and after a year of doing this, it has really worn me down. I basically ride along fuming and writing apocalyptic letters to the city council in my head.
What really has me wound up is the lack of bike access to the region's Go Stations. I don't know about Ajax and Pickering, so I can't talk about them, but Oshawa is a total write off, and of the two exits out of Whitby, both are crap, and you'd have to be a moron like me to try either one of them on a bike.
If you go to the east and come out onto Brock Street, you're dealing with traffic merging on/off the 401, which is loads of fun.
Henry Street to the west SHOULD be the answer, but it is so damn narrow, and the road is so torn up, that you just rattle along with cars squeezing past you hoping that you don't get a shattered elbow, or worse.
So Whitby city councilors, if you have a shred of decency, or any ability to show leadership on this issue, I want you to pulverize and melt Henry Street, repave it, widen it, and paint me some bike lanes on both sides.
P.S. - I agree, impeach the hell out of Bush and Cheney.