For many Americans, the bicycle is a choice. An expensive toy. An eco-conscious mode of transportation. For countless others across the globe, it is much more.
For Fred, a health worker in Zambia, the bicycle is a means of reaching twice as many patients. For Bharati, a teenager in India, it provides access to education. For Mirriam, a disabled Ghanaian woman, working on bicycles is an escape from the stigma attached to disabled people in her community. For Carlos, a farmer in Guatemala, pedal power is a way to help neighbors reduce their impact on the environment. For Sharkey, a young man in California, the bicycle is an escape from the gangs that consume so many of his peers.
With My Own Two Wheels weaves together the experiences of these five individuals into a single story about how the bicycle can change the world—one pedal stroke at a time.
The mayor’s response to my email in support of Jarvis bike lanes (and no doubt to every other email sent to him concerning the lanes):
Thank you for your email regarding the bike lanes on Jarvis Street. I appreciate hearing from you.
Toronto’s economy loses billions of dollars every year from gridlock and traffic congestion. We need to make the situation better – not worse. The Jarvis Street bike lanes experiment has been a failure. Ninety-four percent of commuters now face longer commutes on Jarvis Street. Over 15,000 commuters each day are suffering from longer travel times, for the sake of 600 additional cyclists.
The City should remove the bike lanes as soon as possible and improve travel times for thousands of daily commuters. City staff have been directed to develop a low-cost plan to do so. Bike lanes were never intended to be installed on Jarvis Street. The original Environmental Assessment recommended against installing bike lanes – but City Council amended the report to approve bike lanes anyway.
As promised during the mayoral election, I am dedicated to delivering customer service excellence, creating a transparent and accountable government, reducing the size and cost of government and building a transportation city.
Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts. Please feel free to contact my office again at any time.
Mayor Rob Ford
City of Toronto
With massive public support (though Cllr. John Parker’s back-handed motion means we can’t officially provide it to the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee) the mayor has yet to change his tune. Bicycles are a pain in his ass, we’re swimming with sharks who drive unnecessarily large vehicles and need to do so at break neck speeds.
This year I finally got to participate in the Heart and Stroke ride for a cure, which goes along the 2 major highways in Toronto. Starting at Exhibition place you enter the gardiner, then go all the way along to the dvp, and up to York Mills rd. Then you turn around and go all the way back down to exhibition place again. 50 kilometres in total. About 20 minutes into my ride I blew my tire. After about an hour of walking with my head down and kicking stones, I went back to my apartment and fixed my flat, and finished the race. Check out the time-lapse of my adventure.