"Street Smarts" cycling workshop with the Sunnybrook/ICES BUG
by Tammy Thorne
The Cycle Toronto Smart Commute winter cycling workshop at Sunnybrook Hospital campus drew a good crowd.
The focus was on winter cycling. We learned about layering and basic bike maintenance. It started with our host, Siva Vijenthira from Cycle Toronto asking the crowd why we chose to commute by bike. Answers included: "Peaceful." "Fast" and "Free".
Siva noted she would be joining Councillor Mary Margaret McMahon (a dandyhorse Heels on Wheels alumni) for a Street Smarts session in her ward later that day too.
Rachelle Waterman and Jessica Stronghill (Smart Commute) with Siva (Cycle Toronto), address the crowd of about 30 cyclists of varying levels of skills.
We learned a lot of useful things that were especially pertinent to riding in the colder climes, such as the importance of wiping down your rims and taking the lane. We also learned some rules of the road, like the importance of stopping at stop signs (...so you don't get run over, silly!) We learned about some of the tickets/fines that cyclists commonly receive. It is a $110 ticket for not having a bell.
It's $325 ticket for going through a red light!
It was a fun and informative session. Sunnybrook/ICES has one of the biggest "BUGs" in the city with 225 members! A BUG is a Bicycle User Group, and you can learn more here about BUGs. The Sunnybrook/ICES BUG was started in 2005 and won the "Best Large Business" Bicycle Friendly Business Award from the City of Toronto in 2009. Sunnybrook and ICES offer showers and 15 parking options for cyclists, including lots of covered parking. A key to a "bike cage" is available for a $10 deposit from parking services. The commuter cycling community in this "uptown" location is thriving thanks to the hard work of a few volunteers and to the many smart people who simply chose to ride to work! (It's always surprising to me when I take the shuttle bus and see so many people riding up and down speedy Bayview.)
Big thanks to Smart Commute for bringing bike maps and Tim Horton's gift cards too!
Rachelle Waterman and Jessica Stronghill (above) also raffled off a tool kit after the workshop!
Brandon Zagorski is one of the BUG organizers (below) and helped keep the workshop interactive.
Karey Iron (below) was one of the first board members for the Toronto Cyclists Union, now Cycle Toronto, and was able to answer a question from the crowd about riding in traffic with studded tires in winter. (It's really slow, she says, but she can go up hills that cars can't in some situations.) She thanked Siva at the end of the workshop (below). Cycle Toronto is an important organization that promotes safer cycling. You can support them by becoming a member here.
Smart Commute is a program of Metrolinx for the municipalities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area that helps local employers and commuters explore different commute choices like carpooling, cycling and transit to help prevent gridlock. They ran a commuter contest last year called "The Most Unlikely Cyclist" in which a woman named Amanda from Sunnybrook won a bike from Curbside and wrote about her commute. You can read her blog here.
WHAT ELSE? Well...
I'll be blogging a bit about my new commute from Sunnybrook to Parkdale starting this week.
dandyhorse will be inviting other cyclists to tell us about their commute. We will publish your commuter tales (with photos) here on the dandyBLOG.
Contributors whose stories we publish will receive a prize and be entered into a draw to win a larger prize at the end of 2013. More details coming soon on the dandyBLOG.
Related on the dandyBLOG:
CBC BUG gets secure parking
Upcoming on the dandyBLOG:
The commuter series! Send us your stories and win prizes: firstname.lastname@example.org ~ more details coming soon!