Cowichan Rider Profile
Bikes: what the doctor recommends
Faizal Charania, Special to the CitizenPublished: Friday, May 08, 2009
Local ophthalmologist and eye specialist Dr. Donald MacGregor helps people for a living. Yet he seems to think that some of his most life transforming work is achieved on the way to the office (and back).
Asked why he decided 15 years ago to trade his car keys for a bike helmet, MacGregor says initially it was the most convenient way for him to keep fit. However, it soon became clear that the health benefits were matched by the potential to effect positive change in the world at large.
"Personally, I think everybody is responsible for doing what they can, even if it’s a little bit. It’s pretty obvious to virtually everyone that the global warming thing is a reality so if a whole bunch of people do small things, it does add up to a big difference."
Dr. Donald MacGregor has been cycling to work for 15 years.
Faizal Charanta photo
In areas like the Cowichan Valley that receive large amounts of rainfall, MacGregor stresses that comfort is the key for new bikers if they want to ride successfully over the long term.
"It’s worth spending some money to get some decent gear to ride. I have a Cannondale rigid mountain bike with fenders, mirror, and strobe lights, front and rear. In inclement weather, I wear neoprene shoe covers and gloves, waterproof tights, helmet, and goretex jacket."
In all, he figures one could spend less than $1,000 and be fully decked out for just about anything Mother Nature has to offer.
While MacGregor says that motorists in the Valley are generally conscious and respectful of sharing the road with bicyclists, he feels that it is up to cyclists to be educated about road safety and consistently practice safe riding behaviour in order to minimize the risk of injury.
"You have to learn to ride safely," he said. "And if you do, part of that is you have to be very conscious of what’s around you, learn to anticipate situations ahead of and behind you, be visible (to motorists), and act assertively within the law because you are a vehicle and not a pedestrian."
As with everything, he says, the more you do it, the more comfortable you will be.
Though he adds, the rewards far outweigh the risks.
"People sometimes look at me as if I were a little strange to be riding a bicycle. Obviously I can afford a car. I have a nice car. I just choose not to use it most of the time, and it’s very rewarding. Once you’re into the habit, it’s a normal, natural thing."
Do you want to win a Norco bike (valued at over $500)? Enter the free draw at the Cowichan Green Community Society office (277 Craig St.) and/or Experience Cycling (482 Trans Canada Hwy). Then come on out and ride during Bike to Work Week this May 11-17.
Celebration stations will be located in the Duncan Thrifty Foods parking lot Monday to Wednesday and True Grain Breads in Cowichan Bay Wednesday to Friday. For more information check out www.biketowork.ca/cowichan_valley or email Alex Haddad at email@example.com
© Cowichan Valley Citizen 2009