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Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ Category

The Errandonnee is a fun biking based activity that has been running for a couple of years. Basically you have to do 12 errands over a 12 day period, using the following categories: (from the website)

Categories

Below are the 9 Errandonnee categories in order for you to plan your Errandonnee:

  1. Discovery (See something new while you’re out and about!)
  2. Helping Hand (This can be however you define it – helping a person, helping the environment, you get the idea)
  3. History Lesson
  4. Non-Store Errand
  5. Personal Business
  6. Personal Care
  7. Public Art
  8. You carried WHAT?!
  9. Wild Card (Any trip that does not fall into any of the above categories. Surprise me!)

There are a couple of other rules. You are also encouraged to document your activities on social media, and you can also apply for a prize that will be mailed to you for a fee. There is a facebook page if you want to see what others are doing.

I decided to start yesterday. On day one, I did a loop around Etobicoke, and on the way back I realized that I was close to Sandown Market which is our go to place for Japanese groceries, so I dropped by to pick up a few items. Granted my handlebar bag didn’t fit too much more stuff so I limited what I bought. The proprietor was amused that I had arrived by bike. I put this activity in category #5: personal business.

On the way home, I also decided to drop by High Park and sure enough the cherry blossoms had been fenced off already. I counted this as #4 (non-store errand).

Today I wanted to pack a few more errands in. Here is public art (#7).

This is right across the street from Robarts, and you can see that the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

I also did some deliveries for the Bike Brigade, so I counted that as a combination of #2 (helping hand) and #8 (you carried what?)

Finally I picked up some new glasses which I counted as #6 (personal care).

That makes a total of six errands thus far, over two days and 75 km. Ten days to go.

I’m not allowed to use any of the categories more than twice so I’ll have to do some planning over the next week.

This is a fun way to promote utility cycling. I’d encourage everyone to visit the website to find out all of the details. You can choose any 12 day period until the end of June. A heck of a lot easier than a Randonnée.

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Today was the 100th consecutive day of biking for me this year. I decided to mark the day by doing some deliveries for the bike brigade.

Did I mention that the weather was gorgeous, and it was the first shorts ride of the year as well?

Chatting at the pick up point with our fearless leader, Dave Shellnutt, the biking lawyer.

Deliveries done, I dropped by Urbane Cyclist on the way home to pick up some fancy MKS half clips. I am a big fan of half clips.

The bike brigade texted me to drop by again, and they gave me this flag! Triple logos in this picture.

I also decided to drop by the Alex Amaro ghost bike. Thanks to whoever has been keeping the bike looking beautiful.

I also wanted to check out the Bloor bike lanes between Lansdowne and Dundas West since I had heard that the hydro work under one of the bridges was done. Nice to see this family taking advantage of the bike lane.

I did note that the parents directed their kids onto the sidewalk for the underpasses. This one only has a painted buffer at the moment.

The hydro work under the rail path bridge is done, but apparently Metrolinx has to do a little more work before the bike lane is installed. It is not clear if the city will lay down stripes in the meantime.

Two other brief notes, one happy, one sad.

Last night I was extremely honoured to be named “bike advocate of the year” by the Toronto Community Bikeways Coalition. I have to note that many people who are part of this group have done more than I towards bike infrastructure, but they took themselves out of the running by being part of the organization that was giving out the award. You know who you are….

Congratulations to all the award winners. I am doubly honoured to be in such good company.

Second thing: the truck driver that killed Douglas Crosbie was acquitted of all charges today.

Stay safe, and get out there and enjoy the weather.

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John Offutt was killed by a driver at the intersection of Judson and Royal York back in Nov 2020, and ARC installed a ghost bike on Nov 27. On Dec 11, a car flipped onto the sidewalk where the ghost bike was mounted, and bent it up.

ARC is intending to replace the bike at some point in the future. In the meantime, I took the opportunity to install an updated sign. You can see the faded, old sign in this picture.

Here is the new sign. Thanks to Yvonne for providing it.

Friends of John hope to have a group ride in his honour some time this spring.

This particular ghost bike also has a link to a second tragedy as it was donated by the family of 84 year old Pasquale Alonzi who was killed in Bolton in August 2020.

It was a nice day. First ride this year for me on the good bike.

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One of the pleasures of riding with the Bike Brigade is the opportunity for me to learn about community partners. Today was a glorious day for riding, and I took advantage of it to help stock a community fridge on Adelaide near Niagara. On the way to the pickup point, I see this binner with a large load on Dupont.

At the pickup point, I meet Chad, a fellow Bike Brigade Haul a Day pilot. He was already loaded up.

While I was loading up, fellow Bike Brigader Shahnaz pulled up on her trike.

She took this picture of me at about the same time.

image source

I have arrived at the community fridge.

Before:

After:

Lot’s of good food that will hopefully go to people that need it. Some gloves and masks as well.

The community fridge program is a wonderful initiative. You can find out more about it here.

Their instagram feed is below.

https://www.instagram.com/cf___to/?hl=en

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Today is winter bike to work day for the northern hemisphere. Appropriately, it is genuinely cold at about -14°C this morning which is probably the coldest day of this winter in TO (although nothing like the weather that our friends in the prairies saw this past week). Even if you are zooming into work at home today, try to get out for a bit of a bike ride if you can.

According to the website, there are 70 of us signed up to ride in Toronto. Congrats to Montreal for being the top ranked Canadian city this year, narrowly beating out Hamilton at the last minute. Seven of the top ten cities are in Sweden, fair enough.

There is a thin layer of snow that can hide black ice, so if you do go out for a bike ride (or for a walk) bundle up, and stay safe everyone!

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Patrick Brown of Bike Law Canada, and MPP Jessica Bell are quoted in this excellent Toronto Star article about the need for vulnerable road user legislation.

Quote from Jessica Bell:

“In addition to making engineering changes to make roads safer, the province must stop the “systemic pattern of smaller fines being handed out to dangerous and destructive drivers,” she said, otherwise “people are going to continue suffering life-altering injuries or die.”

You can sign MPP Bell’s petition in support of VRU here.

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The weekend closest to the last day of January has been the traditional time for an organized “Coldest Day of the Year” ride. Unfortunately such group rides are not possible this year. However, Saturday also offers the chance to ride with the Bike Brigade, so I decided to call today’s ride the coldest delivery of the year. It was about -11 earlier this morning, but by 1 pm, it was a balmy -5°C and sunny,

Lanrick also felt that he had massively overdressed.

I also upgraded the pogies on my cargo bike to a pair from Rock Bros. Ordinarily I would have sourced them from a domestic company (like the coldbike pogies on my other winter bike), and I tried to find a pair of safety orange pogies from Dogwood Designs but they were out of stock everywhere I looked.

The Rock Bros version work well on handlebars that are swept back.

Action shot.

They were almost too warm today. Looking forward to testing them out when it is colder. Strike that, I want it to start warming up now.

Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2019

Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2018

Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2017

Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2016

Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2015

Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2013

Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2012

Update: it was definitely colder delivering on Feb. 6.

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Yesterday Toronto lost an elder statesman of the bike community, Alan Wayne Scott, who passed away after a long battle with cancer.

He will forever be remembered for winning a court case “Food as Fuel” that gave bike messengers the right to deduct $17.50 a day as a business expense.

He was a constant presence at bike advocacy events. He was a familiar face at PWIC, here making a deputation in support of the Bloor bike lanes.

Here celebrating the initial installation of the lanes.

and here, helping to sweep up excess glass spheres that were a slippery hazard for cyclists.

He was also the keeper of the flame of the memory of Darcy Allan Sheppard, and the injustice of his killer, Michael Bryant, getting off scott free.

It was always a pleasure to see him out and about on his trike. In recent years, despite his failing health, he was unfailingly positive. He was posting on facebook up until about a week ago, giving frank updates about his cancer treatment, remembering his music, and above all expressing his love for his family and friends.

You can see many of his deputations at the HoofandCycle youtube channel.

His articles for NOW magazine are here.

This picture taken this past July at the critical mass for black lives matter, was the last time I saw him in person.

RIP Wayne, in this case “ride in peace”.

UpdateFeb 2021: an article in NOW magazine in his memory “In memoriam: Cycling advocate Wayne Scott”

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What better way to close out a year of biking than doing another delivery with the Bike Brigade? This one was a bit different for me. The pick up point was a church on Roncesvalles, and we were to travel as a convoy to deliver 18 food hampers to a food bank storage unit in Parkdale. Here we are at the start point.

Two Bike Friday Haul a Days on this ride.

Off we go.

Waiting to cross Lansdowne at Seaforth.

Phoning to see exactly where the drop off point is.

Mission accomplished.

Nice to see some of the usual suspects, along with some new friends.

For me, that makes 14 deliveries for the Bike Brigade for the year. I don’t have an exact count of the number of boxes, but my loads varied from 3 to 7 boxes, with the average probably a little over four per trip. The Bike Brigade supports many worthy causes, and for me these rides are also a nice opportunity to meet like minded utility cyclists.

Update: according to their stats, I delivered 63 boxes, placing me at #7 on their volunteer list for 2020.

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Louis-Joseph Couturier is cycling from Quebec to Vancouver this winter to raise awareness about cycling safety, and to raise funds for the organization Vélo Fantôme (Ghost Bike), which erects a white bicycle in locations where cyclists are killed. He announced a short group ride in Toronto this evening for anyone who wanted to support his cause. Some of the usual suspects from the Bike Brigade and a few others met him in Queen’s Park.

Here he is taking to Global News.

and now we are off.

First stop: the ghost bike for Dalia Chako. Louis-Joseph asked if there were any infrastructure changes done at this intersection to improve safety. I told him that there will be improvements starting next year when this section of Bloor is redone in conjunction with sewer work. There is a plan for a fully protected intersection here at St. George.

Next, we decided to ride along Bloor so that our visitor could see some of the improvements along Bloor. Given that the westbound section up to Bathurst consisted largely of a painted line, he didn’t seem terribly impressed, especially in comparison to the infrastructure he talked about in downtown Montreal. In fact it was a bit embarrassing to show off of what is one of the most significant pieces of bike infrastructure in town.

After a brief stop at the reflexology garden that was a memorial to Jenna Morrison, we arrived at the ghost bike for Alex Amaro. Many flowers had been added since the last time we were here.

Louis-Joseph was deeply moved.

He told us a little bit about what was next for his ride. He took a 500 km detour south in order to meet like minded cyclists in Toronto.

A group picture. The person who kindly took this shot was amused that I was the only one who was properly socially distant.

If you want to track his progress, you can follow the posts on the facebook page for his journey.

or on twitter.

His gofundme page is here.

Wishing him a safe journey. It takes a special kind of determination to cycle across Canada in the dead of winter.

Follow up quote from the man himself:

Thank you Toronto! Thank you so much to everyone who showed up! I have a dream that one day our cities will be as cyclable as Amsterdam at all seasons. I’m convinced you guys will make this possible. Let’s build bridges and partnerships between our cities to make this possible.

Btw, best part of the article 😂🤣 “Given that the westbound section up to Bathurst consisted largely of a painted line, he didn’t seem terribly impressed, especially in comparison to the infrastructure he talked about in downtown Montreal [Réseau Express Vélo]. In fact it was a bit embarrassing to show off of what is one of the most significant pieces of bike infrastructure in town.”

That is accurate, I despise bike lanes that consist of painting in zones that physically allow drivers to go past the 30km/h mark (where a cyclist has 95% chance of survival from a collision). I consider them cheap marketing to shut down cyclists’ critiques. I want some bolards or concrete curbs on my bike lanes. Hahahaha

Toronto Star: “Meet the man riding from Quebec to Vancouver in the heart of winter to raise awareness for cyclist safety

Update: He has tested positive for COVID and had to self isolate for a while. He is determined to continue is journey.

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