It’s Pedal Power as Grand Erie Celebrates Bike to Work Week

A woman wears a bike helmet and takes a selfie

It’s Bike to Work Week, a regional initiative to encourage all of us to rely less on our vehicles, promote health and fitness, and enjoy the beauty of the great outdoors as we traverse from point A to point B, and beyond. Getting out the two-wheeler is a sure sign of spring for many Grand Erie employees who welcome the warmer temperatures as a chance to enhance their health and wellness through this very practical mode of transportation.

One Grand Erie staff member in particular is taking the challenge to heart – with a daily commute that is definitely not for the faint of heart. Kelly O’Grady, who teaches Math, Science, and Special Education at North Park Collegiate and Vocational School, was inspired to get involved last year. The only trouble? She lives in Dundas, and the trip to North Park is just short of 30 kilometres.

“On a Thursday evening last May, I was scrolling through Facebook and discovered that the upcoming Monday was Bike to Work Day,” says O’Grady. “I thought about my upcoming school workload – because isn't that the first thing we always think about before we commit to fun plans? – and realized that by some miracle, I had no major marking that weekend. The stars had aligned, and I didn’t have to carry a heavy load on my back, so I was going to do it! Carpe Diem!”

O’Grady says her co-workers’ reactions were a combination of disbelief and good humour as they placed bets on whether or not she’d uphold the commitment.

A map shows a bike route of 29 kilometers

“Monday morning, I woke up at 5 a.m., and was on the Rail Trail by 6:15 a.m. to begin the two-hour, up-hill adventure from Dundas to Brantford,” she remembers. “When I reached Copetown Highway 52, it hit me: there was no turning back. I scooted over to Powerline Road and kept going. By the time I crossed Lynden Road, a huge sense of pride began to grow, which energized me through the rest of the trip. My legs felt like Jello as I walked victoriously down the halls of North Park to my period 1 class.”

Of course, she’d have to do it all again in order to get home, where she was greeted by her extremely proud family just in time for dinner.

“This trek became a bucket-list item for me, and I’m so glad I’ve checked it off,” she says.

O’Grady’s challenge to Grand Erie?

“This year, I'd like to challenge everyone to either muscle-power your way to school or to literally ‘run’ an errand after work,” she says. “You can do it, and it feels amazing!”

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