BikingToronto - Information about Cycling in Toronto <data:blog.pageTitle/>



posted by Joe on Tuesday, January 31, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I am blown away by the coverage that the Kensington motorist-cyclist altercation is getting. Spacing.ca reports that the story was on the front page of the Star (along with an article about the incident along with sometimes mean and cruel remarks aimed at both the motorist and the cyclist). To be frank and honest, I did nickname the motorist "CrazyDriverGuy" in my post about the incident... and that was even before I knew that Leah, the courier, didn't key his car on purpose, but that her bike key (which was attached to her wrist) scratched the car as the motorist was trying to stomp her and her bike.

Other things this story has made me think about:
  • Is Canada stricter than the U.S. regarding anti-littering by-laws?

  • Is this story a good example of how drivers and cyclists interact with their environments? Are cyclists more inclined to care about litter and the urban (or rural) environment because they are more a "part" of it than drivers are?

  • Was it unreasonable for Leah the bike courier to return the food to the driver after it was thrown out the window? If, for instance, a driver accidentally dropped a glove, or a hat, or a CD, or a package of (new) diapers out of their car and a pedestrian or cyclist could help them out with the return of their property, shouldn't the same extend to food and cigarettes and their cast-offs? When someone buys a cheeseburger, they buy the packaging too. Was Leah simply giving back to the driver what was legally his?

  • Should we all throw a big Good Citizen party for Leah?
Anyhow on to another topic: the "Big Event" today is the screening TONIGHT of "The End of Suburbia: Oil Depletion and the collapse of the American Dream" at the Bloor Cinema at 7 pm. Admission is $9 and is sponsored by the good people at the Toronto Public Space Committee. This is obviously for everyone who advocates a "car-free" or "less-car-dependent" lifestyle. I will try and make it myself because other than the odd rental car to visit some crazy friends in the suburbs, my fiance and I are car-free, happily depending on the TTC and our bikes and walking to get around Toronto. I suppose it's perhaps mean of me to get happy when gas prices go way up, but I get over any guilt pretty quickly.

More details about the film (and the question period afterwards) are available on the always dependable Spacing Wire website.



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posted by Joe on Tuesday, January 31, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark


Frost Dome
photo taken by: Cap'n Canuck



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posted by Joe on Monday, January 30, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Dammit. I forgot to quote my very favourite part of the "Time is Money" article I linked earlier today.
Heath has a more radical, and unpopular solution to cure traffic congestion. He advocates placing tolls on highways such as the Don Valley Parkway. "Roads are congested because they are free. If we gave away cheese for free, too many people would eat cheese."
I was going to write a post about the four upcoming (this weekend and next week) public consultation meetings regarding the 2006 City of Toronto operating budget. Since biketoronto.ca has already done a good job of why these meetings are important, I'll suggest you go there. BikeRefugee also writes about it with a very funny American Idol analogy.



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posted by Joe on Monday, January 30, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

There was a very interesting article in the Business section of Toronto Star on Saturday entitled "Time is Money" and was about how so much productivity is lost due to traffic congestion.... almost 4 billion dollars annually across Canada, according to Transport Canada.

That's $10,958,904 every day... $456,621 every hour... $7,610 every minute... $127 every second.

Holy Crap! Almost 11 million dollars every single day!

Anyhow, the article goes on to mention that to be a viable alternative, the TTC needs more money to expand service (re-inforced by tons of articles about overcrowding recently...), but doesn't mention biking at all, although the point that living relatively close to where you work is infinitely smarter than sitting in traffic for large chunks of your life.

Living close to where you work and biking "to and fro" is smart for all kinds of reasons. It's healthy, it's cheap, it doesn't pollute, there's no chance of killing pedestrians, and best of all you're always on time for work (provided you don't ignore your alarm clock) because traffic jams don't effect cyclists... we just weave through all of the stopped cars. Weaving isn't recommended if the cars are moving. Haha.

I found a fun little cycling game on the weekend... it's on the front page of the U.S. "Bike to Work" website. It's simple, but a whole lot of fun. You get to jump desks in an office!



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posted by Joe on Sunday, January 29, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

You may have noticed that I've been featuring cool bike photos from around Toronto by awesome Flickr photographers. I've featured 10 of them so far, and thought I'd stick all of them in one post for you to see before I find some more of them.

Visit the flickr pages (linked in each entry), and tell the photographers how cool they are! They love hearing that. Haha.



Kids having fun in High Park!


Life in the Toronto Islands


Photo Deleted. Booo!


Queen West Classic


Two Cyclists at College and Spadina.


Ikea Bikeposts on the UofT Campus?


Locked up on Queen West


Dundas and McCaul


The Worker, the BikePost and the Redhead


Bicycle Fence on Queen


Happy Sunday to you. It's rainy as hell (assuming hell is rainy) in Toronto today. Warm, but rainy.



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posted by Joe on Sunday, January 29, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I posted on Friday about the importance of working with "the powers that be" to further cycling issues and adoption by Toronto residents. I'm not saying that events like Critical Mass need to be less anarchic, because holding up traffic for a minute or two as the group passes through an intersection is no big deal, and speaks more about driver impatience than anything else.

It is weird that since I posted that on Friday, we've seen the now-infamous photos of the courier-driver confrontation in Kensington Market (which I've now seen linked on both MetaFilter and BoingBoing, which basically means it is "internet famous" now...), and now there is news out of New York that cops watching Critical Mass there did something silly and one of them got hurt.

In an article entitled Critical Chaos: Two Cops Hurt, 17 Arrested at Mass Ride, the Village Voice reports that:
...a pack of about 100 bikers was moving south on Third Avenue when a line of 14 scooter cops patrolling alongside abruptly veered left to cut off the ride. One scooter cop slammed into another scooter, throwing the cop several feet from his scooter. He landed hard on the pavement, hitting his shoulder and head...
A bunch of cyclists stopped (the ones that weren't chased by police) and one who is also an EMT took care of the hurt cop until ambulances arrived.

Amazingly, although the 14 cops on motorscooters veering into the bicycle group are clearly at fault... "Cops on the scene were clearly pissed. "He landed straight on his head," said one scooter cop who asked not to be identified. "It's not fun and games any more."" It's a clear example of the strong and blatant animosity between these two groups.

I admire the EMT cyclist who stopped to help the cop, and I admire all the NYC Critical Massers, because their motto is "Still We Ride", although a lot of them have been arrested (for riding a bike!) and they have to deal with cops driving into them. I'm thankful that here in Toronto we have relatively good relations with the police, and we should work to keep it that way.



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posted by Joe on Saturday, January 28, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark


Bicycle Fence on Queen
photo taken by: Brandy Whyne



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posted by Joe on Friday, January 27, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

The big cyclist news in Toronto today seems to be a confrontation between a cyclist and a motorist in Kensington Market. There's a whole lot of photos taken by one of Toronto's great photobloggers over on citynoise.org. I first saw the story over on BikeRefugee and have since seen it on Torontoist and the Spacing.ca Wire.

Details seem to be fuzzy, but it sounds like it went down like this:
  • CrazyDriverGuy threw garbage out his window (that's bad).
  • MessengerGirl picked it up and put it back in his window (yay MessengerGirl!)
  • CrazyDriverGuy gets out of his vehicle and dumps hot coffee on MessengerGirl (that's assault, which is very bad)
  • MessengerGirl keys vehicle (also bad, and stooping to CrazyDriverGuy's level, but understandable if she just had coffee dumped on her)
  • CrazyDriverGuy proceeds to stomp on MessengerGirl's bike, and then rough her up too.
Now, setting aside that fact that CrazyDriverGuy looks absolutely insane and probably needs counselling of some kind, this kind of incident is a perfect example of the general animosity that exists between cyclists and drivers in Toronto. [update - Leah (the Messenger) has written her version of events (probably pretty accurate... haha) in the comments of the citynoise article... it's down a way and labeled as Leah: 27th Jan 2006 - 22:45 GMT]

I'm not sure what the solution is, but the more people we have cycling on the roads, the better chance that a driver who gets impatient with a cyclist (even if it's someone reminding them that the world isn't their trashcan) may realize that their sister is a cyclist, or their mother, or their best friend, or that pretty girl/guy who works in their office...

.. and then they may not honk or yell things out the window at the person biking nicely around Toronto.



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posted by Joe on Friday, January 27, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark


The Worker, the BikePost and the Redhead
photo taken by: Brandy Whyne



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posted by Joe on Friday, January 27, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Critical Mass Toronto is rolling tonight. If you're interested in attending this "organized coincidence", people meet up between 6:00 and 6:30 pm at the south-east corner of Bloor & Spadina, with departure shortly thereafter. The route is usually determined "on-the-fly", but generally stays downtown, within Bloor, Parliament, Front and Bathurst. If you don't live in Toronto, but another major city in North America (or elsewhere), there is a great collection of global Critical Mass information over here, all broken down geographically for you nice people.

Since the aim of this website is to have as much Toronto cycling / biking information as possible... for both established cyclists and beginning bikers, I was thinking about how to summarize the benefits of Critical Mass.

It's true that philosophically speaking it's an "organized coincidence". Sometimes biking in to work I'll be in a stretch of road where a lot of other cyclists happen to be too, and we form our own little, linear Critical Mass - cars using the same stretch of road instinctively give us more room as they are passing, since we have more of a presence, although none of us know eachother or arranged to be there all at the same time.

I've often been "buzzed" by cars passing me quickly and within a foot of me (the law says they have to give cyclists 3.3 feet / 1 metre of room here in Ontario), but it's always been when I'm on my own... it never seems to happen when there are a few other cyclists on the same stretch of road.

Group Rides like Critical Mass are all about showing non-cyclists that there is a quick and efficient mode of transportation other than the automobile. As more people take up biking, more of the mini-Critical Masses I mentioned above will occur, effectively calming traffic, and showing yet other people that cycling is an option.

Critical Mass has had a lot of problems in places like New York City, where there have been arrests for "parading without a permit" (the courts have since ruled that this is not applicable to cyclists), but I think Toronto's cycling community should head towards a more co-operative rather than confrontational model of cycling activism. For instance, in Portland, Oregon, "Cyclists and cops even have regular get togethers to figure out how make the ride work better for everyone". [from bikeportland.org]

It's probably the best way to work with "the establishment" to make cycling an accepted and viable transportation alternative for everyone living in Toronto.



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posted by Joe on Thursday, January 26, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark


Dundas and McCaul
photo taken by: urbanjames



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posted by Joe on Thursday, January 26, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

It's really cool seeing that there are plans for a transit, cycling and pedestrian-friendly re-constructed New Orleans. Mayor Ray Nagin's "Bring New Orleans Back" Commission has released a report which, amongst the long-term plans lays out that::
New roads will be designed with the wide median (neutral ground) model for pedestrians, bicycles, transit, and open space.
It's a lofty goal, and as is mentioned in the comments of this OilDrum story, similar plans were proposed for south Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew a few years back, but there wasn't any money to build anything different than what was there before.

But let's assume that New Orleans becomes sustainable, transit and cyclist-friendly, and a walkers paradise. It may prove to be ironic that the old-fashioned and unsustainable ways of most of the rest of the western world will continue heating the atmosphere and the oceans, eventually destroying "N'Awlins" once again.

Also in the news recently is Salt Lake City's plans to provide free parking for fuel-efficient vehicles (info courtesy of spacing.ca), similar to programs in other cities such as Austin, Texas who gives $100 worth of parking credits to owners of cars with excellent gas mileage or are powered by alternative fuels.

While Toronto has a by-law allowing motorcycles and scooters to park free on major streets (sidestreets still require permits), but it would great to be something rewarding hybrid owners as well. Anything that gets gas guzzlers and pollution out of the city works for Toronto cyclists.



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posted by Joe on Thursday, January 26, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Update: This map has been updated! - Feb. 1, 2008

One of my main ideas for this site when I started it was having an interactive Toronto BikeShop Map that would not only show all the bikeshops in Toronto, but be clickable so anyone could find addresses, phone numbers and website addresses, if applicable.





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posted by Joe on Wednesday, January 25, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark


Locked up on Queen West
photo taken by: Lex in the City



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posted by Joe on Wednesday, January 25, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Another beautiful thing about all this relatively mild weather we are having (the graphic to the right is the two-week outlook from the WeatherNetwork... that white line in the middle is the normal daily high... -2 degrees) is that there is no doubt in my mind that Critical Mass Toronto will be alive and kicking this Friday (the 27th).

Everyone meets at the south-east corner of Bloor & Spadina from 6:00 to 6:30, with departure usually shortly thereafter. Remember to dress for the weather (the current forecast for Friday is +6 degrees), and make sure your bikes have lights, since it gets dark early these days.

There's nothing quite like cruising through downtown with sometimes a couple hundred other cyclists... it's a great time, and gets people thinking about bikes and how they are a very reasonable alternative to car travel in the city. Nevermind the energy savings...

Speaking of energy (what a smoo-ooth segue)...

Bicycle Universe has a great page about energy consumption, with stats such as 100 bikes could be made with the energy it takes to produce the average car, and that "Bicycling actually uses fossil fuels, if you consider the fossil fuels that go into producing the food to fuel the cyclist."

If you've ever wondered how much energy you use biking around our great city, DarrenJ of Bike Refugee can probably tell you in terms of Apple Juice. In one of the most creative posts I've seen so far this year (which is still young, so I won't be crowning you just yet Darren... haha), Darren has figured out that the food energy he uses each time he bikes to or from work is about the equivalent of one litre of apple juice.

Compare that to the 62 litres of juice energy that the same trip consumes when he has to drive his car to work, and you start seeing the huge difference between car and bike travel. Darren also compares things like burning a regular incandescent lightbulb for a day (7 litres of juice) versus a compact flourescent (1.8 litres of juice).

Personally, I think this energy analogy should be forwarded to the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, because then we'd see a humourous story entitled "How Do You Like Them Apples? The Juicy Energy Waste of the Iraq War". That would be pretty cool. They could also promote cycling in North America. That would be okay too.



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posted by Joe on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Okay, it's not exactly good news that the Conservatives won the election last night, but we can take solace in the fact that it's a minority government, meaning that Harper will have to find consensus with at least one other party to get anything passed in the House of Commons. Harper and the Cons have notoriously bad environmental and transportation policies, noted in an excellent pre-election Star article by Tyler Hamilton:
If you drive a Hummer to the corner store, chances are you couldn't care less. If you have children suffering from asthma, if the stink of the city makes you ill, or if you long for snow in January, it's certainly something to think about as you choke on car exhaust on the way to the polls.
The good news for those of us "biking Toronto" (like how I put that in there...? Haha) is that Jack Layton (of the Toronto-Danforth riding), the leader of the NDP, is now being joined in Ottawa by his wife, Olivia Chow (Trinity-Spadina).

For anyone unfamiliar with Toronto municipal politics - Jack and Olivia were Toronto city councillors for many years, and were by far the most outspoken about cycling and environmental issues (which are now being championed most notably by Joe Mihevc and Adam Giambrone at the municipal level). They could often be seen taking transit to work, or even cycling together on their "bicycle-built-for-two".

The sick feeling I have in my stomach about Harper taking up residence at 24 Sussex is tempered by the warm feeling in my heart that comes from knowing Jack and Olivia and their love of cycling now has a national forum.



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posted by Joe on Tuesday, January 24, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark


Ikea Bikeposts on the UofT Campus? ;)
photo taken by: David Wyman



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posted by Joe on Monday, January 23, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

A recent story from the BBC (and picked up by The Toronto Star) talks about how automobile traffic "corridors" create a "tunnel" of pollutants.

The Star article points out that the contributors and health detriments of this are widely known in the scientific community:
All of us travelling in cars, vans, trucks or buses add to the problem. "You can demonstrate as you move away from a highway, pollution levels drop off dramatically. By the time you are 100 metres away from the highway, you can actually measure the difference in health effects.
. I've noticed that almost all cycling websites, blogs and groups are very environmentally conscious, and I suspect the reason for this is that we cyclists breathe in all this pollution every day.

Last spring and summer, when Toronto had a ton of "Smog Alert Days", I became extremely pissed off that my non-polluting, fitness-centric mode of commuting was most likely going to result in lung cancer one day because of the people around me who were either too dumb or lazy to consider alternatives to private automobile travel. As "green" as I was before I started cycling, I've become more extreme in my environmental beliefs, because my lungs deal with the short-sightedness of others every day.

Spacing Wire also has a great post (which is where the "no-smogging" graphic is from) written by Chris Hardwicke (of Velo-City fame) asking why second-hand smog is okay, but second-hand smoke isn't.



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posted by Joe on Sunday, January 22, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark


Two Cyclists at College and Spadina.
photo taken by: Mawz



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posted by Joe on Sunday, January 22, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

It's been a pretty good winter so far in Toronto, cycling-wise. Lots of above-freezing temperatures for most of the past 4 weeks (early December was snowy and cold) has meant lots of cyclists on Toronto streets. Not as many as in the warmer months, of course, but still heartening to see.

Personally, I've hopped on my bike for my commute to work 7 of the 14 work days I've had in 2006. That's not exactly stellar, given the weather we've had, but not bad for a guy attempting some winter cycling for the first time. Considering each way of my commute is about 7 km (~4.5 miles), I've covered ~100 km already, just from those few days biking to work, and I'm quite proud of it.

Since there's a good chance that February (and March... and April?) is going to be very winter-like, I thought it may be appropriate to get some inspiration for some real winter cycling.

This brings me to Jill Homer of "Up In Alaska". Jill has already biked more than 250 miles (400 km) this year, all in very cold alaskan weather and plenty of snow on the ground. Her latest entry estimates her mileage for that day as about 50 miles!

While this is humbling, it's also inspiring. It means that a big boy like me in the (relative) tropical paradise that is Toronto this winter can not only survive a simple 7 km commute to work, but enjoy it, and not wimp out if the temperature drops below -5 degrees.

Best of all, Jill's site is accompanied by lots of great photos she takes as she's biking around (the photos in this post are hers, which I've copied into a private flickr account, to avoid any extra costs to her), plus wonderful writing, shown perfectly by this quote from a recent entry:
The first two or three miles are always the hardest... You begin to wonder what traumatic childhood experience drove you to such unmitigated masochism. But then ... your legs begin to warm up. Your body settles in. You pry your eyelashes open, and the stark beauty of the frozen landscape opens up before you. You move freely with winter and there's nothing about it that can stop you, and you come to the calm realization that you will, in fact, survive, and you feel entirely alive.
Thanks for the inspiration Jill!



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posted by Joe on Saturday, January 21, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark


Queen West Classic
photo taken by: kevinsteele



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posted by Joe on Friday, January 20, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Big News Story that has somehow dodged and deked and avoided all the major and minor news outlets in the country is that one which even is not showing up in the Health Sections of the Newspaper - that the average Canadian memory resets itself approximately every 12 years.

That's right. In 1993, Canadians revolted against the Conservative government of Brian Mulroney, who had done wonderful things like cut corporate tax rates, and model Canada on the U.S. economic model, creating giant budget deficits and bringing in the Goods & Services Tax. Voters abandoned the once-popular party in such large amounts that the Tories were only left with 2 seats in the (then 295-seat) House of Commons.

Now in 2006, Canadians are forecast to vote in waves for the Conservative Party again, under Stephen Harper. Ontarians in particular seem most idiotic, having just experienced the Conservative lifestyle of Mike Harris in the late 90s and very early 00s... a time when tons of social programs and corporate taxes were cut, and Ontario finances (surprise, surprise) went into the colloquial toilet.

What does this mean for Biking in Toronto? Here what I'm forecasting:

1) Less funding for the TTC. This isn't much of a stretch. The Conservatives are a western-based (Alberta) party, and a lot of their donors and supporters are those in the oil industry. Expect less transit and more highways. Expect no gas tax money going to the TTC. Expect TTC fare increases to make up for the financial shortcomings. Expect more people driving. Expect more selfish drivers honking and yelling. Expect to breathe in more smog.

2) More smog. Harper has made no secret of the fact that he doesn't like Kyoto. He believes that Canada should stay focused on oil-based energy and non-renewable resources. He has no long-term vision regarding energy production or consumption. Say hello to more fine particulate matter taking up residence in your lungs.

3) Annexation of Canada by the U.S. Okay, this has only a 50-50 chance of happening. It's still damn scary though!

I don't want to end this post on a negative note, so... how about this weather? 11 degrees today?! The biking is wonderful!



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posted by Joe on Thursday, January 19, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark


A cute Torontonian named Catherine near Trinity Bellwoods Park
photo taken by: mistagregory



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posted by Joe on Thursday, January 19, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

The City of Toronto Cycling Committee met on Tuesday (the 17th) and added anywhere from 3-5 new members:
Three citizen member candidates were selected and are being recommended for approval by the Works Committee and City Council. Two alternate citizen member candidates are being recommended in order to fill a mid-term vacancy, if the need arises. (from the December 2005 minutes of the Committee)
I'm not sure who's on the committee at present, but I thought I'd do some good ol' fashioned googling on the new members to see what I could find out about them. I had partial success:

Joe Hendry - a "bicycle messenger" representing the over 500 bike couriers in Toronto. An article of his appeared in NOW Magazine in August 2005.

Paulette Blais - ungooglable?

Hamish Wilson - Hamish (not that other Hamish I confused him with before...) is one of the people (along with Darren Stehr) behind the TakeTheTooker.ca campaign (for a Bloor-Danforth bikelane) I found a cool article he wrote in July 2005 about how the city should be doing everything possible to encourage cycling, especially on smog days.

Charles O’Hara - Founder of the St. Clair West Bicycle User Group.

Colin J. Biggin - ungooglable?

I give "props" to Paulette and Colin for being seemingly "ungooglable" (that may be a word... really!) in this day and age. They are welcome to contact us here though, so we can all learn more about them. :)

[many thanks to Hamish for pointing out that his last name isn't Wilson, and to DarrenJ for knowing some information about Charles O'Hara.]



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posted by Joe on Wednesday, January 18, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

A recent discussion over on the UrbanToronto.ca forum (highly recommended for those interested in the "built" aspects of Toronto such as new condo construction and architecture) focuses on Chris Hardwicke's Velo-City scheme - a plan for elevated weather-proof tubes built for cyclists.

The concept is awesome: Have cyclist-only facilities built above and beside all the major highways and railways that criss-cross the city and route people downtown (see map). Each direction will have it's own "tube", creating "wind" that will increase cyclist efficiency up to 90%, allowing for speeds up to 40 Km/hr, reducing travel time. Best of all, cyclists won't have to worry about pedestrians or cars while on the VeloCity. Lots of on-ramps and off-ramps are planned.

I like the idea of having them above highways and railways, as things which are "elevated" such as highways and such tend to become barriers to city growth and prosperity (look at many examples from NYC, or the Gardiner right here in Toronto, cutting the Lake off from most of the city...)

Obviously, the economics of such a scheme will be it's downfall (although having people in Aurora and Newmarket whipping down these tubes on their bikes instead of stuck on the 404 is a wonderful idea...), but it gets people thinking about cycling, and non-automobile ways of getting around, and that's always a good thing.

Velo-City is also the subject of a post on TreeHugger.com, a great resource for "news, reviews and recommendations for modern yet green products and services."



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posted by Joe on Tuesday, January 17, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark


Life in the Toronto Islands
photo taken by: peppermintpatty



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posted by Joe on Monday, January 16, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

These tips come from the City of Toronto's "Cyclometer", which is one of the very best Mailing Lists I'm on.
  • You will conserve the most amount of heat by covering your head. A toque or balaclava will do the trick. Remember to cover your ears and adjust your helmet to fit properly!
  • A helmet cover reduces wind chill & protects from rain/snow.
  • Waterproof, warm hiking boots are good for the winter, cycling "overbooties" or plastic bags over your socks can help with waterproofing in the rain, but be careful in the cold. Plastic bags can make you sweat and wet feet are cold feet!
  • Make sure you have a good, warm base layer against your skin. Never wear cotton because it absorbs moisture and will stay wet when you sweat. Wear synthetic fibres like polyester or polypropylene or if you prefer natural fibres try silk or wool.
  • A thin waterproof shell that will block wind and rain works very well. Add more layers underneath for colder days.

More tips can be found on the city's website, as well as IceBike, a wonderful website about winter cycling.



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posted by Joe on Sunday, January 15, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

The City of Toronto has announced some of the scheduling for BikeWeek 2006:

Bike Week is set to kick off this year with the Annual Group Commute and
Pancake Breakfast at Nathan Phillip's Square on Monday, May 29th. Join
hundreds of other cyclists for a ride into work and a free pancake breakfast,
on us!


I've somehow missed this the last couple of years in which I've been cycling due to scheduling and work stuff, but I'm joining the group ride this year for sure, although that will be a busy week, since I'm getting married the following Saturday. If tradition holds to form, there will be 3-4 small group rides (from Bloor West, Greektown, and North Toronto) joining up together at Yonge & Bloor for a big ride down to City Hall.

The Group Ride (which Mayor Miller participates in, not to mention cool politicians like Olivia Chow and city councillor Adam Giambrone) is the only thing that's been scheduled thus far... the city will be updating the BikeWeek site as details become "solid".

My favourite part of BikeWeek? The fact that it's two weeks! May 29th - June 11!



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posted by Joe on Saturday, January 14, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark


Kids having fun in High Park!
photo taken by: marysson7



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posted by Joe on Saturday, January 14, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

An interesting New York Times article entitled The New Red, White and Blue, as reprinted by Sustainable Business the other day. It makes the case that "patriotic" wars and spying to ensure access to Middle East oil is actually pretty cowardly, as the aim is to preserve things as they are:

As we enter 2006, we find ourselves in trouble, at home and abroad. We are in trouble because we are led by defeatists - wimps, actually.

[Bush and Cheney] talk tough about the necessity of invading Iraq, torturing terror suspects and engaging in domestic spying [but ignore] what is actually the most important issue in U.S. foreign and domestic policy today - making ourselves energy efficient and independent, and environmentally green.

They ridicule it as something only liberals, tree-huggers and sissies believe is possible or necessary.


It's perhaps much more "sissie" or "wussie" to not want to become energy independent, but instead invade and control other countries who have lots of oil. It is most courageous to not rely on other countries or people... to push one's own comfort zone.

I often think this way when biking home from work when a rainstorm hits Toronto. Sure, I'm getting a little wet, and sure, a nice wet brown stripe is being painted on my back from my rear tire (I don't have any fenders...), but really, that's no big deal.

I take pride in the fact that I can easily cycle the 14 km round-trip to work every day.

I save money not paying $4-5/day on the TTC, or the estimated (by the Canadian Automobile Association) $25/day it costs to own and drive the average car.

I'm courageous enough to combine my commute with my exercise, with which I've lost weight and brought out my leg and ab muscles just by riding to and from work... I actually do no real exercise besides my commuting.

Most importantly, I'm not seperated from the world around me like I would be encased in the glass and steel of a car. I can interact with my surroundings. I'm not afraid of people walking out in front of my bike, because no matter how fast I'm going, I won't kill them. In fact, I often talk to pedestrians... they like asking me for directions, or where I got my anti-smog mask in the summer (Mountain Equipment Co-op, of course!) I can stop anywhere easily, lock my bike to a ring-and-post, or a streetsign, and go shopping or eat at a restaurant.

To quote a great cycling blog - "Oil is for Sissies".



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posted by Joe on Friday, January 13, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

The City of Toronto Works Committee just decided that Segways are not allowed in Toronto except as assistive mobility devices, not for any other purpose.

They were mainly talking about the issue of whether they should be allowed on sidewalks, with the very good argument that they should be for disabled people like Megan Stuckey (more in the Spacing article linked above), a 14-year-old girl, who has lost the bottom of both legs and uses prosthetic legs and feet.

This is very sensible, especially since elderly and disabled Torontonians in motorized scooters are already welcomed on our sidewalks, and are generally courteous with regards to the able-bodied people around them (although everyone has a story about almost being run over by one...).

There apparently is also a proposal to allow Segways to use bikelanes and the edges of city roads. I'm not sure if it's before the Works Committee or another committee, but I've heard that some cyclists are against the idea.

Personally, I'm not sure why it would be such a bad thing. As long as the Segway users are courteous to the other people using the bikelanes and roads in non-automotive ways, I don't see the harm.

Of course, as with any demographic, there are those who will not behave responsibly, somehow thinking it's okay to ride through red lights or past open streetcar doors... but if we look at the overall picture, if Segways are used as an alternative to driving (not walking... that's just lazy!), and it helps auto drivers become more aware of the legal non-automotive uses of public roads, I think it could be a good thing.

Differing opinions are of course welcome in the comments.



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posted by Joe on Thursday, January 12, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Welcome to Biking Toronto. This is the first post. That is all.



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posted by Joe on Thursday, January 12, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Become a BikingToronto Sponsor and have your ad seen by hundreds of thousands of Torontonians interested in bicycles and environmentally-responsible living.

BikingToronto.com is Toronto's largest website dedicated to cycling-related issues. It is viewed by tens of thousands of people every month and hundreds of thousands every year. It is Toronto's only cycling website which accepts advertising.

As a result it represents a unique opportunity for those wanting to give their cycling or environmentally responsible-related product or service the chance of being seen by a huge segment of Toronto's cyclists.

BikingToronto is:

Toronto's largest cycling website
- 4000+ pages as of Mar. 2009

Toronto's most comprehensive cycling website
- average of 6.5 posts per day in 2008
- covering news and events from Toronto and the GTA

Toronto's fastest growing cycling website
- overall size of site grew by 81% in 2008
- unique visitors grew by 138% in 2008
- pageviews grew by 155% in 2008
- visitors coming from search engines grew by 199% in 2008

For complete site statistics, contact us for details.

BikingToronto.com has become synonymous with cycling and environmentally responsible transportation in Toronto and has grown a loyal and influential readership. If you’d like to partner with BikingToronto and reach our audience contact us via advertising@bikingtoronto.com and we can co-ordinate an ad campaign to suit your needs.


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posted by Joe on Thursday, January 12, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

BikingToronto Blogs


BikingToronto is looking for bloggers.


Are you a cycling advocate? A bike commuter? A recreational cyclist? A racer?

Most importantly... do you live in (or near) Toronto and love cycling?

If you answered yes to any of the above, and like writing and/or taking photos about your cycling adventures and opinions, there's a place on BikingToronto for you.

Becoming a part of BikingToronto gets you:
  • - Your own dedicated section of BikingToronto.com
  • - Exposure to a wide audience
  • - A share of the revenue BikingToronto gets from ads
If you're interested, email Joe[at]bikingtoronto.com and we'll get you started.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, January 12, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

The BikingToronto Store is under construction - you can see all the products on Spreadshirt.com until it is up and running.



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posted by Joe on Thursday, January 12, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) takes BikingToronto content and puts it into a form that gets it out to you when you want it. Instead of coming here to see what's new, you can have the information delivered to you.

You can read BikingToronto posts via RSS Feeds through a "feed reader" such as Google Reader, MyYahoo, Netvibes, or countless others.

  • News Feed: Keep track of all the news regarding bikes in Toronto.



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posted by Joe on Thursday, January 12, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

BikingToronto is a big site, but it's only useful to YOU if you can find the information you need.

This page shows you how the site is laid out:

Administrative Stuff: BikingToronto Blog & Categories

BikingToronto Forum & Categories

Events Calendar:
Email Newsletters:

RSS Feeds:

StatCounter - Free Web Tracker and Counter

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posted by Joe on Thursday, January 12, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Have a question for BikingToronto? Send it along! :)


Name:

Email:

Question / Comment ?

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posted by Joe on Thursday, January 12, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

BikingToronto is:
- the best place for Toronto cycling information
- a positive outlook on all cycling-related events and news in Toronto
- over 4000 blog posts about cycling news, events, photos and more!

BikingToronto
is not your typical Toronto cycling advocacy site. Many websites which advocate for more cycling facilites and funding in Toronto do so with an often negative slant. Not so with BikingToronto.

BikingToronto believes that for true change to happen (ie. getting more people on bikes), the positive events and initiatives must be celebrated. It's true that a negative spin could be put on everything that happens in Toronto regarding cycling, but that doesn't help anyone.

If things happen which aren't perfect, it's an opportunity for improvement, rather than an opportunity to whine and complain.

Recent Posts about BikingToronto are viewable using the "bikingtoronto" label tag.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, January 12, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

BikingToronto is a big site, but it's only useful to YOU if you can find the information you need.

This page breaks the blog down into monthly archives for you... each page listing the most recent entries first:


2009

2008

2007

2006

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