The top 10 events for Toronto Bike Month 2015
Time to pump up the tires and lube up the chain, Bike Month is here again. From May 25 to June 25, hundreds of cycling-related events will take place across the GTA. From tune-ups, to repair workshops, to Polish-themed bicycle rides around the city's west end, you're bound to find something to match your level of enthusiasm and skill level.
Bike Month traces its origins to the first Bike to Work Day in 1989. Since then, it's grown into a highlight in the Toronto bicycle calendar, with events in Mississauga, Hamilton, Burlington, Milton, and Peel, York, and Durham regions. Bike to Work Day still runs. This year it takes place on May 25.
Here are 10 highlights from this year's calendar of events.
LGBT Bicycle Easy Peasy 41K Ride along Lakeshore
New for 2015, the 41K bike ride organized by GWBike Club will follow the Martin Goodman Trail from near Bathurst St. to either Dixie Rd. or Marie Curtis Park, loop back, and end up at the Cadillac Lounge in Parkdale for refreshments. There's a chance of a bonus late night ride, so bring your lights.
Where: Meet at Stadium Rd. and Queens Quay W., Toronto.
When: Sunday, May 17, 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Don Valley Urban Forest Bike Trail Clean-Up
It might not be glamorous, but contributing a few hours to help clean up the Don Valley's trail system is an excellent way to ensure the city's most important ravine remains an appealing place for years to come. The free BBQ and prizes should sweeten the deal.
Where: Meet at E.T. Seaton Park (entrance off 71 Thorncliffe Park Dr.)
When: May 23, 2015, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Bike to Work Day
The marquee event of Toronto Bike Month is designed to encourage new people to get in the saddle. Starting at 7:00 a.m. (earlier in some places,) cyclists will converge at various points around the city in preparation for a mass, police-approved ride to City Hall.
Where: Various locations (see map).
When: Monday, May 25, 7:00 to 9:00 a.m.
Spoke O Motion
For the dedicated cyclist, the annual Spoke O Motion bicycle race series at Coulson Hill in Bradford is always highlighted on the calendar. There will be multiple race categories that cater to a variety of skill levels, but every entrant must purchase an Ontario Cycling Association Citizen's Permit in advance. There will be prizes, medals for winners, and factory demos from bicycle manufacturers.
Where: Coulson Hill, York Region.
When: Wednesday, May 27, 7:00 p.m.; Wednesday, June 3, 7:00 p.m.; Wednesday, June 10, 7:00 p.m.; Wednesday, June 17, 7:00 p.m.; and Wednesday, June 24, 7:00 p.m. (multiple events.)
Bells on Danforth
Take over Danforth Ave. with your fellow east-end cyclists at the annual Bells on Danforth event. The family-friendly event is now in its fourth year, and this time will be travelling from west to east, finishing with a Pan Am Games party at Oakridge Park.
Where: Castle Frank subway station, finishing at Danforth Rd.
When: Saturday, June 6, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
6th Annual Blessing of the Bikes
Make yourself a holy roller at the annual Blessing of the Bikes at Trinity-St. Paul's United Church. People of all ages and beliefs are invited to the event, which honours the sacred value of sustainability. Bicycles will be blessed after a specially-themed church service. Bike Pirates will be on hand "to heal those bikes that require healing."
Where: 427 Bloor St. W.
When: Sunday, June 7, 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m.
The Polka Ride
The Polka Ride is returning to the Bike Month calendar for a second year of Eastern European-inspired fun. Polka dots and polka music will be a key part of the event (of course) and, following a short ride, there will be libations, Polish delicacies, and other treats, including a liver accordion musician, at Intersteer Tavern on Roncesvalles.
Where: Meet at Dufferin Grove Park, east side of the rink.
When: Thursday, June 11, 7:00 pm to 9:00 p.m.
Books & Bikes
Writer and cycling advocate Yvonne Bambrick will be on hand at the Lillian H. Smith public library for a talk entitled "Toronto in Literature: Neighbourhood Book Lists for Kensington Market and Chinatown" followed by a community bike ride through Kensington Market.
Where: Meet at Lillian H. Smith library, 239 College St.
When: Saturday, June 20, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Cycle For Sight Toronto
The 7th annual Cycle For Sight from Toronto to Collingwood is a friendly, one-day ride in aid of Foundation Fighting Blindness. Different distances are available, depending on skill and fitness level, and there will be technicians, EMS workers, and refreshments along the route. Register here.
Where: Meet at 1000 Murray Ross Pkwy.
When: Saturday, June 20, 7:00 a.m. to - 6:00 p.m.
Don Valley Bicycle Tour with Heritage Toronto
Historian and author of Reclaiming the Don Jennifer Bonnell will lead a tour of the Don Valley, detailing the natural and human history of Toronto's urban waterway. Expect stories of the river's aboriginal heritage, its straightening in the 1880s, and its use as a refuge for the homeless.
Where: Meet at Todmorden Mills on Bayview Ave.
When: Saturday, June 20, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
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