CHANG­ING GEARS

How a bi­cy­cle helped Kit editor Caitlin Kenny dis­cover her own city

The Kit - - THEKITCA - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY JENNA MARIE WAKANI

When I first moved from an Ottawa-area farm­ing vil­lage to Toronto after univer­sity, I landed just five kilo­me­tres away from what Vogue would soon de­clare to be one of the coolest neigh­bour­hoods in the world. In­die art gal­leries, quirky bou­tique ho­tels and all the cof­fee-shop flat­lay bait your In­sta­gram feed could han­dle—West Queen West’s hip­sters were liv­ing the dream, while I found sus­te­nance in bagels from the Tim Hor­tons on my street.

As a car-less, pub­lic-tran­sit-averse new­bie, I was chained to the in­ter­sec­tion where both my apart­ment and of­fice build­ing were, rarely stray­ing beyond a 20-minute-walk ra­dius. I barely got to know the city, and I missed home.

Three years later, I started dat­ing a guy who kept three bikes in his closet and tasked him­self with find­ing one for me, too. When we got to the Ki­jiji list­ing’s ad­dress, I hopped on the blue Su­per­cy­cle and al­most ped­alled right off the side­walk’s curb, my un­steady hands jerk­ing the han­dle­bars around like I was hold­ing a jack­ham­mer. We paid in cash, and my bik­ing lessons be­gan.

As my re­la­tion­ship with my boyfriend de­vel­oped, so, too, did my re­la­tion­ship with the city. We spent week­ends ex­plor­ing neigh­bour­hoods from the seats of our bikes. On a typ­i­cal Satur­day, we might swing by the plant bou­tique Crown Flora (pic­tured left) to pick up a new suc­cu­lent, toss our ten­nis rac­quets in our bas­kets and head to the park for a match or find a new mi­cro-brewery pa­tio to park at. Thanks to my since-up­graded bike, the city opened up to me, and I started to ap­pre­ci­ate all it has to of­fer, which goes way beyond what Vogue could ever sum­ma­rize. Hav­ing re­cently moved away from that in­ter­sec­tion that was once my life, I now even bike into work ev­ery day, tak­ing the lake­side route from our town­home in—where else—West Queen West.

MARTONE BIKE, $1,800, KOTN TOP, $30, JU­DITH & CHARLES PANTS, $295, FEL­LOW EARTH­LINGS SUN­GLASSES, $250, LOWELL BAG, $395, FAR + WIDE COL­LEC­TIVE X JENNY BIRD BRACELET, $125, CÉ­LINE SHOES, $910, ALL HOLT REN­FREW

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