Archives for June 2010

Covet: Cycle Chic Fashion at Distill Gallery

Great Canadian designs with a bicycle theme available at Distill Gallery in the Distillery District, Toronto.

Annie Thompson Cross-up Reflective Bag

Annie Thompson bags are simple, functional and feature reflective crosses on outer pockets.

Jenna Rose Bicycle Pillow

Hamilton designer, Jenna Rose, creates pillows and storage bags with distinctive bicycle prints as seen above.

Green P Parking’s For You… And Your Bicycle

Green P Pedal 'N Park 37 Yorkville Avenue

The other day, I was searching for bicycle parking on Cumberland in the high-end Toronto neighbourhood of Yorkville. The few standing post and rings were full and bicycles were locked to what few fences are here so I found myself wandering out along Yonge Street and finally finding an open sign post.

After completing my errand I happened to peek into the Green P parking garage that exits out on to Cumberland and saw a concrete pad with several post and rings inside the lot.

A quick Google search revealed nothing about these Pedal ‘N Park spots so I contacted the Toronto Parking Authority and was told that these racks are free for anyone to use and that other lots do have bicycle parking. They are in the process of putting together a list of these lots and I will post them here once they get back to me.

So, if you’re ever in Yorkville, struggling to find a place to lock your bicycle, head on into the parking garage at 37 Yorkville Avenue and you’ll find free, covered and well-lit bicycle parking.

Green P Toronto Parking Authority Indoor Bicycle Parking

This sure would look good on your bike…

I Bike T.O. Sticker 1.5 inch circle black

I know you bike T.O. and you know that you bike T.O., so then why do so many councilors claim that no one in their wards bicycles?

Using Joe’s design, I’ve created a few hundred 1.5″ round stickers with the I Bike T.O. logo and I’ll be handing them out all summer. Because, if the mere sight of a million or more bicycle in Toronto doesn’t convince people that we do bike Toronto, maybe a sticker declaring it will help!

Follow me on Twitter and find out what events I’ll be attending, stickers always in hand.

Or send an e-mail to duncan [dot] bikingtoronto [at] gmail [dot] com and I’ll get some to you.

And, you can also let everyone know that you bike T.O. by purchasing an I Bike T.O. t-shirt from the BikingToronto Store. 100% of profits go to charities that keep Toronto moving.

I Bike T.O. circle sticker on frame

Hidden in Plain Sight – Toronto’s Cycling Culture

My fascination with Toronto started in the late 1980s on early trips to the city with my family.

The small town we lived in held nothing that could compare to the entire floor of toys in the former Eaton’s store. The massive parking structure, at the corner of Bay and Dundas, was one seemingly always full except for the roof, and became for me a visual that meant we had arrived. Since I’d usually sleep my way into the city, missing the sight of the CN Tower from the Gardiner, the concrete curves of that parking lot were as distinctive to me as any of Toronto’s more photographed landmarks.

Years later I began visiting the city without my family and with bigger plans than just shopping. As a skateboarder, I would explore the darker corners of office buildings and parks and parking lots. Our group was searching for marble ledges and stair sets and we found that some of the best skate spots were the ones just out of view of the street. Hidden, but in plain sight.

I learned early on that down almost any alley in Toronto there is life and action that remains almost completely out of the spotlight. To this day, Toronto’s alleys still hold nearly secret lives and these lives make up some of Toronto’s most interesting aspects of our bicycle culture.

On Tuesday, June 15, 2010 I met with a small group organized by Byron of and lead around Toronto by Janet Bike Girl.

Our first stop was the former coach house that has held everything from horses to fine furs and is now the home to CineCycle a bicycle repair shop and event space.

CineCycle Micro Cinema

Inside we met Martin Heath hard at work fixing a bicycle using the late day light from two large skylights, a tandem frame near his feet, behind him a large projection screen that adds the “cine” to CineCycle.

This location is only the most recent home to CineCycle, as explained on the 410 Richmond web site:

In the early 1990’s Cinecycle’s space on Spadina was becoming too expensive and Martin was in search of another building to house the venue. At the time Christina Zeidler, then a student at the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), was a regular attendee and contributor to performances at Cinecycle. Her sister, Margie, had just bought a building, 401 Richmond St. W., and Martin Heath’s Cinecycle came up as a possible tenant. Originally there were grand plans for Cinecycle’s residence at 401. Martin had been granted $30,000 from the Toronto Arts Council with the additional promise of another $300,000 to build and operate a 200 seat theatre in the basement of the building. As Martin explains “while this was all going on the NDP government got kicked out and we got the Tories and the program that the $30,000 was coming out of evaporated. So, the Coach House was Plan B. “

Lovingly referred to as Plan B, the coach house is a small building behind 401 Richmond accessed by the back laneway. It has no address, a detail that apparently confounds many visitors, including a young woman coming to see a punk band play on the weekend who called during our interview. This is one of Cinecycle’s latest, “punk bands love the place. They’re always very polite and they’re always gone by 1:00.” Cinecycle will also host the next installment of Trampoline Hall, the monthly lecture series, previously held at the Cameron House and Gladstone Hotel.

Read the full 410 Richmond tenant description here.

With our bicycles locked in the alley behind 401 Richmond we were nest taken inside by Janet Bike Girl who gave us a quick tour of her studio.

Janet Bike Girl Studio, 401 Richmond St W, Studio S-26, Toronto, Canada

Janet’s bicycle-themed stencil work is easily recognizable from any cycling event. Bicycle couriers and Toronto Cyclist Union members all seem to have one of Janet’s patches sewn on bags, t-shirts and other prints.

From here we made out way to Kensington Market, home to Function 13, part of a unique building combining retail, gallery and workshop space for Toronto’s art and technology community.

Further north along Augusta we pedaled down another laneway leading us to Parts Unknown. Out front of another coach house a shop tech was inflating a bicycle tire, and once we stepped inside we discovered the “Parts” of Parts Unknown. A skylight above shined down upon an endless pile of bicycle parts. Wheel sets and frames and tires and tubes everywhere you looked. Could there possibly be method to this madness? Owner George, who has been in Kensington for 18 years, told us that he had been given his walking papers and the shop could soon be relocating to The Junction. We imagined a team of friends loading the bits and pieces of bicycles onto pick up trucks and cargo bikes, what a sight this will be.

Parts Unknown Bicycle Shop, Toronto, Canada

Exiting Kensington Market we pedaled past the “in your face” architecture of the recently renovated Art Gallery of Ontario. A full bike rack to the side of the building revealed to us a connection between art and bicycles, one seemingly inseparable from the other in Toronto.

Our final destination was to be 52 McCaul and the Life Cycles Photography & Custom Vintage Bicycle Exhibit. A Bike Month event, Life Cycles features photographs taken by local artists and showcases the custom bicycles within each photo.

Bicycles are made for the outdoors, yet when they are taken inside we can see just how important they are to the lives of their owners. In a shop, a technician works on a vintage bicycle whose aging parts are bent and reshaped into working order. In another shop, a pile of used rims awaits a new bicycle frame to set them back in motion on the city streets. And in an art gallery, a bicycle hanging from the ceiling or one featured in a photograph takes on a life of its own, showcasing how a relatively simple tool has the power to shape the life of its owner.

Toronto’s bicycle culture cannot be defined by a single group or revealed in a simple image. Bicycles are a part of our daily lives here, sometimes right in front of your face and at other times right around the corner and down a back alley.

CineCycle is located behind both 129 Spadina Avenue and 401 Richmond, bicycle repairs by appointment only, events hosted on a semi-regular basis.

Janet Bike Girl‘s studio is located in 401 Richmond and her work can be viewed by appointment only.

Function 13 is located at 156 Augusta Ave in Kensington Market.

Parts Unknown is currently located behind 218 Augusta Ave and has no regular hours while accepting bicycle repairs by appointment or drop in.

Life Cycles is currently running at 52 McCaul Gallery until June 19, 2010.

Photos via Flickr accounts CineCycle and JanetBikeGirl

Only 17 Post and Rings on 1.5 km Stretch of Redesigned St. Clair West

Found via Twitter user markjull:

Google Map of Post and Ring locations by Mark

Go here for the map.

What gives Astral?

“Watch for Bikes” CAA Campaign Launches Today

Five years ago the City of Toronto and CAA handed out 150,000 “Door Prize cards” (PDF) that included a sticker drivers could put on their side view mirrors to remind them to watch for cyclists and warning them of the dangers of the “door prize.”

Here’s what the old cards looked like:

Watch for Bikes 2005

Watch for Bikes

Today, June 9th, 2010, another “Watch for Bikes” campaign launches in Toronto.

Looking back at the 2005 campaign there was also mention of a 1998 bylaw that requires taxis to be equipped with 3 stickers warning the drivers and passengers to watch for bikes:

Watch for Bikes Taxi Bylaw

Be Ye Not a Salmon for Thar Be Pirates!

Biking Rules PSA - Salmon

A “salmon” is a person on a bicycle riding upstream, or simply, the wrong way. recently held a PSA competition, asking for short videos that help promote safe cycling. One entry, seen below, shows ye… sorry, shows you what could happen when you “salmon.”

Pirates of the Broadway: Salmon from Laura on Vimeo.

And here’s more of the Pirates:

Pirates of the Broadway: Part Deux from Laura on Vimeo.

Watch more of the PSAs on YouTube.

It could be worse…


I don’t know a thing about Blackhawk, Colorado, but it sounds like the casino there attracts a lot of dangerous drivers. Bicycles are banned on some city streets in the name of “safety.” Break the law by bicycling and you’ll face a fine of $68 greenbacks.


“If you go down Main Street there is not much room for a bicyclist, a bus or a car, a truck,” said Mike Copp, Blackhawk city manager. “We are trying to promote safety.

“There are signs posted in several spots around town that show a bicycle with a circle around it and a line across it; however if people miss it and didn’t read the section in the local newspaper talking about Blackhawk’s new law, most would have no clue riding in spots is illegal.

“Most of the business owners didn’t even know about it,” said Webb. The city manager said the casino owners knew about the law and support it.

“It’s a choice,” said Copp. “We made our choice and now the bicyclist need to make his or her choice.” For Webb and her friends, their choice is clear. They will no longer ride through Blackhawk.

Eight people were ticketed the weekend of June 5.

Copp recommends riders bike around the city or dismount and walk the bike through town.


Via Copenhagenize who also points us to this Google Street View of the terribly narrow downtown Main Street:

Screen shot 2010-06-11 at 9.53.53 PM

Photo via taralynmarshall

Covet: Bike Porter integrated handlebar and front rack

Bike Porter Copenhagen Parts

Simple and exceptionally useful. Copenhagen Parts integrate a front rack and handlebar and call it a Bike Porter. Just add bungees and packages and go!

Bike Porter

via Copenhagen Cycle Chic

Imagine for a moment…

The Gardiner during Ride for Heart 2010

Imagine a place where traffic doesn’t grind to a halt because someone has broken down on the side of the road…

Only once a year can you experience this in Toronto. The annual Ride for Heart shuts down parts of the Gardiner Expressway and Don Valley Parkway, opening up a 25 km space that was created for and used mostly by personal motor vehicles.

13,000 people took their bicycles, tricycles, tandems and unicycles up above the city. We raised a lot of money and had the pleasure of experiencing a silenced highway where cheers replaced horns.