Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Gas Crisis Alert!

Toronto is in a full blown gas shortage crisis. Newscasts are full of people crying , "There is no alternatives!", "I have no choice", and "I am being ripped off". Mayor Miller asked Ottawa to dispatch emergency relief crews to Toronto. Last report had them stuck in a ditch near Kingston looking for gas.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Bicycle Power (by Aaron Naparstek)

"This weekend I moderated a panel discussion called "Bicycle Power" at the NYC Eco-Metropolis Conference. Here's a little introduction I wrote to start the conversation:

I've been riding a bicycle since, I don’t know, 1976 or so. But I only started to become a "cyclist" after moving to Cobble Hill, Brooklyn in 1998. Living near Downtown Brooklyn, a few things quickly became clear to me: First, my bicycle was almost always the fastest and most convenient way to get in and out of Manhattan. This was a major revelation to me. Back then, it seemed that no one ever talked about the bike as an ideal form of cheap, clean, convenient transportation in this relatively flat, crowded, and compact city. Once I started riding, it seemed so obvious to me. In addition to being great for commuting into Manahttan, my bike opened up vast new frontiers of Brooklyn to me for running errands, recreation, visiting friends -- the bike made Brooklyn much more accessible to me than it ever had been before. Despite the fact that I had just about every major subway line in the city just a few blocks away, my bike became my primary mode of transportation. It transformed my concept of neighborhood and community.

The second thing that became clear to me once my bike became my transportation was that cycling simply felt good. All of those promises you hear in television car advertisements -- power, speed, control, fun, convenience, exhilaration, happiness -- these were feelings that I got on my bike while riding across the Brooklyn Bridge in the evening, weaving through stalled traffic, or saying "hello" to another cyclist or pedestrian along the way. I certainly never got these car commercial feelings while driving a car in New York City. Quite the contrary. Being in a car in New Yok City brings about feelings of rage, helplessness and confinement to name a few. Biking in New York City wasn’t always great -- it could sometimes be wet, cold, and it’s almost always a little bit dangerous. But my bike was never depressing or life-draining. It was almost always energizing and life-affirming.

Finally, as my cycling grew into more of a habit and, coincidentally, as the traffic congestion, noise and motorist hostility outside my apartment grew increasingly severe, I became aware that New York City cycling is, inherently,
a political act. Sitting astride a bicycle in New York City these days is, in many ways, similar to African-American, college students sitting down at the whites-only Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, NC in 1960 and saying, "serve us too." Simply by using the bike as transportation in New York City, you are asserting an alternative vision. You are compelling the city to re-examine the inefficient, destructive, and unjust transportation, land-use and energy policies that are today considered to be "normal." You are forcing change just by your very presence. The more of us who do ride, the more true this is.

If at times you feel powerless as an individual to do anything about some the enormous problems that plague us today - global climate change, energy resource wars, an environment that is degraded and made dangerous by too many motor vehicles - well, you don’t have to feel powerless. All you have to do is get on your bike and run an errand, visit a friend, or go to work. By riding your bike in New York City, you’re actively doing something to solve these seemingly intractable problems. Best of all -- on your bike, you’re not complaining or protesting or theorizing -- you’re being the solution."

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Sounds of San Francisco

Cyclists pour east on the Duboce Bikeway, two hours into the gloriously energetic and fun Critical Mass in SF last night.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Getting ready for spring

More hot air from City Hall?

Dale Duncan skewers City Hall again for its pathetic efforts as far as cyclists are concerned. Just in time for the budget crunch, I say.

Meanwhile, the Toronto Cycling Committee has a new chair:
AA Heaps.

Seems like a good guy who actually bikes to work ... Let's hear a wee pit of passion and cash for cycling, shall we?

Bike Friday rolls on!

Bike Friday
There's a cycling commuter's "breakfast" at the Bloor store tomorrow morning as well from about 8 to 9:30. Coffee, muffins, some fruit thanks to Grassroots

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Who is going to break it to them?

No matter how fast your car can go from 0-60 or its top end, it simply will not go anywhere in Toronto traffic. Probably kill and maim the same number of people too.

Ice Race Poster

Cool poster!

Ride if you dare.

Feeling the pressure

Dr. David McKeown, Toronto Officer of health wants the city to help people bike, walk, or take tranist to improve air quality.

Stories here and here.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Bicycle & Me

Buried alive

Ice Race 2006 (Reprise)

Here is the video again from last year's Icycle Race 2006.
It was a very cold night so the camera is wee bit shaky from
the drinkies. Enjoy. Come and check out the 2007 races this
Saturday ... Dufferin Grove 8-11 p.m.

Monday, February 19, 2007

La Bicicleta - A New Bike Film

By Sigfrid MonleĆ³n - About the film:
"We wanted to create three stories around a bicycle in a modern city—a city made for cars—and see what would happen, the types of contradictions that would result from this as regards urbanism, models of cities, the fluidity of movement ... all of these themes can be found in some way or other in the three stories, each of which have an interest and a thematic field of their own.
What interested me was to put the characters in relation with the city that surrounds them, and to do this through a new prism. Given that in cities all the space is reserved for cars, by taking their bicycle the characters expose themselves to outer attacks.
Valencia is a booming city, marked by a decaying urbanism where there are old parts, often dilapidated, but alongside these are architectural monuments, the landscape of a modern city. Between the two, we find all the typical places of transit of a city, clusters of streets and parts of a city in a growth phase. All of this seemed very cinematic as a living organism to me." Trailer (In Spanish)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Mayor hospitalized with sprained ankle.

Saturday found the Mayor in St. Mike's hospital nursing a sprained ankle. Reportedly he was wandering around City Hall reading the Saturday edition of the Toronto Star. While reading his own quote, "We will be the leading environmental city in North America, without question," he tripped over a yellow bike from the City canceled green award winning program Bike Share. Doctors say that the Mayor will be able to return to work Monday morning but should drive his green car to work.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Sign of the times

Father and Daughter

Very Beautiful. By Michael Dudok de Wit.
(Oscar Winner 2000, Best animated short)

Meanwhile in Paris ...

Paris is planning a 40% reduction in car traffic levels by 2020. Pedestrians and cyclists would be given priority...

Via the excellent New York site Streetsblog

Mayor Miller, we're ready and waiting.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Large blast at City Hall

Environment Canada officials sent emergency crews this morning to Toronto's City Hall. They had detected a very sudden large atmospheric disturbance over the building through their weather station at the Island airport and were concerned for the welfare of the public. When the crew arrived City staff advised them that they had, "...just released a lot of hot air over cycling". The City was given a pollution fine over the incident.

Bike lanes inching along

Bike plan stuck in low gear (Star)
The Toronto bike plan is a 10-year action program, the heart of which is a commitment to build 1,000 kms of bicycle lanes by the end of 2011. The plan started in 2001 and total cost is $72.8 million. But so far, implementation has fallen far short of expectations. Last year only about 12 kilometres of bike lanes were added, putting the city even further behind schedule. And proposed funding levels – final numbers must still be approved by council – for 2006 to 2011 total only $26.5 million. (read on in the comments)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Snow storm riders

Without a bike today, but it's always so impressive to see so many on their bikes braving the cold, snow and wind.

Love all chained up.

Bike Week Meeting

*Wednesday February 21, 2007*
*7 pm - 9 pm Bike Week 2007 Public Meeting* At City Hall, Committee room 3.

This meeting is open to the public. The City of Toronto is looking for feedback for this year's Bike Week planning and events. Please come out, to be heard, and get involved. (Good Idea!)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Site of the Month - Bike Pirates!

Bike Pirates!

Nice work!!

Bike Train! Finally!

The Toronto-Niagara Bike Train is an exciting new initiative that will introduce bike racks on VIA Rail train service between Toronto and the Niagara Region. The Bike Train will provide cyclists with a unique and sustainable transportation option for travel between the two regions. The Pilot Year of the Bike Train service will launch in June '07, then run on a limited schedule until September. It is expected the service will be expanded in 2008, and also be introduced on other VIA Rail routes in the coming years. (via biketrain.ca)

Cool shades

Extra Cool

Made by Scott Urban

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Toronto's own Ice Race

There was also a nice article in the New York Times

Saturday - February 24th
Dufferin Grove Park 8pm-11pm!

The Bitter Truth

The City is more than happy to see Bikeshare die ...
Dale Duncan explains why.

The Bitter Truth is that Bicycles period are simply not a priority nor considered a transportation option in this town. No matter how messed up our planet is.
Think I am wrong? Go to the forum at the St. Lawrence Centre (Feb 28, 'Gridlock in the GTA'), walk up to the mic and suggest a huge increase in bike infra-structure for helping ease gridlock (which they already do by the way since they take up less space) and watch those officials smirk ... (more info on the forum in the comments)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Junk the Junk.

This is a program in the US, might be a worthwhile consideration here. I get about 4 pounds of junk mail a week at my door.

Is Pedaling Enough?
Do more to slow global warming - STOP THE JUNK MAIL
Hey all you cruisers, messengers, joy riders, and just plain bike commuters! Bravo for being on your bikes - With 40% of greenhouse gases caused by transportation, bicycling is a quiet statement against the destabilization of our planet's climate. But can you do a little more to stem the tide?

How about starting your year off by cutting WAY BACK on your junk mail?

It takes 100 million trees and over 28 billion gallons of water to produce the amount of junk mail that is sent in the United States in just one year. GROSS! All those trees cut down ain't NO GOOD for our atmosphere and, of course, lots of Junk Mail equals an obscene amount of unnessecary automotive transport (and mail trucks in the bike lane...). Here's how:

Go online: www.StopJunkMail.org
Or call and request the FREE Stop Junk Mail Kit: 877-STOPWASTE (786-7927).

It takes up to 234 minutes a year to sort through daily junk mail, whereas completing a Stop Junk Mails Kit takes about 2 minutes. That's 234 more minutes to spend on two wheels. Get more info on the SFBC's Cycle and Recycle Program.

Le Mouvement - Hamburg, Germany

Contribution by Anke from her wonderful site World of Stencils

Follow the money

via Apocalipse Motorizado (Sao Paulo, Brasil)

Video of the Month (London, UK)

Saw this on Velorution. Tag! Awesome.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Steven & The 5 Ton Challenge

If it's five tons of carbon emissions saved for every person who rides a bike instead of a car, Steven is two things for sure:

smart and a hero.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Photo of the Month

by Sparky

Via Velorution

The Best Bike (Robert Wechsler)

"The best circular bike ever made, at UCSB, by a guy whose last name starts with W... or at least its it the top ten Salvaged bikes, tube steel and yellow paint. H 3' x Diam 12 'Spring 2003.
Nine salvaged bikes were reassembled into a carousel formation. The bike is modular and can be dismantled and reassembled. It is normally left in public places where it can attract a variety of riders." By Robert Wechsler.