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Nothing too serious, although rain is forecast for later in the day. First snow was a few days later than last year.

Snow clearance on Annette and Dupont was decent, but there was no evidence of ploughing on the Shaw contraflow.

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This despite the fact that Shaw is on the city’s list of priority snow clearance for bike lanes.

Ride safe and stay dry! At least I haven seen any patches of black ice like there was for the past few days.

 

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This afternoon I had a little time on my hands so I took a somewhat circuitous route home, starting from the Lawrence subway station. I wouldn’t recommend this route as it had plenty of cycling along major streets with high speed arterial traffic, such as Bayview, York Mills, Wilson and Keele.

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However, if you look at my veloviewer map, you can see that this was another tile collecting run. Here is the before map on Veloviewer which shows a 6×10 rectangle.

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Afterwards, now up to 8 x 10.

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However I see that I didn’t plan my route carefully enough because there is one square not filled in on a potential ninth row.

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If I had just turned into that little Cul-de-sac, that would have done it.

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However, as a consolation, I got to see some truly fugly houses in that neck of the woods. This was my “favorite”.

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I’ll have to pick up that missing square at some point, but from now on I think that I’ll let my tile collecting happen organically.

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Today was the 5th annual book ride put on by the Reading Line. This year’s theme was centred on the Bloor Viaduct, its history, the fact that it bridges different communities, and the fact that it is tied up with the experiences of different immigrants who make up the fabric of our city. We started our day in a courtyard on the grounds of Central Tech, near Bloor and Bathurst.

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Siva Vijenthira talked to us about her current and prior work with with various organizations like Cycle Toronto and Culture Link to encourage cycling among new immigrants and school groups in the city.

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Our first author reading was by Bethelem Terrefe Gebreyohannes who read from her debut book “Firewalkers” which is an account of her family’s escape from Ethiopia.

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The next reading was by Carrianne Leung who read from “That that time I loved you”, a series of interconnected stories about youth in Scarborough, under the shadow of a tragic event that happened in the neighbourhood.

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Next, Sarah Bradley from Cycle TO reminded us of the necessity for continuing advocacy for better cycling infrastructure.

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In the mean time, lead Joey Schwartz briefs the group of volunteer bike marshalls.

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Finally, our fearless leader Janet Joy Wilson starts getting the large crowd primed for the first segment of our ride, down Bloor to the Rosedale Valley School of the Arts.

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Joey gets the crowd energized.

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Lining up to leave.

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Along Bloor.

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One of our videographers was Kutaiba, who is a Syrian refugee. Motive transport was provided by Curbside Cycle, and motive power was provided by Geoffrey Bercarich.

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Chris Brunlett of Modacity and Janet Joy.

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I first met writer Amy Lavender Harris on the 2014 edition of the Reading Line book ride.

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Here we arrive at our second stop, a peaceful glade just south of Castle Frank subway station, on the grounds of the Rosedale Valley School of the Arts.

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Many of our announcements were also interpreted into ASL.

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Amanda O’Rourke, executive director of 8-80 cities, reminded us of the importance of making it easy for all ages to travel around the city. The vision statement of 8-80 cities:

“Whether you’re 8 or 80 years old, cities should work for everyone.”

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Chris and Melissa Brunlett told us of how they came to found Modacity, where they promote the benefits of walking, cycling and public transit. Melissa then read a short excerpt from their just released book “Building the Cycling City“.

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I asked Chris what he thought of the ride over, in particular the section of Bloor between Avenue Rd and Sherbourne. Suffice it to say that he was not impressed, and he said that he would definitely not be happy having his 12 year old daughter ride that route.

Our final speaker at this site was Ramón Pérez, a graphic novel artist who talked about being an immigrant, and finding his tribe among like minded artists here in Toronto. Drawing an analogy to the X -Men (the second group), he said that his groups’ superpowers were art. He is part of the Raid Studio, a group that encourages the next generation of comic book artists.

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Our next stop would be across the Bloor Viaduct, along the Danforth to East Lynn Park.

I think that the single most hazardous part of the ride is the east end of the viaduct where there is an offramp to the DVP. Here green paint is the only protection as cyclists have to navigate their way one lane over from the curb lane.

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Riding along the Danforth.

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I really liked the colorway of this Masi with 650b tires.

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Our final stop was East Lynn Park. I arrived a bit ahead of the main group and had the pleasure of listening to the tail end of a practice session by Wilson and the Castaways.

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There were many activities planned for the final stop, and some of this was made possible by “the Danny” AKA the Danforth Mosaic BIA.

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Geoffrey cooling his feet after an afternoon of piloting a very heavy cargo bike.

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Marvin Macaraig talked about the good work of Scarborough Cycles. I remember his talk from the last edition of the Reading Line, and one thing that stuck with me was the fact that there is only one bike shop in all of Scarborough. They run many bike related programs out of Access Point on Danforth, include community bike rides.

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Unfortunately at this point, I had to leave, so I was not able to hear the final two readings, as well as to see the other activities planned for the rest of the day.

As always, it was a pleasure to be part of the book ride experience. The event gets richer every year. I admire both the work of the many volunteers, as well as the tremendous energy of Janet Joy Wilson, who has been the driving force behind this event.

My reports on previous book rides:

2016 was the year I missed the ride, but you can read about Books on Bathurst at Dandyhorse Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

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Today, Lucy and I took a ride downtown. Wait a minute, something is different about Bloor today, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

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Today was the first of two Open Streets events, from 10 am to 2 pm.

A gathering of cargo bikes at Curbside, with some Bromptons hanging around for good measure.

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Councillor Kristin Wong Tam has been a champion of this event. She led an official group bike ride.  Smile, Peter, smile 😉

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This was the finest bike decorating I saw today.

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These people were going nowhere in an awfully big hurry.

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There was also a group dog walk put on by Toronto Animal Services, but Lucy said “no, I prefer to keep riding”.

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Cycle Toronto had a demonstration fully protected intersection laid out at Bloor and St. George.

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The location meant, of course, that it was within sight of the Dalia Chako ghost bike.

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Temporary markings indicated how bicycle and pedestrian traffic should flow.

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Ironically, since there was no car traffic at this crossing, most people were just strolling or riding through the intersection.  Sort of like the King St. pilot.

Hopefully the city will install one of these, even just as a trial. Of course Vancouver is way ahead of us, and they already have the real thing.

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Parks and Rec advertised a temporary grass installation at Yonge and Bloor. 5000 square feet sounds like a lot, but when you actually look at it, it looks rather small compared to the acres of concrete and asphalt everywhere else.

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Lucy and Yonge St. This time there wasn’t a selfie station in the centre of the intersection, which was too bad.

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On the way home, we passed bike buddy Doug who was riding his new Wike Salamander cargo bike. Most in the bike community have met Honey the dachshund, but now Chelsea can also attend bike events as well.

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There is going to be one more Open Streets event on Sunday, September 16. Mark your calendars!

 

 

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Today was a day packed with bike related activities.

First off was an early morning meet up of a few Toronto Brompton Owners. I don’t know whose idea it was to meet at 8 am on a Saturday, but here are a few of us at the foot of Spadina at Queens Quay.

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Of course, with any meeting of Brompton owners, there was the opportunity to admire how we had accessorized our bikes. I was particularly struck by the friction shifters on Tom’s number.

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We met up with Nathan at the foot of Yonge St, and as is the tradition, here is a picture of our machines in the kickstand position. Sorry about the crap lighting.

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A picture of the five of us at Polson Pier, taken by a bystander who didn’t fully appreciate the fact that you have to include the bikes in the frame.

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Obligatory repeat of picture with the bikes, taken by self timer.

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And off we go toward Cherry Beach.

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One very bad selfie, while everyone was distracted.

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At this point, I had to peel off the group as I had to rush back to Union Station to catch my next bike related appointment.

I took the GO train out to Rouge Park.

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Upon disembarking, I rode towards Rouge Beach along the Waterfront Trail. I came upon this ghost bike. If I recall correctly, this cyclist was killed by a train at a level crossing.

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I was riding out to Rouge Beach to meet up with James, who was a 10 year old who was riding from Whitby to Coney Island NY to raise funds for autism treatment. My story of riding with James and his dad and other supporters was posted today on the Dandyhorse Blog.

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My final activity of the day was an evening ride with the Hamilton Glowriders.

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It was am immense amount of fun, and as I have a bunch of photos and video to process, I’ll reserve that ride for a separate blog post.

All in all, a fun Saturday spent on the bike.

 

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The Big Loop is an 83 km route put together by TBN that goes up the Humber River trail from Etienne Brule, across the top paralleling the Finch Hydro corridor, and then down past Don Mills and into the Don River trail system.

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It was scheduled for late July, but it was cancelled by rain. I elected to load the route to my GPS to do it on my own, but noticing that today’s regularly scheduled Saturday morning ride went up to Humber College, I decided to ride along with them, and then split off at the appropriate point. Here is the crowd gathered for the ride. Chris is in the centre making announcements.

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Looking back at riders crossing the Humber, all walking their bikes like good citizens.

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After a brief stop at James Gardens, we have to take our first detour on Edenbridge out of the park because of continuing construction on the trail near Scarlett Rd.

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Further north, we take the usual route through a few blocks of Weston to traverse a gap in the trail. We have to stay alert on the bit where we go through a parking garage.

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There is a sign indicating construction on the trail past Albion Rd. The sign said that construction was due to be complete July 31, but on the other hand, the sign was still there so we elect to take the detour.

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Definitely appreciated safety in numbers along Albion.

IMG_9406The sections of the Humber River tail past Albion are very peaceful and scenic.

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At some point approaching Humber College, I had expected to turn off from the main group, but Chris informed me that due to the detour, we had bypassed the turn. I went with the main group to Humber to make a brief stop, and then I headed east to try to hook up with my original route. The difficultly was that I had erased the maps on my GPS, so it was not easy to navigate to the route. I decided to bike east along Finch until somewhere in the vicinity of York University. It was not as bad as I had feared due to relatively light traffic. There was even this pseudo bike lane in places.

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However, after the 400 overpass I was only too glad to get on the Finch hydro corridor trail (FHCT), at York Gate Blvd.

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It also turns out to have been a good move not to take the original route here as Adam had pointed out that the Rogers Cup was happening at York this weekend.

After a very short distance, I was not pleased to see no crossing at Jane St.

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So OK, I have to go a little south to cross.

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Past Sentinel Rd, I was happy to see this large area of community gardens, which made up for the fact that the trail was diverted to what was essentially a sidewalk for this stretch.

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A seeming dead end at Keele St, with no signage.

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If I had the cue sheet, I would have known to look to the right to see that the trail continues a little further south. The building on the right margin of this photo is the new Finch West subway station.

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This map shows that you have to make a few twists and turns to stay on the trail, which eventually straightens out, paralleling the York U. busway on the north side.

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This picture shows the trail and busway crossing tracks.

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The line of high buildings in the distance is Yonge St., but coming upon Dufferin St, I realize that they are still some distance off.

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Past G Ross Lord Park, the route takes me along Drewry Ave that becomes Cummer Ave, which was peaceful and uneventful, although the Ride with GPS route urged me to turn left at Bayview, which was not necessary.

At the end of the section on Cummer, the route turns south and then hooks up with the FHCT again. This downhill section that zigzags to the junction with the Don River trail was the most fun part of the whole ride.

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Going down the Don River trail was uneventful until it seems to end at the intersection of Leslie and Sheppard. Here you have to cross the intersection to the south east corner to find the continuation.

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This is what the trail entrance looks like.

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The trail ends again at Duncan Mill Rd, and here I met a group of lost seeming cyclists. There was a sign pointing to the right that said that the Don River trail was 2.4 km away, but again, not enough signage. It turns out that the 2.4 km involves a couple of turns on city streets before you end up back on the trail.

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The trail ends again, just short of York Mills, and the route map shows this.

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There was a bike lane westbound on this short section of York Mills, but there was too much traffic to take a picture. Cross the street at the light at Scarsdale, effectively making a left turn, and then look for a doubling back of the trail under the bridge.

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The trail then turns south and goes along a disused rail corridor. It is a straighter, more peaceful version of the West Toronto Railpath.

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Signalized crossing at Eglinton. It almost felt like I was in Vancouver for a moment. (except for the exceedingly long response time to a button push)

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The other thing I liked about this section was that at intersections with other trails, there was this round about like feature, with embedded sections of train track as a decorative element.

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Sadly, as with most bike infrastructure in TO, this cannot last, and the trail ends abruptly, and you have to make a sharp right turn on a short section of gravel that then leads to this narrow section that leads to Leslie St.

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The short section of Leslie leading to Willett Creek park was the scariest part of the whole ride, no thanks to the many drivers that whizzed by less than a meter from my handlebars. Bastards.

From Willett Creek, the Don Trail is probably more familiar to many of you so I didn’t take many pictures. Here are the elephants.

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And the stop with the gargoyles just north of Bloor, where I’ve never bothered to stop before. It was good to be riding the Tamarack. Much as people rave about Bromptons, I do find it easier to ride longer distances on a standard bike.

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Thanks to TBN for organizing the first part of my ride, and for plotting out this nice route.

Note: for those not in TBN that want more information about the route, it is available here, at least for the moment.

 

 

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One of my favourite things to do is to have a family bike ride to Toronto Island. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve done this, and we took advantage of the fact that the California branch of the family was in town to do this again. The first logistical problem that we faced was to get eight peoples’ worth of bikes downtown with one car. Here is what five bikes looks like with the six who will ride them. (you can’t see the Brompton that is tucked away in the van, and two will ride the tandem)

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(In addition, two of us rode down to the lake.)

And off we go to the ferry terminal.

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Just a reminder that at busy times, you should buy your ferry tickets online. Here we were in the left hand express lane, which we cleared in less than five minutes.

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Biking towards Centre Island from Hanlan’s Point.

DSC02995Well at least I’m all smiles.

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Compare this picture:

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to this one taken three years ago, the last time the daughters were on the island.

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The skyline from Algonquin Island.

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Over the bridge to Centreville.

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Our fleet parked at Centreville.

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On a crowded ferry at the end of a busy day.

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Three of us rode home through downtown. It was interesting to hear their perspective on the bike infrastructure. They were quite impressed, saying that it was much better than San Francisco. Of course, I led them through the very best of what we have downtown including sections of the Simcoe, Richmond and Bloor bike lanes.

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I hope everyone gets a chance to ride this long August weekend!

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