Toronto Tuesday: Cycle Blogs and City Strikes

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Each Tuesday, Spacing Montreal will share some posts from our sister blog, Spacing Toronto. We hope it will fuel constructive dialogue on the urban issues faced by both cities.

•  A new city blog, 416cyclestyle showcases images by “velotographers” Xander N’ Dante of trendy hipsters as they pedal around the city. Montreal cyclists are far sexier than Toronto ones. We need our own CycleChic blog. Whose up for it?

•  John Lorinc comments on the proposed allocation of $11 million of the new Billboard tax going to fund public art around the city. Yay or Neigh? He suggests an interesting alternative.

• A proposed 10 cent hike in the TTC public transit fares has prompted a rider strike though few riders are actually observing the boycott.

10 comments

  1. Oh I agree so much that a vélochic Montréal blog is sorely overdue! I don’t take photos (I paint) and can’t commit to a blog, but I’d be thrilled to help out with locations, texts in French and in English and any other help I could provide.

    You’ll find a few cycle chic photos on Le Monde à bicyclette site I link too (it is mostly an archive of this founding urban ecocycling movement, but there are some new articles too).

    We have some remarkable cycle chic here – not just young hipsters; men and women of all ages and many backgrounds and styles. On rue Alma near here (between St-Zotique and Beaubien) there is a Buddhist temple and I’ve seen the monks cycling! Lovely.

    Many older Italian men in flat caps on old-school bicycles around here too – sadly, their wives rarely join in.

    And in recent years, a steady stream of people cycling to work or other destinations morning and evening.

  2. I wish fashion blogs would stop glamourizing people who cycle without helmets. I don’t know anyone who has cycled in Montreal without having a close call (at least!) with a car or pedestrian.

    Any local CycleChic blog would have to be responsible about this, or you may as well blog about how much more stylish people look with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths. If anyone is up for designing a cute bike helmet with a hole for a ponytail in the back, I’ll be the first to buy one. Until then, wreck your look with a helmet or walk.

  3. how about a blog about fashionable people who ride their bike on sidewalks, as the dolt in your photo is doing.

  4. Not only is she not wearing a helmet AND on the sidewalk, but she is also biking in heels. Impressive or foolish? I say both.

  5. I’ve been wearing a helmet my entire life and rarely leave the house with my bike without one. However, I would never tell anyone that they SHOULD wear a helmet, it’s their choice and whatever is comfortable for someone should be their decision to make.

    Helmet wearing for me isn’t necessarily about safety. I feel that if I wear a helmet or don’t wear a helmet, the level of safety levels itself out. I remember hearing about a study where two groups of cyclists were studied, one with helmets and one without and looked at how cars reacted to the different groups. What they found was that drivers make wider passes with cyclists not wearing a helmet than those who do and tend to exercise more caution when around them. The study showed that per capita, those wearing helmets were more likely to get hit by cars than those who didn’t, their accidents were generally less severe if they hit their head of course. For myself, when I’m not wearing a helmet, I’m much more cautious in traffic and tend to take quieter roads with less traffic or bike lanes and at lower speeds. When I’m wearing one, I ride much faster on busier streets and perform more risky maneuvers like weaving in and out of traffic, stopping more abruptly, and riding down Hôtel-de-Ville after Sherbrooke. Because I find riding like this to be much more fun, I elect to wear a helmet. So, for me, wearing a helmet is more about fun, and less about safety.

  6. I’ll be the first to admit that Montreal does have a certain flair that shows up in bits and pieces here in Toronto, it is a very sexy city especially with the european and french influence, and it is so close to Toronto. I havent yet come across a Cycle Chic site from montreal, however i feel it isn’t very far away.

    The cycle style debate over to wear or not to wear a helmet i try to stay away from, most people i photograph are adults, so i’ve tried to stay away from asking adults what to do. However i feel that a safe bicycle infrastructure combined with a safe cycle culture could calm this debate.

    I appreciate that people are taking the time to discuss these safety issues. It can only get better from here…

    Cheers. ‘X

  7. Bonjour ‘Xander! Good luck on your blog, which I’d already discovered via copenhagencyclechic.com . Cycling in urban, often urbane, attire has deep roots here. Claire Morrissette, the late co-founder of foundational cyclists’ group Le Monde à bicyclette: http://www.lemab.ca was an early advocate – see the brochure on cycling to work in our archives.

    There have been abortive attempts here to start up a vélochic site here, but the bloggers seemed to have given up. We are actually slightly closer to Boston than to Toronto (though there is no train, and the border crossing makes it a longer trip). Charlotte of Chic Cyclist does a very nice urban cycling blog about her city: http://chiccyclist.blogspot.com/ with its architecture of similar vintage, and chilly weather.

    I think riding upright city bicycles and style over speed can play an important role in fostering safety. So does proper infrastructure. That does not necessarily require eliminating private cars – wonderful as that would be for the urban environment and the health of our planet – but it does require well-designed dedicated bicycle lanes and proper marking of secondary roads. Increasing the number of cyclists also means that a larger percentage of drivers are also cyclists and sensitive to our needs and interests.

    Actually I wouldn’t censor photos of adults smoking cigarettes while cycling either, and it certainly isn’t because I want to advocate smoking.

  8. Here is one of the tentative Montréal vélochic sites: montrealcykler.blogspot.com/ Oui, je sais, il a besoin d’un réviseur français. But that could easily have been managed. It is hard to keep up such a blog or site. He does have some lovely, iconic shots that are very much Montréal.

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