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Today was the annual coldest day of the year ride. Several of us started a little early by riding in from High Park.

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Quite a good turnout, despite it being actually somewhat cold (-7°C). Here the crowd gathers on Harbord at Art Eggleton Park.

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Never a problem parallel parking the Haul a Day.

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Captain Sam organizes the Cycle Toronto volunteer marshalls.

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A few of Toronto’s finest are along to escort us.

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Jared Kolb and Councillor Mike Layton warm up the crowd.

About half the crowd is what I could get into a single picture. By my count, almost two hundred cyclists.

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Getting ready to depart.

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Bloor at Montrose.

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Along Bloor.

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Down Sherbourne.

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Near the end of the ride on Gerrard, with Rick and a bike dad.

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a few sights and sounds from the day in this video.

Thanks, to Cycle Toronto, Toronto Police services, and Bikeshare Toronto!

Keep riding, and keep warm everyone!

Update:

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Today, the woman who killed cyclist Zhi Yong Kang was sentenced to 7 years in prison, as well as a ten year driving ban. In June 2015, she hit Mr. Kang while he was crossing Finch Ave, fled, and was apprehended after a brief police chase. This story in the Star provides some background on the woman who had previous convictions for drunk driving and was driving with a suspended license at the time. Here are some images from one of her social media accounts before the event.

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From the Star story it appears that the woman is now a model prisoner, and appears to be trying to mend her ways.

Seven years (less time served) is longer than sentences that have been imposed in other recent cases of cyclist deaths with hit and runs, but there were numerous aggravating factors in this case, so it is not clear if this indicates a trend to harsher sentencing.

In any case, we continue the call for vulnerable road user legislation. Cyclists stand united with pedestrians to call for all possible measures to reduce deaths on our streets from automobiles.

Friends and Families for Safe Streets is a new advocacy group that is pushing all levels of government to make measures to make our streets safer for everyone. One of the founding members is Yu Li, a friend of Peter Kang’s, who was also on the memorial ride.

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We await judgment (if not justice) in many other cases from the past few years, such as:

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Cycle Hamilton  is a relatively new cycling advocacy group. They were running a Cycle Advocacy Week, and I figured that a ride they ran today would be the perfect opportunity to check out some of the bike infrastructure  and to get a bit of a feel about what was going on in my hometown. Given that it’s been 40 years since I’ve actually lived there, I knew that a lot had changed.

We gathered at City Hall. Kudos to them; this is the first bike related event that I’ve ever been to where more people showed up than were “going” on Facebook. There was a mix, everyone from a bike dad with son to a bunch of roadies in Lycra.

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Johanna (co-founder of Cycle Hamilton) gives us the scoop on the ride before we start. She says that today’s ride focuses on the fact that a popular route up the escarpment, Sydenham Rd, is due for some infrastructure improvements, but that bike lanes are not included in the plan, even though this route is on the Cycling Master Plan.

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And off we go. Look, a bidirectional bike lane!

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Parking buffered bike lane on Charlton.

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Note the wayfinding signs.

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Entering a section of trail that goes along the northern border of Chedoke golf course.

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Stop to regroup.

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Here we go.

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The lead group.

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The rail trail.  Very nice and wide.

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Threading through the Mac campus.

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and down towards Dundas along Cootes Dr.

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Dundas.

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Pulling up to the Shed Brewery.

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A brief stop to figure out who was going to brave the hill. It turns out that pretty much everyone was going to do it.

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Here we go.

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Not steep yet.

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OK, time for the granny gear.

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People arriving.

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Proof that I made it. Thanks to Mark for taking the photo.

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The historical marker talks about how this is called Clara’s Climb, after Clara Hughes.

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These folks rode Sobi bikeshare bikes.

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Group shot.

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That’s Dave, chair of Cycle Hamilton, in the centre.

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The ride down was quick, and then it was time for beer. The Shawn & Ed Brewing company was kind enough to let us bring bikes in. I hauled a heavy lock up that hill for nothing!

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A good turnout. I was told that the building used to be a firehall, and then a curling rink, and now a beautifully retrofitted brewery.

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It was great to talk to these guys about what was going on bike wise in Hamilton. We argued over who had the more dysfunctional city council. Of course, I could always pull out the Rob Ford card. Their main issue with the bike lanes is that they don’t form a continuous network. Sounds familiar.

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The fellow on the right Mark Chamberlain, runs a ride called Bike for Mike that raises funds to provide underprivileged youth with bikes. They have a multi pronged approach to getting young people on bikes, including having them earn their bikes by pledging to bike to school, etc. They are taking the long view on encouraging the next generation of bike riders and potential bike advocates.  I can’t remember the exact date of the next ride, but I believe that it is going to be the first Sunday in May.

A few pictures of infra on my way back downtown. We biked by this sign on the way out.

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I like this bollard shielded bump out for pedestrian safety and traffic calming.

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The bike lane on Herkimer which is the one way complement to Charlton. These bike lanes just went in this year just went in this year.

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Thanks to Cycle Hamilton for running this event!

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Update: Don’s much better pictures on facebook.

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Cycle Toronto ran a fundraising ride today on Bloor/Danforth for the second consecutive year. About 120 riders were registered for the 25K ride, and another 30 or so for the 10K ride. The route was chosen to highlight several of the campaigns that Cycle Toronto has been running, including sections of Bloor, the Danforth, and Woodbine.
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People gathered at registration before the ride.
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Patrick Brown with just a few of the riders for team Bike Law.
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Jared makes some announcements.
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Joe Cressy says that he knows in this venue, he is preaching to the choir. Nevertheless, he highlights the importance of Cycle Toronto’s advocacy work at City Hall in getting new bike infrastructure approved.
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Head Marshall Captain Sam briefs the riders on how we are going to stick together, and reminds us to use hand signals.
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Lined up at the start on Cecil St.
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Down this laneway behind Baldwin St. to get to Elm.
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Across the Bloor Viaduct.
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This family was with us for the whole 25K ride.
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Headed south on Woodbine.
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Headed west on the Danforth.
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We make a stop at the Eastview Community Centre to meet up with the 10K riders, including this family with the second orange Haul a Day in town!
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Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon is a strong supporter of cycling in the city.
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Julie Dabrusin is the local MP, and she told us that there is now a Cycling Caucus in the Federal Government.
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and off we go again.
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Sam leads us back across the viaduct.
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Momentary stop on Bloor.
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The other Sam does some corking.
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Riding is a breeze if dad does all the work.
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On some sections of Bloor, we can’t all fit into the bike lane.
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On the final stretch, down St. George.
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Thanks to Cycle Toronto for organizing the ride, the ride sponsors, as well as Toronto’s finest for the escort. These officers were from 14 Division, but 51 and 52 also helped out.
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Also nice to see so many families out biking on this brilliantly sunny fall day. Ride safe everyone!

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The driver who killed Adrian Dudzicki has been sentenced to two years in jail, and a 15 year ban on driving as reported in the Toronto Star.

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The driver, Aleksey Aleksev, was convicted in April, for the collision that occurred in November 2013, almost three years ago.

We still await justice in other cases from the past two or three years.

 

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Today was a great day for a bike ride with several hundred of my closest friends AKA Bells on Bloor. This year, the ride started and ended at Christie Pits since we were celebrating the installation of a bike lane pilot on a short 2.5 km section of Bloor St. Before the ride officially started, a smaller group of us gathered at High Park to ride to the ride.

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Our local MP Arif Virani rode along with us for the first part of the ride to show his support.

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I liked this heavily modded Dahon Mu with belt drive, Alfine 11 gearing, and loopwheels.  Apparently it was a prototype built for the Eurobike show some years ago.

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Lucy says time to ride.

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Stopped at Keele. For some reason, when you are riding with these guys, you get more respect from motorists!

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MJ leads us up the hill.

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Doug was rocking his brand new Fat Bike. With a front basket for Honey of course.

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A group shot upon our arrival across from Christie Pits.

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This must be the place.

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Bells specially decorated for the event were given out and mounted by volunteers.

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Had to get one myself.

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MC and chief ride organizer Albert Koehl gets things started.

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The crowd is enthusiastic.

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and now it’s time to ride.

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Angela and colleague in the lead with the official Bells on Bloor Banner.

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For your reference, this is what it says on the back (although the website is defunct, and has been replaced with bellsonbloor.org.

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Albert ringing his bell.

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Riding past the ROM.

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and along Bloor to Sherbourne.

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Back along Wellesley, and then turning north on Queen’s Park Crescent, which was fun because we were occupying the full width of the roadway.

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Police bike corking a BMW.

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Back along Bloor St.

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Greeted by the banner again at the end of the ride.

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Cycle Toronto was providing bike valet.

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There were many craft and food vendors. The longest line was for Pizza Libretto.

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This vendor regretted not having more of these shirts to sell.

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Large and small wheels!

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Just making sure that I get a decent shot of the forks on Doug’s bike.

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Honey had a good time.

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Thanks to the organizers of the ride, and to everyone who rode today.

Note that a different version of this blog post appears on the bells on bloor website, with more covearage of the speakers, and less bike geekery.

Also, here is a video.

 

Update: Dandyhorse coverage here.

 

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Today was another Ward13 ride with several people to follow up on last summer’s ride with Sarah and Jacqueline.  Sarah Doucette, of course being our city councillor, and Jacquelyn Hayward Gulati, the manager of cycling transportation for the city. At the beginning of the ride, we were also met by MPP Cheri DiNovo (who has been very supportive of bicycle related issues), as well as our MP Arif Virani.  This was the first opportunity for us to talk to Arif about some bicycle related issues.  Here he is arriving with two sons in tow.

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Here are all of us.

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(picture source)

and a JJW selfie version of the same picture with only about 5% JJW content.

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After some discussion, it was decided that Arif and older son would join us for the first part of the ride along High Park Ave. It was a blazingly hot day, and he was riding a very small wheeled one speed.

One continuing issue at the south east corner of Bloor and High Park is the fact that the sharrows don’t do much to discourage drivers from leaving little space for bikes at the curb. However, we are grateful for the fact that the sharrows along High Park Ave extend across Bloor St.

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Rest stop. Here we get a chance to pitch side guards for trucks to Arif, since this is a federal issue. We will send him notes on this issue, and he will see if he can find the private member’s bill that was submitted by Olivia Chow on this several years ago.

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Shortly after this point, Arif and son took their leave and the rest of us continued along Annette to Baby Point Gates, and then to the top of St. Mark’s Hill. The signage here has been improved, and Sarah told us that the sign indicating that the cross traffic doesn’t stop took some work to be installed. Traffic control did not allow a 4 way stop at this intersection as this would entail the removal of the pedestrian crosswalk.

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and down the hill we go.

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Cruising back towards the Humber River trail.

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Watermelon break.

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This laneway behind one of the Old Mill condos is a public road so that people can ride from Old Mill Dr. to Riverview Gardens without going on Bloor St.

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From this point, we rode along Bloor, and then down towards the lake via Ellis Ave and Bike Route 19. We bid adieu to Sarah at Deforest and Runnymede. Here we take another break at V’s lemonade stand, where the local speciality was lemonade with mint.

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We had a discussion with Jacquelyn at the foot of Ellis Ave about the improvements that are scheduled to be done this year. The start has been held up by Toronto Water, who had been doing work under the bridge where the Gardiner goes over Ellis, but this appeared to be complete. The changes to come include:

  • a road diet where Ellis is narrowed between Lakeshore and the Queensway, with the installation of a bike lane on both sides (already approved by City Council this spring).
  • a southbound crossing for bikes across Lakeshore that will be adjacent to the existing pedestrian crossing, along with a bicycle signal light.
  • a northbound bikes only crossing on the east side of the intersection.

With these changes, this intersection will be similar in configuration to that for Colborne Lodge at Lakeshore.

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There won’t be large scale reconstruction of the median island, meaning that the sharrows for southbound bikes will likely skirt the end of the median. The removal of the biggest hazard: the right turn lane for cars that creates a small triangular island on the northwest corner, awaits additional funding that is associated with the next set of towers to go up just west of this point.

The other unfortunate piece of news is that traffic studies showed that the volume of car traffic will not make it possible to remove one of the two turning lanes where southbound cars turn left (east) onto Lakeshore. This, in turn, makes it impossible to have a pedestrian crossing on the east side as we requested in our proposal. This means that pedestrians crossing from the lake to the bike park will still have to cross north and then east, and they will have to stand on that tiny triangular island midway through the process.

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(picture JJW)

Other improvements that are scheduled to happen (hopefully) this year include improved markings for bike lanes along Colborne Lodge into High Park, and sharrows up and down Ellis Ave marking the bike route along Deforest and Runnymede up to Bloor St.

One other bit of news that was passed along was that the installation of the Bloor bike lane pilot should be starting the Tuesday after the August 1 Civic Holiday, weather permitting.

Thanks to Sarah Doucette and Arif Virani for riding with us today. Also thanks to Cheri DiNovo for greeting us at the beginning of the ride. Special thanks to Jacquelyn for riding with us all the way to the end at the Lakeshore on such a hot day.

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We look forward to seeing the promised infrastructure improvements. Making our streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians will make it easier for all of us to enjoy the many wonderful natural features of our Ward.

 

 

 

 

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