Category Archives: Cycling

Cruise Control: Cycling Toronto’s Mean Streets

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

From my experiences and conversations with other Toronto cyclists, it seems there is little agreement on proper bike lane etiquette. Not surprising in a city that boasts over 900,000 cyclists. One thing though seems clear: we cyclists are generally a free-spirited lot when it comes to the rules of the road or, like myself, downright contemptuous of those regulations.

Really. If I wanted to stop at red lights and stay off the sidewalks, I’d still be driving a car. Not that I expect others to follow my unscrupulous behavior, but spare me the sing-songing, “red light” as I blaze through the intersection.

“It’s my preference to stop at streetcar doors and red lights so don’t get pissy with me because you want to blast through,” says regular bike commuter, Nick Gamble. “Equally, if I feel it’s pointless to wait at a long red light with no traffic in sight, don’t play the self-righteous law-and-order freak. There are enough of those on four wheels.”

Speaking of four wheelers, writer Bryen Dunn feels it’s important to gain the respect of car drivers by adhering to the rules of the road, showing them that we belong there too.

“Forget the drivers, what about those pedestrians wandering all over the bike lanes of the waterfront recreation trails, ” leisure rider, Tom Roberts wants to know. Case in point for the bike bell which, given the number of cyclists, is seldom heard in bike lanes.

“It’s a bike lane, singular,” adds Nick, “so I will be riding in the middle of it and taking up the whole lane. If you want to pass me, pull out.” And as for newbie cyclists at stoplights: “I don’t have to make way for you and if you’re shaky on start up, make sure no one is about to pass you when the light turns green. Don’t wobble into me nearly knocking me over and then freak out because I “shouldn’t have been passing you at the light.”

“Waiting for the green light at an intersection isn’t a lineup at the ATM,” adds veteran cyclist, Ben Smith Lea. “Nobody’s going to read your PIN number. Bikes work best when they bunch up and clear the intersection together in a swarm – more visible, quicker and safer. So welcome the herd and ditch the queue mentality.”

So what’s a poor cyclist to do?

1. Avoid bike lane crazies by riding on the sidewalk – legal if your wheels are 24 inches or less – works best if you can convince the cop you’re under 16.

2. Move to Los Angeles. Void of pedestrian traffic, LA sidewalks offer plenty of room for all cyclists – even big wheelers and it’s all legal.

3. Wear earplugs so you can’t hear the insults from other riders.

4. No bike rage – avoid confrontations at any cost and, if necessary, see #3.

Take a Walk on the Wynwood Side

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

It took one man with a vision to transform an anonymous neighborhood of one-story warehouses into Miami’s hippest outdoor art gallery.

Artists: Trek6 and ChorBoogie
Artists: Trek6 and ChorBoogie

Once a thriving garment district, Wynwood fell into neglect in the late 1970’s and 1980’s. By the late 1990’s, artists and collectors began purchasing some of Wynwood’s unused industrial buildings and converting them into studios and galleries. Real estate developer Tony Goldman conceived the Wynwood Walls in 2009. He thought that Wynwood’s large stock of warehouse buildings would provide the perfect canvas for street artists.

Painting by Kashink, Wynwood, Miami
Artist: Kashink

Goldman would supply the buildings, paints and for visiting artists, air fare and hotel accommodations. Goldman partnered with Jeffrey Deitch, who had expertise in street art and would serve as the project’s curator. Deitch and Goldman had previously collaborated on a project in New York City honoring the late artist, Keith Haring.

Ryan of Wynwood Mural Tours
Ryan of Wynwood Mural Tours

A fun way to see the Wynwood murals is on a guided cycle tour led by someone who really knows street art, Ryan the Wheelbarrow, of Wynwood Mural Tours. On Sundays, join him for a free one hour bike tour of the Wynwood murals, exploring some of the most influential pieces in the neighborhood. Tips are appreciated.

No bike – no problem. Citi’s Miami bike sharing program has two locations in Wynwood.

Wynwood Kitchen & Bar
Wynwood Kitchen & Bar

If you’re hungry, Wynwood Kitchen & Bar located next to the Wynwood Walls, has a creative tapas style menu and in nearby Midtown, Sugarcane has a great happy hour serving inventive artisanal cocktails and tasty small plates.

Painting by Ino, Wynwood, Miami
Artist: Ino

Since its inception, over 50 artists from 16 countries have painted over 80,000 square feet of Wynwood’s walls. In a few short years Tony Goldman’s gamble paid off. Property values quadrupled and a revitalized Wynwood is now Miami visitors go to destination after South Beach.