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



posted by Joe on Thursday, August 31, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Vic has got some great photos up from last nights Smells of Toronto ride. Here's a couple... check out Vic's page for more.


Going up High Park Avenue, shortly after meeting by the subway station.


On Dundas West, taking the lane, waiting to turn left up Keele.


Charles at the foot of the Humber River.

The smells I remember - car exhaust, soybean oil, beef stockyards, hog abbatoir, lake ontario, pizzapizza, and the cadbury chocolate factory. :)

Thanks to Vic for the photos. I'll post some of my own when I get them off our camera.

This "Smells" tour was in the west end... it would be cool to do an east-end tour as well.



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posted by Joe on Thursday, August 31, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark





Portland, OR:
Judge finds fault with fixies
This has been huge in the Pacific North-West. A cop tickets a cyclist for not having a brake (not understanding that on a fixed-gear bike), your legs and the crankshaft IS the braking mechanism. The case goes to trial, with an equally in-the-dark judge presiding, who rules that there is no braking mechanism. He also states that if one rides a fixed-gear bike carrying a STICK that they can rub on the tire to stop it, that would be legal. Oregon law mandates that a braking mechanism needs to be able to skid the rear tire on flat, dry pavement - but the judge wouldn't let the cyclist demonstrate that she can do that on her fixed gear.


London, UK:
Congestion Charging three years on - cleaner air, safer roads and reduced congestion
Air quality is better with the most harmful vehicle emissions down by 13-15 per cent, cycling levels are up 43 per cent, and independent research demonstrates that road safety has improved with up to 70 fewer personal road injuries per year as a direct result of Congestion Charging.

Qatar:
Mist-Cooled Bike Paths Being Built in Qatar
I've got to hand it to the Qatarians (Qatarese?)... I think they may know that their giant reserves of oil are a finite resource, so they are putting their giant stashes of cash into lots of cool touristy things to give people a reason to visit even after all the oil runs out.



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posted by Joe on Wednesday, August 30, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I've long known that Case Ootes is no lover of any form of transportation that doesn't have 4 wheels. It may have been 5 years ago, just after my wife and I had taken part in our first Becel Ride for Heart, when Councillor Ootes (then deputy-mayor/lackey of Mayor Mel Lastman) was on the news saying that it was unacceptable that cyclists shut down major highways for charity on a Sunday morning.

Or, it may have been when the Cosburn bikelanes were put in in 2004, after many delays cased by Ootes whining about bikes slowing traffic down... asking for extra studies and environmental reports... wasting taxpayer money.

Now, Ootes is trying to get the 2 year-old bikelanes removed, whining that they slow traffic down too much. A city staff report shows that the bikelanes have indeed slowed traffic down... but not much.

Going westbound between Woodbine and Broadview on Cosburn has gone from 4 min, 29 seconds to 5 min, 27 seconds. A whole minute, Ootes. Why are your knickers in a twist over ONE minute?

Going eastbound, the car commute is a whopping 27 seconds longer. It's truly the end of the world.

Thankfully, the article also interviews councillor Paula Fletcher (Toronto-Danforth), Oote's ward neighbour, and a pro-cycling councilperson.
"We should be making streets more community-friendly," said Fletcher. "If it means it takes you three or four minutes to get downtown that’s not a big price to pay for traffic safety and traffic calming.... If you are simply a slave to the car, why not remove all the bike lanes?"
Ootes gives a little quote in the article which I like, and which I think can serve as a great incentive to prove him wrong:

"This is an attempt by left wing councillors to slow down traffic and force people out of cars... People won’t get out of their cars. It doesn’t happen. This isn’t that kind of city,"

It IS that kind of city, Ootes. You (and other Torontonians) just don't know it yet... and THAT is The Ootes Challenge - to prove that Toronto CAN be a city where the car (and planning for cars) doesn't suffocate everything else on our streets.

ps. Case, in case you read this page (I know it's your one guilty pleasure...) you are welcome to participate in BikeFriday. Either on September 29th, or whenever you wake up to the fact that it's politically attractive to support cycing in Toronto.

(photo of Pape & Cosburn courtesy of Boldts.net)



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posted by Joe on Wednesday, August 30, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark



Let's watch the shift away from an auto-centric culture. It's fun! (Title inspired by Margaret Wente)

Group rolls up `petition' to cut car use
This was pretty cool... an entire car covered in signatures urging Toronto City Council to help break the city's addiction to the car.

Pricey gas drives small-vehicle sales
Sales of subcompact cars, small trucks and compact sport-utility vehicles shot up in the first six months, while larger gas-guzzling vehicles posted declines, according to DesRosiers Automotive Consultants.

US Scooter Sales Up 200% And Growing
I'm seeing a ton more bikes on the streets of Toronto this year, as well as scooters (I see 2 or 3 every morning, on a 7 km commute). It's not just me... 3 times more scooters are being sold now as in 1999. They still pollute, but it's still a shift to more fuel economic vehicles.



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posted by Joe on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

A story appeared in the Globe & Mail this morning (click the link soon, as the Globe only has free access for a few days) about the city's plans to beef up the 16,000 "lollipops" around the city (after the recent revelations that a 2x4 peice of wood and lots of pressure could break them) by adding a second ring and bigger, stronger bolts, proven to be less susceptable to peices of wood.

Thankfully, it looks like the city will "just do it" instead of going through a lot of red tape. It'll cost about $800,000 (about $50 per post):
Mr. Welsh said he won't wait for council's approval as he believes the matter is urgent and that the money for the modifications can be found in his existing capital budget. "We'll just do it."
Martino's got great photos up of the proposed solution!



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posted by Joe on Tuesday, August 29, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark



More cool stuff for your biking pleasure:

"Cool" Ice Bikes
Start now, and you'll be all set for winter in Toronto!



A Round Folding Bicycle
Very weird looking, but pretty compact when it folds up... looks like a wound-up garden hose, really.


Sport Utility Bicycle
A lot like the cartbike from a couple weeks ago, but the shopping cart thing is built on the back.



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posted by Joe on Monday, August 28, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

The awesome Bikely website is now 3 months old, and just sent out an email heralding the success of the site and some new features on the site:
Since Bikely launched in late May, the response from keen cyclists
around the world has been nothing short of overwhelming. The
Bikely community have mapped out nearly 4000 routes from 32
different countries, comprising half a million waypoints!
Among the new features are the ability to edit routes, tag routes, mark routes as "favourites", comment on routes and see elevation graphs!

A great biking route site just got wayyy better!

The above image is of (and links to) a Bikely route I made that helps people get from Bloor and Sherbourne to Yonge & Davisville that avoids a lot of the big hills between Downtown and the old North Toronto area.



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posted by Joe on Monday, August 28, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark



Slow week in Bike Events this week, but what I know about is a doozy, and should be a great time.

Wednesday, August 30th
The Smells of Toronto - Cycling Cog Group Ride

Come enjoy the good and bad smells of Toronto. We'll get to experience a bit of both as we ride through the western parts (though they don't have a monopoly on smells). Just what kind of smells you will experience will be kept a secret at this point - all will be revealed with your olfactory organ!

WHERE: Outside the east entrance of High Park subway station.
WHEN: Wed, August 30th, 6:30 PM

Please RSVP by commenting on the Cycling Cog Page (you have to become a member the Cog, but believe me, it's worth it... it's a great site!)

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posted by Joe on Sunday, August 27, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Spacing Wire has had some great posts lately about some cycling infrastructure in other cities:

In San Francisco, Sean Micallef looks down a lot, and sees a lot of funky sidewalk art and notices that although San Francisco is known as a cycling-friendly city, their official bikeposts are not as pretty as Toronto's "lollipops", nor as prolific. I don't know how secure these are... looks like just some bolts into the ground, instead of concrete-secured bases.

Over in Stockholm, Sweden, Matt Blackett wrote an amazing post about cycling infrastructure including bikeroute signs and traffic signals as well as bikelanes and posts. He points out that the city seems to have several designs of bike posts, and that each design seems to have been chosen for where it was meant to go. The photo to the left demonstrates that although you can even seperate bike traffic from car traffic, drivers will still think they are entitled to park anywhere they want to.

Matt's also got a cool photo of raised bikelanes... where the bikelane is a few inches above the roadway and a few inches below the sidewalk. I've heard that these are popular in Europe, but don't know if they're a good idea.

As a cyclist, these raised bikelanes would segregate you even more from traffic. While I can easily cross the bikelane lines here in Toronto to pass a parked car or rollerbladers using a bikelane, this would be far harder in Stockholm. A couple inches of height, while it may dissuade drivers from parking there, is not going to stop them from doing it.



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posted by Joe on Sunday, August 27, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I knew something like this was in the works... I just wasn't sure when it would "go public"... I'm very glad that it has!

On the evening of September 15th, Toronto's first Dusk TO Dark cycling ride is taking place. Modelled on Montreal's Tour La Nuit ride (which had over 12,000 cyclists this past June), it will cover 25 kilometres, and focus on the waterfront and the great neighbourhoods and institutions on it.

It's a pay-what-you-can event, with the suggested donation being $15. All donations go towards building a "bike parking pad" (??) at Historic Fort York, and you'll get a charity tax receipt for any donations over $30.

Sounds like fun, and for a good cause!

(Thanks to Spacing for the heads-up!)



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posted by Joe on Saturday, August 26, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I've started transitioning the BikeFriday site from August 25th (yesterday) to September 29th (the next BikeFriday).

You can still view the August Bikefriday page in the archives I'm starting to set up.

I'll be adding photos from yesterday in the next few days, as well as some online news articles I found (which are flattering), as well as a vid of an CTV newscast of the event (which isn't very flattering at all... plus I look and sound extra-dorky in it).

I'll get back into regular BikingToronto posting soon, let's hope. :)

In the meantime, check your schedules and let me know if you want to list your bike commute on the BikeFriday site. It can be at any time or along any route in or around Toronto. Chances are if you have the commute, someone else does too, and if I promote BikeFriday enough, maybe we can find you some company on your ride.

Pretty cool.

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posted by Joe on Friday, August 25, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Hi everyone. This morning was the first BikeFriday Morning Commute, and I think the potential of rain hurt the turnout a bit, but we still had groups of several cyclists biking from the startpoints around the city. The 4 groups that ended up downtown made up about a dozen.

Martino took a bunch of great photos... here are a couple. I'll make a little photo gallery on the BikeFriday site soon. Thanks Tino!


At the meetup point at Yonge & Charles (just south of Bloor)


Most of us gathered at City Hall


It was a small start to hopefully something huge. All the media attention should help - I've been rather surprised by all the attention that some cyclists riding together has generated. I've been interviewed by 1 paper (the Star), 2 radio stations (CFRB and Metro Morning on CBC), and two television stations (a Live Global Interview this morning at Danforth & Woodbine, and CTV at City Hall).

The Biker's Breakfast at the Danforth location of Grassroots Environmental Products was super too! Lots of yummy vegan muffins and danishes, with organic fair-trade coffee!

BikeFriday isn't over yet, either - there's Critical Mass (6:00 PM at Bloor & Spadina) and TBN's Friday Night Ice Cream Ride tonight!

I'll be at Critical Mass. Look for my blue shirt and say hi.

If you can't make it, mark September 29th (the next BikeFriday) on your calendars, or, even better, come up with your own events for the 29th, and I'll publicize them on the site, which I'll be switching over to publicize September 29th over the next few days.

Have a great BikeFriday,

Joe.

ps. special thanks to Jamie from CFRB, and City Councillor Joe Mihevc (Ward 21, St. Paul's West), who both biked with us this morning!

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posted by Joe on Thursday, August 24, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Even Mother Nature wants to take part tomorrow morning.

Checking the WeatherNetwork page for Toronto, I see that there's a 90% chance of rain tomorrow morning!

Damn the timing... but hey, you can't change the weather, but you can dress for it.

Everyone be sure and wear your galoshes. BikeFriday is still on!

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posted by Joe on Thursday, August 24, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I have to say that I'm impressed with Kevin McGran's BikeFriday article in the Star this morning.

(If you have the ink & paper version, the article starts on the bottom of the first page of the GTA section, with a photo of me later in the section)
"I'm trying to get people together to organize some sort of morning commute... even if we just get 10 people cycling together, it's still better than cycling by yourself.

When you're in even a small group, even just two or three people, cars automatically give you a wider berth and you feel safer. You're a visual presence on the road. It's a really nice feeling, a little more safe."
I've also heard that CFRB radio mentioned it this morning...

I have to admit, this is exciting... although I have to figure out how to say a few words at City Hall tomorrow morning with no fancy amplification devices. :)

I hope everyone will be able to hear me.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, August 23, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Here's what's new in the world of BikeFriday:

New Commuting Rides:
There's been two added since I last talked about it - the first is meeting for an 8:00 AM departure from Yonge & Lawrence heading NORTHBOUND, following Yonge until the 401 and then some minor arterials before getting to the Leslie and Hwy #7 area.

The other ride is from St. Clair West. Members of the St. Clair West BUG (Bicycle Users Group) will be meeting at St. Clair & Christie for an 8 AM departure. They'll head south on Christie before heading east on Davenport to Yonge where they'll meet up with the Danforth, Bloor and Yonge rides at Yonge & Charles at 8:30 before heading on to City Hall.

New Event:
I mentioned this previously, but now I have details... the Toronto Bicycle Network is having a Friday Night Ice Cream Ride on BikeFriday: Cycle the bike paths to the beaches where we'll stop for ice cream at Ed's Real Scoop (one of the best ice cream shops in Toronto!). Afterwards we'll have drinks & dinner on the patio at VOX (fabulous food at a great price)! Meet in Riverdale Park just north of Bridgepoint Health Centre (on the west side of Broadview just north of Gerrard) for a 6:30 SHARP departure. Don't forget lights, helmet and lock. Also, bring a jacket since we'll be outside. Ride cancelled if raining. IMPORTANT: If you're not a TBN member, there is a $5 fee.

A BikeFriday CONTEST!
I figured that since this is the first BikeFriday, and since there is no funding or sponsorships or anything (yet), I was okay with devoting a bit of money as an individual to provide a nice little contest.

On Friday morning, when downtown commuters get to City Hall, there will be a draw of an email address (probably out of one of my pannier bags) for a $25 grassrootsstore.com gift certificate.

How do you get your email address in the pannier? Sign up for the BikeFriday newsletter (you'll get an email once a week or so). Right now there are 7 subscribers to it (not including me), so your odds of winning are really good.

Oh, and you don't have to be at City Hall Friday morning to win (we don't all work downtown, after all), just signed up for the newsletter. Sign up before midnight on Thursday and you're in!

Good luck!


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posted by Joe on Wednesday, August 23, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

There's a lot of groups in Toronto advocating for better cycling facilities, wider sidewalks, car-free areas, nicer shopping districts planned around people (who shop) rather than cars (who don't), more sustainable transportation options, etc.

Individually, they can be often ignored, as they are "small cries in the darkness", but together, speaking with a unified voice, can begin to affect real change in Toronto.

It is with this goal that the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation has been formed.

The site has lots of great ideas about building and promoting "active transportation" (the current lingo for walking and cycling, etc), and while I don't see an area on the website about joining "TCAT" initiatives, I would hope that this is something planned.

Involving community groups and interested individuals in a group's activities is a great way to build a broad base of support for active transportation initiatives... which theoretically leads to politcial support.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, August 23, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

This was a news story on TV last night... a man drove his van over the edge of the Scarborough Bluffs (uncertain whether it was intentional or accidental, yet), and a passing cyclist noticed the smoke from the burning vehicle.

Getting of his bike, Lionel Juan found the driver under a bush about 5 feet away from the burning vehicle and attempted to get him to safety, concerned the van may blow up. It was later discovered that there were acetylene (which welders use) tanks in the van.

This is a great story about a cyclist concerned about the safety of others, and there is even video on the CityNews website of the cyclist talking about the situation.

I'm glad I watched the video, because the cyclist is the same guy I chatted with waiting out the thunderstorm at the gas station at Dundas and Church streets a few weeks ago.

Way to go, Lionel!



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posted by Joe on Tuesday, August 22, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I met with a very nice Star photographer named Charla (Sharla?) this morning and spent 30 minutes biking around Bay & King Streets while she took what seemed like hundreds of photos of me (whenever I rode by her I heard the shutter noise constantly) for an article on BikeFriday planned for Thursday's GTA section.

I should've taken my camera to get shots of her shooting me. It was kind of cool.

What wasn't caught on film, though (I don't think...) was that I came the closest I have to "winning the door prize".

I had passed Charla going southbound at Bay towards Wellington (Charla was facing north on the side of the road), and a cab had stopped in the line at the red light, 3 cars back. It wasn't pulled over to the side or anything, and there was plenty of room between the cab and the curb, so I went up the right.

I was very lucky I was just coasting along, because one of the 4 (!) passengers threw open their door suddenly and I braked quickly (almost without thinking... instincts rock!), coming to a stop just as I would've hit the door.

After the passenger apologized and I asked him good-naturedly to check for cyclists next time, we both merrily went on our way.

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posted by Joe on Monday, August 21, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark



Wednesday, August 23rd
Cycling Cog Fake House Spotting Bike Tour - the latest of the Wednesday Night Cog Rides! This week see homes that look like homes but are really Toronto Hydro substations.

WHERE: Meet at Bloor & Spadina (southeast corner)
WHEN: 6:30 PM.



Friday, August 25
BikeFriday! - It's the last Friday of the month! A perfect time to celebrate biking in Toronto. There's a Morning Group Commute, a Bikers Breakfast on the Danforth and Critical Mass!

WHERE: The Whole City, of course!
WHEN: All day!



Sunday, August 27
Pedestrian Sunday - Kensington Market - from Noon until 7 PM, Kensington is open to people, not cars! Come see local bands play, eat some tasty food, or just enjoy one of this city’s best neighbourhoods the way it was meant to be enjoyed: on foot.

Graeme Parry's Laneway Bike Tours - discover the hidden treasures behind everyone's homes! 3 tours throughout the day:

10:00 am - The Junction, 10am at the Dundas West Subway station
1:00 pm - Trinity Bellwoods, 1pm at the corner of Gore Vale and Queen
3:00 pm - Corktown, Cabbagetown, 3pm at the corner of Trinity and Mill Streets

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posted by Joe on Monday, August 21, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

BikeFriday is this Friday, so here's a few quick news items about it for you.

Yonge-Lawrence (Northbound) Morning Commute Ride Added:
Darren of Bike Refugee is leading a group ride Northbound from Yonge & Lawrence. Who says everyone has to work downtown? Not BikeFriday. This new route is mapped online, and roughly follows Yonge, some off-street paths to cross under the 401, and residential bike-friendly streets north of the 401 to an eventual destination of Leslie & Hwy7. You are welcome to join the ride for a little or as much as is convenient for you.

TBN Group Ride
I haven't added it to the site yet, as I'm awaiting confirmation from the Toronto Bicycle Network, but they have "Friday Night Rides" that usually depart from around Bridgepoint Health Centre (Riverdale Hospital) at 6:30 pm for an approximate 30 KM ride. Helmets and lights are mandatory, and locks are recommended. TBN is more of a "serious road-bike" club, from what I've heard, meaning you can expect to see more spandex than usual. Rides are open to non-members, but it'll cost you $5.

If you're interested in getting BikeFriday news in your email, join the BikingToronto Group at Yahoo Groups. I'm thinking of starting a monthly BikeFriday contest, and all you'll have to do to win is be signed up. How easy is that? Pretty damn easy.

Aww, you're good people, I'll make it even damn easier for you:


Get BikeFriday News in your email by joining the BikingToronto mailing list!


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posted by Joe on Monday, August 21, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Wow... this sounds cool.

The City of Toronto is running the first ever (of many, hopefully) CAN-BIKE Bike Camp for Kids.

It's a week-long program for kids ages 9-12 that includes a "Bike Hike" to Ward's island and teaches essential skills like signaling, changing gears, avoiding road hazards and riding safely in their neighbourhood.

The program is heavily sponsored by community groups and community-minded businesses, and at the end of the course, the kids receive a new bike, helmet, lock and backpack.

For more info, contact:
Barb Wentworth
Bicycle Safety Planner
City Planning Division
(416) 392-1142

More information on CAN-BIKE courses.



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posted by Joe on Sunday, August 20, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I missed the Cog Ride (from Thorncliffe Park) this past Wednesday, so I thought I'd show you some nice group photos taken by Tanya after our Beltline-Brickworks ride from a few weeks ago.



Lana, Steeker, Chris, Me, Val, Sean, Herb. This is at the Brickworks, where we were taking in the natural beauty of an old quarry in the heart of Toronto.



Tanya, Herb, Val, Darren, Me, Sean, Lana, Steeker, after the ride at "Aubergine", at the corner of Carlton and Ontario Streets in Cabbagetown.



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posted by Joe on Sunday, August 20, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark



Are Cyclists Destroying the Earth?
How can this be? Bicyclists are healthier, he wrote, so they live longer. Over their lifetimes, they consume more energy than they save. This is written by a cyclist, and is a little tongue-in-cheek.

Ontario Medical Association: Smog will hit baby boomers' hearts hard
"Contrary to popular belief, many of the smog illnesses and premature deaths are cardiovascular in nature, rather than respiratory... the nitric oxide in smog is toxic to heart muscle cells and arteries, and can indirectly promote clogged arteries."

Green Cities are Cool Cities
Have doubts that trees and vegetation helps cool down cities and fights the urban heat island phenomenon. Parking lots and cement buildings make cities hot, trees and parks and green roofs make things cool. Look at these NYC thermal and vegetation maps for proof.

Fuel-efficient cars drive Toyota's profits higher
Having a car-oriented society is depressing at times, but it's good to see steps in the right direction, even in the business world. Toyota, the leader in making hybrid cars is rapidly becoming the world's #1 automaker, making $3.2 billion USD in the first 3 months of 2006. Companies like GM, who have focused their product lines on SUVs, lost $3.4 billion in the same quarter.



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posted by Joe on Saturday, August 19, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

After some less-than-ideal portrayals of cyclists in Hollywood movies lately (Taledega Nights, the 40 Year-Old Virgin, etc), TreeHugger put out the call for some Celebrity Bike Spotting to see if big fancy movie stars do travel around in things other than limos and Hummers.

Only 2 days later and there have been a good number of sightings. Some are not surprising, like avowed environmentalists Darryl Hannah and George Clooney, but others are, like the former-Hummer-driving Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was recently spotted biking at Venice Beach, CA.

Anyone know of any Toronto Celebs being spotted on bikes?



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posted by Joe on Saturday, August 19, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark



Get your creative juices flowing.

Bicycle Frame Protection
This is a great way to protect your bike from damage but also make it look less shiny and attractive to bike thieves.

Building a better Tall Bike
...one that you can stop safely, and could be construed as street legal in most places. With this method, you'll be able to stand over the bike, allowing you to hop down easily, have two brakes, a full complement of gears, and have a better riding position than two bikes stacked on top of eachother.

Custom LED wheel designs
Spoke POV is an easy-to-make electronic kit toy that turns your bicycle wheel into a customized display! The project includes a free schematic design, open source software for uploading and editing stored bitmap images, and a high-quality kit with all the parts necessary to build your own.

Build a CartBike
It's a bike! It's a shopping cart! It's CartBike! I'm starting to see more and more people with trailers and stuff on their bikes... things like this are immensely popular in Europe.



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posted by Joe on Friday, August 18, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Have kids? Young at heart? The Quay to the City has a parade just for you:

Children and their families are invited to bring their decorated bikes to celebrate biking on Toronto’s central waterfront. Staging area is on Queens Quay at Lower Simcoe.

The parade route goes across the Martin Goodman Trail extension to York Quay where there will be treats for everyone and prizes for the best decorated bikes. Face painters, kids tattoo artists, balloon clowns and strolling performers will provide additional entertainment.


Where: Queens Quay at Lower Simcoe
When: 10:00 AM, Saturday, August 19th
Arrive by 10:00 a.m. for a 10:30 a.m. start to the parade.



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posted by Joe on Friday, August 18, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

This ride sounds like a ton of fun which I am unfortunately going to miss. I've got to help a friend enjoy his last days of bachelorhood with his stag in and around Casino Niagara.

I hope there are lots of photos. :)

When: Saturday, August 19th, 10 PM
Where: Healy-Willan Park
(map)
(Corner of Euclid Avenue and Ulster Street, which is northwest of Bathurst & College)

More details and discussion are publicly available on the Cycling Cog.



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posted by Joe on Thursday, August 17, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark



One week and one day until the first BikeFriday... are you getting excited yet?

BikeFriday Schedule (so far):
8:00 AM - Morning Group Commute
8:00 - 9:30 AM - Bikers Breakfast at Grassroots on Danforth
6:00 PM - Critical Mass Toronto


Route News

- We still need contact people for the Bloor-HighPark and Yonge-Lawrence Rides. If you're planning on taking part in one of these rides, give us a shout at bikefriday@bikingtoronto.com. Being a contact person is very easy... if you have a cell phone, that will help immensely too.

- Our first new submitted route is ... in York Region! It's fortunate that we're not snobby downtown cyclists, and welcome the brave souls that bike on the wide fast streets of suburbia. Andrew of the MonkeyMartian website has offered to lead up a group commute going from Richmond Hill to Markham (from Yonge & Major Mackenzie to Hwy#7 & Warden). Andrew has been nice enough to map out the route too, which is available on BikeFriday website.

- Other routes are in the works... I'll update the BikeFriday site as they are added. :)


Media Coverage

The Toronto Star - I talked to Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star yesterday. It looks like there may be a Star article about BikeFriday in Thursday's (the 24th) paper, complete with a photo of me. If I can get some notice on the photoshoot, I think it may be a bigger eye-catcher for Star readers to have a group of cyclists in a photo accompanying the article - since BikeFriday is all about "safety in numbers" and celebrating more and more cyclists on Toronto's streets.

Let me know if you want your photo in the paper, and if I can get some notice of the photoshoot, I'll send you the details. :)

BlogTO - This well-known website of all things Toronto posted about BikeFriday yesterday.

Spacing - I have heard from my sources (and I only reveal my sources if given enough alcohol...) that a BikeFriday post is planned for the Spacing Wire.


Well-Known Participants

I've emailed the Mayor and all the City Councillors (yeah, even the ones who aren't very bike-friendly... they'll convert eventually... haha) to let them know about BikeFriday and that they are welcome to commute with the people they represent.

Much credit goes to the following two people at City Hall, who are the only respondents so far:

Mayor Miller - while the BikeFriday of August 25th is too soon for his packed schedule, he'd like to participate in a future one. David didn't reply personally, but I know from past experience that it's a good thing to get a response from his office. He has, however, sent us his best wishes for a successful event and that he fully supports bike-friendly initiatives such as BikeFriday.

Adam Giambrone - Adam replied to us personally (which is rare for city councillors), and while he too is busy on the 25th, is very supportive of BikeFriday. We suggested it may be cool to have him be at events in his Ward for future BikeFridays, which he seemed to like, so we'll see...

Maybe we can get all the city councillors doing something bike-related on every BikeFriday...

If you want to email your city councillor about BikeFriday, you can find their contact information on the city website.


What You Can Do

Here's some ideas for you to take part in and maybe spread the word about BikeFriday:

1. Take Part - come on out and enjoy your bike every BikeFriday!

2. Commute - Join a ride or start a ride - it doesn't have to go downtown... not everyone works downtown, after all.

3. Tell Your Friends - Even if they don't bike presently... they may be thinking about it.

4. Add Events
- Know of a bike-related event happening on a BikeFriday? Let us know - we'll add it to the schedule.

5. Share Ideas - Have an idea to make BikeFriday better/stronger/bigger? We'd love to hear from you.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, August 17, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark



Did you know there are bikes in other cities? It's true!

New York, NY:
A $139 Million Sutton Place Bike Path?
What was going to be a temporary highway replacement on NYCs East River may just become a permanent cyclist and pedestrian pathway.

London, UK:
Summer cycling gets another boost in the Capital
A summer marketing campaign, which will include TV, radio, poster and newspaper advertising, aims to build on the growing number of people in the Capital who agree that 'You're better off by bike'. Since 2000, the number of cyclists on London's major roads has increased by 72 per cent.

Seattle, WA:
Breaking the Vicious Cycle
Seattle has a reputation as a cycling paradise, but there's a lot that has to be done before bike commuting is truly viable for regular folks.

Portland, OR:
Young entrepreneurs open up shop
After discovering that none of their friends knew how to repair their bikes, two smart guys named Isaac (ages 11 and 12) decide to open up their own bikeshop in one of their family garages to tap this underserviced market. Wow!

Paris, France:
No Thongs on the Pompidou Expressway! Tomorrow the F.D.R.?
This year, as in other years, Paris has trucked in 2,000 tons of sand and dozens of palm trees and transformed a two-mile stretch of the Seine into a beach. For the first time this year, the beach has expanded to the left bank of the river.



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posted by Joe on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Here is a great little ode to all cyclists everywhere, posted to an email listserve by Elicia Cardenas, a contributor to BikePortland.org.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I am heroic because I ride my bike. All of us are.

I am a hero because every day someone almost kills me while I am trying to get to work.

I am a hero because a car swerved into the bike lane and almost hit me, and I kept riding.

I am a hero because I ride even though I have a big bag and wet rain gear that smells a bit and it makes other people uncomfortable.

I am a hero because everyone I know who isn't a cyclist thinks I'm crazy.

I am a hero because I am trying to make my community safer by staying out of a vehicle.

I am a hero because I am trying to make my city more livable by staying out of a single occupancy vehicle.

I am a hero because I am not contributing to air pollution.

I am a hero because I am not contributing to the oil economy that is driving the war in Iraq.

I am a hero because I see my neighbors face to face when I'm on my bike, and I can say hello.

I am a hero because I set a good example when I ride my bike.

I am a hero because I volunteer and participate in my community in whatever ways I can.

Everyone is a hero when they ride their bike. I am not holier than thou. I am just a cyclist trying to make the world safer for cycling every time I get on my bike. That is heroic enough for me.

(photo courtesy of Keith Marks)



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posted by Joe on Wednesday, August 16, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark


(Title inspired by Margaret Wente)

They're big, they're stinky, and they destroy civilization and the planet:

Street Reclaiming
A great review of a book by David Engwicht (known as the “father of traffic calming”), it emphasizes that getting cars off the roads in favour of other transportation methods is not a complete solution due to human behaviour patterns, and the book offers practical methods for devising social mechanisms that help us take collective responsibility for what is a collective problem:

Most approaches to reducing traffic appeal to individuals to “do the right thing” and leave your car at home for the sake of the city and the environment. But this ignores one of the consequences of convincing people to leave their cars at home. Imagine that a city is successful in convincing 100,000 people to leave their car at home. What this creates is 100,000 spare spaces on the road network and 100,000 spare car parking spaces at destinations. Universal experience is that traffic expands to fill the available road space, whether this capacity is created by engineers widening the road or by “good citizens” giving up their cars. The spare capacity is seen as a free resource that can be exploited in some way by other users in the system.


Are we that stupid?
That is the question posed by Paul Bedford (former chief planner of Toronto), in an article by Christopher Hume in the Toronto Star back in March about how Tokyo uses transit to maintain an efficient and economically vibrant city (proof that lots of cars does not equate to economic success - despite what all the idiots tell you when you advocate tearing down the Gardiner Expressway) of 32 million people (equal to ALL the people in Canada). "Traffic's not the only thing around here stuck in gridlock," Bedford declares, "so are our minds."

The pedestrian in Toronto is a second-class citizen
Another great article by Christopher Hume. Here he laments the gutless stagnation of city politicians in fighting the domination of the automobile in our city:
Back in the 1970s, this backed-up city managed to close Yonge St. south of College St. every summer. The place didn't collapse. The city didn't implode. Crime didn't soar. The shopkeepers didn't go out of business. As I recall, it was a magnet for people and activity.

Since then, nothing, not a thing. When you ask civic officials, you hear the usual nonsense about street closures being bad for business, that if people can't get somewhere by car, they won't go.
The beginning of the article reminds me why I jaywalk: It is you who must "Obey your signals... Obey the two-stage crossing... Cross on the east side only... Wait for a gap in traffic. No wonder the people are mad as hell. You'd have to be a masochist not to be.

We (and by "we" I mean those of us who walk, bike and TTC Toronto) pay taxes as much as drivers do, and have as much of a right to the PUBLIC streets as they do.



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posted by Joe on Tuesday, August 15, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark



Here's some more stuff to make your ride all sweet like candy and turn the heads of all the pretty young girls/boys:

A Light Up Biking Vest
Daphne Gorden (writer of the Constant Shopper blog in the Star) wrote a great article about the Sigzeen Vest, a vest for cycling with LED lights that can signal turns and lane changes.

The A-Bike
A very cool form of folding bike. The wheels look crazy-small to me, but apparently someone can still go pretty fast on this sucker. A big advantage is that most regular folding bikes cost a couple thousand bucks. This one goes for about $400-ish.

Air-Free Tires
I can't really figure out how they are made (despite a big "information page" on the site), but the idea is cool... air-free tires mean flat-free tires. I'm of course interested in these given my recent flat-tire proclivities, and you haven't even heard about my latest Friday Flat Adventure yet (but you will soon).



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posted by Joe on Tuesday, August 15, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Oooh, almost forgot about this!

August 15, (Tuesday), 6.30pm
Metro Hall, Room # 307 (55 John Str.)


- Gil Penalosa of "walkandbikeforlife" group will join us.

- A French speaking (CBC) journalist will attend the meeting and he would like to talk to any cyclist who can converse fluently in French.

- Cyclists' Union is not stricly an advocacy group. It is a Lobbying group that will direct most efforts toward the municipal government with respect to cycling as an alternative mode of transportation.

- C'U is not in competition with any other group. It is an organized effort for a strong voice at city hall for rights and choice of mobility, as the need for such a group has been expressed repeatedly.

- It is your open support that will bring us all success; otherwise, we'll go on the same old the same old status quo.



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posted by Joe on Tuesday, August 15, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Marc Lostracco posted an excellent entry on Torontoist yesterday about the ubiquitous (I had to look up the spelling for that) post-and-ring / lollipop bike posts of Toronto.

From the possibility that the posts could be foiled by a piece of wood, what to do if you see a broken, missing, or cracked post (call 416-39CYCLE or email bikeplan@toronto.ca) to how to register and maybe find your bike if it has been stolen, Marc covers it all.

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Be a proud and involved cyclist who fights for change. Bike thiefs couldn't care less, the cops are focused elsewhere, and city councillors are supposed to work for you, so call, email, blog, document, demonstrate, and educate."

Squeak on, cyclists. Squeak on.

Photo courtesy of David Wyman.



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posted by Joe on Monday, August 14, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

It's a bike-topia down on Queens Quay this week. Go check it out if you haven't yet. It'll be all good and people-friendly until Sunday, the 20th.

All Week:
Quay to the City
A "trial run" before the permanent installation next summer, this is premised on the notion that much of the land along the water’s edge should be handed over to people, not cars.

Wednesday, August 16th:
Quay to the City - Cycling Ambassadors Demo
The City of Toronto Cycling Ambassadors will be handing out Cycling Maps and demonstrating proper bike maintenance.

Saturday, August 20th:
Quay to the City - Children's Bike Parade
Children and their families are invited to bring their decorated bikes to celebrate biking on Toronto's central waterfront. The parade will take place on the Martin-Goodman Trail and the water's edge promenade. Please arrive by 10:00 AM. Parade starts at 10:30 AM at Spadina Avenue and Queens Quay. Prizes will be awarded for the best decorated bikes.

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posted by Joe on Monday, August 14, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Maybe you've already noticed the new "BikeFriday link in the menu at the top of this page, and maybe you've clicked it. If not, here's a introduction to something which I'm trying to get started to make sure all the good bike vibes that happen around BikeWeek June happen more than once a year:

(this is not the bike company BikeFriday, but they make awesome bikes... Vic has one, and it's cooooool!)


Remember the kick-off to BikeWeek? The great "Group Commute" of thousands of bike commuters travelling west from Danforth & Woodbine, east from Bloor & High Park, and south from Yonge & Lawrence, as well as many other start-points around the city?

It was great to have bikes be so prevalent on the roads that day. It was safe for us. The sheer number of cyclists travelling together made car drivers a lot more careful.

Why does this only happen one day a year?

With that question in mind, I'm happy to announce BikeFriday
(http://www.bikingtoronto.com/bikefriday).

The goal of BikeFriday is to make the last friday of every month a celebration of cycling. Instead of only thinking of biking to work once a year, let's step it up a little and make it once a month.

On Friday, August 25th, the first BikeFriday happens. Events are run and organized by different organizations and individuals. There is a group commute, a free breakfast for cyclists on the Danforth, and Critical Mass Toronto.

Please check out the website, and tell your friends.
http://www.bikingtoronto.com/bikefriday

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posted by Joe on Saturday, August 12, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I woke up far too early for a Saturday and made my way down to Queens Quay and York for the opening of Quay to the City.

There were tons of cyclists using the new facilities, and every comment I heard was overwhelmingly positive.

Here's a few photos I took to update the "in progress" ones from yesterday:

Quay to the City, Aug. 11-20, 2006
Here's some of us congregating at the Bike Arch before the official opening.

Quay to the City, Aug. 11-20, 2006
...and here we are riding it, all official-like.

Quay to the City, Aug. 11-20, 2006
It was a beautiful morning for biking a newly car-free area!

Quay to the City, Aug. 11-20, 2006
I didn't see anyone on the grass the whole time... looks like a good place to set up lawn chairs and watch the city go cycling by.


I took 19 photos in all, and you can look at them all, if that cranks your chain. ;)



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posted by Joe on Friday, August 11, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Through a bit of investigative work on my part (searching Flickr), I have found some great photos from PeterHud of the Quay to the City installation running from today to August 20th, as a trail run for a more permanent installation next summer.

The first 3 photos are of the new grassed-over and people-friendly south half of Queens Quay, and the 4th is of the giant bike sculpture being built.









Is it just me or does it look like this is the way Queens Quay should've been right from the start? Two lanes for cars, two lanes for transit, two lanes for people.

(I wrote the above before biking home, and I went home via Queens Quay, and the new lanes are AMAZING. It's a dream come true for cyclists on the waterfront.)

I hope this is very successful and not only becomes permanent on Queens Quay, but on a lot of other Toronto streets as well.

I'll take photos tomorrow at the Grand Opening (9 am at York & Queens Quay). Come on out and bike the new lanes!



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posted by Joe on Friday, August 11, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

You're probably sick of me posting about this now, so I'll let the poster do my talking. :)

(I will point out that it says "FREE refreshments and snacks" though. Yum.)



In other news, I'm going to head down to Queen's Quay on my way home tonight to see what the "Quay to the City" thing is like before tomorrow's Grand Opening. Very exciting.

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posted by Joe on Friday, August 11, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I got this great idea from Phil of Spinopsys (which is a really good Australian biking site, if you're unfamiliar...), creating a post that lists what BikingToronto July posts had the most readers. Thanks Phil.

More Photos From The Leslie Spit Ride. Gotta love the Spit!

Biking Sites In Other Cities. It's almost like being there...

Huge Bike Sales and Cycling Facility Funding in London. Cheerio.

Biking On The Spit Tonight?. What is it with you people and the Spit? ;)

Toronto Cycling Committee. Political wrangling is fun.

Now You Can Fly Your Bike. From the funsters at NewMindSpace.

Back From Nova Scotia. Awww, you missed me! Now I feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

July 20th - Bike News from Other Cities. Portland, Chicago, NYC, and Hollywood.

BikeShare in Mississauga?. The 'sauga!

A Drivers Perspective. Life from the other side.



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posted by Joe on Thursday, August 10, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I received a cool email from the city this morning, reminding me of the two cool events happening tomorrow.

1. Cyclists Wanted for Quay to the City Opening
Saturday, August 12th at 9:00 a.m

From August 11th to 20th in what may be the largest art installation ever in Toronto, car traffic will be replaced with bike lanes and a kilometer-long stretch of 12,000 red geraniums and a picnic lawn the length of almost ten football fields. Two four-storey sculptures built (with more than 600 bicycles) will highlight the temporary new section of the popular Toronto section of the Waterfront Trail.

On Saturday, August 12th at 9:00 a.m., the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corp is inviting all cyclists to come down to the waterfront to help officially open this extension of the Waterfront Trail. They are hoping to get anywhere from 50-100 cyclists at this event and would like everyone to meet at the bike arch at York and Queens Quay at 9 am. They will have a ribbon across the arch and would like to have all of the cyclists ride through it.


I'll be there - look for my blue "I Bike T.O." shirt and say hi!


2. Hauler! Moving Stuff with Bikes

Saturday, August 12th, 2006 @ Alexandra Park (Bathurst & Dundas) 12pm to 4pm

Join us to celebrate people moving stuff with bikes! Come down to Alexandra Park for everything you ever wanted to know about cargo bikes and bike trailers. No more bags on handle bars or borrowing someone?s car to haul home heavy items - let your bike do the work for you! The event will be held on Saturday, August 12th from 12 to 4pm at Alexandra Park (Bathurst & Dundas) in downtown Toronto. It will be a fun filled day with events for all ages highlighting the wonders of hauling stuff by bike.

Sign up early for workshops on:

1pm - Building your own bucket panniers!
2pm - Starting a bicycle based business!
3pm - Building your own bike trailer!


Bring your own cargo bike or trailer and get a FREE t-shirt!



I'm going to do my best to make it to this one too. While I don't have a trailer, I think people that use them are awesome.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, August 10, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Great news. After Betsy Powell's column about bike theft in the Star yesterday, I emailed her and told her about the Cog's "Lost and Found" section.

True to her word, she's included it at the bottom of a follow-up article today.

Also in the Star today are a couple of letters from readers... one calling for the city to seriously look at cycling concerns as the numbers of cyclists (and unfortunately bike theft) will increase as gas prices continue to rise, and another from the manager of Curbside Cycle, about how a good lock does matter.

Interesting Resources:

Police Bike Auctions - the Toronto Police service recovers 10-12 bikes a day in the course of their work - but if they aren't claimed in 30 days, they are added to the Police Online Property Auction. There are currently 12 bikes on there.

Canadian Bike Registry - register your bike with the Canadian Bike Registry (it costs $10 for a 10 year period), and if you bike gets stolen and police recover it, they'll know who it belongs to.



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posted by Joe on Wednesday, August 09, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Betsy Powell (the Star's Crime Reporter) has a pretty good article on the front page of the Star today about bike theft, prompted by her Trek being stolen yesterday from in front of Police Headquarters at 40 College St.

...Toronto is a mecca for bike theft, with some 3,971 stolen last year — and that's just the number reported to police.

...It's too soon to say if bike thefts are up or down this year over last, but at least one party with a vested interest — a U.S.-based bicycle lock manufacturer — predicted the summer of 2006 has the potential to set a record number of thefts due to more people riding their bicycles because of rising gas prices.

...Anecdotally, as a cyclist who commutes to work and rides all over town — sometimes to crime scenes — the streets sure seem filled with more people who find that pushing pedals is the better way.

...as any big-city cyclist will tell you, the only place a bike is truly secure is between your legs because most locks can be foiled.
I thought I'd email Betsy and let her know about the "Lost and Found" section of the Cycling Cog, where people can list what was stolen, and where.. allowing others to keep an eye out for it.

She's replied to me, and if the Star's editors let her, she'll do a follow-up story on this. It will be great to get some exposure for the Cog's Lost and Found.

While the Cog's Lost and Found may not get every stolen bike recovered, if enough people know about what bikes have been stolen in a particular area they can be on the look-out for them... and then there can be some hope created that a stolen bike may be found.



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posted by Joe on Wednesday, August 09, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

A Toronto Cog ride has been arranged for tonight. People are meeting at Riverdale Farm (map) at 7 pm, after which they'll descend into the valley and head north.

More details are on the Cog site (you can view the details even if you aren't a member).

I won't be able to make it tonight... I'll be busy working on bathroom renovations and planning a biking initiative for the end of the month I'll be announcing here soon. :)



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posted by Joe on Wednesday, August 09, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I hate seeing cycling deaths in the news.

Markham cyclist killed in accident
One woman is dead and a man has serious injuries after being struck by a car while cycling in the town of Whitchurch-Stouffville late Monday afternoon.
...
The investigation is ongoing. No charges have been laid.


No charges have been laid? No charges have been laid? This person hit TWO cyclists, killing one and putting the other one in hospital with serious injuries. It's manslaughter, at least.



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posted by Joe on Tuesday, August 08, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Something that I overlooked when writing this weeks "Events post (I've since added it) is that this coming weekend marks the start of "Quay of the City", which runs from Aug. 11 - 20.

As part of the "trail" of the upcoming West8 plan for the waterfront (expected to get underway in Summer 2007), the southern (eastbound) half of Queen's Quay will be closed to automobile traffic. It will stay open to streetcar traffic though, as well as turn those eastbound lanes into grass, pedestrian boardwalk, and bikelanes (my favourite part of the plan)... much needed, as the Martin-Goodman Waterfront Bike Trail disappears at present between Spadina and Yonge.

The TWRC is planning an official opening of this project on Saturday August 12th and is inviting cyclists to take part. They want a large group of cyclists to ride through a ribbon to officially open this new section of the trail.

If you want to take part meet at York and Queens Quay at the Bike Arch (a large sculpture made of 600 bikes resembling the Arc de Triomphe) at 9:00 am.

A full schedule and map are available TWRC site. (PDF)

Personally, I'm going to ride this stretch of Queen's Quay as much as I possibly can from Aug. 11-20... to help show that planning for people instead of cars increases street activity and economic benefits (I'll buy stuff while I'm down there). Money talks in this world, and I want to help make this waterfront plan successful.

(Thanks to the Cycling Cog and BikeToronto.ca for reminding me of this event!)

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, August 08, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I've been meaning to post about this since last week... so in case you haven't heard yet:

The City of Toronto is launching a pilot program for providing Bike Lockers for all day and overnight storage of bikes.

Cyclists can rent a locker (there are 16 at City Hall, and 6 at the Ex New Mobility Hub) from the city for $10 a month plus tax. The minimum rental period is four months. Each locker has a unique lock and key set to ensure security.

The fully enclosed lockers are designed to keep bikes from being stolen or vandalized and give riders some space to store personal belongings.

There are 22 at present, with plans to expand it to 60 by this fall.

Tammy Thorne, Spacing's Cycling Contributer, had a great post on the Wire the other day about the new Bike Lockers, and highlights some great stuff happening in Singapore, where a business called the bikeBoutique has some awesome sounding bikeLodging facilities (which include bike lockers, clothes lockers, showers, bike maintenance, drycleaning...), as well as launching a new site promoting bike commuting called iwant2bike2work.



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posted by Joe on Monday, August 07, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Happy August Holiday / Civic Holiday / Simcoe Day everyone! Here's some things going on around Toronto this week... if you know of other stuff which should be on this list, let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, August 9
Evergreen.ca Ecology Walk @ The Brickworks
Join Toronto Bay Initiate and Evergreen biologists for an entertaining and educational evening at Toronto’s largest engineered wetland at the former Toronto Brickworks site. Wildflowers, dragonflies, frogs, swallows and more all abound in this urban nature reserve. Pay What You Can. Bring a snack!

When: Wednesday, August 9, 2006 (5:30 PM - 8:30 PM)
Where: Don Valley Brickworks (map)


Saturday, August 12
The Grand Opening of Quay to the City
The TWRC is planning an official opening of the "Quay to the City" on Saturday, August 12th and is inviting cyclists to take part. They want a large group of cyclists to ride through a ribbon to officially open this new section of the trail.

If you want to take part meet at York and Queens Quay at the Bike Arch (a large sculpture made of 600 bikes resembling the Arc de Triomphe) before 9:00 am.


Saturday, August 12
Work Bike/Cargo Trailer Event
Check out fellow cyclists, home-built inventions and get tips on how to make your own, check out displays from retailers and manufacturers, learn how to start a bike based business, or just decorate your bike and enjoy the sunshine. Whatever toots your horn (or rings your bell)!

When: Saturday, August 12th 2006, 11am-4pm
Where: Scadding Court Community Centre, south/east corner of Dundas and Bathurst (map)


Sunday, August 13
Pedestrian Sunday - Kensington Market
Come see local bands play, eat some tasty food, or just enjoy one of this city’s best neighbourhoods the way it was meant to be enjoyed: on foot.

When: Approximately 12:00 - 7:00
Where: Kensington Market (West of Spadina, between College & Dundas - map)


Sunday, August 13
Graeme Parry's Laneway Bike Tours
Discover the hidden parts of the city, by bike! Graeme Parry guides cyclists on a tour of the laneways and back-alleys of our city. He has 3 tours available. You can read more about them here, and be sure and contact him at info@graemeparry.com to let him know you are interested.

10:00 am - The Junction, 10am at the Dundas West Subway station
1:00 pm - Trinity Bellwoods, 1pm at the corner of Gore Vale and Queen
3:00 pm - Corktown, Cabbagetown, 3pm at the corner of Trinity and Mill Streets

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posted by Joe on Sunday, August 06, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

One of my earlier posts on BikingToronto talked about how people who bike a lot seem to become "Accidental Environmentalists".

Perhaps I'm a bit biased, because I'm interested in environmental stuff, but there seems to be a lot more green news in the media these days. One Toronto blogger great at distilling all the info is Gary over on PukeGreen.com.

Since I can't ignore environmental issues, and want other people to be exposed to it to, I'll try and do occasional "Dirty Hippy Enviro Posts" here, so I can share, but keep this website about biking this great green city of Toronto.


Tax Breaks for Oil Firms to Continue. Have any doubt about Stephen Harper's commitment to the environment? Although the Canadian Oil industry made $27 BILLION after taxes in 2005 (source: Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers), Harper is still insisting on giving them a 1.4 BILLION tax break.

Road Energy Systems from Scotland's Invisible Heating. Urban centers are infamous for the Heat Island Effect... what if all this solar energy soaking into all of our roads and parking lots was harnessed?

Scientists in cloud over mistier Niagara Falls. Some say it's the warming waters that is creating more mist when mixing with cooler air, others say it's that all the tall hotel and casino construction next to the Falls is altering wind patterns.



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posted by Joe on Saturday, August 05, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

This is not related to biking in Toronto at all, but is just an amazng display. It's very popular over on Google Video right now.

I thought it was a feat to cycle through traffic in a busy downtown (like bike couriers), but some of the stuff this girl does is unbelievable.



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posted by Joe on Saturday, August 05, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

The cycling community in any city seems to be very creative... proven by the really cool custom-made bikes and trailers you see around. Thankfully, there's a few websites that detail how to make bikes and bike accessories. There's some really cool projects out there, and I'll try to highlight some of them from time to time.

PVC Bench-top Bike Repair Stand. As soon as I have a garage with a workbench, I'm going to make one of these.

Ground Effects Lights Drivers will REALLY see you with this on your bike!

Make an iPod Charger for your Bike. Forget using electricity, pedal your way to a fully charged iPod.



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posted by Joe on Friday, August 04, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I posted photos from July's Critical Mass earlier today, and got a couple thought-provoking comments regarding the ride and red lights.

Everything about Critical Mass is legal (as far as I can tell) except for the going through red lights thing. At "first blush", it actually seems pretty sensible for two reasons:

1) it's safer for the cyclists to stay in one group, as if cars got caught up in the middle of it, it would inevitably cause chaos and perhaps an accident.

2) it is less of an inconvenience to automobile traffic having all the cyclists stick together. One group of 300 cyclists, while large, moves through the streets in one "entity", only causing a localized disturbance on a city's streetgrid. Contrast this to two groups of 150 cyclists (which may result from a group being split up by red lights), or 3 groups of 100, or 6 groups of 50 each... instead of one localized group of many cyclists, you would have many groups of many cyclists.

Many people suggest that Critical Mass should get parade permits, and this happens is some cities, like Portland, OR... but for the most part, a Critical Mass route is not planned beforehand, attendees aren't registered, and is simply a bunch of cyclists riding together.

If a bunch of cars travel together down a city street and clog it up, even trying to go through intersections at bad times and block traffic until they can exit the intersection, why can't bikes?


However, for arguments sake, let's say that Critical Mass (which has been pretty successful all over the world since starting in San Francisco (Google Video) in 1993), changes, and we start stopping and dividing the group at red lights.

The Misanthrope Cyclist has already explored this possibility, and it's actually a really good idea:
Stop for the red lights. If either of the separated groups are "too small", the people that made it through the light should pull to the side of the road and wait; that's not illegal, right? When the light changes, they rejoin as one mass - preferably with much fanfare - and proceed. However, if the two groups aren't "too small" they can proceed as two Masses.

As the group splinters, the Mass' ubiquitousness will increase. A single five hundred-person Mass could become ten fifty-person Masses and each would still be larger than many smaller cities' rides. Imagine ten simultaneous Critical Masses meandering through the city!



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posted by Joe on Friday, August 04, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Here's some pretty photos from last friday's Critical Mass Ride. There were a lot of people there, but I'm not sure how many... anyone count them?


On Bloor at St. George... you can see the Bata Shoe Museum there in the background. I was near the back of the Mass for most of the ride (I'm just a slowpoke, I guess...).


On Bloor at Queen's Park Crescent. I'm quite proud that I took a couple okay photos over my shoulder AND that people felt compelled to look at my camera. :) On the left n the background you can see a bit of the new addition to Royal Ontario Museum ... which you can see in a better shot too.


On Yonge at Gerrard, heading south... going through a red light (which is just practical when biking with hundreds of other people. :)


Here's a photo of Tanya (courtesy of TorontoCranks.com), with me behind her (in blue) laughing with a guy, who, when asked why we were riding in a group by a pedestrian, answered not with "to promote cycling as a viable transportation alternative" but with "we're against test tube babies". I thought this was very hilarious.

You can see all 22 photos I took over here.



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posted by Joe on Thursday, August 03, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I've previously mentioned that a two-car family in the suburbs pisses away a whopping $540,000 on car-related costs over a 30-year working life. Wow, talk about an expensive addiction!

Now, Todd over at Cleverchimp points out that in the U.S., household automobile costs average $600 per month. Invested over 25 years at 10% interest (lower than how the New York Stock Exchange has performed), someone who lived car-free would have a big time retirement party fund of $796,000.00 in their investment account.

Okay, everyone go car-free today, and we'll all have a big party in 25 years, celebrating our retirements!



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posted by Joe on Thursday, August 03, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

New York, NY:
Into Our Town the NYPD Came…
Ah, there's always fun stuff in NYC with cyclists and the cops. Apparently now, the NYPD is having a problem with cyclists biking across bridges... bridges that have lanes built especially for cyclists and pedestrians.

Buffalo, NY:

Building a Bike Boom
Buffalo is starting the Buffalo Blue Bicycle program, a bike-loaning program based on Toronto's Bikeshare.

Amsterdam, NE
Nuns pursue suspected thief in bicycle chase through Amsterdam
The title of the story says it all...



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posted by Joe on Wednesday, August 02, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

News from the world of decreasing the auto-centrism of our society.

Dalton rules out regulating gas prices
McGuinty does something smart and rules out regulating gas prices, saying "Ontarians understand that gas prices are influenced by events beyond our control". Meanwhile, the NDP (who I usually like) are being dumb and pushing for regulation. I was down east when New Brunswick & Nova Scotia (who already have prices about 10 cents/litre more than here) started regulation a few weeks ago, and of course it doesn't work. Retailers set prices as high as they can, and as crude oil prices go up, the provinces adjust "limits" upwards.

Are we on the right track?
This was actually in the "Wheels" section of the Star... a section usually devoted to discussions of horsepower, fuel injection, and how much to over-compensate for personal shortcomings. While starting the article with "The concepts of appreciating and enjoying automobiles and wanting to protect our planet, not only for ourselves but for our children and their children, are not mutually exclusive", the writer does not focus on efforts to get drivers out of their cars, but just about new technologies to make cars "cleaner".


San Francisco Becomes First U.S. City to Pass Peak Oil Resolution
"Frisco" is the first major U.S. city to pass a resolution acknowledging the threats posed by peak oil, urging the city to develop a comprehensive plan to respond to the emerging global energy crunch.



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posted by Joe on Wednesday, August 02, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Last Wednesday night, a few people from the Cycling Cog got together to bike and explore one of the hidden gems of the Toronto Trail System - namely the Beltline, Mt. Pleasant Cemetary, the Don Valley Brickworks and The Lower Don Valley Trail... it's kind of amazing that it's possible to bike from Eglinton West Station all the way to Queen & River with minimal interference with cars.

Here are a few photos from the ride:


Here's a few of us before the ride across the street from the Eglinton West Subway Station... Tanya, Steeker, Lena, Chris, Darren, and Sean. Val showed up right after this photo was taken, and Herb met up with us at the Brickworks.


Through Mt. Pleasant Cemetary.

I rode up to Eglinton West Station via Winston Churchill Park and the Cedarvale Ravine, which roughly run from Spadina & Davenport all the way up to Eglinton West. This is where the Spadina Expressway would have been if Jane Jacobs and Torontonians hadn't put a stop to the highway plans.




I much prefer parkland and sports fields (there was a lot of ultimate frisbee being played when I rode through there...) to lots of cars and asphalt, don't you?

You can see all 15 photos I took over on Flickr, and you can see some photos from when I did the same route back in March.

Tanya and Darren have great write-ups and more photos from the ride too!



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posted by Joe on Tuesday, August 01, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I just found out about this (my apologies for the late notice)... the Toronto Group of the Cycling Cog is having a group ride tomorrow night.

Where: Old Mill Subway Station
When: 7 pm, Wednesday, August 2nd


We'll meet outside the Old Mill subway station. From there we'll cruise down the Humber River in search of a cool breeze (hopefully) off the lake. Then we'll head east along the waterfront trail to Queen's Quay.

Whenever we're ready, we can stop for some food and drinks somewhere near downtown.


The Wednesday night Cog Rides are becoming a great weekly event... be sure and come out. Comment here if you're interested, or even better, join the Cycling Cog and let us know on there you are coming!

You can view photos from two weeks ago, the Leslie Spit Group Ride.

I'll be posting photos from last week, the Beltline/Brickworks Group Ride, tomorrow.



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posted by Joe on Tuesday, August 01, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

If someone asked me what retail businesses should be like, I'd answer "Grassroots Environmental Products".

It would be because they are a "green" store that really is. I don't have space or time to list all of their achievements and programs, so here are the bike-friendly ones, starting with their NEW bike-trailer rental program:

Trailer Rental Program:
For only $2/hour customers who bicycle or walk to Grassroots and purchase items too large to carry home, will have access to a sturdy, lightweight trailer suitable for use by pedestrians and cyclists. Grassroots has become the first retailer in Toronto to offer a bike trailer rental program. Grassroots' human-powered trailer program will help make Toronto more livable by encouraging residents to 1) buy locally and support their neighborhood merchants, 2) become more physically active, 3) reduce automobile trips, thereby reducing emissions, and 4) enjoy the pleasures of independent mobility.

BikeShare Hub:
Both Grassroots locations were the first Bikeshare Hubs in their neighbourhoods (Danforth & Chester and Bloor & Bathurst).

Grassroots Wins 2006 Bike Week Commuter Challenge
Grassroots received the honour as the 2006 Bike Week Commuter Challenge winner for their participation in the Bike Week ride to City Hall. Grassroots posted the largest group ride in Toronto.

Grassroots Bike Week Workshop donations

During Bike Week 2006, Grassroots hosted a number of workshops including "Safe Cycling in the City" and "Basic Bike Maintenance". All proceeds from the workshops were donated to two very deserving local bike organizations. The Community Bicycle Network (CBN) and Advocacy for the Respect of Cyclists (ARC) were the recipients of the Grassroots donation.

Bicycle Friendly Business Awards (Multiple)
Grassroots is a multiple "BFBA" award winner for the above reasons. Very well deserved.

Through my emails and conversations with Rob, the owner, I know they are constantly looking for more ways to encourage biking in Toronto... which is reason enough to shop there (they have an incredible selection of stuff!) ...be sure and check out one of their stores... you'll be glad you did!



Riverdale Location
(map)
372 Danforth Avenue (near Chester)
416-466-2841

Annex Location (map)
408 Bloor Street West (near Bathurst)
416-944-1993



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posted by Joe on Tuesday, August 01, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

There's some cool stuff out there for us cyclists... here's a small first post sampling some of it:

Wind-Powered Bike Light
This is such a good idea. We all know that there is always a "bikewind" when riding your bike (even on really hot humid days like this week), so why not put that wind energy to good use?

Self Charging Pedal Lights
Very cool pedal lights that have mini-generators in them that produce energy as you crank and crank and crank. Never worry about batteries!

Sonic Grips
A bike bell built into a bike grip... a pretty cool idea that I'm surprised no one has come up with before now. (via Spinopsys)



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