Ford Fest features burgers and …bikes!

Some local families biked to Ford Fest.
Ford Fest features bikes
Photos and words by Vic Gedris
Ford Fest. It's the somewhat legendary party (or campaign event, depending on how  you look at it) hosted by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his family.  Much has been written about it, and though I'm not exactly a Rob Ford supporter by any stretch, the event has a certain "I really should see this, at least once in my life" kind of appeal to it.
So I went to Ford Fest, Etobicoke edition, this year on September 20, 2013.
Pretty much as far west as you can go in Toronto, you'll find Centennial Park. About half way between the lake and the top of Toronto.  Car country, as you would expect in the suburban reaches of the city. But does anyone bike here?
Sure. Centennial Park is actually somewhat well connected to Toronto's bike network, at least by Etobicoke standards. Trails from Mississauga along Etobicoke Creek lead right into the park. The Renforth Dr. bike lane winds its way up from Bloor St. up to Rathburn Rd., though it needs a tiny extension to get into the actual park.  And of course, the completely separated off-road bikeway along Eglinton Ave. connects from Centennial Park as far east as Jane St. (Read our archive story about the City's reluctance to put bike facilities in Centennial Park from issue one, here.) So the infrastructure is somewhat there, but does anyone use it, especially the bike hating "cyclists are a pain in the ass" Ford Nation?  Surprisingly, yes. I thought I might spot a few bikes chained up to racks and fences along the edge of the park, but the reality was that *many* people came to Ford Fest by bike.  It's a pretty residential area to the south and east of the park, so it seemed like many of the locals left the car at home and biked over.
I spotted a few small groups of kids zipping around through the park, chasing each other or just going somewhere.  Parents walking along with their little kids riding their first bikes.  Multi-generational families riding together.  A fair number of middle-aged adults on bikes. A couple of people whom I recognized as having ridden from outside of Ford Nation (downtown-ish).  Even a few spandex-clad "roadies" made an appearance.
I have to admit, I was happily surprised.  It seems there's actually a fair number of cyclists within Ford Nation itself.  Does Rob Ford not understand that his "it's their own fault" comments, and votes against cycling infrastructure actually harm his own supporters?  And why do his supporters not flinch when he does this? I have no idea, but I hope all these cyclists at Ford Fest keep on riding, and that cycling catches on with more of their peers. I also wish I had my own bike there, so that I could have been riding with them.  Alas, I came and went by transit, which means that some Ford nationals had more fun that evening than I did.
~ Long-time dandy contributor Vic Gedris spends most of his time being a dad and a computer geek, but tried to get out to explore his west-end neoghbourhood and beyond by foot and by bike as often as possible, usually with a camera in hand. ~
Photos by Vic Gedris.
He seems pretty happy for some who is "swimming with the sharks" at Ford Fest.
Burgers and bikes.
Related on the dandyBLOG:
dandyARCHIVE/issue 1: In the loop (Cyclists in Centennial Park says no to pro cycling facilities)
Dana Lacey shoots Rob Ford as mayoral candidate for issue 5
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