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

posted by Joe on Friday, September 29, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

In the Beaches on Saturday (just west of Queen E. & Victoria Park), you'll be able to donate old bikes and parts for the benefit of disadvantaged youth.

You can read an article in InsideToronto about it.
We all remember our first bicycle and the freedom it gave us to explore. The goal of On Your Bike! is to give disadvantaged children in Toronto this same experience. The On Your Bike! concept is simple. When children grow out of their bikes they can be re-channeled to enhance other kids’ lives.

The aim of On Your Bike! is to gather new and gently used bicycles, repair them and donate them to disadvantaged children through service organizations across the city of Toronto. On Your Bike! will also collect new and used bike parts and new helmets.

Saturday September 30th, 2006
10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Church of St. Aiden's in the Beaches at 70 Silver Birch Avenue (in the Beach - at the corner of Queen Street East and Silver Birch Avenue, 4 blocks west of Victoria Park)


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posted by Joe on Thursday, September 28, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Tomorrow is BikeFriday.

You may want to join a Group Commute, or start your own. Existing commutes go downtown from Danforth & Woodbine, Bloor & High Park, Yonge & Lawrence, St. Clair & Christie, Queen East & Woodbine and Queen West & Sorauren. GTA rides go from Yonge & Lawrence to Leslie & Hwy 7, Yonge & Major Mack to Markham Town Centre and from Bloor & High Park to Mississauga City Centre!

You may want to bike by the Grassroots Store at 408 Bloor W for a free breakfast of organic coffee, muffins and danishes.

You may want to join hundreds of other cyclists at Bloor & Spadina between 6:00 – 6:30 for a fun Critical Mass ride around downtown.

You may want to join the Toronto Bicycle Network's Friday Night Ride.

Whatever you do, enjoy your bike. Tomorrow is the day.

Mark your calendars for the next one too… Friday, October 27th !!


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posted by Joe on Wednesday, September 27, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

It's been a busy summer. I got married, went to Jamaica and Nova Scotia, started BikeFriday (it's this Friday - what are YOU doing on your bike on Friday?), and have planned more things that I'll be adding to this site this fall and over the winter.

I ride a heavy cheap steel mountainbike - a typical "utility cyclist", I guess - loaded with atleast one pannier in my travels to work daily and on good days, to other places (like the Islands) - and my bike has felt like a utility recently - it gets me where I'm going, quickly and cheaply, but the joy was missing - perhaps I've been thinking too much about work and other non-bike things?

This morning, for some reason, the pure joy I experience on my bike returned. If you bike regularly you know what I'm talking about.

It's the feeling you had when, as a kid, you learned to ride down your whole street with no hands. The feeling of "poppin' a wheelie" for a long distance... maybe even going around a corner.

It may be the feeling of freedom (and that's part of it - being free to go wherever you want - not stuck in a car or behind other cars), but there is more to it.

This morning, despite running late and "cranking it" extra hard through Riverdale and eastern downtown, my body found an extra reserve of energy somewhere for my jaunt across Carlton and College Streets.

I floated through stopped traffic, looking over my shoulder at the cars and other cyclists floating along behind me as I passed illegally parked trucks, tourist buses and Wheeltrans vehicles.

My legs didn't feel the extra effort as I accelerated through green lights or eased over the streetcar tracks (after a shoulder check, of course) to pass a large parked truck, or shifted slightly... almost imperceptibly... on my seat, changing the course of my tires enough to avoid a large shard of glass.

It may be a combination of endorphins and adrenalin and joy and freedom all mixed up together.

Whatever it is, it feels great, and I missed it.

It's why I bike as much as I can, and why I bike year-round, for it happens in the winter too.

Despite the danger of cars, the potholes, the blown tires, the rogue pedestrians (which I don't mind, as long as I can avoid them), the sweaty summer days and the frigid winter nights - this feeling is the feeling that brings me back to my bike day after day.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, September 27, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Marc Lostracco in Torontoist (rapidly becoming one of my favourite bloggers due to his intelligent, witty and well-researched posts) has a great post today about the rogue federal beast that won't die - the City Centre Airport.

Porter Airlines, despite the opposition of Toronto City Council and most Torontonians, have gotten permission from the federal government to operate 10 turboprop flights a day from the Island Airport.

In case you don't know... having an airport in the middle of your waterfront that you're trying to redevelop into a recreational wonderland (of which cycling would be a huge part of) is not good. 10 departures a day means 10 arrivals per day as well. 20 flights a day.

Pro-airport advocates (who all seem to be pilots, political inepts like Jane Pitfield, do-nothing Senators like Jerry Grafstein, and business execs with too much money to go to Pearson to fly like the rest of us) say that the issue is something called environmental justice - saying that closing the Island Airport would send those flights and pollution (they admit that the planes will bring pollution to the waterfront) to Pearson, where it will affect people living around Pearson.

Pearson has 1200 arrivals and departures every day, mostly huge jumbo jets. Adding Island Airport traffic of 20 arrivals and departures is a 1.6% increase... not even factoring in that Island planes are not jumbo jets.

Obviously, adding this air traffic at Pearson is akin to smoking 102 cigarettes a day instead of 100. You're still getting cancer, Einstein.

Since the city's hands are bound with respect to shutting down the airport (since Harper and the Conservatives seem to be as idiotic as we all thought they would be) and turning the land into parkland or sustainable neighbourhoods, here's my advice to Mayor Miller, City Council and Community AIR to help bankrupt the Airport, Robert Deluce, Porter Airlines, and the Toronto Port Authority (all different heads of the same beast, in my opinion):

Take the tiny parking lot at the foot of Bathurst (which looks to be too small to support 10 turboprop flights a day anyways) and make it smaller. Hell, eliminate it entirely. Take Bathurst south of Queens Quay and close it. Turn it into parkland. Make the airport inaccessible.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, September 27, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

After the recent bike thefts via 2x4s, I was wondering why no one had thought of putting little GPS transmitters in bikes to help track where they go after being stolen...

Turns out that UofT has been thinking about it, and have seeded their campus with "bait bikes" with GPS. (via Martino)

It's a super idea, and I wonder what it would take to get a city-wide system hooked up - have people pay a small fee every year for the service, and if their bike gets yanked it's easily tracked. This may do wonders for decreasing bike theft in T.O.

The Globe and Mail has a story about the CarFreeDay events of Friday, calling the city-sponsored and Sierra Club events at Dundas Square boring (although essential for getting politicians and businesses on board). The article goes on to praise the StreetsAreForPeople parade and Parking Meter Parties (photos of which can also be seen on Martino's site) as inspired, community-based, and essential to real change when it comes to how public streets are used.


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posted by Joe on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Last weekend, (and I mean the one two weekends ago... the sunny one... not the rainy one we just had...) Tracy and I packed up some sandwiches and fruit juices and fruit and cookies into my pannier bags and headed down to the Ferry Docks (about a 30 minute ride from our place) and hopped on the Ward Island Ferry to spend a few hours riding and picnicking on the CarFree paradise 10 minutes from downtown - The Toronto Islands!

Here's a few photos from a great day:

Here's Tracy waiting for me near our condo after I ran back to get our camera (which I had forgotten).

There were a ton of bikes (and their riders) waiting to get on the Ward's Island Ferry ($6 each, round-trip). There's a sign that says a maximum number, but Ferry staff are nice and get as many people on the boat as is safely possible.

You can't see them in this photo, but most of these people had bikes. This is maybe a tenth of the people on the ferry (we were near the back), most of whom had bikes. What a great view!

Us picnicking... why does my head look so gigantic? Oh, because it is.

The islands are very picturesque. Like a bygone era. In the distance you can see a people on a cycling/pedestrian path, and at left behind the trees, one of the quadracycles available for rent on the Islands.

I was too lazy to get up from my napping position on our blanket, but thought this was a nice view of Tracy's bike (as well as part of mine, and my helmet, and my shoes)

It was a great day, and I want to definitely try it again soon, before winter hits.

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posted by Joe on Friday, September 22, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

3 weeks ago, I posted about Case Ootes and his attempts to remove the Cosburn BikeLanes. is reporting that although Ootes has not succeeded in getting yet more studies of the possibility of removing the bikelanes done, he is going to make a motion at Monday's (the 25th) City Council meeting for one to be done:
A report has already been done at Councillor Ootes request on the usage of the bike lane after it was put in. It did not get the results he was looking for. That in itself took alot of staff time from working on expanding the Bikeway network and has contributed to the delays in getting other bike lanes designed and approved. Councillors should put an end to this waste of the city's financial and human resources.
You can email Ootes here, or find your councillor to urge them to vote down Ootes' motion, or email the mayor and all the councillors about how important bikelanes are to our health and vitality as a city.

If you're wondering why Ootes is so pro-car and anti-bike, his city webpage may offer some insight:
Mr. Ootes graduated from York University with a Masters in Business Administration and had a distinguished management career with Imperial Oil, serving in such positions as Corporate Credit Manager and Manager of Accounting Services.
I smell stock options.

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posted by Joe on Friday, September 22, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Next Friday, September 29th, is the 2nd BikeFriday!

Back on August 25th, I started an initiative to get people in Toronto
thinking about biking in Toronto once a month, instead of once a year
during BikeWeek every spring.

The last friday of September is quickly approaching, which means that it's
BikeFriday, which is the last friday of the month, every month.

August's BikeFriday received a lot of attention for something that went
from idea to reality in less than 10 days. I was interviewed by the
Toronto Star, CTV News, GlobalTV, and CFRB Radio. While making me
extremely nervous, it made me happy that biking in Toronto is getting this
much exposure. For a first event, it went very well... with a few
cyclists riding together from various points around the city and the GTA
in the interest of safety, and a few of these groups meeting up at Yonge &
Bloor for a ride down to City Hall. While small, it was a great start,
especially since a CFRB reporter and City Councillor Joe Mihevc rode their
bikes with us.

September 29th will see the following happen:

Group Commutes - cyclists meeting in groups to commute to work

Bikers Breakfast - Grassroots Environmental Products (408 Bloor Ave. W.)
is offering free breakfast treats to any cyclists who come by between 8 -
9:30 AM

Critical Mass - join hundreds of other Toronto Cyclists (and hundreds of
thousands who take part in Critical Masses in over 400 cities around the
world) and ride in a big group around downtown Toronto

Toronto Bicycle Network Friday Night Ride - the City's "friendliest cycling club" holds a fun and social ride.

Check out the BikeFriday website -
- for more information.

Feel free to comment or email me with any questions or concerns.



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posted by Joe on Thursday, September 21, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

A fine Torontonian named Colin Biggin was at the TTC meeting about bike racks on buses last night, and his email report eventually made his way to my inbox. He has graciously allowed me to quote it in it's entirety (almost).

Thanks Colin!

- - - - -

I just got back from the TTC meeting where myself (and one other) made a
deputation concerning the Bike Rack Report.

The good news is that most of the councillors were able to look beyond
the narrow time-line the pilot project was given and realize that this
has to happen and "build it and they will come".

The great news is that the following three proposals were passed:

1) Adopt as a policy principle that bike racks be included on all buses
and a report be made for putting them on street-cars.

2) All new buses have bike racks.

3) Staff report back on retro-fitting existing buses.

Additionally, Chairman Moscoe requested that the Marlee bus route have
bike racks put on immediately.

Special mention should be given to Councilor Joe Mihevc who made the
proposals and really made a strong case for the adoption of the bike
racks. Additionally, Councilor DeBaeremaker and Councilor Giambrone (of
course) came out strongly in favour with Chairman Howard Moscoe weighing
on the side of the good guys as well.

The one sour note was Councilor Peter Li Preti (Ward 8, York West) who
said he would vote against it (although he left the room when the vote
took place). In fairness to him, he seems to be a "bottom-line"
councilor who just looked at the cost and the ridership and didn't think
it justified any more money. I didn't get the sense he was anti-cycling.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, September 21, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Need some help thinking of things to do if you want to rent out a parking space on Queen West tomorrow?

Today is International Park(ing) Day, and there's some great ideas for uses of the parking spaces on NYC's StreetsBlog:

- Lay down some grass
- bring bushes / trees / flowers
- bring a bench / chairs / your livingroom couch
- bring a table and friends and have a meal
- set up in front of a restaurant patio and order food. :)

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posted by Joe on Thursday, September 21, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Toronto Joins the World on
International Car Free Day

Friday, September 22, 2006

With a Downtown Street Closure on
Yonge Street : From Dundas south to Shuter
( @ Dundas Subway Station)

Street Party on Yonge Street & Dundas Square from 10am – 2pm

Live Music * Sports * Play Zone * Bike Stunt Show * Dance * More!!!
Please join us for a street party as we close the street to cars and open them up to people!!! Rain or shine ~ hope to see you in the street!

Each year on Sept 22, International Car Free Day is celebrated by over 100 million people in about 1,500 cities around the world.

CarFreeDay street events and forums highlight the many problems caused by our dependence on the private automobile, including air pollution, global warming, stress, and safety issues. It emphasizes the rights of pedestrians and cyclists, the need for more and better public transit, and helps people rediscover their local community, outside the confines of their vehicle.

The Problem of Car Dependence : (Toronto Statistics)

Air Pollution: 1,700 premature deaths and 6,000 hospital admissions yearly

Car Accidents: 77 deaths and 24,000 injuries per year (1 every 22 minutes)

Economic Cost of Gridlock: $2-Billion per Year in Toronto

Plus: Global climate change, obesity, stress, community safety, noise, social isolation, etc.

For more info please visit


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posted by Joe on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

This friday is a smorgasboard of CarFree goodies in Toronto.

There is a ton of stuff going on – I’ll try to summarize it for you here:

10 AM to 2 PM – The Official CarFreeDay
After a disappointing 2005 CarFreeDay in which the City backed out on street “opening” intentions and City Councillors gave it little support (with Michael Walker going so far as to saying “ “I have a Lincoln and I’m proud of it. It’s named after the great emancipator, Abraham Lincoln. I love my country, I love my wife, I love my family and I love my Lincoln.” – good to know Walker thinks he’s American….), the Ontario Chapter of the Sierra Club employees (only 2!) and several volunteers have worked their butts off to give us a stellar event this year.

Yonge Street will be closed from Dundas down to Shuter from 10 AM to 2 PM, the Street and the Square filled with informative things from business and community groups from all around the city, and cool things like free live music all over the place, BMX stunt riders, even a big bike parking lot!

It’s a shame that the political will wasn’t there to close more of the street down, or extend the closure into rush hour times, but it’s better than nothing. The more people that come to the Dundas Square on Friday, the better for showing those at City Hall that a lot of us care about a city with less cars dominating everywhere.

9 AM to 9 PM – The Unofficial CarFreeDay
Co-ordinated by Streets Are For People, I think that the unofficial events have great potential at creating a great powerful “grassroots” movement for less cars in Toronto. They are encouraging Parking Meter Parties all day on Queen West – in which people pay for a parking spot ($1.50/hour) and legally rent a part of the road. Some people use this time to create mini-parks… others set up tables and chairs and enjoy some good food… some play music and dance.

Then, at 4 PM, people start congregating in Trinity Bellwoods Park in preparation for a CarFree Parade down Queen West. Feel free to walk it, run it, bike it, blade it, board it, whatever! Departure time is 5:30. Oh, and costumes are encouraged!


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posted by Joe on Wednesday, September 20, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Back in July, I did a post about some improvements to the Martin-Goodman trail that had posted, mentioning that in addition to the new path over near Marilyn Bell Park, the city was also working on the “twinning” of the trail, providing a paved cycling surface next to a new boardwalk.

In case you haven’t been down there to watch dragonboat races, or the Chinese Lantern Festival, or the airshow… here’s a fantastic photo of the boardwalk, and a bit of the paved portion (although it looks rough) by Gabi over on Flickr (a great Toronto photographer and cyclist).

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

The expansion of the Rack It and Rocket Program is in jeopardy.

Tomorrow night (Wednesday) the TTC is meeting to consider expanding the program to all new buses the city buys. A TTC project report, while noting that the racks have been popular with both cyclists and non-cyclists, have produced a few new TTC riders, and that they don't slow down bus timetables, is recommending that the bike rack program not be expanded to the rest of the system, citing low usage levels.

While Adam Giambrone, who is on the TTC Committee, is advocating for the expansion of the program, it's not expected to happen. The TTC doesn't seem to understand that when a bike rack is installed on every new bus, more people will start using it, because they'll know it's an option (at present, the racks are only on certain routes, like the Bathurst and Dufferin routes) on all buses.

It's a case of looking at the long-term benefits rather than the short-term costs. Making biking AND transit and option for EVERY trip a Torontonian makes will create more TTC riders out of cyclists (I myself used the subway to get my bike up to Downsview yesterday - photos to come).

I fear that the short-sightedness of the TTC will screw the Bike Rack project, but you can show your support by emailing those on the TTC committee (that email link will open an email addressed to them all).

Please write them and tell them why you think Bike Racks are important - not just for you but for the TTC and for the City as a whole.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, September 19, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Promotions Subcommittee of the Toronto Cycling Committee meets tomorrow night at City Hall.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006
7:00 p.m.
Committee Room 2, Toronto City Hall
100 Queen St. West.

Committee Meetings are open to the public.

More about the Promotions Subcommittee, from the City website:

The Promotions Subcommittee provides input to staff and makes recommendations to the Toronto Cycling Committee on the design, development and delivery of policies and programs to promote and enhance cycling including co-ordinating Bike Week; stimulating economic development through partnerships with business, government and local communities; working directly with corporate and community groups to increase bicycle use in general; communications media such as Cyclometer and the Cycling web site and integration of bicycle-transit trips. To see other programs that the Promotions Subcommittee is involved with, see our Promotion page.

For more information about the Promotions Subcommittee you can contact Sean Wheldrake by phone at 416-392-1143 or by email at

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posted by Joe on Monday, September 18, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Toronto Cycling Committee
After an August break, the Toronto Cycling Committee is back to their monthly meetings. All Cycling Committee (and subcommittee) meetings are open to the public.

WHEN: Monday, September 18, 2006, 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Committee Room 2, City Hall, 100 Queen St. West.

Toronto Cycling Promotions SubCommittee
All the fun stuff about promoting cycling in Toronto... stuff like the Cyclometer newsletter and partnerships with businesses and community groups. All Cycling Committee (and subcommittee) meetings are open to the public.

WHEN: Wednesday, September 20, 2006, 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: Committee Room 2, City Hall, 100 Queen St. West.

Toronto Island Historical Bike Tour
In partnership with Urbane Cyclist. Ride your bike in a car-free paradise as you learn about the rich history of the Toronto Islands with noted Toronto Island archivist, Albert Fulton. We’ll explore historic and natural sites on the island, climb Canada’s oldest lighthouse, tour the beautiful Church of St. Andrew-by-the-Lake, and explore the unique residential community on the Toronto Islands.

WHEN: Saturday, September 23, 2006, 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: Bring your bike and meet outside the ferry terminal gates (city side) at 10:00 am sharp for the ferry to Hanlan’s Point.
COSTS: Ferry: $4–$6 return. Event: $15.
REGISTER: Contact Toronto Bay Initiative at 416-598-2277 to register. (Child Friendly Event)

P.S. Kensington
Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington are back! On the last Sunday of every
month this summer Kensington Market will be closed off to car traffic from
noon until 7pm. 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: Sunday, September 24, 2006, 12 - 7 p.m.
WHERE: Kensington Market (west of Spadina, between College and Dundas)

Graeme Parry's Laneway Bike Tours
Graeme's Laneway Tours are back this weekend. Learn about and explore the often-forgotten parts of Toronto just out of sight of millions of people. 3 tours daily. Email Graeme to let him know you're coming.

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

WHEN: Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Toronto Joy Ride
The Toronto Joy Ride is a 100km (or shorter with shortcuts) ride that brings you through some of the best areas of the city: through tree-lined ravines, along trails, lake shore and urban streets. You get to see a lot of new parts of Toronto, enjoy the company of other great cyclists, and get some exercise along the way - all the while supporting cycling advocacy in Toronto.

The Joy Ride is as challenging or relaxing as you'd like. The main route is 100km but for those who'd only like to do a portion of the route there will options of where people can take a shortcut with their bike, or by subway. The great thing about city riding is that you're never to far away from amenities and transit!

See the website for registration, times and locations.


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posted by Joe on Monday, September 18, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

From ARC:

Sept 18th - Eglinton & Leslie - 7:30pm

On September 11, 2006, a 47-year-old male cyclist was killed near the
intersection of Eglinton Avenue and Leslie Street. Eight years after
the regional coroner's report recommended rear side guards on large
trucks, the last five cyclist fatalities in Toronto have all involved
a collision with a large truck. Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists
(ARC) asks how much longer will all three levels of government
continue to ignore basic safety for cyclists on our streets?

ARC marks these deaths on our roads with a memorial because
those dying are our fellow cyclists. It could happen to anyone,
it could happen to any one of us. It doesn't matter if the cyclist
is at fault, rich or famous, what matters is that a cyclist has died.
ARC will hold a public memorial at 7:30pm, Monday September 18, at the
site of the crash.

Anyone who rides a bicycle is vulnerable, but straightforward ways
to improve the conditions for Toronto's cyclists were identified by
the Toronto Regional Coroner in a landmark study of cyclist fatalities,
issued in 1998. That study specifically flagged the dangers to cyclists,
pedestrians and small vehicles caused by the high truck beds and
openings between front and rear wheels of large trucks. It made a
number of recommendations that have since been ignored by our
transportation decision-makers. Of particularly tragic relevance
is the recommendation that the trucking industry in Ontario be
mandated to equip large trucks with European-style "wheel guards."

ARC is once again raising its voice about wheel guards on large
trucks. Which of our mayoral aspirants will put themselves on the line
and demand that the trucking industry conform to safety standards
considered "normal" in most of Europe? (This crash was in the ward of
mayoral aspirant Jane Pitfield).

All cyclists welcome:
Meet for a group ride to the crash site at 6:15 pm, Bloor and Spadina, and
at 7:00 pm, Danforth and Pape, to ride to Eglinton and Leslie for 7:30 pm,
Monday, September 18, 2006.

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posted by Joe on Friday, September 15, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Looking for some fun things to do on Saturday? Here you go:

Take The Tooker Group Ride
We'll start at both Kipling and Kennedy stations -- you choose -- and meet in the middle at Spadina Parkette on Bloor (SE corner). We start at 12 noon and arrive at the parkette approx. 1:30pm. If you can't make it out to either end of the subway, please join us enroute. In the west end, we'll be stopping briefly near Durie St., High Park near the light, and at Dufferin and Bloor. In the east, we'll stop at Greenwood and at Grassroots (near Chester).

From Scorchers to Alley Cat Scrambles: The Amazing History of the Bicycle in Toronto
Curator Steve Brearton will be personally guiding us through this astounding collection, chronicling the profound impact the bicycle has had on the social, political and economic life of our fair City. This is a free event, directed to Sierra Club members but open to all.


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posted by Joe on Thursday, September 14, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Portland, OR
PSU Engineer wants to understand why you ride
A Ph.d candidate at Portland State University is interested in using computer modelling to attempt to explain why Portland has been so successful in promoting alternative means of transportation: “It’s sort of like Sim City (a popular computer game) in that it can be used for cultural modeling. I’m interested in how the idea to use bicycles and other modes spreads through a community.”

London, UK
Reinvent the bike shed
Bike theft is a big problem "across the pond" too, with an average of 62 bikes being stolen in London every day. A competition recently took place to allow people to re-imagine bicycle storage, with cool ideas like a Bike Tree, a Bike Tower and a BikePod (which looks similar to Toronto's bikelockers).

Shropshire, UK
Judge fines cyclist for using road
This lends some credence to the "ghetto-ization" effects of bikelanes put forth by cyclists who are anti-bikelane. What if bikelanes and paths become the only places bikes are allowed?

Charleston, SC
Charleston sees rise in Bike Sales
A bit more evidence of more cyclists on the road with higher gas prices - a 20x increase in hybrid bike sales between 2004-2005.

Tokyo & Osaka, Japan
The Bicycle in Japan - Photo Essay
In Japan, the bicycle is as ordinary as the dawn: almost everybody rides in every weather, from bank presidents to housewives with a kid or two, in ordinary clothes on bikes that epitomize ordinariness... The bicycle is everywhere: sidewalks, streets, in hallways, in front of markets, inside malls, on special bikepaths, arrayed in rows by the tiny city apartments that line the cozy city alleys, left at random in odd nooks of the complex cities and calm towns of that island nation. Day and night, everywhere you go, the bicycle is there.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, September 13, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Bad news from Eglinton and Leslie on Monday.

A 47-year-old male cyclist is dead after being hit by a cement truck near the very car-friendly and cyclist-hostile intersection.

No word on if the cyclist was wearing a helmet, but like it really matters... you get hit by a cement truck and nothing good will come of it, no matter what you are wearing.

In possibly related news, there seems to be a lot of dementia behind the wheels of cars and nothing can be done about it.

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posted by Joe on Monday, September 11, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I usually save stuff like this for posts where I collect articles about car-free initiatives, etc., but this one is so good, and so applicable to Toronto (since it IS about Toronto), that I wanted to post right away.

Kenneth Kid article on A 10-point transit blueprint not only lays out what's wrong with public transit in Toronto (not reliable, not efficient, no faster than auto traffic) but why it's been like this for so long.

Even better, he lays out a 10 Point Plan laying out super-easy techniques that cities all around the world (and even right here in Canada) are using to get people out of their cars.

He mentions cycling (how could he not), in point #8, saying (he's obviously a non-cyclist) that cyclists are excellent traffic jam creators, "fudging" traffic up so bad that drivers will get more frustrated and more likely to get out of their cars.

Why do I mention that he's a non-cyclist? I think a cyclist would know that cyclists actually improve traffic - it slows it down, sure, but by slowing it down it decreases the chance of accidents.

All those cyclists are also people who would be in a car, further bogging down traffic, or getting frustrated waiting for a bus or streetcar stuck in traffic.

Finally, when you get people on bikes, they tend to think about pollution a lot more, and tend to support initiatives like increased funding for transit.

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posted by Joe on Monday, September 11, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Toronto Cycling Committee (Cycling and Transit Working Group)
This group is all about integrating transit and cycling in our fair city. They then report to the Toronto Cycling Committee, who reports to City Council. They're the ones behind the TTC Bus Bikeracks and the "New Mobility Nodes" like the one with all the bike stuff at the Exhibition GO train station.

Dusk TO Dawn - Cycling Adventure
At Dusk, On September 15th 2006, Cyclists will partake in a unique RULES OF THE ROAD cycling experience. Modeled after the incredibly successful Tour La Nuit ride in Montreal (Which saw over 12,000 cyclists this past June) Dusk TO Dark promises to be one of the most unique cycling events in the country. This year's 25km ride will take you through the on-going revitalization projects that are currently unfolding across the waterfront.

The Amazing History of the Bicycle in Toronto
Join Sierra Club members and their guests for a guided tour of this amazing exhibit at the Market Gallery. This is a free event, directed to Sierra Club members but open to all. Please RSVP and/or direct inquiries to Margaret Hastings-James: (416) 727-4927

Exploring the History of the Don Valley Brick Works
Have you been to the Brickworks? It's a hidden gem of Toronto, accessible most surreptitiously by bike - from the south from the Don Valley Trail, or from the northwest from the Moore Park Ravine.

Geologist Ed Freeman, a true expert on the site’s geological and industrial history, will guide you on a FREE exploration of how the Brick Works evolved from the ice ages to the present. Learn why this site is so significant to Toronto and how can we use it to learn how natural processes define our city’s built landscape and influence our sense of place.


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posted by Joe on Friday, September 08, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I know that 3 weeks is quite far away, at first glance. For me, however, it is only 3 weeks, as I'm intent on getting politicians and organizations involved.

Here's what is new since last week:

I've started posting Group Commute times and meeting points.
The times are adjusted a bit from last month, to avoid any unneccessary rushing, and to make sure everyone gets to work okay. Essentially, the rides going downtown (via Yonge & Bloor) start at 7:30, with a meet-up at Yonge & Bloor at 8:00. At 8:15 we head south on Yonge, and then swing onto Queen, getting to City Hall at approx. 8:30.

Two new Queen St. rides leave Queen West (at Sorauren, west of Lansdowne) and Queen East (at Woodbine) at 8:00, them getting to City Hall at 8:30 too.
We still need a Queen East contact person, if you are interested.

The two York Region rides are still going as well, lead by Darren and Andrew.

Learn more about the commutes on the BikeFriday site, and feel free to add your own commutes. Your commute can start anywhere and end anywhere in Toronto (or the GTA) at any time, and we'll add it to the site. The BikeFriday Group Commute is all about cycling with others so cars give you more room on the road, so let us know where and when your commute is!

The Politicians
The Mayors office and all the City Councillors know about BikeFriday (atleast they should, since to date they've all received atleast 3 emails from me since mid-August), but no one has committed to riding or hosting a bike-related event on September 29th.

Having said that, Joe Mihevc biked with us on August 25th (and I wouldn't be surprised if he showed up again), and we had commitments from Mayor Miller and Adam Giambrone to join us "in the future". I also know that Sandra Bussin is discussing it with her staff.

Organizations / Businesses
I'm still contacting a lot of these, and the only firm answer I've gotten is from the South Riverdale Community Health Centre (who were instrumental in getting the Dundas East bikelanes installed), who will publicize it to their members, so we should get some Queen East riders. :)

I'm sure I'll hear from more people as September 29th gets closer.


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posted by Joe on Thursday, September 07, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I did this for July, and didn't hear any big complaints, so I thought I'd do it again.

Here are the top viewed BikingToronto August posts.

Photos of New Pedestrian and Cyclist Friendly Queens Quay
The Really Big Cycling News in August seemed to be the liberating of the eastbound lanes of Queens Quay from car traffic to make a cycling and pedestrian utopia.

Quay to the City
See? Popular!

The Grand Opening of Quay to the City
I went down for the grand opening on August 12th and took photos, as well as met a couple readers of this site, Anthony and Jun.

Hauler Event Poster
Move stuff with your bike! The City of Toronto Cycling Ambassadors put on a great event celebrating the methods people use to move big stuff by bike. I've been seeing more and more trailers and cool bikes with big storage areas since then.

Google Video of Bike Stunts
An amazing video of a girl doing unbelievable stunts on a brakeless, fixed-gear bike.

Bikepost Update - City to beef up bike stands
After a Toronto Star reporter had her bike stolen from in front of Police HQ on College Street, and reveals that bike thieves have discovered that the post-and-ring bikeposts can be broken with a 2x4 piece of wood and a lot of pressure... well, City Hall pays attention and comes up with a cool solution that won't deprive us of our lollipops.

Introducing BikeFriday
A simple idea that came out of the fact that it's a shame that BikeWeek only happens once a year and a bikepooling idea that Matt Blackett had emailed me about (which I'm still working on implementing for a daily project) was BikeFriday.

Mon, Aug 14th - Bike Events This Week
All about Quay to the City. I think it got a lot of hits because it was linked by a neat new site called BikeHugger.

Thurs, Aug. 17th - Bike News From Other Cities
- A temporary highways over a river in NYC becoming a bike route.
- Cycling in London, U.K., up 72% since 2000!
- Making Bike Commuting viable in Seattle
- Kids in Portland open up their own bike shop!
- A Paris highway is turned into a beach

Crashing the BikeFriday Photoshoot
A story about riding around the financial district so the Toronto Star could take a ton of photos of me cycling with traffic for an article about BikeFriday. I also almost get doored, being saved by my good instincts and low speed (I never understand cyclists who confuse Toronto with the Tour de France...), and have a nice conversation in the comments with a former bike courier who thinks that he is the only without fault cyclist on the roads.

Hahaha. A courier thinks that. Nothing against couriers... I not only admire and am a little jealous of a job spent on a bike, but some (not all) of them are completely nuts.

Labels: ,

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, September 06, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Continuing on from Part 1, let's look at some of the only bikelanes I've seen in Aurora:

Problem 1 - putting bikelanes in subdivisions is fine and dandy (and I suspect it was done so Aurora politicians can say "we care about alternative transportation... we put in X km of bikelanes!", but the fact is that they are NOT needed.

Do you see cars on these streets? Suburbia is so spread out and planned so traffic is all on major roads and not on "residential" streets. Bikelanes are not needed. I biked around this subdivision for half an hour on a Saturday afternoon and did not pass one moving car.

Problem 2 - suburban streets don't actually go anywhere. The big roads do... the ones so hostile to cyclists that there is no option but biking on sidewalks. The little roads though, for the most part, don't go anywhere.... they are a maze of crescents and cul-de-sacs that have only a few entry/exit points to roads that go somewhere.

Problem 3 - Bikelanes in subdivisions really do nothing to battle the auto-centric planning of suburbia. This is a roundabout in the subdivision (a subdivision with token "New Urbanism" planning, like smaller front yards and porches on every house), and although the intent here is to make it look like it's friendly to pedestrians.... it's not. Look at all the pavement.

Just to the right of the above photo is a playground... wouldn't it be safer to SLOW traffic down (instead of just make it turn a bit)? Put in some brick paving... more trees... narrow the roadway.

Bikelanes are useless in suburbia. In addition to the above reasons, there is also a tendency for lots of people to park in these bikelanes (although I couldn't find any when I had the camera)... because there aren't very many cyclists.

You can see all the photos I took in Aurora on Flickr.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, September 05, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I'm going to devote the next two posts to some present (and potential) cycling infrastructure in one part of Toronto's suburbs.

We have friends who live on the outskirts of Aurora, which is on the outskirts of the "Greater Toronto Area". In other words, the edge of suburbia.

I sometimes get sick going up there because their neighbourhood (which was farmers fields at the turn of the millenium) is right beside huge plots of hundreds of acres of land, being scraped off in preparation of new wasteful subdivisions.

Anyhow, on this trip to suburbia, I took along the camera to take photos of the cycling infrastructure I had noticed:

I'll start with the good - actual paved paths for cyclists between the sidewalk and the road (specifically, Bayview Ave. between Wellington and St. John's Sideroad) which helps hugely with safety. Although the posted speed limit here is 60 km/h, the real speed along here is about 80 km/h, with it not being rare to see cars going close to 100 km/h.

The bad part of these paths is that there is nothing special where they cross roads - no differently coloured pavement, or bricked walkways, or anything.

Getting into the actual subdivision where our friends live, there is a big hydro corridor cutting through it (itself a subject of controversy among those who think electricity causes cancer). This hydro corridor extends from close to Barrie down through northern York Region, where it essentially comes down to Toronto close to Highway 404, before meeting up (near Eglinton & Victoria Park) with what I believe is called the Sagueney Hydro Corridor (which goes all the way to Quebec).

Whenever I see this hydro corridor I think of the missed opportunity to have a dedicated cycling path from northern York Region all the way to Eglinton.

While it may be too much to ask people to commute by bike from Aurora to Toronto - the possibility of going from Aurora to Markham, or Markham to Toronto is quite doable. The recreational cyclists would love it too.

Part Two is about bikelanes in Aurora subdivisions.

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posted by Joe on Monday, September 04, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

I've finally grabbed the photos of last week's Smells of Toronto Cog Ride off of our camera, so to follow up on the post with Vic's photos, here's a few of my own.

I didn't take very many, just a few at the foot of the Humber River...

... and some of the cool bikeposts designed by an artist in Parkdale.

You can see all the ones I took over on Flickr.

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posted by Joe on Sunday, September 03, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

The Globe and Mail published an article yesterday about suburban cycling.

Darren and Andrew are interviewed, and BikeFriday is mentioned too.

Read (or save) the article soon... the Globe still does things a little backwards and charges for most of their content.

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posted by Joe on Friday, September 01, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Wow, only 4 weeks until the next BikeFriday. I've got a lot of work to do.

I've just sent out the latest newsletter to the BikeFriday mailing list if you want to know what's going on.

I'll be away at a wedding most of the weekend, so here's what I'm working on for the next BikeFriday:

- getting city councillors involved, either in on commutes, or to give free stuff to cyclists in their wards, or to set something up at City Hall in the morning for cyclists.

- Talking to Second Cup at Yonge & Charles (since a few commutes meet up there) to give stuff to cyclists

- Talking to other businesses about starting BikeFriday Events.

I'll be adding routes and times to the Commute page soon too - early next week - so you can start RSVPing or adding your own routes and times if you want to be involved.

It's also beneficial to sign up for the mailing list, as I'll be once again donating a $25 gift certificate to the Grassroots Online Store to one lucky subscriber. Chris Farley Ratcliffe (who lives near Yonge & Davisville) won last month. Congrats Chris!

Have a great weekend everyone! Ride a lot! :)



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