Tag Archives: bikes

Cycling Safety

Bicycle Bashing or Concerned Citizens About Cycling Safety?

Cycling Safety
When large-scale discussions used to erupt regarding obeying the rules of the road these discourses revolved around driving. Each generation seems to spur a different road safety discussion; from wearing seat belts to drinking and driving, public safety is directly influenced by the behaviour of citizens on the road. However, the millennials are less concerned with hot rods and more concerned with environmentally friendly modes of transportation. In Ontario alone, over 600, 000 citizens ride a bike daily.  So now, the road safety discourse is changing.

Toronto cyclist advocate and CEO of Share the Road Cycling Coalition, believes that the millennial generation’s transportation habits are changing the ways of the road. However, other citizens are not so happy about this transition. Conversation surrounding cycling safety was sparked in Toronto after a TTC Chair was ticketed for rolling through a stop sign on her bicycle. The Chair Tweeted that she refused to pay the ticket due to a citation error and discourse boomed.

An enraged Toronto columnist responded to this news with a scathing article about bikers’ disregard for motorists and basic road safety. The Toronto Star columnist, Judith Timson, wrote about driving home late at night and witnessing a cyclist biking against traffic in the dark nestled in amongst parked cars. Timson states, “I am a motorist, fearful and angry, and I’ve come to the end of silently tolerating cyclists who break the law.”

This prompted a rather anger-filled discussion about cyclists either not knowing or not caring to obey road rules. McMahon responded stating that as we move away from being car-centric, we need to ensure that cyclists understand how to travel safely. However, this is currently an unfair assumption, as the city does not provide any type of cycling education. Motorists just assume cyclists know the best way to manoeuvre throughout Toronto’s busy streets, but that is just not the case.

Motorists have books, classes and courses about how to drive properly. Parents take driver education seriously and there are very few, if any, young motorists that have not gone through months of in-class and in-car training. But what of this new generation that is saying no to cars and yes to eco-friendly, cheap cycling? How will they learn to cycle safely if we do not take the time to teach them?

In various blogs (TORONTO BIKERS BEWARE: & “DOORING” MAJOR DANGER FOR TORONTO CYCLIStS) I have explored the dangers of biking in Toronto. But, what about the dangers that cyclists create for motorists? I can only imagine the emotional turmoil that a motorist who strikes a cyclist must suffer. What can bikers do to keep themselves safer? Beyond wearing a helmet, wear lights at night. Don’t blend into bad lighting and traffic; stand out with noticeable gear and protective headwear. Don’t cut cars off! Do not casually roll through lights or stop signs and certainly do not go against the grain of traffic to save time. I do not agree with biker bashing, but several of these motorists’ claims could have been avoided by safer, smarter biking. Do not shed a negative light on Toronto’s cycling community. Educate yourself or advocate for public cycling education. Let’s keep Toronto’s streets safe for everyone. Stand up for yourself by being safe and continuing to enjoy fast, cheap travel in Toronto.


Biking Tips for Toronto Beginners

Biking Tips for Toronto Beginners

Biking Tips for Toronto BeginnersBeginning any exercise can be intimidating; especially when machinery is involved. However, biking is a great sport for any Toronto city slicker to ease into. When beginning your biking journey, keep in mind that some obstacles may be tougher than others. However, no biking skill is impossible to master. If you keep with it you’ll be exploring the entirety of Toronto without the hassle of subways or streetcars before you know it.

Cycling is a great way to burn calories and it is a ton of fun to do by yourself or with friends. It requires very little planning or preparation. However, I will always recommend optimum hydration before you begin your first stint.

Remember, “it’s like riding a bike”? Well, I will admit that sometimes cycling isn’t as easy as that old saying portrays. This is especially true for beginners who have abandoned their wheels for an extended period of time. At first, you may experience a bit of a wabbly feeling. I know – not the most technical term, but once you get started you will know what I mean. The thin tires and lightweight feel of innovative street bikes can test a beginner’s balance. Don’t be shy! Once you get going you’ll feel as sturdy as a rock in motion.

Interval Training is a great way to move from amateur biker to Tour De France competitor. Try descending intervals; start with 2 minutes hard followed by 2 easy minutes. Then, go down to 1 minute of each until you reach a 15 second sprint. Follow this session up with 5 minutes of easy, enjoyable biking and then rev your engines up again.

Don’t Let Yourself Suffer from Biking Boredom. Try out new paths all over Toronto. I have discussed some of the best biking paths in previous blogs. However, just to refresh your memory, I would recommend taking a short trip to the Toronto Islands or exploring the Martin Goodman Trail. You can check out the best biking paths in Toronto at this website

Challenge yourself to create a biking checklist with all of the Toronto paths mentioned in that article. Check off each one as your build up your biking stamina and grow your appreciation for Toronto’s outdoor atmosphere.

Challenge yourself with a Steep Climb. Don’t collapse trying to conquer the CN Tower or anything, but try to find an intimidating hill and pedal by pedal overcome your hesitation. Do not try to sprint up your first mountain. Take it easy and appreciate the burn as you bike up Toronto’s hills. It is better to maintain a sustainable intensity than to burn out and toss your bike.

Last, but certainly not least; enjoy yourself! Put on some sunscreen and fall in love with Toronto’s outdoors. Cheers, and be sure to have a pedal for me!

“Bike to the Bombers” Big Hit with Cyclists - John Diogenous

“Bike to the Bombers” Big Hit with Cyclists

While reading the paper today I found an exciting story about sports fans in Winnipeg. I wanted to share this news with Toronto because I am hopeful this is what the future of our sports fans looks like. While the Argonauts blasted the Bombers in a blowout victory, it was the Bombers’ fans who truly won the greatest victory before and after the game. 

One June 12, the new Investors Group Field was absolutely flooded with….bicycles? That’s right; over 1,200 fans rode their bicycles to the Bombers’ home opener against the Toronto Argonauts. A Winnipeg cycling enthusiast, Anders Swanson, was more than pleasantly surprised to count 1,222 bicycles chained up to anything that could hold a bike lock. As the cyclists poured into the stadium the positive impact of this cycling phenomenon quickly became apparent.

The Bomber’s fan-friendly new stadium offers visitors a complimentary bike valet to encourage fans to leave their cars at home. This idea took off in response to the terrible traffic jams that occurred before and after games. The Bombers had been battling with fan complaints and struggled with a resolution. However, even the Blue Bombers spokesperson, Darren Cameron, could not believe the sea of bikes pouring into the stadium on June 12. Cameron admitted that the old stadium used to only see about 60-70 cyclists. He was thrilled to see people taking advantage of the bike valet service and truly enjoying the outdoors prior to an incredible game.

Cameron hopes that even more fans will convert to cyclists before the season is out. Thousands of fans still stuck in their cars complained about hour-long traffic jams and idling. Therefore, Anders Swanson created a video message to encourage fans to look at traveling to the game a little differently. Swanson video taped the biking bananza at the Investors Group Field and put the footage on Youtube. Already the clip has generated hundreds of visits and “likes” indicating that biking to the Blue Bombers may become a widespread phenomenon.

I am hopeful that Torontonians will adopt the same style of travel the next time they attend a Toronto Argonauts game. Imagine still enjoying your favour Toronto team, but with less traffic and environmental damage? Not to mention getting some much needed exercise before and after a few Toronto Argonauts’ hotdogs. What do you think Toronto, can we beat the Bombers’ biking record? Let’s put on our thinking helmets and discover a way to turn Toronto into a bike-friendly city.


Top 15 Apps for Cycling

  • Bike Doctor 2 – Available for both Droid and iPhone, Bike Doctor 2 shows you how to repair Cycling Appsyour bike. It also comes with a neat check-list to get that perfect ride.
  • Bike Hub – Blue Hub is a GPS unit for bikes. This little app lets you decide your routes by showing you all your options. It then guides you along the way.
  • BioLogic BikeBrain – This iPhone-only app is a fully functional fully functioning computer complete with GPS, performance monitoring and programmable training modes.
  • Livestrong Calorie Tracker – Calorie Tracker is a mobile training unit. It tracks your exercise regimen, weight and calorie intake. You need this app if you want to become a better rider..
  • Sports Tracker – Sports Tracker is another GPS app for your bike. It monitors your performance and lets you share your skills with the world.
  • Cyclemeter – Cyclemter is another GPS, but only for your iPhone. The app tracks and analyses your speed, distance, and elevation. It then displays your route on top of a Google Map.
  • Cychosis – Cyclosis is a bike computer for the iPhone. It lets you log your trips and then develops charts and spreadsheets from the data.
  • Endomondo – tracks your trip times, average speed and distance, and displays them on top of Google Maps. It also comes with a virtual coach.
  • Google Maps – If you have not used Google Maps, you haven’t lived. This app is available on all mobile devices with web browsers but comes as a standalone app for Android.
  • EveryTrail – EveryTrail is a GPS app that lets you see your entire route on top of a Google Map.. It also comes with its own mapping program called Open Street Maps to save battery life.
  • LiveRider – LiveRider is another performance-tracking iPhone app. However, it comes with its own sensor you attach to your rear wheel for better accuracy.
  • RunKeeper – RunKeeper is a popular and easy-to-use tracking app. While it does not have as many features as the others, RunKeeper has a nice collection of integrated extras.
  • Rendezous – Rendezous is an iPhone app for people who like to ride in groups. More versatile that just using Twitter, this app lets you arrange rides and then invite people.
  • Strava – Strava is another fitness tracking app, but it comes with the most social media features than any other app..
  • Wahoo Fitness ANT+ – The ANT+ combines with the Wahoo Bike Pack to make your bike a complete exercise machine.

These 15 apps are the most popular and more versatile on the market today. The iPhone has more apps of course, but the differences between the iPhone and Droids decrease every day. The same cannot be said about other phones. They are all still playing catch up.

Support bikes without borders

Treasured Childhood Memories Help to Bring Empowerment to Others –
Simple encounters and interactions often ignite passions that guide our lives on an unexpected path. Such an event happened to Mike B., the founder of Bikes Without Borders in 2004. On a trip to a town in Northern Nicaragua, he met a little girl who walked 2 hours each way to school. Remembering riding bikes to school, Mike decided to donate bikes to the school the girl attended, and started a charity that empowers people worldwide.

Bikes Without Borders is a Canadian charity dedicated to using bikes and bike related solutions to assist development in marginalized communities. Upon returning to the school where he donated the bikes and discovered how popular and empowering they had become. Teachers used the bikes as incentives for the children to excel in their studies. Fieldworkers wanted bikes to ride to their fields, so they did not have to walk. Families who could not afford cars or public transportation used bikes for more efficient transportation to and from jobs, thus affording them more time with loved ones.

Bikes Without Borders does not just help people in developing countries. The Great Bike Recycle assists youths in the St.James Town Neighbourhood of Toronto. The charity also partners with other businesses in multitudes endeavours  Mountain Equipment Co-op dedicates store space for the Bikes Without Borders clothing line with 100 percent of the profits going toward the charity. ING Direct sponsors the Toronto Tweed Ride.

A seemingly chance encounter with a little girl brought cherished memories to Mike B’s mind. Those memories, and a desire to help gave birth to Bikes Without Borders. The charity has brought empowerment and joy to many worldwide.

-John Diogenous