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



posted by Joe on Friday, April 25, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

Being BikeFriday, I thought I'd take a circuitous route to work today and stop at a couple popular points for cyclists to take their photos as they commuted to work on two wheels.

Here's some of them.

First from Broadview and Danforth ... this was around 8 AM... it was just starting to get busy with cyclists (the time just after 8:30 is usually busiest) funneling together to go over the Bloor Viaduct.






Then I tried a few angles at College and Spadina, an always busy spot for cyclists, it seems, with the College bikelane (although I found out that cars treat Spadina from Bloor to College like an expressway - going by me way too fast and close) to downtown from the west end. This was about 8:30 AM. I suppose it gets busiest just before 9.








You can see all the photos on flickr.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, April 10, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

A big reason winter wears a lot of us down is we don't have a chance to get outside a lot - this past winter I restricted my cycling to getting to work and back, but now that the sun and warmth is with us more, I'm starting up my recreational rides again. :)

I like to take the "long way home" when it's nice out - going west from downtown along College through Little Italy, then down Lansdowne and Queen, eventually going over the pedestrian bridge at Queen & Roncesvalles to the Martin-Goodman Trail. Here are a few pics from that trip yesterday:



I stopped at College & Spadina and tried to photograph cyclists (but my camera is old, and with a shutter delay - so it was pretty hit-and-miss... haha)



I checked out Lansdowne to see if the recent narrowing of the street with bike sharrows had created "traffic chaos" as some Lansdowne residents thought it might: Nope!



I stopped at the controversial bike bollards at the Boulevarde Club to see what the big deal was. I don't think they're that bad. Maybe if you're training for races on the path (which is dumb anyways), but for a casual cyclist - no problem!



It was windy as heck out - here's my new bike, near Ontario Place



I'm lucky the shutter went off at the right time as I zoomed by. :)



The west end of the Queens Quay bikelane - one of my favourite biking views in Toronto - love seeing the CN Tower and line of condos basking in the sun.


I took a bunch more, and you can see them on Flickr.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, April 08, 2008 Share/Save/Bookmark

I don't write a lot of personal posts here anymore, but am looking to change that - so here's a short photo-filled one about me biking around the Danforth on Saturday, taking advantage of the nicer weather.



I tried out the new (since the fall) Greenwood Bikelanes



I noticed bikes on the Danforth Cyclepath Store (which I hadn't noticed before - I guess I don't look up a lot...)


The previous home of my new bike (and my bike)


Watching cyclists go by at Broadview and Danforth


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

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

Last year, Tracy and I missed the Ride for Heart, as we had gotten married the day before, and were leaving for our honeymoon the day after. I guess we could have fit in in somewhere, but we had family stuff to do that day too.

Luckily, this year we were free on the first Sunday of June (which happened to fall smack-dab on our first anniversary...) so we signed up for the Ride as soon as the website allowed and tried to get a few long training rides in to get used to 50 K (and, since we live about 10 K from the Exhibition Grounds, we had to prepare for 70 K, since we of course biked to and from the event), as well as got our friends, family and co-workers to sponsor us for the great cause.

Here's a few photos I took when I wasn't zooming up and down hills on the Gardiner and DVP:


Getting to the start... slowly....


Waiting in line to start...


Lots of people with us


We look super happy, considering we're about to start a 50 K ride. :)




Above: Lots of cyclists, just north of the Prince Edward (Bloor) Viaduct.


At the 50 K turn-around point at the DVP and York Mills.

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posted by Joe on Monday, April 30, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

Although Saturday was somewhat wet and rainy, I still needed to get out there for a long ride after a long winter. I decided to see if I could get to the Etobicoke/Mississauga border via the waterfront Martin-Goodman trail from the Coxwell/Lakeshore area.

I've embedded a slideshow below... I took photos every 10 minutes to document the trip. You can read some description of the photos in the Flickr photoset.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, April 19, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

Yesterday was quite fun - I picked up my bike and my wife's bike from the bikeshop yesterday after getting them both tuned up, mine cleaned (I had forgotten what it looked like clean, under all the dirt and salt from winter riding) and Tracy's with new hybrid tires.

I decided that since I had never biked on two bikes before, I would try it.

I steered and braked Tracy's bike with the muscles of my right arm all the way home (it was a lot easier than I thought it would be), nicely taking the lane the whole way.

A couple cars passed two closely, but there was a huge difference from when it's just me.

This all expanded on my idea of a cool sidecar for a bike instead of a trailer.

I've seen it done (most recently on Wheel Revolution) before, and you may have an idea of what I'm taking about if you watch the Amazing Race, as they were in Malaysia a couple weeks ago, picking up recyclables with cool bicycle sidecars (photo).

What I'm thinking of though is building something (when I have more room to build things) where the bike is on the left side and the sidecar is on the right.... I'm thinking this is the best arrangement because I foresee carrying kids in such a thing, and I'd want to be between them and any crazy traffic.

Anyone know if you can buy bicycle sidecars in Toronto? It would be so much more useful than just for carrying kids... you could fit a lot of groceries in there! Also... and this is important... it would be a great traffic-calmer. :)

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posted by Joe on Monday, March 12, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

It seems as though drivers (not) sharing Gerrard Street with me this morning have taken Rob Ford's hate speech seriously.

I lost count of the number of cars who sped by me with a couple inches to spare, scaring the hell out of me and resolving me to work even harder on the "mission statement" I've posted.

The buzzing is bad enough (especially since the other lane was clear for them to have moved over)... but I also went through two occasions on a 20-minute ride where a pickup truck changed lanes into me, forcing me to almost hit the curb and brake hard.

The only way that these pickup-driving rednecks could've missed the fact that I was on the road was if they had their eyes closed. The only other explanation is that they were dropped on their heads (repeatedly) as children, and were under the impression that it was okay to kill a cyclist. They pulled up beside me, straddling the two lanes of Gerrard, and moved quickly to the right.

People wonder why some cyclists always seem to be full of rage and indignation at car drivers. It's because some of them actively try to kill us.

My serenity wrecked, I rode the middle of the curb lane the rest of the way to work, a symbolic "come on, I dare ya!" to the drivers behind me.

The behaviour of the drivers in this city is only going to make me work harder to make this city as difficult to drive in as possible. You can't expect to keep on destroying a city I love and repeatedly try to kill me and expect me to lay down and take it.

Want to help? Take part, add to, and spread the word about BikeFriday.

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posted by Joe on Thursday, February 08, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

After a bunch of winter riding last week on snowy and salty roads, my gears and chain were all gunked up with dirt and salt. I finally got around to cleaning them last night so that I could bike to work today without worrying too much about damaging them.

I also bought a new bike helmet a while ago, because my old one was showing it's age (I bought it in 1998) but had been in good condition since I always treated it well and never had the occasion to need it (no falls on my head). The shell had begun to crack a little, so I figured it was time to get a new one.

Now, anyone who knows me (or has had occasion to hat shop with me) knows that I have an enormous head. Like, freakishly big, almost... okay... maybe not THAT big... but regular hats and helmets don't fit my noggin.

I eventually found a nice looking helmet that just fit me... but this morning I found out that when I'm wearing my very-cold-weather headgear (balaclava and wool hat), this new helmet does not fit.

So, I biked to work helmetless for the first time. I take a lot of sidestreets in the winter, as it's quieter and more peaceful, with less fighting with cars, and no slush and crap being sprayed by tires.

Not like helmets make a lot of difference anyways. Someone my age is over 20x more likely to suffer a head injury requiring hospitalization from being in a car during an accident than riding a bike.

Anyhow... I just went on a coffee run over to Tim Horton's, and it's BEAUTIFUL outside. While the WeatherNetwork is saying it's -8C (-18C with windchill), it feels warmer... maybe just below O... the ride home tonight is going to be great.

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posted by Joe on Wednesday, January 17, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

Here's a play on the "5 Things You May Not Know About Me" thing that you may have seen on some blogs. Essentially the concept is that someone lists the 5 things, and then "tags" 5 other people to do the same thing.

I've kept my list to bike-related stuff. I'll tag people at the bottom.

1. I know squat about bike maintenance. I can clean the grime off my bike, and de-grease and re-lube my chain… and fiddle around with my brakes a bit, but other than that, I know nothing about bikes. I’m kind of an anti-“gearhead”. I know in theory how to change a flat, but have never done it – but I don’t mind giving the business to my favourite bikeshop – and at $10 a pop, it’s about the only fairly regular expense my bike incurs, which is loads cheaper than car ownership and year-round TTC reliance. Don’t even mention derailleurs to me… they’re mysteries wrapped in enigmas to me.

2. I’m generally lazy about everything regarding my bike. It takes me weeks to go from thinking “I should clean my chain” to actually doing it. When I think I should go and buy some more lights for my bike at MEC.ca, it takes me a while to do it although MEC isn’t really out of my way on my bike-commute home from work.

3. I’m a slow cyclist. I don’t pretend to be racing in the Tour de France like some cyclists seem to. I generally bike along at a comfortable pace, according to how much energy my legs have and the traffic conditions around me. I coast when I can. I yield to stopping streetcars, and pedestrians in general.

4. I’m impulsive. I’ll go on a long ride through the ravines and trails of Toronto with very little preparation. In fact, I’m more likely to do something like this if the thought comes to me at the last second. A good example is from last March when I biked the waterfront, the Humber valley, over to Eglinton & the Allen, down the Beltline, through Mount Pleasant Cemetary, the Moore Park Ravine, the Brickworks and the Lower Don Valley in a big circuit, just to see if I could do it. It’s by far the longest ride I’ve done (51 km) and it took me 4 hours (see point #3), and it was something I thought of and started on with zero preparation. I did take my camera and one water bottle though.

5. I'm a calm cyclist... until I snap. Most of the time, in my cruising and slow cycling through Toronto, I do it with a Zen-like attitude… life is good… biking is fun… la-de-da. I can even shrug off minor transgressions against me… the car passing a bit too close, the FedEx truck parked in the bikelane. However, sometimes, all drivers start commiting major transgressions against me, all at once, and I do not let them get away with it. I use my middle-finger quite liberally on those days… I pull up on the left side of cars who have nearly hit my handlebars when passing me and proceed to berate them loudly and for all to hear, using the most colourful language I can… I have punched the windows of taxis who have almost killed me by not paying attention… I’ve hit them so hard that I’ve feared that I’ve broken my hand… and have been amazed that the window did not break.

I realize that point #5 is not good for driver-cyclist relations, but there comes a point for all of us when not sticking up for one’s self is akin to being led to the slaughterhouse. Thank drivers who drive courteously around you. Punish those who don’t.

Toronto "Bike-Bloggers" I'd like to see write about 5 bike-related things about themselves we may not know about:

Martino of BikeLaneDiary
Darren of BikeRefugee
Chris of TucoRides
Andrew of MonkeyMartian
Tanya of CrazyBikerChick

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posted by Joe on Friday, January 12, 2007 Share/Save/Bookmark

Today marks the first anniversary of the first post I made on BikingToronto:

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

It wasn’t a very exciting start, but In the past year, I’ve made 458 posts and just over 24,000 unique visitors (based on a 6-hour cookie – if someone visits BikingToronto twice within 6 hours, they only count as one “unique” visit). This works out to an average of about 1.25 posts and about 66 visitors a day.

I’ve learned a lot about Toronto’s cycling community over the past year, and the issues it faces in Toronto… everything from getting local politicians to pay attention to (and promote) cycling as a great way for Toronto to be more livable and cleaner, to just simply making the roads a bit safer for those of us who chose to bike to work, to the store, to our friends, or just exploring the city.

I’ve met some great people doing this for the past year – I was going to list them all here but I’d inevitably miss someone, and since I don’t want to hurt any feelings I’ll just say you know who you are.

It’s been a busy year too… I got married, went on a few trips, started renovating our bathroom (it’s almost done), and changed jobs (at the same place).

I’ve forgotten most of what I’ve done regarding this site over the past year, but here are the highlights (in my opinion), other than reporting and commenting on news stories and events happening that effect and interest me as a bike commuter:

The Bikeshop Map – a very crude GoogleMap of Toronto Bikeshops. I need to update this (and try to incorporate the Toronto Cycling Map somehow).

I Bike T.O. – I thought of this as a easily recognizable symbol of the love of biking Toronto. CBN has used it as a fundraiser, and you can buy t-shirts or buttons with it at the BikingToronto Store (another thing I want to update). Oh, and a great cycling website in Washington D.C., the WashCycle has adapted the symbol for that city too! Very cool.

8 Secrets to Cycling in Traffic – A series of posts about tips I’ve learned biking for a few years with traffic… it takes some experience to learn some of these, so if I can help new cyclists learn these things faster, all the better. I will most likely re-post an updated version of these (I’ve thought of a couple additions) in March or April, when lots of new and returning cyclists start hitting the road for warmer Toronto months.

BikeFriday – A simple idea of trying to get lots of bike-related things happening once a month (the last friday) in addition to once a year during BikeWeek. All the news outlets swarmed around this in August, a mere week after I had the idea, and there’s been less attention lately… but that will change.

With 458 posts, there has been a lot of information on this page, and while the above 4 things have stuck out in my mind as significant, I’m wondering what you the BikingToronto reader has liked the most about this website over the past year.

Do you like certain posts other than others? Are the photos your faves? The news of bike-stuff happening in other cities?

Anyhow, thanks for coming here over the past year. I’m looking forward to the next one, and hope you are too.

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

Hi everyone,

Tracy and I will be out of town from tomorrow right until late on New Years Day. We'll be pretty internet-free the whole time, so the rest of your 2006 will have less than your normal amount of fresh BikingToronto posts. :)

We wish you a great holiday season and many happy times over the coming new year.

I'll be back here posting on January 2nd, most likely, and am aiming to do the following things in 2007:

Expand and Popularize BikeFriday:
I think that tons of organizations, businesses and individuals will do bike-related stuff on the last friday of every month. The key to BikeFriday being successful is encouraging events run on their own... BikeFriday isn't about organizing - it has neither the staff or money for that... BikeFriday is about about getting the word out about events on BikeFriday. I hope to get the City of Toronto involved more, as well as organizations like SmartCommute and local community groups.

Car-Free Lifestyle Posts:
Tracy and I don't own a car, yet we are renovating our bathroom. This involves using bikes for smaller things, the TTC for medium things and zipcar.com for larger things from Home Depot. We've found that it's very possible (and easy) to renovate without owning a car. I hope to post about our Car-Free bathroom renovation (with photos!) in January. The kitchen will be next... :)

BikeWeek 2007:
I'd like to get a lot more cycling events happening during BikeWeek this year - perhaps try and get the City to do a Group Commute EVERY DAY of BikeWeek (which is really 2 weeks...), instead of just once, and work with the Cycling Cog website to promote Group Rides around our great city - on the streets, on the waterfront, in the ravines, etc.

BikePooling:
I'd also like to try and co-ordinate some kind of BikePooling thing in Toronto - have people going the same way on the same routes to ride in groups... this will not only increase their safety as drivers are more careful around groups of cyclists, but encourage more people to bike Toronto - as safety is by far the number one reason why people don't cycle.

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





Yeah, this is what I wore in to work, minus the toque but with a bike helmet.

I got perplexed stares from drivers and pedestrians but my fellow cyclists loved it. A few asked me wear my chainsaw was, and I visibly freaked one out when I did a shoulder check while she was following me. She laughed about it when we stopped at the next red light.

Did anyone else dress up today?

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

Maybe it’s just me, but is anyone else very excited that right now it’s 12 degrees Celcius in Toronto? Or that tomorrow morning will be 11 degrees Celcius? Or that the high tomorrow will be 13?

I packed some shorts for the bike commute home – my legs are fine in shorts as long as it’s above 7-8 degrees, since they’re doing a lot of work and staying warm.

I really hope the morning will be as warm as they’re predicting – I’d love to ride to work in shorts on the last day of October… and I’ll have to wear my hockey mask to freak out drivers since it’s Hallowe’en. I’ll scare you with a photo of that tomorrow. Haha.

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posted by Joe on Tuesday, October 03, 2006 Share/Save/Bookmark

Who else rode in the wonderful refreshing rain this morning?

When Tracy and I got out of bed around 6:45-ish, it was rainly lightly with thunderstorms threatening – and Tracy made me promise to not ride to work in the thunder and lightning.

I had to keep my promise… and yet… the weather forecasters were calling for sunshine and 22 degrees for this afternoon (and were right!), so I couldn’t TTC it to work, because riding a streetcar in that kind of weather when you could be biking is pure torture. Torture that you pay $2.75 for.

Therefore, I waited until the angels had finished bowling and the bolts of electricity had stopped charging around the sky, and biked in through a refreshing downpour (which was both light and heavy at times, and at times non-existent over my 25 minute commute).

Now I’ll get to bike home, in October, in beautiful weather – ecstatic that I can do it in shorts and a t-shirt, and a little disappointed that it may be the last time until May.

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