I have to say that I’ve been excited by the response to this little experiment. I’ve loved the stories you’ve shared with me out and about today and yesterday, and the e-mails.
Here’s Brian’s experience with what he’s dubbed, “the loser cruiser”
After twenty plus years working at the Environment Canada Weather Office at the Shell Areocentre, I have been relegated to work in the downtown core at The Harry Hays Building. This was due to the closing of the Weather Office and it’s move to Edmonton.
So, what once was a 15 minute bike ride or a 7-10 minute drive, has become a 45-60 minute daily commute on the “Loser Cruiser” in and out of the downtown core.
Not that the Loser Cruiser is all bad….because as you say there are some Zen moments.
Story continues below
I actually still try to ride my bike as much as possible and this usually works for the majority of the year. I am relegated to the mercy of Transit from approximately mid November until mid March. This is when the cold sets in, the snow flies and the streets become too slippery to venture out on a 13 km commute on two wheels.
Like I said not all bad…The morning bus ride is rather pleasant. The only negative thing is one of the points you mentioned. Having to get up early to catch the bus at 6:45 am, so I am downtown by 7:45 am. My bike ride is usually about 15 to 20 minutes quicker. I catch the 142 in Panorama Hills . This is an express bus with limited stops into the downtown. Like you I hook up the iPod and read the newspaper and enjoy the quiet serenity of not having to pay attention to anything while the bus driver transports us into the core. I get a seat because I am early on the route, however the bus is full with people standing by the time we reach the Country Hills Loop.
The commute home is another story. If I wait for the 142 Express back to Panorama, it is completely packed by the time it gets to my Centre St and 4 Ave stop. I have tried to catch the 301, but again have had to wait for two or three buses because these were so packed that they do not even stop. My other option is the 3 to the Beddington Loop and a transfer onto the 114 into Panorama. The 114 only runs every 30 minutes, so timing becomes an issue. You don’t want to standing outside in the snow and cold for 25 minutes.
But, this is my biggest issue with the Loser Cruiser…it’s the student “party” that occurs every school day on the way home. The bus ride is actually, again, quite pleasant, until the bus reaches the Centre and 64 Ave stop where the students get on. From there the bus turns from quiet Zen-like solitude to a out of control party atmosphere. The sound level goes from a slight hum to screaming, yelling, pushing…it is quite incredible to witness. The first few times I rode the bus, I did not have an iPod. It was quite amusing to witness this transition and the reaction of the riding public. Now, I have the iPod and just crank the volume to zone this all out. But it does not stop at the Beddington Loop…it continues on while we wait for the 114. Some of these students get on the 86 and the 88 into Harvest Hills and Coventry Hills. I have seen the pushing and shoving and lack of respect for other commuters as they scramble to get on the bus.
I could go on. I think about how the bus drivers’ must dread this time in their shift while they have to put up with an all out party and still safely transport people.
I count the days over the winter until I can get back on the bike and enjoy my commute into and out of downtown.
Dreading the Loser Cruiser for another 4 months…..
And one other note: ugh… I’m not looking forward to this weekend. I have a 90 minute african drumming class Saturday afternoon. Its going to take me 3 hours getting there and back!!!