As reported here, and here in BikingToronto, Art Spin combines art, group cycling and fun, four times a year in Toronto’s Art District, Queen Street West.
Here’s an update I received from Art Spin a couple of days ago (sorry for the late post), about tomorrow evenings jaunt.
This year’s third of four ‘Outings’ leaves the gates at Trinity Bellwoods Park (at Queen) at 7PM sharp. If you come early at 6:30 you can ‘Art-Up your bike’ or participate in a free ‘fix-it session’ courtesy of Bike Pirates, who can help you to tune up your bike before the tour and give great advice/help on all bicycle maintenance issues.
Here’s the itinerary for Thursday evenings Art Spin:
The Tour de Fat is rolling across the Western United States, bringing bikes, beer, and carnivalesque frivolity to more than a dozen cities. Sponsored by Colorado craft brewer New Belgium, the event raises thousands of dollars for local bike groups in each location through brew and merchandise sales, all the while allowing local bikers to get their inner freak on.
The riders who show up for the kickoff event, the Tour de Fat bicycle parade, are a wildly eclectic bunch: Geeky vintage bike collectors pedal alongside BMX tricksters and attention-getting body-mod and tattoo fetishists. Tinkerers show off their tall bikes and crazy modifications; single-speeders flaunt their stripped-down rigs; and cargo bikers—such as me, riding the Utne Reader’s new Surly Big Dummy—flex their load-bearing capacity.
I made the rounds at the Minneapolis Tour de Fat before the parade started, asking bikers with notable rides to tell me a bit about them, while Utne Reader art director Stephanie Glaros took photos. (Look for more of her shots soon on Utne’s Tumblr blog.) Here are the fascinating folks we met:
Mark Lukens, Minneapolis Double-decker BMX bike
Bill Eggert, St. Paul Stairmaster-bicycle mashup
Eggert calls his contraption the Evolutionary Transport, or ET for short—and he’s got a patent pending, so don’t even think of ripping off this idea:
Jones Avenue has a really nice bike lane in that Jones isn’t a really busy street and the topography is good for where it goes (Queen Street East to Danforth) – it’s a good way up the hill.
Cyclists who use the lanes are local people running errands, visiting friends. It’s a short route so there’s not a lot of commuter traffic as far as I can tell (I live on Jones and have a great view out my front window).
One peculiar thing I have noticed is that people often ride the bike lane on the wrong side of the street. Say they’re heading north on Jones with the intention of turning west onto Dundas (which also has a bike lane) – instead of waiting in the left turn lane at Dundas, or walking the bike through the intersection via the cross walks, or taking a right at Dundas and executing a safe U-turn on Dundas – they simply ride up the west side bike lane (against the legal flow of traffic) and then turn left into the south side Dundas bike lane (again against the legal flow of traffic) and merge over to the correct side of the street when it’s safe.
I got lucky. After I wrote this article I went looking for a nice image. This is Jones Avenue at Dundas Street East, northeast corner - Google Street View - note the cyclist is south bound in the north bound bike lane!
I’m a big supporter of redesigning infrastructure to make it fit the way people use it instead of forcing people into a box that came off an architect’s drafting table. I believe a modern architect should tour their completed projects to see how they work in the real world, and learn from it. I think City Planners should watch how infrastructure is used and redesign elements that aren’t working, to make them work better with the way people end up using them.
A good example is pathways in city parks, I’ve seen several examples where parks department workers have observed where people wear paths through the grass and then instead of putting up fences to keep people off the grass, they add paths where paths are being created anyway.
It’s brilliant, it’s thinking outside the box. I wonder if the city parks and recreation department has institutionalized this thinking – or if supervisors of maintenance at a individual park just see and do (I expect it’s the latter – feed back is welcome, do you work for Parks and Rec.?).
Anyway, what do you think of cyclists ‘re-purposing’ bike lanes – so they’re two way, both sides of the street?
Dangerous? Brilliant? Should they be ticketed? Thrown in jail? Forced to sweep bike lanes of glass all summer?
Perhaps the way bike lanes are used in particular neighbourhoods should determine what rules apply to them – perhaps a yellow marking system to designate that a two way use protocol is in effect?
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I manage two blogs here at BikingToronto: "@Blog_FreeWheel" and the "Toronto/GTA Bicycle Route Mapping Wiki". The Blog and the Wiki are two sides of a coin - the blog to discuss bicycle routes and the politics of bicycle routes - and the Mapping Wiki to publish bike route maps contributors and I have discovered to help city planners, cycling advocates and road users to choose and advocate for, safe and efficient cycling routes on Toronto's busy and dangerous car-centric infrastructure.