Biking in Toronto in winter/ Where to buy awesome notebooks
September 3, 2012 3:46 PM   Subscribe

Toronto student life filter: Two questions! 1) How likely will I be able to commute to school (only 1.5 km) in the winter months? 2) Where can I find lots of choices for notebooks that are high quality but affordable? Downtown/near U of T preferred.

I'm starting school at U of T in a week! Right now, I have a pretty sweet sub-10 minute commute by bike, but I am wonder if it's possible to ride in the winter as well. If I walk, the commute is almost 20 minutes, and I'll have to plan for an extra 40 minutes everyday for that (yeah I really like to prematurely get my ducks in a row).

I also have not been able to find any stationary stores in Toronto. I am thinking along the lines of those in New York's west village, but anything will do. I am very picky though, so preferably somewhere that carries a lot of different varieties. Alternatively, I am also willing to order large batches online, although definitely not from the US (I had to pay custom once. It hurts my wallet).

Many thanks in advance!
posted by atetrachordofthree to Grab Bag (11 answers total)
Winters have been pretty mild lately, although ymmv depending on what you're used to. You should be able to bike as long as there hasn't been a big snowstorm and walking shouldn't be a problem as well. In both cases assuming you have appropriate footgear/jacket/etc. Presumably you could also take public transit if necessary.

Not sure what west village stationary stores are like but here's a blogTO post on stationary stores. Afraid I can't vouch for any of them personally - there are a few on west Queen west near Trinity Bellwoods as well which have a relatively large selection.
posted by scribbler at 4:25 PM on September 3, 2012

I managed to ride nearly the entire year, last year. It may be colder this year, but as long as you don't have a lot of fresh snow on the ground, you should be fine in weather down to -10 (assuming appropriate clothing, etc.). Maybe make a stop at Mountain Equipment Coop to pick up some winter riding gear.

There is a Grand & Toy right at Bloor & Avenue Rd.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:57 PM on September 3, 2012

For notebooks and supplies, try Midoco (cheerful and funky) and Laywines (sophisticated and expensive but they have the occasional sale.)
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 5:20 PM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I cycle commuted an entire winter. In the depths of winter you'll need good clothing. You may also encounter very icy areas if you keep to bike paths. In my case, I went to studded tires and all was well. The sensible option is to bike as much as you can but remain open to public transport or cabs.

1.5 km is almost nothing though. My ride was more like 10km each way.

Also, stationEry.
posted by unSane at 6:13 PM on September 3, 2012

I've winter biked here for 3 years (also with a 1.5km commute to campus!), and my advice:

- Be careful in bike lanes; they don't always salt them and on the truly snowy days, they can be treacherous.
- A warm pair of gloves are KEY (I wore a pair like these guys from MEC), and something to cover your ears.
- Also, fenders! You need to be careful to make sure snow doesn't accumulate under them, but it certainly beats a mucky slush line up your back.
posted by Paper rabies at 6:30 PM on September 3, 2012

A 1.5 km bike commute is entirely possible to do year round in downtown Toronto. Waterproof outerwear is the key. My husband used to commute across town daily and only miss a couple of days a year if it was blizzarding when he got up in the morning. Doing 1.5km is nothing.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:37 PM on September 3, 2012

Seconding Midoco and Laywines.
posted by avocet at 7:37 PM on September 3, 2012

Lots of people ride their bikes all winter, especially since the roads get cleared pretty quickly when it snows. That being said, lots more people walk all winter, and walking 1.5 km each day all year long should not be a problem in the least. (I walk 3km to and from work every single day of the year - well, unless it's pouring rain - and you can certain do that too.)

Make sure you're properly dressed for the weather, and then go. Toronto's not the arctic.
posted by Kololo at 7:38 PM on September 3, 2012

If you are looking for basic office supplies, there is a Staples at University Ave and Dundas.

If you are looking for fine paper and other fancy stationary stuff, there are lots of paperplaces around the west end, including Japanese paper stores. Art stores also abound around OCAD (Dundas and McCaul), and are often cheaper than stationary stores (I was pricing out portfolios/albums recently, and a portfolio at Curry's was a fraction of the price that a similar scrapbook album at Midoco was).

Winter bike-riding is perfectly possible, though my friends who do it tend to have a crappy "winter bike" that they use to protect their better summer bike from excess salt and weather damage.
posted by jb at 7:49 PM on September 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm in Maine and I commute 14 miles per day, including winter. Yes to fenders. I also have studded tires because while they do clear the roads here well/quickly, my bigger concern is ice/black ice. You'll probably have to experiment with layers of clothing until you find what is comfortable. I generate my own warmth biking so I wear a lot less than just going out for a walk, but at only 1.5km you probably won't get too warmed up before you arrive!
posted by mikepop at 6:26 AM on September 4, 2012

Last year was an amazing winter for cycling. There wasn't a lot of snow. Even on the coldest days, such a short bike ride shouldn't be too bad. You will have to deal with being wet- so fenders and waterproof pants will help a lot.
In fact, the streets are often cleared sooner than the sidewalks- that are usually left to get packed down and slippery.
posted by beau jackson at 11:11 AM on September 4, 2012

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