Winter Bike Spotting special: dashing dandy duos

We've got a set of dashing dandy duos for our winter Bike Spotting special. Read all about what they wear and why they bike in wintertime right here.

Check out our special Winter Bike Spotting set of dashing duos here.

Photos by Yvonne Bambrick.

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Wile E. Ford Bike Lane Mural

This Wile. E. Coyote style bike lane mural in Kensington Market is part of an exhibit at the AGO. Photo by Martin Reis.


Urban Repair Squad strikes again!

Wile E. Coyote style bike lane mural painted as part of AGO exhibit

Photos by Martin Reis

Story by Tammy Thorne

Bicycles are ubiquitous in any great city – and so is contemporary art. Artists Sean Martindale and Pascal Paquette get that. The two are currently showing NOW: an installation at the AGO’s Young Gallery that includes a workspace for the artists and a lounge/work area with free wi-fi and comment board for visitors. Two time-lapse videos of graffiti writing taking place outside the gallery finish the installation.

Martindale and Paquette recently invited the guerilla street artists, the Urban Repair Squad to paint a mural for the video, called “whitewash.” (Read about the Urban Repair Squad from our first issue of dandyhorse.)

The Wile E. Ford bike lane mural is in an alley off of Nassau in Kensington Market. It’s the same wall used for the NOW exhibition by other artists.

“We invited current and active street and graffiti artists to paint that wall, then Sean and I paint it over with white paint. The video in our exhibition shows us doing that,” says Paquette. “The video is a reaction to Ford's erasing our fine works of art but also to how ephemeral the art form is.”

The “Wile E. Ford” mural (as the URS artists are calling it) will be painted over on Wednesday or Thursday (March 21 or 22) to make room for the next art work.

We know our mayor thinks the idea of a connected network of bike lanes across our gridlock-choked city is “Looney Tunes” – so dandyhorse applauds the Urban Repair Squad for this little act of levity that also brings light to our serious plight for safe cycling in this city.

When URS first started painting bike lanes they were known to leave notes like “City broke, we fix – no charge” … read about their cost-effective, statement-making art, here, from our first issue of dandyhorse.

dandyhorse magazine is available for visitors and is part of the NOW Service Bureau exhibit, which goes until April 1. Visitors can meet the artists from 6-8 pm Wednesdays.

dandyhorse interviewed artist Paul Butler who previously exhibited The Greg Curnoe Bicycle Project in the Young Gallery as part of the Toronto NOW series. Read about this exhibit here.

Toronto Now spotlights local artists and offers the public an opportunity to see exciting contemporary art projects free of charge. The series inhabits the Young Gallery, a free, street-level space adjacent to Frank restaurant, facing Dundas Street. Enter through the gift shop (from the AGO front entrance.)

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The Greg Curnoe Bicycle Project: community art by Paul Butler

Mariposa bike by Mike Barry - replica of "Close the 49th Parallel ETC." by Greg Curnoe with photo of Greg and bike

The Greg Curnoe Bicycle Project

AGO’s inaugural artist-in-residence examined Curnoe’s legacy as a community builder

 Photos and story by Tammy Thorne

Paul Butler's practice merges art making with community building. This led him to the work of Canadian artist Greg Curnoe (1936–1992).

Based in London, Ontario, Curnoe was deeply committed to advancing the rights of artists while fostering visual arts in his Canadian hometown from the 60s on, until his sudden death in a cycling accident in 1992.

Bicycles were an important subject in the work of Curnoe, who was an avid cyclist and member of the London Centennial Wheelers. (dandyhorse magazine featured the work “Mariposa low profile” courtesy of the artist’s widow, on the cover of our second issue.)

In an effort to pay homage to this legendary artist and to learn more about the influence of his artist-run initiatives, such as the first artist-run gallery in Canada, Butler organized a public bike tour called “Greg Curnoe's London” in which he literally used a replica of Curnoe’s favourite bike as a research vehicle.

Bulter had Mariposa Cycle proprietor Mike Barry, rebuild the artist's favourite, and perhaps most famous, bicycle: Close the 49th Parallel ETC. (According to Barry, only one other museum-housed replica of this cycle exists.)

Butler rode through London with Curnoe's family, friends and members of the arts and cycling communities, who shared stories of Curnoe’s life and legacy as the tour stopped at significant sites. London’s FUSE magazine took this video of the ride.

Butler’s keen interest in community building made him a natural choice for first artist-in-residence at the AGO. Near the end of his residency last fall Butler displayed (and got decent media coverage of) the complete exhibit, The Greg Curnoe Bicycle Project as part of the AGO’s Toronto Now series. As you can see in these photos, the exhibit included some of the plentiful AGO archival materials of Curnoe's work and bicycle items, such as a jersey he designed for his cycling club and a piece from "Close the 49th..."'s the original top tube.

The Toronto Now series features a rotating series of contemporary art projects that puts the focus on Toronto artists and displays their work in the free, street-facing Young Gallery.

Read our dandy story about the bike-related art in the current Toronto NOW exhibit here.

Read bike building legend Mike Barry's story about his relationship with Greg Curnoe in dandyhorse, here.


Artist Paul Butler with the bike he commissioned for the exhibit from Mike Barry, Mariposa

Artist Paul Butler with Mariposa bike by Mike Barry. This bicycle is a replica of Greg Curnoe's famous "Close the 49th Parallel ETC." art bike which he also made a painting of, on clear plexiglass.

The top tube from the original bike.

Eerie: damaged top tube from the original bike, on display above cycling journal from the AGO Curnoe archival collection.


Greg Curnoe designed jersey

Curnoe also designed jerseys for his cycling club.

Photos above are from the ride "Greg Curnoe's London". FUSE magazine made a video of the ride.

The wheel above was inspired by Curnoe's art. Here, Butler has written the names of each person who helped him put this exhibit together in each colour slice.

Mariposa bike by Mike Barry.

The French language letra-set of "Close the 49th..." is on the other side of the top tube.


The Toronto Now series features a rotating series of contemporary art projects that puts the focus on Toronto artists and displays their work in the free, street-facing Young Gallery.

Read our dandy story about the bike-related art in the current Toronto NOW exhibit here.

Read bike building legend Mike Barry's story about his relationship with Greg Curnoe in dandyhorse, here.


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Bells on Bloor 2012

Photo by Martin Reis

Bells on Bloor 2012 drew hundreds of cyclists again this year for a mass ride to Queen's Park.

Contingents from the Danforth and Yonge Street joined in this year to create an even louder voice, demanding safe space in the streets for cyclists.

Read more about the fight for Bike Lanes on Bloor in dandyhorse magazine. Related stories on the dandyBLOG:

Bells on Bloor Bike Month 2012

Fur Flies when Yorkville Weasels out of a Bike Lane

Angela Bischoff: saying no to the status quo (Angela is holding up the sign, on the left, in this photo above.)

Bike Spotting on Bloor: Do you shop by bike?



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dandyARCHIVE: Camper Bike

This article first appeared in our Spring 2010 issue. You can order back issues here.

dandyARCHIVE: Camper Bike

Kevin Cyr paints and constructs RV-bike hybrids

Story by Leah Sandals

Many avid cyclists already feel like they live on their bikes but few have taken the idea as far as Brooklyn artist Kevin Cyr, who created a head-turning RV-bike hybrid in April 2008. Here, Cyr talks about China, Maine mill towns, Cormac McCarthy and other influences.

Where did the idea for your Camper Bike come from?

I was working for an artist who started doing a project in China, so I went over for work in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Right away, I was fascinated by China’s amazing bike culture. I used to be a bike messenger so I’ve been interested in bikes for a long time. What interested me in particular are Chinese bikes that have three wheels and a kind of flatbed. Working-class people make a living by carrying stuff on them: everything from refrigerators to televisions. I loved those bikes and their utilitarian aspects. Then, one day, I was eating breakfast outside a market, and it reminded me of camping as a kid. So I said, jokingly, “Hey, wouldn’t it be great to have a house on the back of that bike?” And I started doing sketches. How did your sketches turn into the actual bike? It evolved over a few trips. I’m primarily a painter, so I first thought of this as a drawing or painting project. But it seemed really hard to paint from concept and I thought, “I should just build this thing.”

How did people react when you tried your creation out in public?

The reaction was mixed. Some people didn’t notice, because there’s a lot of odd vehicles in China. But some people did make us stop for photographs. The camper was actually the most interesting part to a lot of people, because it was the least familiar. There’s not that much camping in China.

You’ve also made some lovely paintings of old delivery trucks and vans, a fact that some cycling activists might find surprising. What’s your response?

Those paintings of vans and trucks actually come from when I was a bike messenger in Boston. At that time, I started photographing old run-down cars and delivery vehicles I encountered on my routes. The common link was they were all really old working-class vehicles. I guess that’s my overall interest in some ways. I come from a small mill town in northern Maine.

More recently, you made a camper out of a shopping cart. Why?

The inspiration came partly from the Camper Bike and partly from The Road by Cormac McCarthy. In that book, they were pushing a shopping cart, another kind of very utilitarian vehicle. And because they were constantly looking for shelter, I thought I could make a Camper Kart. Again, I think it connects to my past, and to camping as a kid.

You also ended up making some nice paintings of the Camper Bike. Why was that important?

Well, the nice thing with the paintings was I was able to place the bike in a mountainous landscape. In Beijing there’s only city scenes, so the paintings and drawings allow me to put the camper-bike in different scenarios.

So what’s next for you and the Camper Bike?

Well, the bike is in China in storage right now. I hope to exhibit it in a gallery at some point. I’d also like to document travelling with the bike some more – I’d like to do a little mockumentary about travelling through China documenting people’s reactions.

This article first appeared in our Spring 2010 issue. You can order back issues here.
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