Monday, May 30, 2011

Toronto Bike Month 2011

I showed up at Toronto City Hall today because it was Bike Month and I thought that meant that I would get a free bike. In the interests of the environment (my middle name is green) I would take an electric bike over some burly, exhaust spewing, carbon consuming motorcycle (because sacrifice is my other middle name).  For some reason the City and I had different meanings associated with Bike Month and I left without a free bicycle or even leather chaps. They did offer a free organic t-shirt but all they had left were size small, which would be just perfect for my right arm, so I had to regretfully decline.
Toronto Bike Month 2011 runs from May 26 30 to June 21 30 and today was Bike to Work Day (Monday, May 30, 2011). It was a hassle getting my bike on the GO Train this morning but the hassle was nothing compared to trying to ride the thing within the train as it travelled down the track towards Union Station. Commuters get awful peeved when you run over their toes in the train – even when I used the bell and proper hand signals. The stairs were a little hard to handle as well and I am sorry that I caused a lot of people to spill their early morning coffee, but in Bike Month we all have to make sacrifices.

I arrived early enough today to witness part of the setup in Nathan Phillips Square (the part that is not under construction at this particular time) as they started warming up the free breakfast that Bike to Work cyclists could get. Suddenly the City Street was full of hundreds of bikers coming from Albert Street and across Bay into the concrete courtyard of the Square. They even had police bicycle escorts.
Some interesting things seem to happen with Bike Month and I see that the Toronto World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is on Saturday, June 11 (ride starts out at 1pm from Coronation Park near the waterfront and the CNE Princes’ Gates). So get your tight bike shorts ready and, oh right – scratch that, so that leaves bodypaint and a cute, eco-proclamation ready. There is also something called the Bike Pirates event on June 17. These pirates must be a lawless band of bikers, flouting convention and probably riding without a bell. If you are riding along and minding your own business on the 17th and all of a sudden there is the Jolly Roger flag flying and you are forcibly boarded and made to walk a plank, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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