Facebook Friday: Cycle and the city

As the name suggests, every Friday Spacing profiles Facebook groups that are using the social network to articulate their experiences and share information about Toronto.

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Cycling has become an integral part of Torontonian culture as a form of exercise and entertainment as well as transportation; in response, a wide variety of Facebook groups are emerging that are dealing with the politics, social logistics, and general tom-foolery of urban bicycling.

I Bike T.O., representing the larger Toronto-based cycling activist group (found at www.ibiketo.ca), uses the social network to talk about current cycling infrastructure developments. They also offer their members up-to-date information about upcoming events and municipal consultation sessions and a place to kvech about potholes and bad drivers. Recently, discussion groups have been used to warn fellow bikers about thieves in areas such as Leslieville, to complain about how the rules of the road are innately tuned for cars, to share bike shops that they trust and rely on for parts and repairs, and to debate Toronto’s new green plan (i.e. the proposed expansion of bike lanes and trails to 1,000 kilometers, up from 300 kilometers, by 2012).

Facebook has simultaneously served those cycling enthusiasts who are involved in bike-based initiatives. Bike Movement — University of Toronto Scarborough, for example, is a community bicycles support network that is trying to transform UTSC into a bicycle-friendly campus and infuse student life with healthy cycling activity. With over 90% of students commuting daily, members of this group realize that bicycles have an amazing potential to be a practical alternative to motorized transportation. It is for this reason that they have developed a bike share program (Bike Share Program — University of Toronto Scarborough). The program was initiated on August 1st of this year and is now conducting on-campus workshops every Sunday for coordinators (they are currently in need of volunteers) about bike maintenance and building bikes from scratch. Wheels in Motion — Bike Around Toronto is another example of this sort of Facebook group. Members are interested in biking to get fit and meet weekly in the north end of the city for intense pedal sessions.

Other groups have taken a more bottom-up approach to city cycling, dealing with the development of bike infrastructure — that which is necessary for any of these initiatives to even exist. Take The Tooker .ca is one such example as its members are striving to create a long, east-west bikeway through Toronto. TaketheTooker, intended as a living legacy to bike and climate activist Tooker Gomberg, promotes bike priority beside the Bloor/Danforth subway, creating a bicycle expressway from Mississauga to Scarborough through the city core. According to Now Magazine on April 12th, 2007, the Bloor Danforth Bikeway (aka The Tooker) is listed as the most desirable place for a bike lane in the city. Moutain bike park in toronto!!!! is also trying to generate support for change, pooling together ideas on a indoor/outdoor mountain bike park in the west end of Toronto that is supposed to be in its preliminary planning stages. Finally, groups such as i love my bicycle, bicycles are better than cars, and In favor of life imprisonment for bike theft — Toronto Chapter exist for no other reason than to express the beauty and woes of being a biker. Also, precisely because cycling is as much a lifestyle choice as a form of mechanical self-expression, groups such as Toronto Lowrider/Chopper Bikes PEDAL POWER. . . !, FUC BMX…we ride kids bikes, and Flatland Riders of the World are becoming increasingly popular.

All in all, these are but a few examples of the types of bike-based Facebook groups that exist. That being said, they demonstrate the extent to which cycling culture is only getting stronger and more organized in Toronto.

2 comments

  1. Yay! I’m so glad to see the UTSC Bike Movement and BikeShare mentioned. I spent a lot of time last year working on developing this project and it was really good to be at the launch, and I’m really enjoying using the program. 😀

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