Thursday, August 24, 2006

Calling all Cyclists! Bike Friday Tomorrow!

Bike Fridays offers riders company. Annual bike week not enough: Critics
(The Star) ... Joseph Travers thinks it's a shame that Toronto celebrates cycling once a year, with Bike Week. He thinks the city should promote it more often. So Travers is doing it on his own. Tomorrow is the first Bike Friday, when he's hoping to attract new and experienced cyclists from across the GTA to travel together in a convoy to their work destinations on the last Friday of every month.
(read on in the comments)

1 comment:

Tino said...

"I'm just trying to get people thinking about it more," says Travers, a researcher at the College of Physicians and Surgeons.

"I've seen an increase (in bike riders) this year. There seem to be more cyclists and even people on scooters with higher gas prices, I guess," says Travers. "I'd like to see less pollution and sort of have more infrastructure."

He hopes a grassroots cycling revolution will make the creation of more bike lanes the politically correct thing to do.

He's hoping to get the support of the Toronto Cycling Committee, various bicycle user groups, bike shops, Mayor David Miller and councillor Adam Giambrone.

"What I like about the idea that he's come forward with is that it's more than once a year," says Giambrone.

"Somehow what would be nice to do is to concentrate on bikes more than once a year, and not lose focus," he says.

"The trick is to figure out how to promote it without it becoming routine, although I suppose if riding bikes became routine for more Torontonians, that would be a good thing."

Travers has set up to promote his idea, and other biking initiatives, including restaurants offering free snacks for cyclists, while outlining points where cyclists can meet.

For those heading downtown tomorrow, you can meet at 8 a.m. at Danforth and Woodbine, Bloor and High Park, or Yonge and Lawrence.

There are even two 905-bound routes, one from Richmond Hill to Markham, the other north from Yonge and Lawrence.

He doesn't mind if his idea starts small.

"I'm trying to get people together to organize some sort of morning commute," says Travers. "Even if we just get 10 people cycling together, it's still better than cycling by yourself.

"When you're in even a small group, even just two or three people, cars automatically give you a wider berth and you feel safer. You're a visual presence on the road. It's a really nice feeling, a little more safe."

The idea is the groups get bigger, perhaps through word of mouth or simple visibility, and more routes are added.

Travers started cycling to work two years ago when the TTC redid his streetcar line. "Getting to work was taking too long with the rerouting," says Travers. "I tried cycling and really liked it and have been doing it ever since."

He participated in city-run bike events, including Bike Week.

"I thought it was a shame biking is only paid attention to once a year during bike week. I had the Bike Friday idea as a way to bring attention to it."