Improvements to Walmer Circle

Improved Walmer Circle by you.

They've made some serious improvements to Walmer circle. It used to be a bit of a free for all there, but it looks like they've done the wise thing and:
  1. Narrowed the driving area.
  2. Painted it to make it more pedestrian friendly.
Kudos all 'round to the city planners and crews who completed this wonderful improvement.

Improved Walmer Circle by you.


Critical Mass June '09

Toronto Critical Mass 2009

Toronto Critical Mass 2009

Toronto Critical Mass 2009

Toronto Critical Mass 2009

Critical Mass was nice this month due to the lack of police presence. Everyone was happy. More photos here.


Ride To Conquer Cancer 2009

Toronto from atop the escarpment, just west of Hamilton.

I volunteered to do the Ride to Conquer Cancer a couple of weeks back, as a cycling cycle mechanic. My time as a casual volunteer and more often user of Bike Pirates gave me the opportunity, but anyone can sign up to ride along as a mechanic.

The course is 200 km over 2 days through some of the most beautiful terrain and landscapes available.

If I'm available, I'd definitely do it again next year. You can check out more pictures of the event on my flickr.

That wasn't so bad

A small bag of garbage easily fits on my bike trailer. The process of dropping off the garbage at Christie Pitts took about 20 seconds. I could go on like this indefinitely. Who's a baby now, Windsor?


Outdoor workers strike announced

Surely everyone knows that the outdoor workers strike has been announced. Here's a map I've put together of the garbage drop-off locations:

View Garbage Drop Offs in a larger map

We should probably all hook up our bike trailers and help those who will have problems disposing of their detritus.


A response to the e-bike poll of the Bike Union

I was reading through the responses to the bike union's e-bike poll. The bike union has taken the stance against e-bikes, even though the position is vague, as strict regulations already exist. On page 7 of the excel document, I found this eloquent response:
"The questions in this 'survey' were very leading and biased. I have met several disabled people who wish they could be cyclists but are limited by mobility issues. They enjoy cycling for the same reason we do: it's kinder to the environment, more affordable and a more joyful experience. However, they don't get to enjoy the sense of community and camaraderie that we enjoy due to some really nasty prejudice. Many of these cyclists pedal when they are able and use the their battery as a back-up. The power assisted bike provide relief when needed, and helps when climbing inclines.

I met one of these such individuals at the Bells on Bloor ride. She was out riding in support of the implementation of bike lanes, yet was being shouted at left and right by other cyclists and was actually told to leave. Over the course of the ride, she was forced to explain her situation over and over again. She calmly explained that she wanted more than anything to be a cyclist. She cares about the environment - in fact she traded in her car for her power assisted bike -she's doing the best she can, but she is still treated with disrespect from cyclists. I feel like it's pretty silly to turn away a large and growing group of people who support our cause. They're in the same boat as we are, they just want safer less car-monopolized streets.

I'm a cyclists Union member, and a cycling advocate. Can we discuss something more productive now?"
I think that I met the same woman on that ride, and I recall how she wanted to take part in the good that cyclists do, but was unable to do so due to an ailment.

I won't begrudge someone a small electric motor if they want it to do their best to be good to the environment and to their neighbours.


On Bike Shorts

I never used to wear bike shorts. I grew up with a negative image of them that I'm sure a lot of people are familiar with.

Having bought a new seat designed to be used with them, I wore pair to yesterday's Ride for Heart. The shorts were good.

My only lingering complaint (to all of the roadies out there), is that some shorts don't fit some folks just right. When you're trying on your shorts, be sure to bend over and check for two things:
  1. Do you have plumber butt?
  2. Can you see through the shorts?
If either of 1 or 2 is true, people will be able to see more of your butt than you want when you're riding.

The image above of neon bike shorts is by BitchBuzz.


Ride for Heart 2009

Ride For Heart 2009

The ride for heart was great again this year. It's a lovely event to take part in:
  • Unless you're competing in the tour, it's the longest ride you'll get to do that is traffic-free.
  • The Don Valley is one of the most beautiful spots in the city.
  • You get to go really fast.
  • You get to experience the Don Valley without the din of the DVP


A letter to the star

I've been pretty upset with the usage of the term "war on cars." Today I read this opinion in the Star, in an article "Time to stop nutty war on cars":
As I inched my car along Wellesley St. East in morning traffic earlier this week, I watched a lone bicyclist merrily speed by me in his designated bike lane.

For cyclists like him, the recently installed bike lane on Wellesley is a welcome development.

But for fuming motorists like me, the bike lane is an unmitigated disaster because it has narrowed the street, slowing traffic and significantly increasing commuting time. And then there's all the extra pollution caused by having our cars and trucks stuck longer in traffic.

The Wellesley bike lane – used only by that one cyclist as I sat idling in traffic – is just another scrimmage in the rapidly escalating "war on cars" raging these days across Toronto.

This is bullshit! Many have pointed out that the war analogy is offensive; nothing remotely resembling a war is happening in Toronto, least of all traffic-wise. Since they've started using this term, I have noticed that drivers are acting out their frustrations more against cyclists. To me, there seems to be an obvious connection between a group being told that they are at war and an increase in violence from that group.

I sent this letter to the Star:
The phrase "war on cars" is being used frequently in the local media to describe some restrictions on driving. The use of the expression is not only offensively inaccurate, but also dangerous.

This term implies a violence that was not part of this discussion a month ago. Since the term became popular, I've noticed a dramatic increase both in the number and in the severity of incidents of aggressive drivers threatening me with their vehicles.

I used to encounter only one or two aggressive or threatening drivers per week during commutes or other recreational cycling. Now it is more often a daily event. A group of people is repeatedly being told that they are at war; the increase in violence from this group is natural.

Please stop referring to the democratically enacted replanning of a small number of streets and intersections as a war. You are imparting a violence into the discussion that has the potential to harm people.
The image is modified from barn with old car by lapstrake.

Another Giant Photo

Aura Lee park 2

I've stitched another huge photo montage. It just looks like a boring picture of some trees, but check out the largest size! (warning, file is approx 20 MB)


Family of four or five

I always love seeing a whole family crammed onto some ridiculous monstrosity of a bicycle. It's great! This image is from wikipedia.


West End Bikeways plan moving forward

The map above was put together by Joe at Biking Toronto. He has a great post with the full list of proposed bike lanes, with an excellent google map, that the above is cropped from, which shows the proposals for the whole city.

So it looks like the city is going to go ahead with some bike lanes in the west end.

This comes after the consultations that they held regarding the issue. As usual, the plans aren't breath taking (What about the College/Harbord routes abruptly ending?), but it looks pretty good.

For me the most useful thing will be the contraflow bike lanes heading west from Trinity Belwoods.