Check Out the New Products in the BikingToronto Shop

I Bike T.O. HoodieI Bike T.O. Baseball Shirt

The BikingToronto Shop has just been updated with new shirts for men, women, children and babies.

The profits from all purchases go to Toronto cycling-related charities.

Visit the shop here: BikingToronto Shop
Learn more about ibiketo.org, the charitable arm of BikingToronto, here.

I Bike T.O. Kids ShirtI Bike T.O. Women's V-neck

(Click on any of the images here to learn more about each product)

BikingToronto’s Best Advice for City Cycling Now

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It’s post-Labour Day and students are back at school, teachers are back at work, summer hours are ending and the streets are getting busier.

With busier streets comes more Toronto residents using bicycles for getting to work and play. This may mean your quiet summer route is now busy and hectic. This may mean that you’ve put off getting your gears and brakes adjusted for too long. And this may all mean that you need some advice.

Here at BikingToronto we love not only sharing our own cycling stories, but helping out Toronto cyclists as well. Here are some of our most popular posts to help you become a more confident, better informed and an all-around happier Toronto cyclist:

The Complete 10 Secrets to Cycling with Traffic

10 quick ways to help you feel more comfortable cycling with traffic on Toronto’s streets. The are the “secrets” every person riding a bicycle in town needs to know. Here are the complete 10 Secrets to Cycling with Traffic.

Maps of Bike Routes, Bike Shops and Help Planning Your Commute

Looking for bike lanes and bike routes near your new place or to help you get to around Toronto? The BikingToronto Bike Lane Map can help you find your route. To get a printed copy of the official City of Toronto Bike Map go here. And if you want advice on a specific route, submit your desired start and end locations to the Toronto/GTA Bicycle Route Mapping Wiki and get advice from local cyclists.

Need some bicycle parts, repairs or a new bike altogether? Our interactive Google map of the 70+ bike shops in Toronto can help you find what you need.

Overcome the Challenges of Fall Riding

When it rains you can always hop on the TTC, but wouldn’t it be more fun to keep riding your bicycle? Here’s how to ride in the rain.

How to Securely Lock your Bicycle and Get Better Bicycle Parking

Not sure if you’ve got the right equipment to lock your bicycle safely and securely? Here’s how to get the right lock on any budget.

Recently moved to a new condominium and the bicycle parking isn’t up to snuff? Here’s how to get better bicycle parking for your condo.

Register your bicycle with the Toronto Police to speed up recovery should your bicycle be stolen. Register your bicycle here.

Discover and Share Toronto Cycling Events

Looking to connect with other bicycle-friendly Torontonians? Are you running an event and want to spread the word. The BikingToronto Events calendar allows you to quickly find cycling events and share yours here.

What’s the deal with Bixi Toronto?

Bicycle sharing is taking the world by storm and we want Toronto to be next. You can help secure the first 1,000 shared bicycles using the advanced and friendly Bixi system. Get Information about the Bixi Toronto bike share system and how you can help make it happen here.

The above links may help answer some of your Toronto cycling questions. However, if the advice you need isn’t here simply leave a comment below and we’ll help you find the answers you need.

Jarvis Rejigging Confuses Mainstream Media, Toronto Cyclists Union Sets the Record Straight

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Why are these people riding their bicycles down the middle of Jarvis?

Well, it’s quite possible that they’ve been following some mainstream media outlets, and these outlets have been giving them the wrong information. I’m looking at you Toronto Sun.

Rome wasn’t built in a day and bike lanes painted on city streets don’t appear overnight. In order to avoid delays and stave off a mainstream media feeding frenzy of “OMG, GRIDLOCK” stories, city crews are slowly changing over the lane configuration of Jarvis Street that will extend from Queen St. and run north to Bloor St..

Here’s the facts. 5 lanes will become 6 (2 bicycle lanes separated by 4 regular lanes) and street parking is being nixed.

For further elaboration, Yvonne Bambrick of the Toronto Cyclists Union shares more information on the street redesign with photos here: BikeUnion.to Jarvis St. – Need to Know Info!

Photo by Yvonne Bambrick via Flickr

Please note, BikingToronto is also following the progress of the bike lane installation on Jarvis Street with Neal Jennings providing photos and video.

Rainy Day Slideshow from the BikingToronto Flickr Pool

See more photos of biking in Toronto in the BikingToronto Flickr Pool

Short Flick Friday: Unlocked (2005)

Unlocked - Lost love, Kensington, bike locks, HONK!

I love short films. Maybe I’m just a product of my generation, but a well crafted short film is aces in my books. Unlocked was co-produced with the National Film Board (NFB) as part of Shorts in Motion (SIM). SIM are short films meant to be viewed on cell phones, hopefully not while driving or cycling.

Also of note from Bravo!FACT:

Bravo!FACT Presents

Sundays 7:30 pm ET/4:30 pm PT on Bravo! is your chance to catch cutting edge Canadian short films by up-and-comers as well as established filmmakers and performers. Tune in for an eclectic mix of dance, drama, animation and spoken word.

Bravo!FACT Presents is repeated Fridays at 8:00pm ET/5:00 pm PT and Saturdays at 8:00 am ET/5:00 am PT on Bravo!, and Saturdays on ‘A’ in Barrie, London, Windsor and Wingham, Ontario; and on Vancouver Island, BC. All time subject to change; check your local listings.

Bravo!FACT Presents celebrates our favourite mode of transportation this sunny season: the bicycle! Featuring Mio Adilman’s Unlocked trilogy The Note, The Zen Master, and The Bicycle Thief; as well as Jonathan Bensimon’s tour of Havana Fall Apart Again; and Sook Yin Lee’s look at relationship woes in Unlocked.

Via bravofact on Twitter.

Things You Can Do By Bike – Go To IKEA!

There’s a long, boring story that leads up this sunny, Saturday morning ride to Etobicoke. It involves hidden inventory and an obsessive search for a very simple piece of organizational furniture. That said, I had an exchange to make at IKEA. The Etobicoke store being just 13 km from my home, my girlfriend and I loaded up our Globe bikes and set off.

Shadows! Even after such a mild winter in Toronto, the first time you really see your shadow again is exciting.

Because traveling like a Toronto cyclist involves more than just roads, we took a detour through High Park.

Seriously, spring shadows are great!

After a quick ride along still icy and tree covered paths in High Park we arrive along the Queensway. Bike lanes here take you into Etobicoke.

Just as things get roomy with space between the bike lane and other traffic…

… our bike lane travels come to an end.

In Etobicoke they want you to know that there is to be no cycling on the sidewalks. Sidewalk cycling is illegal in Toronto too, but these signs at every sidewalk intersection almost appear as though there is simply no cycling allowed at all. Which isn’t the case, of course.

Once the bike lane ends the motorized traffic gets heavier, and closer. The vast majority of drivers did change lanes to pass us and only when we were close to intersections did a few motorists pass a little too close for comfort.

It’s amazing how wide the Queensway is. I didn’t stop to take a photo, but the road quickly widens to seven lanes across. There are new condos and townhouses lining much of the Queensway, but I simply couldn’t imagine living along a highway. The area is rapidly changing and is just a short bike or transit ride into the city, so this area does have many benefits. (Note: The photo below is from the less wide section of the Queensway).

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from simply too many IKEA trips it’s that you never use the front entrance. There may be bike parking at the Etobicoke IKEA, but since we had a return, I decided to get a little creative and lock us up near the service doors.

Exchange made, bungees secured and we set our sights on home.

Looking back at our simple trip, it’s amazing just how much we were able to accomplish in the morning while on our bikes. We got to experience one of the sunniest days of 2010 in Toronto so far. We got a little bit of exercise, especially when crossing the bridge just before you get to IKEA. We got the best parking spot. And we smiled the whole way there and back… when’s the last time you did all of that on a visit to IKEA?

“Putting Priority on Pedestrians and Cyclists”

Bernhardt Jensen Cycling Mayor

The mayoral race in Toronto is just barely beginning and already cycling is becoming a hot issue. With a candidate, who I do not want to name, already vowing to “rip out” existing bike lanes and halt transit expansion, the race is off to a depressing start. While many cyclists felt we wouldn’t even be addressed in the campaigns, it is quite disturbing to see city infrastructure meant to support active lifestyles threatened so early.

On Monday, February 1st, TTC Chair Adam Giambrone is expected to officially announce his mayoral bid. While I can’t say I know near enough about any of the more than 20 candidates, Giambrone is already an active spokesperson in support of public transit and pedestrian safety. The video below shows Adam Giambrone addressing city council concerning the highly contested (and now possibly threatened) Javis revitalization that would see the removal of one lane of motor vehicle traffic and the addition of wider sidewalks and bicycle lanes:

Photo of Bernhardt Jensen (known as the Cycling Mayor of Aarhus) via Copenhagenize

Bikeway Network Event Public Notice


Bike Path By Night
Originally uploaded by sniderscion

Make your voice heard and show your support for more cycling infrastructure in Toronto:

Bikeway Network Event Public Notice

Date: Monday February 1, 2010
Time: 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Location: Metro Hall, 55 John St. Room 308-309

The objective of this meeting is to get community input on proposed new downtown bikeways that the Transportation Services Cycling Infrastructure and Programs group is working on for 2010.

Topics will discuss concepts and criteria for new projects, including:

• 2010 bicycle lanes
• Rush hour sharrow bicycle markings on streetcar routes
• New bicycle lane intersection treatments at signalized intersections
• Locations for bicycle boxes at intersections
• Updates on the West-End bikeways project

Participants are invited to attend for a brief presentation and question period with City Staff from 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. From 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. the floor will be open for the public to view maps, talk to staff about projects, and submit comments and suggestions.

Visit our website at www.toronto.ca/cycling

What are your 2010 Toronto bike commuting goals?

Going past

I’ll admit that I got a late start to bike commuting. It took me more than 3 years of city living to finally give it a try. In June 2009, on a bit of a whim, I took my new bike on a 25 km journey to my office in the outer reaches of Toronto (so far in fact that it’s not even in Toronto).

At first, I’d bike just twice a week as I needed the next day to recover. If it looked like rain, I jumped on the subway (then bus, then another bus and sometimes yet another bus).

All it took was one rainfall that I didn’t see coming and I lost the fear of getting wet. I was already soaked with sweat, so it made little difference, and rain actually feels good in the heat and humidity of a Toronto summer.

By the end of 2009 I had bought cycling shorts, tights, a shirt or two and a waterproof jacket. I now have a sturdy lock (and back-up lock for paranoia), panniers, two pumps, various lights and more cycling goodies than I can even remember.

So, what can I do more in 2010? Well, there’s been one big change for me. My commute, which was recently shortened to just 20 km each way has been drastically cut. I’ve joined the ranks of the work-from-home brigades, no commuting necessary. At least not daily.

This opens new doors for me. I get the chance to take morning or noon rides on trails I previously never would have seen on weekdays. I get to ride for pleasure, and if my route starts to wear on me, I get to change it. Lucky me, I know.

Yet, working from home also provides the opportunity to become lazy. I worked so hard getting comfortable as a bicycle commuter that it’s hard to give it up cold turkey. So, I’m going to make my morning rides my own sort of commute. It will be the longest distance between my bedroom and my home office possible, much more than a few shuffle-steps.

Over on Commute by Bike, Bike Shop Girl has compiled a list of 2010 bike commuter goals. Here are her 8 goals with my comments:

1. Learn how to properly lock your bike

There are a lot of different places to lock your bike in Toronto. It took me some time and practice to find the “sweet spots” for locking to post and rings and other spots. I find that a sturdy u-lock through the frame and front wheel is best for eliminating vulnerable gaps between lock, bike and rack. This also helps keep your bike upright as other people use the rack.

2. Start a Commuter Challenge

I’ve personally resisted getting a cycling computer. I’m a little too competitive and really want to keep my eyes on the road. But, if you find your commute getting stale, then why not strive to make the best time possible or work out how to catch every green light?

3. Motivate a co-worker to commute by bike

You could start by taking them with you on a ride one weekend. Show them your route when the roads are less busy. Unfortunately, no one at my office joined me last year… but walking in all sweaty with a bike in tow certainly got us talking about something new.

4. Join your local advocacy group

In Toronto you can start by joining the Toronto Cyclist Union. Joining is a great start, but getting active and participating in events or volunteering is even better. My goal is to do more with the Union now that I’m a proud member.

5.  Take photos to inspire others and yourself

There are more than 2,000 photos in the BikingToronto Flickr Pool… why not help us reach 3,000? Edit: As mentioned in the comment below, the pool is now approaching 4,000!

6.  Setup a commuter zone

My bike accessories once filled a small tupperware container. Now, I have a dedicated shelf near the door where I keep bungees, gloves, lights, the odd tool and helmets. Making space for your bike stuff, and making it accessible, are a great way to remind yourself that it’s better by bike.

7. Practice preventative maintenance

Not sure what to do with those tools a family member gave you over the holidays? Make a visit to Bike Pirates or the Community Bicycle Network and learn how to fix your own bike before it decides it no longer wants to go. If you live in Toronto’s East end, why not get involved in starting a DIY shop as well?

8. Invest in your gear

It’s certainly not necessary to have a full cycling wardrobe. But, adding pieces like waterproof gloves, a waterproof jacket or even shoes can help make your commute more enjoyable no matter what the weather is like.

That’s all 8… but I’m certain there are many more. What are your 2010 cycling/commuting/living goals? Share yours in the comments below.

Photo via sevenman in BikingToronto’s Flickr Pool

My One and Only Complaint about Cycling in Toronto

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Ok, the headline of this post is a little misleading. I have plenty of complaints about cycling in Toronto. And, if you read BlogTO, you know that there’s a list and growing discussion of even more gripes going on there.

But… and this is a big BUT… nothing outweighs the benefits of cycling in Toronto…

We have trails through ravines!

We have a growing bike lane network!

We’re busting cops for parking in bike lanes!

We have a cyclists union!

We look damn good on our bikes!

We have more than 70 bike shops in Toronto!

However, I do have one big complaint… and boy-oh-boy is it a doosie!

There are simply not enough cyclists in Toronto.

That’s it, that’s my complaint.

Some days it’s just so lonely. I know there are thousands upon thousands of cyclists around. But, I want to see more… don’t you?

Join the discussion in the BikingToronto Forum

Photo via the BikingToronto Flickr Pool