Chicago Winter Cyclists Profiled by PBS

Chicago Winter Cycling on PBS
Watch the video here.

I’m about to head out and ride in some fresh Toronto snow. This video is a great inspiration.

Via BikeCommuters

BikeHugger Huggcast 134 from Vancouver 2010 Olympics

Bike Hugger LogoIn addition to skeleton and figure skating and snowboard cross and freestyle skiing there’s a lot of cycling happening in Vancouver during the 2010 Olympic Games.

Bike Hugger has been blogging from the events and have just posted a short video including footage from the 1st Annual Vancouver Tweed Ride and shots of urban cyclists downtown.

Via Bike Hugger

The Bike-Sharing World Map

Bike-sharing is huge!

As Toronto plans to launch a Bike-sharing program in 2010, The Bike-sharing Blog has compiled a map of existing and planned bike-sharing programs around the world. Click on the image below for the interactive Google Map:

Bike-sharing World Map

Visit: The Bike-Sharing Blog

Via: EcoVelo

Safety Overkill

As all Toronto cyclists know, crossing over rail tracks can be intimidating at first. Over time, you build up your confidence and begin riding along Queen or King with ease. And, just sometimes, you stop paying attention long enough and the tracks take you down. And this can really hurt.

In Seattle, it seems that one awkward rail crossing has become quite the hazard. Here’s how they are dealing with the problem:

Helping cyclist navigate train track crossing is great. But, is this much paint and that many signs really necessary?

Bicycles Use Caution

And this one is in ALL CAPS, which we all know is YELLING!

BIKES! DISMOUNT!

To be fair, this is only temporary while the city redesigns the area and the crossing.

Via StreetFilms

Cycling is an Inspiration for Toronto Author

Via Toronto Star:

Cycling around Toronto helped author recreate childhood

One writer’s own private T.O.

As a child growing up near Bathurst St. and Davenport Rd., Kirshner says she stuttered so badly she rarely spoke. Speech therapy eventually cured her but for a long time she found talking embarrassing.

“It’s a strange sensation,” she recalls. “The words are in your mouth but not coming out.”

To compensate she used her eyes – “like little computers storing stuff” – a visual orientation that led to her research-by-bicycle method.

As she rode, Kirshner also picked up smells. Gliding south on Gladstone Ave. from College St., she sensed the Cadbury chocolate factory from its aromas and worked those into the book.

“You don’t really smell things if you’re walking slowly,” Kirshner says. “I don’t know if it’s true but scent seems to travel at the exact speed as a bicycle. It’s like the wind is carrying it into your face or something.”

Near the chocolate factory, she also saw “a house where I want to make something wonderful happen,” she says. For her next book, her eyes filed it away.

Full article here

Angles Morts – Blind Spots

Angle Morts

My French is pretty terrible, but the visuals in the video blow are certainly clear enough.

While many could see this as why cycling is dangerous, I believe that this video illustrates the need to re-imagine city streets and change a collective attitude concerning public space. In Toronto, I have noticed that drivers will rarely double-park. They will drive up on sidewalks, block bike lanes and park on the grass, but never will I see someone block in another car. How messed up is that logic? How disrespectful is that behaviour? And how much does this illustrate that a hulking mass of steel and rubber can dominate our public space?

Cycling is not a dangerous activity. Unattentive, selfish and careless individuals make our public spaces dangerous for everyone.

The solution to winter snow and slush – a “track” bike

Via Toronto Star

Via Toronto Star:

Preddy said he rides for recreation and to stay in shape. His Ktrak kit converts just about any mountain bike into a kind of pedal-powered snowmobile, with a ski in the front and a track wrapped around a back wheel. A full kit will cost almost $550; the track alone, about $420.

And if the Ktrak’s creator has his way, bikes like Preddy’s will join the crush of winter traffic on Toronto streets before the year is through.

“I absolutely see it as a commuting tool,” said Kyle Reeves, the Ktrak’s 37-year-old inventor, from his home on Vancouver Island, B.C. “Most commuters aren’t going to use the ski on the front … just the track for its traction.”

Michael Costello, a long-time winter cyclist and proponent of automobile euthanasia, rides his bike year-round for financial reasons.

“I put down my last car 14 years ago, and I save about $7,000 a year by using a bicycle,” he said.

There are plenty of options – all less transformative, and less expensive, than the Ktrak – for cyclists looking to winterize their bikes.

Michael Cranwell, general manager of Duke’s Cycle on Richmond St. W., suggests attaching fenders to your bike and swapping for studded tires, which cost from $70 to $110 each. Lights are important, too, for days when visibility is poor. “What’s most important, is dressing for it – having the right gear.”

Full article here

More info on Ktrak here

Ktrak

A few pics from Vancouver 2010 Olympic Tweed Ride

Wet Tweed at the Winter Olympics

Tweed Ride Olympics

Tweed Ride Olympics

Looks a little wet and fun!

Via BikeHugger

In Vancouver: More Places to Park Your Bicycle

It looks like the Olympics are bringing more bicycle parking infrastructure to Vancouver.

Full post on BeyondRobson

Photo via BeyondRobson.com

The Tyee Looks at MakerCulture and BikeCamp

Via The Tyee:

How MakerCulture Is Reinventing Politics

Cyclist advocacy movement: bike camp

Hundreds of cyclists huddle in a cramped conference room. The room’s walls are covered with pieces of paper on clipboards. At the top of each page are suggestions on how to best promote cycling issues in Toronto, followed by a series of empty dots. Jason Diceman, a facilitator for BikeCamp, yells above the crowd.

“Read these, fill in one dot to record your opinion! How many dots?” Diceman playfully asks the crowd. “One,” the crowd responds. “Tell your friends!” Diceman jokes. “Fill in one dot and sign the sheet!” As Toronto’s next municipal election approaches, city cyclists join forces to strategize about how to get their issues on the agenda.

The Toronto Cyclists Union (TCU) and community members met at BikeCamp in mid-October last year to outline what issues they want to push for during the 2010 mayoral race. Their strategy is decided on democratically. The TCU aims to act on those ideas which received the most dots.

What were BikeCamp’s three top ideas? The first is get a segment on cycling rights and rules into Ontario’s driver handbook and driving courses. Second, to promote a specific route or bike lane with support from wards across Toronto. And the last is to get cycling education in schools.

Brainstorming is the easy part, according to Margaret Hastings-James, a BikeCamp organizer and avid cyclist. The hard part is actually getting people to work on those projects. “The most important thing that will come out of today is getting some new energy. People that are interested to pick up on some specific campaigns or events and to actually run with that and make it their own project,” Hastings-James explains.

Hastings-James has been a bike advocate since 2003, after she was hit by a car while cycling. Luckily her injuries weren’t serious, but the accident made Margaret realize the need for more bike lanes and stricter traffic rules. Although hundreds of cyclists showed up for BikeCamp in October, only a small group donates their time to bike advocacy.

“You come and there’s people here all presenting awesome ideas and then they leave the room and it’s like, ‘Wait a minute, who’s going to implement all this?’” says Hasting-James.   But she remains positive. Rising gas prices, concern for the environment and crowded streets have increased participation in cyclist movements. Only decades ago bike advocacy was virtually unheard of, but now attracts support from people in all walks of life.

“It’s really encouraging to see a lot of new faces here today. I find that the movement in general in Toronto is changing face,” said Hasting-James. “It’s not the same die-hard sort of ‘enviro’ freak types… there’s a lot of variety in people here.” In only one year of operation the Toronto Cyclists Union is 730 members strong. And continues to grow.

Read the full article here.