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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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So today was the start of what is supposed to be the most significant snow fall of the season thus far. On the plus side, there was a nice tailwind, and the temperatures were much warmer than this morning.

Here the Bloor bike lane has not been plowed recently, but it was still pleasant riding on the comparatively untracked snow.

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On the eastbound sections with bollards, I was thankful for the separation from traffic. The windrow makes one long for a permanent concrete barrier.

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Please forgive the runny nose picture.

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Past the end of the bike lane at Shaw, I mixed it up with traffic as most of the curb lane was impassable. Fortunately, traffic was very slow, and there was no problem keeping up. On the downside, I was stuck in traffic like everyone else.

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Most of the unplowed side streets were impassable, with the many tire tracks making traction highly variable.

According to Strava, it took me over an hour and a quarter for me to get home, which was the longest ever.

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Still it was fun, and the car drivers were comparatively courteous tonight. We were all in the same boat, just trying to get home safe and sound. My favourite bit was passing an e-assist fat bike on Bloor.

 

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Lucy and I snuck out for an early morning bike ride, probably the last of the year. (and just by accident, we passed 8000 km total on the Haul a Day)

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According to Cyclemeter, that makes it 891 rides for 2018, and a record total of 7444 km.

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That’s the same number of rides as last year, but the mileage was up. Perhaps this was because of the training that I did for STP.

Here’s a month by month summary:

February

Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2018

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Winter group ride with Scarborough Cycles

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March

I really liked this Cherubim.

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In this particular case, the cyclist ran into a stopped van in a Don Mills neighbourhood, so it is not clear what actually happened.

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April

HPVDT competes at ASME HPVC East (Penn State). If our trike had not broken during the sprints, we would have done very well.

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A visit to Perennial Cycles in Minneapolis

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May

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Bike for Mike.  This time the route was around Hamilton Harbour

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This time we combined our ride with Ward 14. Little did we know that Doug Ford would merge our two wards by the end of the year.

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June

Provided ride support once again. This time the weather was decent.

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A bit of biking in Tokyo

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This one at Colborne Lodge and Lakeshore, one of the intersections were we have been trying to get safety improvements for years.

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This one right close to work, at St. George and Bloor.

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July

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The Pie Ride with Vancouver Bicycle Club

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Seattle to Portland for the second time, this time on a Brompton

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August

A family bike ride to Toronto Island

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The Tikit finds a good home: had to sell it to fund (retroactively) the purchase of the Brompton last November.

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Ride James Ride!

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An evening ride with the Hamilton Glowriders.

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A brief look at a fully protected intersection in Vancouver.

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It was also a real treat to meet Chris and Melissa Bruntlett of Modacity

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September

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World Human Powered Speed Challenge 2018

Calvin finally went 80 mph, and Liverpool broke the arm powered speed records.

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October

Another memorial ride: this time to Riverdale

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Trying out the velodrome with TBN

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In case you’re counting, that make seven this year that I’ve been on, which is a new high or low, depending on how you look at it.

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Bike the bridge (Windsor to Detroit)

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November

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WHPSC featured on CNN. A short segment on a show called: CNN Fit Nation”

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I wish everyone tailwinds and safe riding in 2019!

 

 

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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.

Update:

Here is the pro video

 

 

 

 

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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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