Heavy Metal in the Bike Lane: Meet Priya Panda, on the cover of dandyhorse magazine
Photos courtesy of Mike Ford
We are very pleased Priya Panda, lead singer of Diemonds and member of the band She Demons, is on the cover of our new issue of dandyhorse magazine.
In our new issue we question the city’s commitment to providing safe passage for cyclists through construction zones in the bike lane. dandyhorse has been pushing for the city to create better detours and safer conditions for cyclists through construction zones.
Priya is also one of a hundreds of thousands of Torontonians who rides her bike to get around. And like many other Torontonians she does not like it when construction zones jam things up.
We asked our dandy “cover girl” a few questions about rocking and rolling.
Cover of the July 2015 "equity" issue of dandyhorse. Photo by Mike Ford.
dandyhorse magazine: When did you get into riding a bike to get around?
Priya Panda: I got my current awesome bike (in the photo) two summers ago. I had a vintage BMX for seven or so years before that and rode it everywhere until my friends convinced me to get another bike, you know, so I could keep up with other riders. So, I started really riding in Toronto, I guess, about eight years ago.
DM: When did you get into Diemonds?
PP: I started the band about seven years ago. My main reason for starting a band is that I’m a huge music fan. I love rock and roll. I love metal. I wanted to make music and have shows and not just go to shows and watch them. And as a female I wanted to be respected by my peers to be a somebody making music.
DM: Have you ever ridden to Diemonds gigs?
PP: I’ve ridden to gigs if I don’t have to carry gear, [biking] is still the best way to get around. Driving a van and trailer to pick up everyone downtown isn’t that smart so we’ve all ridden to gigs at one point or another, or at least three out of five of us ride bikes all the time as our primary mode. Both guitar players [C.C. and D.K.] ride.
DM: What’s your favourite place to ride?
PP: I like to ride to restaurants. Like Al Asador on Bloor, love just riding there for some tacos. There are lots of great places to eat in Toronto.
DM: What do you think the city could do to make it safer for cyclists?
PP: One hundred per cent: More bike lanes. We’re not even close to as many we need, and half of the ones we do have don’t connect to the others … like all of the sudden you’re in the middle of heavy traffic [when a bike lane endes] and then what do you do? Not to mention they removed some pretty good bikes lanes a couple of years ago, like the one on Jarvis.
DM: What did you think about our photo shoot and about the construction in the bike lane?
PP: I ride that bike lane…and it [construction] impedes for sure. Construction just makes it harder for everyone, with narrowed lanes and debris and garbage and cars [in the bike lane] when their lane is reduced.
But cycling is still the fastest way to get around – really it’s the only option in the core to get around if you want to get somewhere fast and on time.
Diemonds' new album "Never wanna die" is launching August 14. Read more about it on facebook.com/diemonds. Their “Feast on the East” tour kicks off on July 9.
Thank you Priya! Thank you Mike Ford!
Read a behind the scenes account of the photo shoot “Heavy Metal in the Bike Lane” here.
Read more about our new issue here.
Related on the dandyBLOG:
Behind the scenes of “Heavy Metal in the Bike Lane”
dandyhorse issue 12 is here: The equity issue newsletter