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The army of road warriors spawned by Lance Armstrong have obscured a more fundamental cycling shift: riding a bicycle is increasingly just another form of commuting in cities across North America. No lycra required. Toronto has been riding the wave. Although people have always cycled here, it’s no longer just a few zealots who do it all winter. And in the spring, as the weather warms up, the extent of the shift becomes clear.

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Jeff McCartney cycles around his work at Bay Street and Wellesley Street.

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“I just like to bike," he says. "I find it’s a really good way to unwind, especially after a stressful day at work and it’s good exercise and it’s just nice to get outside.”

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"And I don’t like the subway. I mean, who does, really?"

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Amy Lavender Harris cycles to work from her Junction home.

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“I choose to cycle in Toronto because it’s the most liberating activity I’ve ever done," she says.

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"You are not sitting in a long line of traffic, not constantly waiting for a bus, or hearing the intercom telling you the train is late. You are in complete control of your destiny.”

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Jacob Leibovitch cycles to work near Church Street and Bloor Street.

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Why ride? “For me it’s the history, and the sense of place," he says. ”

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"I live towards the top of Garrison Creek, so I live on the creek and I follow the creek down to Davenport, and Davenport is an ancient First Nations travel route."

Jennifer Roberts/The Globe and Mail

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Sabrina Bowman rides her bike to her office at Spadina Avenue and Adelaide Street.

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The climate campaign coordinator for Environmental Defence says: “For one thing, especially commuting to work and back, it's actually faster than taking public transportation, especially during rush hour.”

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"I find that cycling gives me a freedom and an energy I don't get any other way.”

Jennifer Roberts/The Globe and Mail

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