When I worked out of an office building, I used to commute to work on my bike.
Biking in St. John's can be a little terrifying.
Firstly, Newfoundlanders love to speed. It's very common in St. John's for traffic to flow at 20-30 km/hr above the posted speed limit. Take Kenmount Road, for example. As the street sweeps downhill into St. John's, the posted speed limit is 50 km/hr but traffic in the slow
lane flows at about 70 km/hr. You might say that's a four-lane highway so it makes sense - but numerous other streets are not. Take Mount Carson Avenue, for example. It's a small, two-lane street with a posted speed limit of 50 km/hr. I'd be afraid to drive it under 65 km/hr, someone might run you off the road.
But I've figured it out. The city is so hilly that people have simply gotten used to making up the time difference by speeding anywhere the road is relatively straight/flat. You can really see it on Mount Carson. When drivers turn off Kenmount Road onto Wyatt Boulevard, they generally stay below 60 km/hr until they get to the flat summit of the hill. Then they whip around there at up to 80 km/hr before slowing back down as they hit the sleep decline into Mount Pearl.
So, beware of speeders.
Then, like drivers, you need to figure out how to navigate the streets of old St. John's. Every intersection presents it's own unique set of challenges. Take this mess at the top of Long's Hill, for example:
To give you an idea, say you're travelling from the left side of this photo heading right along Freshwater Road. You have to take that first right down to Lemarchant Road because Freshwater Road is a one-way street in the opposite direction immediately after that. Then you have to turn left onto Lemarchant Road and choose whether to go right down Carters Hill, "straight right"
down Long's Hill, "straight left"
down Harvey Road, or left up Parade Street.
Many of the intersections in St. John's are also controlled with yield signs rather than traffic lights of all-way stops. This means that there's always at least one direction from which cars can proceed through the intersection without stopping.
Then you have to deal with the hills. I just about died on Flower Hill once. I realized I couldn't make it up and tried to get off my bike but I couldn't get off before I started rolling backwards and I purposely wiped out before I could gain any speed. Fun times.
Here's a nice series of photos/explanations of what it's like to bike in St. John's from CBC: