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Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Cycle Toronto organized a “Yonge Loves Bikes” ride on a gloriously sunny Saturday. The ride started at Heath and Yonge, just a little north of St. Clair so that we could all look forward to riding down the big hill. This is in contrast to last year, when we had to bike up the hill.

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It’s always interesting to see some of the fine machines that show up. This is TBN member Roy’s Air Friday, to which he has added e-assist.

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He also locked out the flexing of the Ti beam with this bracket.

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Sam with one of his bikes. He says he has been trimming down the size of his fleet.

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It turns out that this big orange Bullitt with a trailer belongs to Cycle Toronto.

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The combination of horizontal dropouts, disc brakes, hub gear and tight fender line is going to make repairing a flat on the rear a real pleasure. (I hope I didn’t jinx things by pointing this out). Note the Shimano e-assist and and electronic shifting.

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Sam et al tell us how the ride is going to be organized.

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We line up behind some police bikes.

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And off we go, turning south on Yonge.

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Regroup after the steepest part of the hill.

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Is that “V” for victory, or a peace sign?

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At Davenport.

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Approaching Bloor St.

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South of Bloor now.

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Here comes that Imperial Star Destroyer the Cycle Toronto portable mothership.

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Sorry this one is blurry.

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Yonge/Dundas. At this point, the police escort peeled off.

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At Shuter.

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Turning at the foot of Yonge St.

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Along the MG trail.

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Turning into the southernmost part of Sherbourne Commons.

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Group picture, without the lake in the background.

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Thanks to Cycle Toronto for organizing, and all the rides who rode with us.

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Once again this year, there will not be a Bells on Bloor ride as that volunteer group is focusing on the Bloor bike lane pilot campaign. There will be a Bells on Danforth ride on June 24, but regrettably, I’ll be out of town that day.

and of course today there were other rides going on, such as the Ride to Conquer Cancer, and the world naked bike ride, which just happened to go by my office while I was composing this blog entry.

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Xavier Morgan was a five year old boy who died while riding his bike on the Martin Goodman Trail a week ago Wednesday. Today was his memorial ride. About 200 cyclists joined us.

DSC04441Several members of the family were present. Brenda Morgan was his great aunt, and Scott was his grandfather.

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Scott was passing out these cards in memory of Xavier.

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Many bike families were present.

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Joey getting the marshalls organized.

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Geoffrey making some announcements.

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He has made ghost bikes for too many memorial rides.

and here we go.

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Down Huron

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Harbord, across Spadina.

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Down Harbord.

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Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon in conference with Walk Toronto and Hamish Wilson.

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Passing the Bike Joint.

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Regroup at Shaw

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South on Shaw.

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Watch out for those streetcar tracks.

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Through Liberty Village.

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Regroup at Strachan.

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Riding up the hill on the bridge.

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Along Manitoba St. on the EX grounds.

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Across the bridge to Ontario Place.

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Back down to the Martin Goodman trail.

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Arriving near the crash site.

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Installing the ghost bike.

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Joey calls for a minute of silence.

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The family makes a statement.  Brenda Morgan said that the family appreciate that many came together as a result of this tragedy, and that the city acted quickly to put in a safety barrier. Scott Morgan said that the only blessing was the Xavier’s death was instantaneous and that his spirit went straight up to heaven.

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The ghost bike.

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We then formed a human chain along the barrier in tribute to Xavier.

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“There was nothing he loved more than biking.”

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The city is now making belated efforts to identify other hazardous spots along the Martin Goodman Trail. It is very sad that it takes a tragedy like this to get action on improvements to instructure for cyclists and pedestrians.

Thanks to everyone who rode today.  Support from the Toronto Police was also appreciated.

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Today was the annual Group Commute that kicks off Bike Month in Toronto. As per usual, I started at High Park, bright and early under overcast skies, with a bit of rain threatening.

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Numbers were down from previous years, perhaps because of the weather.

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Are we’re off!

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At Keele.

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Bakfiets plus umbrella and dog.

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Regroup at Christie.

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Councillor Layton joins us!

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At Bay.

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This tower at Bloor and Yonge is more complete this year.

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The merged group at Charles is pretty big.

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Here we go down Yonge St.

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In a reversal of the usual situation, here is one lone SUV hemmed in on all sides by bike traffic.

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Approaching City Hall.

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That’s Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon right in front of me.

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The Bakfiets family is all smiles.

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Time for breakfast.

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Nice to have real maple syrup!

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Sitting under the arcade as the rain comes down, with a custard tart for breakfast. Could be worse….

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People were taking any available shelter.

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Cycle Toronto booth was busy selling shirts and memberships.

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This year’s T shirt is a nice bright purple, and if you look carefully, it features a cargobike.

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Numbers were down from last year, although I will resist the side to side photo comparison (as per the US inauguration).

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Wayne Scott interacting with some of Toronto’s finest.

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He and I had the only “Bike Lanes on Bloor” shirts in evidence.

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Mayor Tory addressing the crowd.

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The sun started peeking out, and more of the crowd came out from under shelter.

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Andy taking Elise to school.

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A press scrum around the mayor.

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All these kids (and some teachers) joined the ride, and also committed to biking to school during Bike Month.

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Thanks to the City of Toronto, Cycle Toronto, and all of the participating sponsors.

During my short ride the rest of the way to work, a charming couple behind me on McCaul reacted to my “Bike Lanes on Bloor” shirt by yelling that if you “wanted bike lanes on Bloor, you should f**king using them, you maniac!” which shows me that we still need a wider attitude adjustment in this city before people take cycling seriously as a mode of transport.

Ride on, and ride safe everyone!

 

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DAS7: a remembrance

“I am in Toronto for the seventh annual gathering to commemorate (not celebrate) the 25 May 2010 court proceedings (not a trial “in open court”) in which “independent” (though not necessarily impartial) special prosecutor Rick Peck announced and explained (not necessarily credibly) his decision to withdraw criminal charges against former Attorney General of Ontario Michael Bryant in the 31 August 2009 death of my son Darcy Allan Sheppard.
Wayne Scott and I will set up a memorial ghost bike in front of Old City Hall at 6:30 p.m. on 25 May (Thursday).

Please join us, if you can, as an expression of continuing support and solidarity.

The forecast is for rain, so we may have to adjourn to a local watering hole for respite. I have to return to Thornhill at a reasonable hour, so we can leave early, after paying our respects.

With gratitude and best wishes,
Allan Sheppard”

Wayne Scott setting up the DAS 7 sign in front of Old City Hall to remind all about the injustice carried out seven years ago.

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The ghost bike with sign.

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A few fine folk remembering Darcy Allan Shepard. I was very honoured to meet his dad tonight.

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A few words.

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Then a haunting lamentation was sung.

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A small gathering to continue to bear witness.

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Thanks to Wayne Scott and Allan Sheppard for keeping up the good fight.

Link to the original blog post about the reaction to the sentencing in Darcy’s killing. Note also that the banner for this blog is from a picture taken during the memorial ride for Darcy Allan Sheppard.

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Today was an unusual day, with lots of bike related stuff tucked in and around a full day at work.  First up: helping with a bike and car count on Bloor. My shift was from 8-9 am.

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Here is Albert Koehl at the counting nerve centre, AKA the Coffee Time at Bloor and Spadina.

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Next up: the annual Ride of Silence, which is worldwide, on the 3rd Wednesday of May, starting at 7 pm local time. My report is up on the Dandyblog, but here are some extra pictures that did not fit in the narrative.  Here is part of the gathered crowd.

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This fellow showed up on a USS LWB recumbent from a company that I can never heard of: Lightning Cycles in Ohio (not to be confused with Lightning Cycle Dynamics in California). UPDATE: here is some information about the builder, who unfortunately just passed away.

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Derek showed up with family at the very end of our ride with his unique ride.

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He took this shot while the deceased riders’ names were being read out.

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After the ROS, I decided to drop by the Toronto Cruisers ride, which is every Wednesday evening in the warmer parts of the year, starting at 8:15 from Bloor and Huron. It was suggested that we head west, and so I lead our party on a route that took in the famous elephant.

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It is a laid back social ride that often goes late (weather permitting), and always includes tunes from the big speakers on the back of Grant’s bike.

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Thanks to Gerry, Grant and Natalie for introducing me to this ride. As a boring family man, I had to cut out before it got too dark. As far as I know, they might still be riding out there.

 

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I am truly blessed to have these two fine fellows as friends. Tim Potter (left) is the director of the MSU bike project, long time bike advocate, and webmaster for the Ride of Silence. http://www.rideofsilence.org/main.php His brother Jeff is also a life long cyclist and blogger at http://www.outyourbackdoor.com/DSC00441

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Bike for Mike

Bike for Mike is a charity ride in Hamilton that raises money to put kids on bikes, to teach them the rules of the road, and to encourage them to ride to school. Their annual ride was today, and it turned out to be a very pleasant day for biking. I registered for the 50K ride.

Arriving for registration at Collective Arts Brewing.

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Our host, Mark Chamberlain, gives us some facts and figures about their charitable work. This was the 7th annual ride, and in that time, they’ve put 2250 kids on bikes. This year, registration, announcements and some vendors were indoors, rather than outdoors at Waterfront Park as in the past. Worked like a charm: this insured that the weather would be good, despite the lousy forecast all week.  Bonus: we all got a beer ticket at registration.

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I had the pleasure of meeting Mark on my ride with Cycle Hamilton last November.

Here are the 75k riders eager to start.

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Unfortunately, riding under the neat looking arch meant that you were treated to a water hazard within the first 100 meters of the ride.

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Having a wet bottom is not the optimal way to start the day. Note that most of this crowd did not have fenders.

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These guys are going to do the 75K with their Bullitt cargo bikes. Bikeables is a Hamilton based goods (food, etc) delivery service. I was told that the fact their bikes also have Toronto listed reflects the fact that their partner coffecology is expanding to Toronto.

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In honour of the Giro, I’m wearing socks in the same style as my Italian colleague and rider, Andrea Gallo.

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Just before we started, this interesting bike pulled up.

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The 50K crowd was about half the size of the 75K group. We were smart enough to stick to the road at the start to avoid the water hazard.

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The lead group heading south towards downtown.

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Roughly 50 years ago, our family used to live in this apartment building in West Hamilton, and it used to be a huge treat to be allowed to go downstairs to get a treat from the variety store.

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The sign that says “Ancaster” gives no indication that we’re about to climb the escarpment.

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Fortunately, it is a gradual climb with a marked bike lane on the wide shoulder. Check out that blue sky!

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My parents couldn’t quite get their head around the fact that I was going to bike 50K, so they met me in Ancaster to make sure I was doing OK. We took turns taking bad pictures.

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The cargo bikers also made it up the hill.

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At this point, the two routes split off. I turn right.

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Beautiful rolling hills with little car traffic.

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2nd rest stop in Dundas, at a cafe called Grupetto. There were some families here resting at the halfway point of their 25K route.

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Looking inside, I’m blown away by the cycling theme, along with the TV showing the Giro. Turns out that this is the successor to the very well knows Domestique-Café that out grew its old home.

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The frame for this very pretty private label bike was made by Marinoni.

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I had a nice chat with the proprietor, Chris (wearing the toque), who started talking to me when he saw my Tamarack. He certainly knew the history of this very obscure brand. When the first wave of 75K riders arrived, he seemed to know many of them.

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Setting off again.

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Passing through the Mac campus.

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Almost finished. I really like this bump outs with bollards that look like they are for traffic calming.

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Finished, and cashed in my beer ticket.

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A very pleasant ride in support of a great cause. Thanks to our hosts, the Chamberlain family, all the volunteers, and the sponsors, especially Collective Arts Brewing.

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