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The top 10 events for Toronto Bike Month 2014

Posted by Chris Bateman / May 25, 2014

toronto bike month 2014Get on your bikes and ride - it's Toronto Bike Month once again. The annual celebration of pedal-powered locomotion, which runs from May 26 to June 26, pulls together a dizzying array of events across the GTA, from 160-kilometre slogs up to Collingwood to friendly maintenance workshops.

This year is a landmark of sorts. It was 25 years ago this summer that Toronto's first bike to work day provided the catalyst for what is now one of the country's largest celebrations of bicycles and cyclists.

Here are 10 essential picks for this year's celebration of cycling culture.

BIKE TO WORK DAY - 25TH ANNIVERSARY

Now that the weather has finally switched mode from "murderous" to "tolerable," riding a bike to work is once again a realistic option. This year's Bike to Work event, organized by Cycle Toronto and the city, is aiming to generate a critical mass of cyclists at Danforth and Woodbine, Bloor and High Park, and Yonge and Lawrence and have the three groups converge on Yonge and Bloor. The crowd will then be given a police escort to City Hall, where there will be free pancakes. Yum.

When: Monday May 26, 7:00-7:30 am (depending on location.)
Where: Various locations. Meet at Bloor and Yonge at 7:30, City Hall for 8:00.
Go if... you feel like camaraderie and don't mind an early start. Oh, and don't forget the pancakes.

MEC TORONTO BIKE MAINTENANCE 101

Dumbfounded by your derailleur? Don't know a v-brake from a caliper? Mountain Equipment Co-op is running a series of free bike repair classes throughout Bike Month, starting Thursday May 29 at the King Street W store. The one-hour clinics will teach the ABCs of bike maintenance, including how to adjust brakes, fix a puncture, and maintain the chain and other components.

Where MEC store at 400 King St. W.
When: Thursday, May 29, 6:00-7:00 pm; Wednesday, June 4 12:00-1:00 pm; Thursday, June 12, 6:00-7:00 pm; Wednesday, June 18, 12:00-1:00 pm.
Go if... your friends are sick of fixing your bike.

BIKE MONTH 2014 CRITICAL MASS RIDE

"Critical mass" bike rides are a regular fixture in Toronto but the Bike Month event is due to be particularly well attended. Converge with dozens of fellow cyclists for a gentle hour-and-a-half ride through downtown in support of better bicycle infrastructure and show the cars who's boss.

Where: Meet at Bloor and Spadina.
When: Friday, May 30, 6:00-8:00 pm.
Go if... you're eager to represent the cycling community.

CYCLE TORONTO STREET SMARTS SAFE CYCLING WORKSHOP

You don't need a license to ride a bike on Toronto's streets, but it pays to know the rules of the road. This Cycle Toronto presentation and lecture will cover the basics of the Ontario Highway Traffic Act and City of Toronto's cycling by-laws, techniques for safe cycling, and basic maintenance skills.

Where: Lillian H. Smith Library, 239 College St.
When: Saturday, May 31, 2:00-4:00 pm.
Go if... you don't know how to signal a turn.

TOUR DE SPEED

Much of bike month is about celebrating commuting culture, so this is a nice little diversion. The races are short (8.6 to 34.4 kms), but that's kinda perfect if you've never done it before. This could the perfect way to test your legs with some friendly competition. There's even a short time trial option. You can pretend you're riding the prologue at the Tour.

Where: North Union Community Centre, Newmarket
When: Saturday, May 31, 9:00am-5:00pm
Go if... You feel the need for speed.

THE BICYCLE POLKA RIDE

Cruise around the west end listening to polka music then join new friends on Roncesvalles for Polish beer and snacks. The ride, organized by two local Cycle Toronto groups, will start at Dufferin Grove Park and loop around the neighbourhood. Polka-dot clothing is optional. Note: Rain forecast for June 11 has delayed this event by a week.

Where: Dufferin Grove Park, east side of the rink.
When: Wednesday, June 11, 7:15-11:00 pm. Thursday, June 19th, 7:15-11:00 pm.
Go if... you're a fan of old-timey European folk music and Polish lager.

FRENCH AND BRITISH FORTS OF TORONTO

Starting at the edge of the old Carrying Place trail, this historical tour of old Toronto forts will take in the former site of Teiagon, a 17th-century Seneca Village, Fort York, and the pair of waterfront French forts that predated the arrival of John Graves Simcoe and the British soldiers that laid the foundation for what would become the City of Toronto.

Where: Meet at Lambton House, 4066 Old Dundas St.
When: Saturday, June 14 11:00 am-1:00 pm.
Go if... history and bicycles are your jam.

CYCLE FOR SIGHT

The annual Cycle for Sight has raised over $1.6 million in support of The Foundation Fighting Blindness, the country's leading vision research charity. All of the four distance options - 75, 90, 140, and 160 kms - are whopping by casual urban cyclist standards, but the pace is casual and there are five fully stocked rest stops on the route plus a gourmet buffet at the finish line. All distances end in Collingwood.

Where: Meet at Black Creek Pioneer Village, 1000 Murray Ross Pkwy.
When: Saturday, June 21, 7:00 am-6:00 pm.
Go if... you're up for a friendly, well-organized challenge.

THE BELTLINE AND BEYOND

The old Belt Line railway looped from Union station, up the Don Valley, over Eglinton, and back down through the west end. The railway was never a financial success, but its legacy is a cycling and walking track that's almost entirely separated from the road. This guided 16 km bike ride, which is new for 2014, takes in almost the whole thing, through ravines and over lost rivers.

Where: Meet at Ben Nobleman Park, opposite Eglinton West station.
When: Saturday, June 21, 1:00-3:30 pm.
Go if... you want to learn more about one of Toronto's best off-road bike trails.

EVERGREEN BIKE WORKS BIKE FESTIVAL

The Evergreen Brick Works' first bike festival is a partnership with Sweet Pete's. Staff from the bike shop will lead an all-ages mountain bike ride along the Don Valley trails, a naturalist will talk local wildlife, and there will be a Water Balloon Rodeo in which participants must to pop as many balloons as possible. Sweet Pete's will also offer free tune-ups.

Where: Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Ave.
When: Sunday, June 22, 10:00-1:00 pm.
Go if... you want to experience the Don Valley trails with the help of a guide.

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: Jackman Chiu/blogTO Flickr pool.

Discussion

42 Comments

W. K. Lis / May 25, 2014 at 09:32 am
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Toronto is s-o f-a-r b-e-h-i-n-d Montréal and other "world class" cities, because of the anti-transit and anti-bicycle decisions of the current city hall politicians. See http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/plateau-doubling-bike-lane-network-1.2651055 for a small example in just one Montréal borough.
bill / May 25, 2014 at 10:12 am
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Sadly the car-centric anti anything else crowd had a list of demands to be met before cycling is allowed in the city.

All bikes need to be banned until every single person knows the rules of the roads and follow them ( figure out how that will happen if no one rides a bike.
All bikes must be licensed by the city and the province.
If you want to ride a bike you must pay extra taxes.
Bike lanes are only allowed on side streets with little traffic.
Sharing of the road is not allowed.
Cars have priority over all.
All transit must be underground.
Then maybe they will talk.
Anti-Everything replying to a comment from bill / May 25, 2014 at 11:26 am
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Sounds like a good set of rules to me. Cyclists are the most self entitled pieces of scum in the city. Even the worst cabbie in the city has more common sense then your average commuter cyclist. Anyway, yeah, learn the rules (i.e., red light means stop) and maybe we'll talk.
John / May 25, 2014 at 12:15 pm
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Don't worry the city released a cycling APP!!!!! All cycling will be fixed in 12 month!!!! PLUS were in the safe hands of Kathleen Wynne she promised to dump a bunch of free cash into Toronto for transit!!!!!!!
Ray / May 25, 2014 at 12:17 pm
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Shut up and ride already, enough whinning!!!! BRAAAP BRAAAAP BRAAAAP
Parker replying to a comment from Anti-Everything / May 25, 2014 at 12:26 pm
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Haters gonna drive.
bill replying to a comment from Anti-Everything / May 25, 2014 at 02:53 pm
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You sound like a very entitled piece of crap, an enlist you most certainly are. Scum.
Zi replying to a comment from Anti-Everything / May 25, 2014 at 03:12 pm
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Actually, the worst drivers on the roads are... Car drivers. Let's see how this past week of cycling went:

1. Car driver did not signal turn and nearly right hooked me at an intersection. Driver did not stop at stop sign. Driver got to intersection after me and nearly drove into me when turning.

2. Many, many car drivers driving thru a stop sign in front of my house. Several times nearly causing an accident with northbound drivers who had right of way.

3. Car driver rolling thru stop sign honking horn at a pedestrian lawfully crossing street.

4. Car driver at the end of a line of stopped cars blasts the horn, then peals out of southbound lane and into northbound lane to get around other drivers only to be stopped because there was a collision a block further south. Idiot then honked horn at cars stuck in the intersection until she turned left into the eastbound street and nearly collided into another car. Asshole leaned on her horn the entire time.

5. Car driver weaves in and out of lanes at high speed only to be stopped at a red light.

6. Car driver holding a cellphone and yapping away while turning right on a red light and nearly hitting a bunch of pedestrians crossing the street.

7. Car driver parked his car right next to the bus stop and told us off because he had to buy smokes.

Bike problems this week:

1. Cyclists did not stop at stop sign. This is stupid. If they slowed down at least and waited for their turn at the intersection, that would be fine. But screaming thru a stop sign is just plain wrong. I always stop briefly unless people are walking then I put my foot down on the ground and wait.
Anti-Everything / May 25, 2014 at 03:40 pm
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Love you you all just assume I'm an automobile driver. I don't own or drive a car. I walk or use public transit. The amount of times I've nearly been run down by a self-righteous cyclists far exceeds that of car drivers. Running lights, riding on side walks ringing their bells so pedestrians get out of their way, weaving in and out of traffic, flying by streetcars with passengers getting out...typical behavior I encounter on a daily basis.

Cyclists always proclaim THEY always follow the rules, and that it's just a few bad apples making everyone else look bad. Nonsense. I bet every one of you broke at least a dozen laws last time you were out on your hipster single speed riding to the local trendy coffee shop to write your screen play on your MacBook Pro that daddy paid for.

Again, scum of the City. Maybe if you grew up and obeyed the rules of the road people would be more sympathetic towards your plight. Until then, I hope the City makes it as difficult for you as possible.
Steve replying to a comment from Zi / May 25, 2014 at 04:11 pm
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There are bad drivers and bad cyclists.
The drivers are the worst they are also the most dangerous. Never hear of a driver being struck, injured maimed or killed by a cyclist or a pedestrian but hear about cyclist and pedestrian being struck maimed or killed by drivers frequently.
Stand on any street corner at any time and you find drivers jumping and running the yellow and red lights, or rolling around the corner turning right not slowing down, consistently ignore stop signs. Many use their cars as weapon.
Lance Armstrong / May 25, 2014 at 04:46 pm
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Cyclists idolize a self professed liar and cheat. I think that says it all about their character. I hope when Rob Ford gets re-elected his first order of business is to ban all forms of cycling from the city.
Welshgrrl / May 25, 2014 at 04:59 pm
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And the car vs bike circlejerk continues ... there's enough shitty drivers of both the 2 and 4 wheel variety to go around.
Ray / May 25, 2014 at 08:58 pm
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Shut up and ride already!!!!Your arguments aren't changing my morning commute tomorrow at all!!!!BRAAAAAAP. BRAAAAAAAP. BRAAAAAAAP
Fap Fap replying to a comment from Authorities / May 25, 2014 at 09:22 pm
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In that case you get a load of jizz on the face too.
Sean / May 25, 2014 at 10:18 pm
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Wow, the pro-cyclists are so up in arms they threaten to call the cops on random internet posters! Probably because they have no defense for their anarchic riding behavior. I have to agree that bike riders are a plague on most big cities. To quote Top Gear BBC, "Work harder, get a car".
#FordMoreYears! / May 25, 2014 at 11:02 pm
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Ben Johnson is on Team Ford Nation! Ben is a true redemption story, and when Ford comes back both redemptions gonna collide!!!

October 27!!!
Webber / May 25, 2014 at 11:05 pm
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Does anyone know the date of FordFEST this year?
Definitely not to be missed. Goodtimes all around.
Love FORDFEST
FLAV / May 25, 2014 at 11:12 pm
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911 is a joke!
Darren Time Trials / May 25, 2014 at 11:23 pm
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WOW THE PRO-CYCLISTS ARE RIPPING IT UP against the system - PIN IT
Wendy / May 26, 2014 at 12:03 am
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Why are the cyclists trying to BULLY the car drivers? Its not nice to be a bully
Jeff / May 26, 2014 at 12:05 am
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There are bad cyclists, bad pedestrians and bad car drivers... The thing is, I am against all of them... but, when I see even bicycle police going the wrong way on one way streets, going through stop signs and disobeying other rules of the road when they are not heading to a call I wonder who is around to set an example? It is almost like it is accepted to run through stop signs/etc. It is like the pedestrians who run across intersections with 3 seconds left on the countdown thinking they can "make it" even though they are actually breaking the law by doing this (yet, are rarely ticketed).
reclaimpavement / May 26, 2014 at 12:02 pm
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On May 30 meet hundreds of fellow cyclists for a leisurely critical mass bike ride. Starts from Bloor/Spadina. 630PM. Take back the streets. Drivers love to see us out enjoying emission free commuting.
ReclaimRoadsForCars replying to a comment from reclaimpavement / May 26, 2014 at 12:16 pm
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This event is also known as "Smug Douchefest". Oh well, at least you'll be away from my hood for an evening!
Ray / May 26, 2014 at 01:40 pm
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How was everyone's ride in this morning? Pin it to win it! Remember ride elbows out, scrub the corners, pick your lines and giver! I had a gold medal ride in, blew past all the other riders, squeezed them outta my line came up front, first position the whole way to work....

Definately a podium finish for sure!


BRAAAAAP. BRAAAP BRAAAAP
Actually, Zi makes a strong case. replying to a comment from Zi / May 26, 2014 at 01:48 pm
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It surprised me to read his post because to be quite honest, I've gotten so used to constant near-death brushes with motorists who either make mistakes or purposely endanger cyclists (and themselves/other motorists) that I have stopped actually thinking or venting any frustration about. Instead spend my commutes REACTING, to the 10-25 more serious infractions I witness everyday on my 12 minute commute along King St. from Strachan to John. And it literally is every light I see something dumb and/or dangerous. And, for the most part, the cyclists are obeying the law because this stretch can be an Indy 500 for the Bay St hothead types who are quick to anger to any stoppages from streetcars, parked cars, or cyclists.

It can't continue like this, we can't just keep throwing up our hands and keeping quiet about constant dangerous behaviour. Everyone has to start wearing GoPro cameras. If it works in Russia where everyone has installed dashcams in a defense against other bad drivers on the road, we should all sport cameras ourselves.

Even better, who among us wants to run with this idea: host a site where Toronto cyclists can upload the videos of our daily commutes to a central site, perhaps where someone can make a daily "Best Of" compilation of the day's very worst assholes.

Public shaming via posting pix and videos of cars and license plates seems like the only way we're going t get any traction on winning the streets over from these dangerous asshats.
Everybody Loves Raymond replying to a comment from Ray / May 26, 2014 at 01:54 pm
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Your co-workers dislike you because you arrive at work every morning with smelly armpits. Just sayin. Air conditioned car FTW!
Reclaimbraincells replying to a comment from ReclaimRoadsForCars / May 26, 2014 at 02:20 pm
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"Oh well, at least you'll be away from my hood for an evening!"


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Oh, so you call your Mom's House your "hood" now??

(...who's a big boy??)
Terry / May 26, 2014 at 02:24 pm
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The funny thing is we complain put drivers not using signals when most people don't have signals on their bikes NOR do they use hand signals. How are other cyclists and motorists supposed to know what you're going to do without signalling?
Good idea replying to a comment from Actually, Zi makes a strong case. / May 26, 2014 at 02:26 pm
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Too bad most cyclists have very low paying jobs and thus probably could never afford a GoPro. Probably took them a year or two to save up enough for that Schwinn as it is. Now kindly get back to getting this Bay Street Hothead his coffee and scone. Thanks.
Randy / May 26, 2014 at 02:29 pm
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AGREED. We should also film and shame bad cyclists to. The amount of times I see foolish cyclists make risky moves endangering themselves and other cyclist is incredible. The dumb cyclist moves aren't as scary because a car weighting a TON will do more damage but cyclists still put each other in danger by racing past each other, turning and changing lanes without looking or signaling, wearing ear buds, grouping together at a stop light instead of being single file and then racing on the green to be the first one.
Yo Momma replying to a comment from Reclaimbraincells / May 26, 2014 at 02:34 pm
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Mom jokes, huh. Thanks for proving to us the intelligence level of your average cyclist is well below that of an dim witted 8 year old.
Top events for Toronto Bike Month / May 26, 2014 at 02:45 pm
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Event #1 - Whine all month about how hard done by the cyclists are and what an injustice they are facing. First world problem, whine, whine, whine....
Amy / May 26, 2014 at 02:53 pm
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There are other routes besides King street you know, try google maps cycling directions. There's also Adelaide and Wellington, if your complaining about King St try another route!!!!!
Ring Ring Ring replying to a comment from Yo Momma / May 26, 2014 at 02:56 pm
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Your Mom called she wants her Huffy back by 6pm.
Ok, racist. replying to a comment from Yo Momma / May 26, 2014 at 04:10 pm
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Thanks for reconfirming what we know about Ford Nation.
Reading Comprehension Sucks replying to a comment from Ok, racist. / May 26, 2014 at 04:56 pm
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There's nothing either racial or political in that comment. Lern 2 reed pls.
One problem / May 26, 2014 at 06:43 pm
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Know what's one problem that would solve so many problems about transportation in this city? Getting rid of street parking on major streets like King/Queen/Dundas/College/Bloor. Traffic jams? Caused because cars have to merge into one lane to get around parked cars. Cyclists going out of their lane? Caused because of cars being parked in the bike lanes. Stuck streetcars? Caused because of cars parked blocking the tracks.

There is enough street parking on side streets and lots, the fact that street parking on those streets hasn't been banned is baffling, and a display of Toronto's incompetence when it comes to transportation planning.
Max / May 26, 2014 at 07:12 pm
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I'm sick and tired of right-wing folks and their anti-car & pro-bike agenda. We get that bikes are non-union made, don't require subsidies, require very little government oversight and regulation. Bikes are basically a right winger's dream. They even support small and local free markets. Right wingers just hate on cars just because they are a bunch of freeloaders with their heavily subsidized industry and infrastructure.

And don't let me start on the left wing elitists here demanding more regulation, rules, taxes and insurance for bikes - so sad.

Jess / May 26, 2014 at 11:50 pm
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You're riding a bike downtown in the busiest most congested city in Canada, get over it!! Yes its busy, yes there's the hustle and bustle, but look where your riding! The busiest streets in the country!!!
Tammy / May 29, 2014 at 12:00 am
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As a cyclist myself, those that say they are so concerned about their safety on the road should really start by example and take the ear buds out while your riding your bike (if you wear them). You need all you senses in the now, if you want be actively aware of your surroundings you need all your senses aware. Safety Tip #1: Never wear earbuds while riding.
Tim / June 4, 2014 at 10:05 am
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Are we having fun yet?
Lela replying to a comment from W. K. Lis / June 26, 2014 at 05:01 pm
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Current? City Hall decisions? I don't know where you' ve been, but it is chronic. It has been pro-car for decades and it still is.

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