Archive for the ‘Biking’ Category

Darcy Sheppard… The Wrong Kind of Hero???

It has been hard to digest the ruling that saw charges against Michael Bryant dropped after an incident that left Darcy Sheppard dead. I do give credit to the Ontario government for seeking an outside prosecutor for the case (even though the final outcome is disappointing).

I’m not exactly looking for vengence, political and public character assassination or revenge. In my opinion the tragic incident that left a cyclist dead was the result of two individuals. A cyclist over-reacting and a driver over-reacting.

Today’s Globe and Mail article misses the point. Yes, Darcy Sheppard repeatedly responded to drivers when he felt they threatened his safety on the road. He did so in some colourful and not so flowery ways (spitting or yelling back). Such a response could be understandable given that number of life threatening incidents that occur, not to just bike couriers, but everyday citizens. The pedestrian death toll this Spring was a testament not only to oblivious people crossing the road, but to dangerous drivers. It is far too easy to glaze over the indifference of drivers who would rather run others off the road than to delay their journey. I can say I’ve witnessed both sides of close calls but in the end road users make it bad for everyone.

From the surface, Darcy seemed to engage those who “crossed” his path. In my opinion that is not always wrong, criminal or unjustified. He chose to stand up for his personal safety in an often aggressive way but there are many non-violent ways to report or police a situation without taking it on one on one.

Darcy may have faced issues with addiction or mental health but the behaviour of at least two individuals led to this tragic end. The same ill advised escalation can often be witnessed at a bar fight. Two men enter, one leaves but often both are equally to blame. The saddest thing is that the major media and the court failed to recognize that. It seems that the prosecution feared the demonization of Darcy. Perhaps after much time and consultation they moved away from any conviction or charges against Bryant that would be hard fought to apply.

One can only hope that improvements to our streets, TTC and bike lanes come soon and that people travel with more respect for each other. Yet another dark chapter closes, hopefully some lessons were learned. Can’t we all just get to our destination?

A Most Tragic Accident

I always cringe when I hear about a bicycle or pedestrian accident. The latest high profile incident featuring Michael Bryant is no exception.

Road rage gone horribly wrong?! I’m sure a major investigation is not required to figure that out. Whether alcohol or other factors are at play here there is no doubt that this incident, among about 1,000 that occur every year, was preventable. It never matters “who’s fault” a minor faux pas on the streets is caused by. The key is minor driver vs. driver (or bike or pedestrian) mistakes don’t escalate into the death, trauma or damage to those who share the roads. Considering how this case escalated I hope people can recognize how fast things can go so wrong.

Pedal The Don

Beautiful weather, barbecue, and bikes? This Sunday’s Pedal The Don looks to be a great cap to the weekend. From about 1pm to 3pm all are welcome to make the 17km journey along paved trails from Yonge and Lawrence down to the mouth of the Don River. (People are urged to register for this free event). It’s also a family friendly and the suggested participating age is 7 and up.

Pedal The Don
Sunday May 3rd

1pm until approximately 3pm

Ride starts on the South East corner of Yonge St and Lawrence Ave @ Public Library (3083 Yonge Street)
Note: Library will be closed

The 17km ride will be leisurely and informative, with 4 rest stops (approx 10 min each) where you can view the valley and learn about this important area. John Wilson, Chairperson of the Task Force to Bring Back the Don, will provide commentary at each rest stop.

At the end of the ride there will be a cash BBQ to help support the Toronto and Region Conservational Authority.

Hard Times, Cold Stares and Frozen Zombies

A would be bike thief strolls casually Sunday afternoon along College & Beverly wielding a handsome hacksaw and a brown windbreaker and yellow shirt.

A would be bike thief strolls casually at about 6pm Sunday at College & Beverley wielding a handsome hacksaw and a brown windbreaker and yellow shirt.

Yes, the recession is hitting hard. Bad news is abounds but Spring has finally sprung. I’ve been trying to enjoy the extra hours of daylight and walking whenever possible. Cabin fever no more!

Still the winter chill and ominous market conditions have frozen hearts. I was in disbelief yesterday night on my stroll along College. I heard an odd sound and noticed a man wielding a huge hacksaw and making his way through a big U-lock. Umm, I’m I the only one noticing that someone is trying to liberate what looks to be a nice mountain bike from in front of U of T?

No… but no one cares. Not the people coming off the street car, the woman walking her dog. Weird. I didn’t have my SLR with me but I decided to “spook” the perpetrator by taking his picture (with my crappy cell phone). It worked the dude moved on an scurried up the street. Yeah, one less bike in Toronto stolen. The funny thing was that when I started heading South the local thief had doubled back. The guy was off to find his next bike and was again walking in front of me on the other side of the street. As before the dude paused and was about to try his luck on another bike. I lingered a bit and then took my own detour after he moved on from victim two. I didn’t want to be hacksaw victim three so I did some scurrying myself.

Not only amazed that people are “forced” to steal but how many people didn’t care to report or discourage the would be thief. These are hard times and now more than ever we need a cure for apathy. Well, if you parked your bike on the North side of College East of the Second Cup your U-Lock lasted long enough for one person to care that your bike wasn’t stolen.

Spacing Anniversary Party – Tonight!!!

Spacing launched December 3rd, 2003. Tonight they will be celebrating the release of their latest issue (and their output of 13 issues over five years!)

Pick up a copy of the latest issue at the event, around Toronto at Pages or direct from their webstore.

Here’s to another 5 years for one of Toronto’s and Canada’s great magazines.

Spacing’s fifth anniversary party and new issue!
The Great Hall, 1087 Queen Street West at Dovercourt
December 10th, 7pm-1am
$5 for subscribers or $10 (includes mag)
(RSVP: please note that, in accordance with Spacing’s liquor license, you need to RSVP to this event by email to rsvp@spacing.ca)

The Urban Water Cycle… Best Yet!!!

The Urban Water Cycle Pools Together Near Trinity Bellwoods

The Urban Water Cycle Pools Together Near Trinity Bellwoods

Glad I had a chance to check out this year’s Human River – Urban Water Cycle on Sunday. It was a brilliant idea to try the event as a bicycle adventure through the streets of Toronto. Of course it helped that the ride was downhill (basically the path of Garrison Creek toward the lake).

A big bonus were the speakers and stops along the route which brought new insight into Toronto, past and present. L.E.A.F. , Toronto Public Spacing Committee, Human River, Lost Rivers, The Toronto Green Community, River Sides, Coach House Books and the many volunteers should be proud of their efforts. A job well done on improving on what was already such a great event! Four years strong, here’s to four more!

Urban Water Cycle


It’s back again for another year! The Human River. This year’s event, The Human River Urban Water Cycle, is a leisurely bike ride. The downhill ride will have riders follow the route of the now buried Garrison Creek, Toronto’s biggest buried river, toward Lake Ontario. Urban Water Cycle promises to be a great family friendly event that will enlighten and entertain while providing a different take on Toronto neighbourhoods and the environment. The ride starts at St. Clair and Humewood and ends at Old Fort York’s Blue Barracks. There will be food, raffles and a photo show at the Blue Barracks at 3:30pm.

So if you are not too much of a ZOMBIE Sunday morning dress up in blue and join the Human River!

Human River – Urban Water Cycle
October 19th starting at 1pm
Free (Donations are Welcome)

7Km ride Starts at 1pm – North West Corner of St.Clair and Humewood
(Waiver Required)
Stops include Bickford Park (approx. 1:45 – 2pm), Trinity Bellwoods (approx. 2:20 – 2:40pm) and Old Fort York (approx. 3:10 – 3:30pm)
Food and Photo Show at 3:30pm after the bike ride at Fort York’s Blue Barracks

Non-cyclists are encouraged to join in the fun at Fork York or at other Water Cycle stops (Bickford Park or Trinity Bellwoods).

Memorial Ride – Ride for Charlie 2008

Thursday evening there will be a memorial ride to honour Charlie Prinsep, a Toronto cyclist killed while on a cross-country tour. All cyclists are welcome to ride in solidarity. The ride will be through Cabbagetown, down to the lake and West to the memorial tree for fallen cyclists. Cyclists are encouraged to participate, even if you didn’t know Charlie. This is not a protest ride but a ride for the love of cycling and in memory of all of the cyclists we’ve lost in careless accidents.

Ride For Charlie
(organized by friends of Charlie Prinsep)
Thursday August 28th
Riders are encouraged to meet at Jet Fuel Coffee at 7pm
519 Parliament Street, Toronto, ON, M4X1P3

Toronto’s Bike Racks

Toronto Bike Poles

Being an avid cyclist myself, one of the first things I noticed around Toronto are the endless bike racks installed by the city. I mentioned to some friends how cool I thought that was, that the city was so supportive but as Jay noted in the comments on that photo, the racks aren’t as secure as they were meant to be and their are some other versions besides the basic rings. This is all incredibly fascinating to me as a visitor. The Torontoist piece I linked to above mentions a 2×4 can be used to break the rack very easily, I’m curious if anyone has any first hand experience of this happening? Anyone had their bikes stolen off of these racks? They certainly seem to be well used around town so I’m just curious how secure people feel they are -2×4 hack or not.

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