Eric Villagracia

From Toronto Canada

Commutes Klometers RoundTrip for 10 years and months
Seven days a week, my bike is my primary transportation Year Round

Not much to say, I live near Lake Ontario and attend the University of Toronto, north of me. It's uphill going to school and downhill coming back and it's easy to find quiet, car-free routes. If I want to wake up, I'll tackle the busier streets. When I go to work, it's a very short trip (15 min) on mostly flat, though busy streets with jaywalkers, cabbies (yikes!) and other cyclists who need to learn how to ride. Downtown Toronto is actually a great place to ride a bike, there's definitely an advocacy culture here, the winters have been mild in the last few years and it's socially acceptable to commute by bike. In the downtown, financial district the racks are full of all kinds of bikes, cheap beaters to real nice ones that lawyers and investment bankers probably ride. It's better for commuting than my hometown, Thunder Bay (moved to Toronto 1995), where cars and trucks are king and winters are harsh. Great mountain biking, though, and I miss the woods.

I'm a second year arts and sci student at the University of Toronto. I'm 29 now and older than most of my classmates, but it's cool. Two year ago I decided to obtain a university degree (hopefully it opens more doors) and return to school. Before that I was a wannabe filmmaker and always had been, but things had changed. I realized I didn't want to live that life and I didn't like the kind of person I was becoming in film school. After this, I plan to get a Masters in Theology and, God willing (with the cash that is!) a PhD, so kids can call me Dr. Villagracia and I can write textbooks, price them outlandishly and make them required reading for my class. And oh yeah, year- long sabbaticals. Just joking, don't want to sound too cynical. About bicycles, typical story of an eighties kid. BMX, Mountain Bikes, didn't get into road bikes until later. I have my Dad to thank for getting me interested in quality bicycles. I was all set to get my first mountain bike from a department store while in high school, but he steered me to Petrie's Cycle and Sports where I bought a lower end Raleigh MTB, but for me rode sooo smooth. Thanks Dad and thanks to the crusty French bike mechanic who sold it to us. I rode that thing everywhere, meandering really. Just riding for the sake of riding, until it was stolen. I took bicycles seriously as a form of transportation after reading the May 1992 edition of Bicycling, where editor Ed Pavelka spent a month as a commuter. IT was encouraging and inspiring and I'd like to thank him sometime for that. I have driven cars (you have to in Thunder Bay), but have never owned one and I have no desire to. I went through my rabid, car-hating, self-righteous environmentalist phase and have mellowed out somewhat and commute because it's fun, and it's good for the environment; in that order. I have also underwent a kind of conversion this past year in regard to bicycles. I used to despise the word, "tradition" and steel. I lusted after over-priced, overly complicated, engineless motorcycles that extremem rider jump off cliffs with. I wanted the newest, the most innovative. Then I encountered Rivendell Bicycle Works and I've come to appreciate and love time-tested tradition, common-sense approach to fitting, simplicity, craftsmanship and the joy of riding for its sake and not to go faster, stronger, better. I have become BOBish, if anyone knows that term. I want to be a writer (fiction, non, poetry, prose) someday as well as teach. I like drawing comic booky stuff and reading and listening to old-time rock, Celtic and classical music.

I will soon.

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