Toronto-made Seat Covers by The Gild

Etsy:

Comfort + mad style = happy biking.

Customize your bicycle with an amazing, durable, one-o-a-kind seat cover from THE GILD.

Locally produced using recycled materials and love. Each cover includes a removable foam insert for comfortable riding, while a shaped overhang, elastic cording and toggle at the base ensures a snug fit.

See all the seat covers here.

Via The Deadly Nightshades

At the Corner of Rachel & Brébeuf, Montreal

Via Copenhagenize

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Boyer bike lane via Flickr

Poka Cycle Accessories Sure to Make Your Bike Stand Out

Suzanne Carlsen wants your bicycle to be very “interesting.”

To help you achieve this task she’s hand making chainguards, headbadges and some cycling-friendly bags.

Check out Suzanne’s web site: Poka Cycle Accessories
Visit her online store.
Or visit Hoopdriver on College Street to see several chainguards and headbadges on display.

Sharrows Miss the Point on Harbord

In the cover of night, workers began installing sharrows along Harbord.

A point of contention for years, the disconnected bike lane between Bathurst and Spadina has inspired Urban Repair Squad intervention and left Councilor Adam Vaughan singing the same old tune that the very sparse car parking on this strip is essential to the survival of the businesses here.

Ignoring the fact that this is one of the most direct east/west bicycle routes connecting west end residents to downtown work and school this gap reflects the overall disinterest in the City of Toronto for providing continuous, consistent and much needed bicycle infrastructure.

Like placing a band-aid over an axe wound, sharrows, painted stencils that encourage motorists and drivers to ride right over them, now “fill” the gap.

There’s no denying that space is limited along this street. Yet while further west street parking alternates sides of the street to accommodate bike lanes this effective use of space is ignored and instead pictures of bicycles place cyclists directly in the door zone:

And to make matters worse, the boxed in parking space designations are too small, maximizing the potential for door prizes:

It is clear that steps to improve this route for cyclists have been taken. Repaving the curbside lanes has eliminated sticky seam sealing and countless potholes meaning that cyclists can spend more time looking ahead than scanning below for hazards. Bike boxes have also been installed in the heart of the University of Toronto at Harbord/Hoskin and St. George to increase the visibility of cyclists and decrease the possibility of right hooks.

Yet, while the effectiveness of sharrows in Toronto is currently being studied, including part-time sharrows in use along the west end of College Street, it is clear that these stencils are a compromise. Sharing the road is a feat accomplished day after day by most motorists and cyclists. Sharrows offer up a reminder that space is limited and we must do what we can to make room for everyone. However, sharrows ignore more issues than they address. In the case of the new Harbord sharrows, they do nothing to prevent the problematic door prize and do even less to convince aggressive drivers to share space.

I must note that I am not a city planner and I am not diligently studying the road use along Harbord or College, however, I do ride along these streets almost daily and in my experience sharrows do little more than remind me of where better bicycle infrastructure is needed and how poorly our demands are being met.

More photos of the sharrows on Harbord in the slideshow by Martinho below:

Covet: Backpacks for the Cycling Commuter

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Fall weather is upon in Toronto and that means more rain, cooler temperatures and more reasons to carry more things with you. A change of clothes, a laptop, books, lunch… the list goes on.

While messenger bags are a popular choice many people prefer backpacks because they are less likely to shift and can feel more secure.

Here then a few “covet-worthy” backpacks to keep your goodies dry and with you through all seasons:

SealLine is the brand of choice for active people who spend a lot of time on the water. No wonder then that their Urban Backpack (above) is watertight and growing in popularity with commuter cyclists.

The BC3 backpack from Ergon is designed to not only carry what you need but allows for a full range of movement due to the unique frame. Waterproof and comfortable with extras such as a helmet holder and a spot for hydration bladders.

Mission Workshop’s Vandal backpack is built to carry far more than you may ever need to. 3 waterproof compartments expand for awkward items and to make room for more when you stop at the grocery store on your way home from work.

Deceivingly simple looking from the outside, the SUIT25 backpack by Slicks is designed to more formal office attire featuring a suit holder with hanger and separated compartments to keep your shoes and shirts clean. A bright rain cover is included to keep your clothes dry and increase visibility in lower light.

Esurance Offers Drivers Tips… From a Cyclist

I'm tired

Great article posted to the Esurance web site offering drivers some driving tips from a cyclist:

Not since the late 1800s have so many bicycles been on the roads. Early on, bicycling was a trend, a novelty for the upper classes, and about as sporty as a tea party. But bikes have come a long way since then and so have cyclists. The recent riding resurgence has no doubt been sparked by a growing awareness of the many health, environmental, and financial benefits of riding a bike.

But while modern cyclists have traded in jaunty caps for high-tech helmets and Grand Canyon-sized potholes for smooth, paved streets, the dangers are still what they were in the good old days, which is to say significant.

With more and more cars on the road as well, it’s not always easy to know who has the right of way and who should (simply put) get out of the way. With this in mind, we put together a few quick tips for finding harmony with bikes on the increasingly crowded (and sometimes chaotic) streets.

Read the full article here.

Photo via the BikingToronto Flickr pool.

What is the Cobble Wobble?

Uphill sprint races bring out costumed riders and kids! It’s the Cobble Wobble.

Where in Toronto could we stage something like this?

Hawskley Workman’s Critical Mass Mall Edition

More of Hawksley Workman and bicycles here.
Visit Hawksley Workman’s web site here.

Halifax Cycling Coalition Wants You to Know Who is Riding Bikes

How do you promote cycling as a means of transportation?

In Halifax, you lead the way by introducing people to everyday cyclists. The Halifax Cycling Coalition recently released several commercials in which we get to meet people who have discovered life by bike.

Much like the latest issue of Dandyhorse and how cycling is being marketed in London, UK, these spots give us a face and a name of people riding bikes.

Please meet Madeline, Avra and Neil:

Visit the Halifax Cycling Coalition web site.
Watch the London, UK cycling videos.
Get the latest issue of Dandyhorse.

What Happened to the “Bike Lane” on Spadina?

Sharrow

What exactly is going on with the blacked out “bike lane” on Spadina Avenue?

Well, what may or may not actually have been intended to be a bike lane is now gone, sanded away leaving a thick black stripe in its place. According to the Toronto Cyclists Union the stripe is to soon be replaced by sharrows:

What’s Up with Spadina – where’d that lane go?

Many of you will have noticed that the ‘gutter lane’, the white stripe that ran along the edge of the curb lane all the way along Spadina Ave., was scrubbed off the roadway about two weeks ago.  Please note that this was done in order to prepare the roadway for the application of Sharrows on most of Spadina, and full bike lanes where the road widens enough to fit them in at Spadina circle.

The City has not been able to provide us with a specific application date, but we have been assured that they will be implemented before the end of the season.

What are sharrows you ask? Here’s what the City of Toronto has to say:

1. What is a shared lane pavement marking, or “sharrow”?
Sharrow is short-form for “shared lane pavement marking”. This pavement marking includes a bicycle symbol and two white chevrons.

2. What do these sharrow markings mean for cyclists?
Sharrows are used to indicate where cyclists should ride in a travel lane.

  • For safety reasons, cyclists should ride one metre from the curb to avoid debris and sewer grates.
  • In lanes that are too narrow for cyclists and motorists to travel side-by-side, cyclists should ride in the centre of the lane to discourage motorists from passing too closely.
  • Where there is on-street parking, cyclists should ride one metre from parked cars to avoid the “door zone”.

Although it is the motorist’s and/or passenger’s responsibility to look first before opening their door, riding too close to parked cars can lead to serious injuries that can be avoided.

Sharrows are also used through intersections and some merge zones to support straight-line cycling and to increase the visibility of cyclists.

3. What do these sharrow markings mean for motorists?
Sharrow markings are used to remind drivers to share the road with cyclists. Sharing the road means you should:

  • only pass a cyclist where there is enough room to to do safely (at least one metre between motorist and cyclist),
  • reduce your speed when passing a cyclist, and
  • watch for cyclists when making lane changes and turns.

Be aware that cyclists are vulnerable to different hazards than drivers (e.g. minor pot holes and debris), so give them space to manouvre. Even where there are no sharrows or bike lanes, motorists should always share the road.

4. Where can I expect to see these sharrow markings?
Sharrows are used in curb lanes, either adjacent to the curb or parked cars. You will also see sharrows painted in the middle of narrow lanes where there is not enough room for a cyclist and motorist to travel side-by-side. Sharrow markings are also used through intersections and areas where traffic merges, such as at highway on-ramps or intersections with multiple turning lanes. Sharrows are mostly found downtown where there are the greatest number of cyclists.

View the list of sharrow projects.

More answers to your sharrow questions can be found here: Sharrow Frequently Asked Questions