Good old-fashioned road-tanned hides

Posted on May 25th, 2009 No comments. The post is really that bad, huh?

I wasn’t intending on writing about bicycles in Toronto quite so soon again, but then the mayor said this:

NOW THEREFORE, I, Mayor David Miller, on behalf of Toronto City Council, do hereby proclaim May 25 – June 25, 2009 as ‘Bike Month‘ and encourage everyone to get outside and ride!” — here’s the PDF.

Guess that’s Life for ya — in the City of Toronto, no less. Unfortunately Bill Carroll wasn’t on hand this morning to appraise the situation; perhaps he’s at home fearing for his life. Us bikers can be a pretty aggressive bunch, it’s true.

Yes, I biked today. My highly affordable and questionably-constructed Freespirit Aluminum Concept 6061 (that’s the name … can you find the web site? … ‘cuz I can’t), made the ride quite exciting. Aside from the single occasion I had to explain, in passing and quite loudly, why a truck didn’t need to block not only my lane but also the lane of traffic next to me just to make a left turn, it was a pretty smooth ride. The pavement needed some work in sections and I could see someone getting a surprise facial makeover if they weren’t careful, but for the most part the ride was without incident. Cars were unexpectedly cautious; perhaps it was the gentle swaying motion or the empty liquor bottle I was dangling loosely from my left hand, but everyone seemed to give me a pretty wide berth.

The biggest annoyances on the road today were actually the other cyclists. I’ll be honest, I don’t really care how stupid they’re being in front of cars or trucks because, let’s face it, that’s Darwin’s theory being played out in perfect harmony with the universe. It’s nature’s way of preserving a base level of intelligence in the general population, don’t you think? If the need to show their brains pubicly is really that profound, what goddam right do I have to stop them? But when they start pulling that shit in front of other cyclists or pedestrians, it’s a bit different.

It was mostly the inattention that got me: making a turn and simply not looking anywhere but forward; cutting out in front of cars on red lights; pulling out across the middle of the lane or the sidewalk and just sitting there; sometimes it’s just an unnecessary inconvenience and sometimes it’s just plain dangerous. Perhaps the topic of a future Guide to Urban Insolence for drivers?

Speaking of dangerous biking, this month is being kicked off with a close-quarters free-for-all race called the Criterium which, if the photographs speak true, promises some good old-fashioned road-tanned hides. The starting-line scrimmage should be wipeout central — *THE* place to be! I’m so excited that I’ve taken to wearing Depends all the time now.

Unfortunately, not everything will be this festive. The month-long celebration allows you to pack the pounds you’ve lost back on with a variety of pancake breakfasts and a bike tour of Dufflet stores. I think the Dufflet slogan should be: “Does this in any way taste like you want to know how many calories it has?” They have very very tasty cakes. Very tasty. For a reason.

There are a bunch of workshops and a couple of parades where people from all walks of life get to exclaim “I love to ride!”, which if you interpret it sexually as I do most things, is quite funny. I’m not sure what’s going on with the Leslie Street Spit other than some people bitching about the cormorants, but it’s going to be a popular destination with at least two tours of the area and another just across the water on Ward’s island. There are also a variety of group events such as the “Tuesday Ravine Ride”, “Wednesday Night Ride”, “Fast and Furious Friday Night Ride”, and the popular “Weekend rides” which are also open to enjoyably sexual connotations.

Are you going to ride your bike tomorrow?

  • What is this "bike" you speak of? (40%)
  • I'll think about it. (30%)
  • Are you kidding? That's not even an option! (10%)
  • I'm on the "yes" side of maybe. (10%)
  • I'm surgically attached to my bike. So yes. (10%)

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