Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

Henderson’s Brewing launches a different beer every month, and for the past several years, they have had a bike themed beer each June. This time, they turned it into a fundraiser for Cycle Toronto, in collaboration with Mike Layton and Olivia Chow. The centerpiece of the event was an auction for Jack Layton’s bike, with all proceeds going to Cycle Toronto.

At the main entrance, it is clear that this is a bike themed event.

The place is packed with many of the usual suspects from the local bike community. That’s Jack’s bike hanging from the ceiling.

The Toronto Unicycle Club was also in attendance.

Steve, head of Henderson’s, gets us started.

The brewmaster describes Post and Ring as a cloudy, easy drinking IPA, with 6% ABV in honour of Jack’s Ward 6.

Jared now introduces Mike and Olivia who are going to run the auction.

Mike talks about some recent bylaws to make it easier for craft brewers to succeed in Toronto.

Olivia tells us about how Jack was offered a car and driver when he was elected to Ottawa, but he much preferred riding this bike to work, parking it right in front of Parliament.

Now some fast and furious bidding.

This fellow is on the phone with his Swiss bankers before submitting his bid.

and then the winning bid of $1800!

Mike thanks everyone.

Steve tells us to enjoy the rest of the evening. He also notes that the winner cannot collect his bike right now as getting it down from the ceiling would entail someone getting up on a ladder, and everyone present had at that point already downed a decent about of beer.

In the meantime, Darren from Bedford Unicycles was giving rides on the penny farthing.

Steve being coached.

and he’s off!

It is really interesting to ride one of these. The steering is a little squirrelly as there is no trail, and also there is quite a bit of torque steer while medaling.

There was also some Raptor themed uni riding.

Post & Ring comes in these small cans. Highly recommended.

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Today was the 30th annual City of Toronto Group Commute. Here we gather at the High Park start point on a brilliantly sunny morning.

Albert recruited a few of us to cycle in turtle costumes, in reference to the agonizingly slow pace of bike infrastructure construction across the city.

This year’s shirts are red/pink.

The TPS explains corking just before we take off.

Revved up and ready to go.

And we’re off. That’s Meri from Gord Perks’ office in the lead.

Turtles use hand signals too!
straight into the sun as usual

This bike dad was riding a nicely accessorized Costco cargo bike.

Climb, John, climb.

Corking, TPS style.

The lead group.

We were handed off to a bike based unit at Dufferin.

Bromptons well represented today.

This fellow was not on delivery yet.

Alberto always shows up with an interesting art bike.

He has a show of his work that opens on June 1 at 7 pm and runs for the month. Most of the artwork will be fish related. @the mezz, 1546 Queen St. W.

Turning south at Yonge.

Running into old friend Mikey of WHPSC fame. He didn’t have to ask about the turtle costume as he knows how slow I am.

Off we go.

This is an interesting low step over bike.

Arriving at NPS.

Friends with Bromptons. Rumor is that there is going to be a Brompton Ride during the August 18 Open Streets TO event.

Perhaps the youngest Brompton owner in town.

Picture time with Mary Margaret.

Albert and Joe Cressy after having a few words.

Nice to see Geoffrey working on a bike that is not painted white.

Turtles listening to updates about the Bike Plan.

Inevitably, they are somewhat disappointed.

Turtle video linked below.

Some of us wanted to remind people that cyclists are still dying on the streets.

photo: Geoffrey Bercarich

Bike Law continues to push for Vulnerable Road User legislation.

I was told that the legislature is voting on amendments to Bill 107 today, to bring in more in line with Bill 62, which was Jessica Bell’s private member’s bill (now tabled). Figures crossed.

Nice to see so many people out, but we still await the day when people feel safe commuting by bike without the benefit of police escort.

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What is bikebike? From their website: Bike!Bike! is an international, annual gathering organized by and for community bicycle projects. The conference is a space for participants from shops and related advocacy groups to converge in a different city each year over a 4 day period to have workshops and strengthen our social network.

In addition to this larger meeting, there are smaller regional meetings. This year, Charlie’s Freewheels, Bikechain and Bike Pirates worked together to put on bike!bike! northeast, which ran this weekend (in fact it is still running at the time of this blogging). About 100 people are attending.

The awesome poster for this event by Nicole.

People started rolling into town on Friday But the workshops started on Saturday. Here, HPVDT has just finished their presentation, and people are crowded around both Zephyr and Tempest.

Next up, a workshop about some of the barriers in the cycling community faced by BIPOC (black, indigenous, person of colour), in particular women, trans, non-binary. There is a club called bikepoc that organizes social rides, which is a step towards creating a welcoming community for this group, but there are many other issues that need to be addressed. They made the point that community bike shops have a special responsibility since part of their mission is to lower barriers to entry for everyone interested in cycling.

After lunch, there was a presentation from recycle a bike. The talked about their work with two high schools in Providence, Rhode Island.

Sunday morning: beautiful weather, and the action shifted to Bike Pirates in Parkdale.

Lots of people finishing breakfast.

This is where some of the culinary magic is happening. They are working on lunch. I must say that all the food that I had was both nutritious and delicious.

You’ll recognize the mural from this scene from the trailer for SHAZAM!

Ainsley with cereal.

Now it was time for a bike tour of two other community bike shops. Ainsley tells us a little about the history of Bike Pirates, which has been running for 13 years.

Now we’re off towards Charlie’s Freewheels.

Brad and Alix lead.

Cutting in behind CAMH.

Now along Adelaide.

Crossing Bathurst

Now up Sherbourne. The fellow with the banner is from Peterborough.

Alix tells us a little about the history of Charlie’s which has been running for ten years now. We are in the alleyway behind Charlie’s.

Next up: Bike Sauce.

Brad fills us in on history has well. Bike Sauce is in Riverdale, in a community that was formerly dominated by Chinatown East, but is becoming more diverse. It has been running for 9 years. They say they started in a funeral home, pointing out the difficulty in finding spaces with low enough rent to make this type of community bike shop viable.

Ben also told us to check out an ice cream store around the corner. Check out this menu at Wong’s Ice Cream.

Here I am enjoying Wasabi Honey.

Now we’re headed back to Pirates for lunch.

People lining up to make screen printed momentos.

Meanwhile, people out back where fooling around on tall bikes. Here Tom and Raymond are making a precision adjustment on one of them. Note the tool made with Columbus tubing.

Tom helping Ainsley.

I’m disappointed that you can’t tell I’m on a tall bike in this selfie.

Update: Noah Siegel just posted his much better pictures of people riding tall bikes, including this one that is proof that I was in fact on a tall bike.

The events continue to run Sunday, and into Monday. I had a lot of fun talking with people from out of town. The bike world is smaller than you think. I talked to someone who graduated from Olin College, and who worked on this crank from Olin’s HPV entry back in 2012.

And apparently we racing against this fellow last year when he was on the Pitt team. I remember that they won the endurance race.

Here’s hoping that the weather holds for the rest of the events.

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Today’s Ride of Silence took place under highly variable weather conditions. Riding to the start point, it was sunny and warm to begin with, but in the next half hour, I experienced thunder and lightning, rain, and hail. A bit like this strip:

At the starting point, there were a few hardy souls gathered, shown here taking some shelter in an alcove. Look closely: those white streaks are hail stones!

What a day to be without rain gear, and wearing a T shirt.

As the appointed time approached, the rain let up a bit, and a few more people rode up. Here is Ben with his highly modified Brompton.

Fork and rear triangle made of Russian titanium, a Rohloff hub, and Hope disc brakes.

Joey lines us up to go.

Riding by the Dalia Chako ghost bike.

Approaching Bay, it is raining in earnest again. Hamish has joined us.

Surprise: Bill has appeared with our ASME winning bike.

What a day to be caught without my usual rain cape.

At Dundas and Yonge.

Getting ready to turn onto Queen.

Arriving at the peace garden. You can tell there’s water on my lens by now.

A few more people rode up at the Peace Garden, just as the sun came out again.

Here I’m reading out the names of the deceased. (Photo: Hamish Wilson)

Every year, the list of names of cyclists killed in the past ten years gets longer. This was the 17th annual Ride of Silence internationally. I’m not sure when these rides started in Toronto, but the first one I attend was 2010, so this was at least the 19th local ride.

Today was also the one year anniversary of the when Jonas Mitchell was struck and thrown ten meters through the air at Lakeshore and Colborne lodge. We heard about it the day before last year’s ride.

Thanks to everyone who helped us remember all the cyclists whose lives were tragically cut short while riding bikes on the mean streets of our fair city.

Update: Joey Schwartz’s video of the ride.

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Just a few quick notes. Bikebike Northeast is coming up soon this Victoria Day weekend, and there was a crew at Charlie’s Freewheels working on some event prep.

Unfortunately I had to leave before the real work started.

On the way home, I hadn’t been on the Richmond bike lanes for a while and I noted a lot of improvements in the green paint markings. Also a bit shout out to this condo construction area just east of Bay, where they had marked out both a bike lane and a pedestrian pathway with cones.

They had even filled in the street car track a bit with asphalt.

I don’t know if this was a result of the contractor doing the right thing, or increased oversight by the city, but in any case seeing these accommodations for one of the most heavily used pieces of bike infrastructure in the city was heartening.

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Today was the annual “coldest day of the year ride”, even though it was clearly not the coldest day of the year (that would have been Wednesday or Thursday). This year’s ride was to be along Bloor/Danforth, to draw attention to the need for an extension of bike lanes in both the east and west directions. The ride started at Danforth and Logan, and a few of use decided to ride to the ride from High Park. Here are local stalwarts Janet Joy and John, along with Alex.


On our way east, we picked up Laura and José.

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The Bloor bike lane being what it can be after inadequate snow clearance, sometimes it was better to be in the traffic lane.


Now across the Prince Edward Viaduct. I think this is the first year where the city has left the flexiposts in place, which is great.

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Trying to stay out of the door zone on the Danforth.


Now we arrive at Logan to be greeted by the sight of a very large crowd.

Keegan from CycleTO gets thing started. She tells us about a contest that is being run in conjunction with special winter edition Bikeshare bikes.

special winter edition paint scheme

Next up: Jared Kolb. He reminds us of the theme of today’s ride: Groundhog Day. Last year’s ride started at the same point, and just like last year, we are still calling for the installation of a Minimum Grid of bike infrastructure across the city.

Next, Toronto Danforth MP Julie Dabrusin. She apologized for not riding with us, but she had a broken arm. She said that the federal government is fully prepared to work in partnership with the city to install what ever the city decides.

Finally, Councillor Brad Bradford. It is obvious from the way he dresses that he is a real cyclist. He called for safer streets.

Now off we go, complete with police escort.

Back across the viaduct.

That’s a lot of cyclists.

Doug and Honey
Rob Z and Janet Joy discussing bike infra.

Ironically, at the pace we were riding, and with a bike traffic jam, it was possible to pass the entire pack by using the bike lane.

I enjoyed talking with the fellow from France who was riding a truly nice 650B bike with 853 tubing, dynamo lighting, etc etc.

Approaching Dundas West, almost at the end of the ride.

The ride ended at the Wicket, just short of Indian Rd. Here is Doug and Honey again.

Another gratuitous Brompton picture.

After the ride, it was a pleasure to catch up with many of my bike friends, and to meet many more.

Quite a few people elected to use Bikeshare, and I heard that there was a trailer that was going to haul the bikes back downtown. I guess these bikes were still waiting to get picked up.

Thanks to Cycle Toronto for organizing the ride, Bikeshare for providing logistical support, and Toronto Police for the one way escort.

Both Wiarton Willie and Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring. Here’s hoping they are right.

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Cyclist Gary Sim was killed by a driver in July 2017, just a short distance from his home.  Today, the court ruled in this case, and the driver was fined the maximum penalty available under the law for the offence for which he was convicted: $500 for “turn not in safety”. 

Since her father’s death, Heather Sim has become an advocate for pedestrian and cyclist safety, and is a member of Friends and Families for Safe Streets.

His widow, Angela Sim, has also ridden on many ghost bike rides since last year.

Although the penalty to the driver was ridiculously light, it was anticipated as current laws have numerous loopholes via which drivers who kill people can get off essentially scott free. This underlines, once again, the need for vulnerable road user (VRU) legislation. VRU legislation was recently introduced at the provincial legislature as a private member’s bill by NDP MPP Jessica Bell, a bill backed by many community organizations and more than 15,000 online supporters.

Thus far, the only reaction from the ruling PC party is: 

“This Bill was introduced this afternoon and we are still in the process of reviewing it,” said Andrew Koolsbergen, a spokesperson for Minister of Transportation Jeff Yurek’s office, in a statement. “Our government is for the people and we will make sure that any Bills we support are aligned with that principle.”

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