Behind the Scenes of our cover shoot

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Photographer Mike Ford shoots Priya Panda for the cover of dandyhorse magazine (above.)

Behind the Scenes on our Heavy Metal in the Bike Lane cover shoot with Mike Ford

Find out more about our new issue at Word on the Street this Sunday, Sept. 27

By Claire McFarlane

Although we never ended up getting construction worker 'models' for our Heavy Metal in the Bike Lane photoshoot, which is featured on the cover of our latest issue, we did end up getting some real construction workers ogling our set.

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The 'set' above: a construction zone impeding the bikes lanes on Beverly and Stephanie streets.

On the day of the shoot, we set up in a construction zone on Beverly at Stephanie with oh-so-dandy photographer, Mike Ford. Between dodging dump trucks and other traffic, Mike was able to get some fantastic photos of the ever-fierce Priya Panda, whom, aside from being the wildly talented founder and front woman of the band Diemonds, and a member of the band She Demons, is an every-day city cyclist and has been for the better part of the last decade. 

The concept behind the shoot, which came courtesy of dandy publisher, Tammy Thorne, stemmed from construction zones that obstruct bike lanes. Tammy road around town and did a survey of all the construction in bike lanes and came back with dozens of photos -- all potential locations for the shoot. But we chose Beverly since it is such a major N/S thoroughfare that connects with many other bike lanes and goes right through U of T's downtown campus.

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Although, the new-ish contraflow lane on Stephanie street (that leads to Urbane Cyclist) was un-obstructed -- the eastbound lane was narrowed which meant all road users got squeezed.

Currently, there is no standard procedure to help get cyclists through construction zones. Expecting bike riders to merge with traffic can be dangerous and asking them to dismount is inefficient and serves as a deterent to cyclists (and, as we know, every city needs more cyclists to help aleviate gridlock). Sometimes pylons are used to reroute the bike lane and other times detours for cyclists are provided. While these solutions are great, we rarely see them.

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One of Mike Ford's fabulous outtakes from the shoot.

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We wanted to use another shot of Priya for our popular "Polite Pedaller" advice column page but when we decided to go with Priya on the cover, we had to change this inside back cover spread.

During our shoot, a uniformed police officer was present to help direct traffic around the construction zone. However, he was too busy making inappropriate sexual comments towards me to actually be bothered to do his job. I was disturbed by the fact that this man, whose job it is to ensure my safety and who is supposed to be the voice of authority, was making me feel incredibly unsafe. Mr. R. Gomez, I hope you haven't made anyone else feel that way, but I sadly doubt that is true. (Pub's note: R. Gomez was also wearing a wedding ring.)

We knew we'd have to do one of our classic guerrilla-style dandy-in-the-street kind of shoots, and we even kind of expected that the construction workers would display some boyish behaviour towards the lovely Priya, but we did not expect the supervising police officer to make secret snide remarks toward a member of the crew.

So although safety IS an issue in the bike lane when it comes to the ubiquitous construction in this city (and lack of protocol on how to direct traffic around it) we also wonder how safe we are when it comes to those who are paid (and quite well according to the City's budget numbers) to protect us from sexual harassment.

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Priya Panda (above) in one of our very favourite photos from this shoot by Mike Ford.

But the one we ultimately chose is below:

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And our current cover:

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The cover of our current issue (above) is by Mike Ford. fordphoto.ca

You can get a copy at Word on the Street September 27.

Related on the dandyBLOG:

Meet Priya Panda: From the cover of our current issue

dandyhorse is at Word on the Street this Sunday

Desmond Cole on Policing Public Space

Vision Zero: A Road Safety Plan for Toronto

Heels on Wheels with Lucy DeCoutere

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