Register early for Complete Streets Forum 2012

Image by Chris Hardwicke.

Is walkability, bikeability, mobility, or livability part of your work?

Story by Leila Kent

Early registration is now open for the 2012 Complete Streets Forum — happening right here in Toronto, on April 23 at the  Evergreen Brick Works. This is the Toronto Centre for Active Transportation's fifth annual active transportation conference (which began under the moniker of the Bike Summit).

Complete Streets” are both safe and inviting, prioritizing people on bikes and on foot, while simultaneously addressing the needs of those in other vehicles and in public transportation. The goal is to effectively balance the interests of different kinds of road users, while promoting active transportation and vibrant urban environments.

How do we get Complete Streets? By designing and implementing creative policies and smart city planning. The cross-pollination of ideas between different areas of expertise and from city to city is a key part of this approach.

On April 23, the forum will focus on practical applications from Canada and around the world of building the Complete Streets approach into policy, design, planning, and community. The event will feature presentations and workshops to give participants the tools to bring these ideas into their own work and advocacy. The goal is to accelerate the implementation of Complete Streets across Canada.

This year,  speakers include Dan Burden, Gary Toth, and John LaPlante. In 2001, Dan Burden was named by TIME Magazine as “one of the six most important civic innovators in the world.” He has personally helped 3,500 communities around the globe become more livable and walkable. He will share his expertise, along with his recent experiences working in Collingwood, Ontario.

Gary Toth is another keynote speaker who has experience in both the engineering and "place-making" aspects of Complete Streets (and penned this thought-provoking article last year). John LaPlante, meanwhile, has worked for 50 years in high levels of transportation engineering in Chicago.

There will also be a BIXI stand at Evergreen for the day and TCAT is coordinating with the Bike Union to have a bike ride out to the site on the morning of April 23.

The forum is open to everyone. TCAT says that the presentations and workshops will be of particular interest to planners, transportation officials, public health professionals, engineers, urban designers, architects, landscape architects, developers, accessibility and mobility experts, non-profits, and more.

Register now for discounted early-bird rates — available until April 2, 2012.

Check out the 2012 Complete Streets Forum event page for more info.

The Spring 2011 issue of dandyhorse was based on the TCAT/CAP study that shows biking and walking is good for business. This issue (with the "word bike" cover by dandy art director Dave Murray) will be available for participants at this forum.

Related articles on the dandyBLOG

Complete streets are good for bikes, and bikes are good for business

More on Complete Streets, TCAT, last year's forum, and bike lanes on Bloor in the Spring 2011 issue of dandyhorse. Get back issues and more - subscribe here!

Learn more about innovative complete streets solutions in this dandy article on  bike corrals.

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Be a TRAILBLAZER: Tandem riding club needs captains

Be a TRAILBLAZER: Tandem riding club needs volunteer captains

Guest dandyBLOG by Tim Woods

Photos courtesy of TRAILBLAZERS

I bet you like to ride your bike – a lot. You probably wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t. I love to ride mine, in fact, if I had my way, that is pretty much all I would ever do.  Now, try to imagine what would your cycling life be like if you couldn’t see. Imagine if you lost your sight, or were losing your sight, or you never had it in the first place; it doesn’t take a very fertile imagination to conclude that this is a cyclist’s nightmare.

Strange as it may seem though, I know a lot of people who have never seen the light of day, a blue sky, or a flower in bloom, and these people love to ride bikes. It’s true, they do, and some of them are very good at it too. Now you’re likely asking yourselves, how would such a sightless person facilitate this rather sight centric activity? Hey, it’s a reasonable question, with a simple and sensible answer: TRAILBLAZERS.

TRAILBLAZERS is a cycling club that allows legally blind people to ride bicycles. We ride tandems, and it’s not terribly surprising that the stoker is the visually impaired rider. (We tried it the other way around and it did not work well).  The club has 20 or so tandem bikes and we do so love to ride them. The ‘problem’ is, we have more than 20 members, but I’m not asking you to give us your tandem bike; what we really need is you!

We require skilled cyclists, who love to ride, love meeting interesting and fun people, that have a few hours a month (or week) to spare to help our great members stay happy and healthy. We need captains. As long as you can ride with some reasonable proficiency we have a spot for you.  (You do have to be over 16 years old.)

The club has lots of group rides throughout the cycling season; some are in Toronto, some are out of town, some are for an hour, others are for several hours. We also have members who want to ride a lot more frequently than on the group rides. They need captains that can meet them at one of our bicycle sheds (placed strategically through out the city) and ride from there, at times that are convenient to both captain and stoker.

This is my second year with TRAILBLAZERS but I assure you it won’t be my last. I have had so much fun with this club I forget I am volunteering. (Come on! I mean, you get to ride a bike and add to someone else’s happiness!)  I ride at least a few times a month during the season and have a few guys I ride with during the so-called off-season. (Except, there is no off-season for me!)

I usually share the tandem with the same guy on all the group rides. He is a very nice middle-aged, father of two, who is both blind and deaf .(And, why yes; that does pose some extra challenges! We communicate through BBM’s, and his has the largest font ever.) Our first ride together got me hooked on TRAILBLAZERS. We had been out for maybe 15 minutes, he is a strong rider and we were moving along at a fairly good clip, I heard him start laughing out loud on the back. Changed my life. Change yours. Help someone else change theirs. Be a captain with TRAILBLAZERS. Do it. Do it this year.

Contact TRAILBLAZERS TODAY: (416) 760-2700 . Email:

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The Good Bike Project zine

The Good Bike Project zine

by Heather Reid

Images courtesy of the artists

Anyone around downtown Toronto last summer would have been hard-pressed to miss the steadily growing Good Bike project.

The public art project that organically grew out of one lonely, abandoned bike painted neon orange outside the OCAD Student Gallery by two artists working inside.

Caroline MacFarlane and Vanessa Nicholas developed their project from this first bike, to the many orange, magenta, rose, yellow, green, blue, and aqua bikes that helped to add colour to our city streets.

Now, they've published The Good Bike zine, to create a lasting expression of their artistic exploration of bike culture in Toronto. It is available at the OCAD Student Gallery and Art Metropole for $20 and was designed by Andy Callahan. The 'zine is a chance for the artists to contribute their own voice to the media frenzy that erupted, particularly out of Rob Ford’s use of the project for publicity, and it includes lots of vibrant images of the bikes with descriptions of site locations.  As you read through their description of each location and why it was important to place a bike there, you may find it hits a note of resonance between community and creativity and conjures up feelings of what it's like to bike down a particular street in Toronto.

Caroline and Vanessa at City Hall with a "Good Bike".

dandyhorse got a chance to ask The Good Bike girls a few questions about their zine, art, and Toronto bicycling. You can check out the project’s Good Bike Blog here, and their art blog here.

Dandyhorse: Why did you choose to commemorate the project with a zine?
Good Bike: The publication was the final step in completing the project. Our project existed largely in the media and we wanted our own reference point. Often our conceptual intent was overlooked by reporters, so the publication strengthens the message of community we were hoping to send. We wanted a way to preserve the project once the bikes were off the streets.

 DH: How do you feel the public reception of The Good Bike contrasted with your initial expectations?
GB: We didn’t really have any expectations, as the project began with simple idea and one abandoned bike. We just wanted to add a little colour to our street. It became much bigger than that once the media and the City got involved.

DH: What did you think about the copycat bikes?
GB: We were delighted to discover so-called “copycat” bikes throughout the city. Our favourite was a teeny tricycle that was painted neon orange in Grange Park. It was there all summer long.

DH:How does the project comment on high art vs. community art?
GB: Why do they have to be separate or opposed? This distinction is meaningless and has been for a long time. The boundaries between art for a gallery and art for the street were blurred long ago. Think happenings and graffiti in 70’s New York.

DH: Do you feel that The Good Bike has made any lasting changes in Toronto?
GB: We got Rob Ford on a bike, didn’t we? We also got lots of people talking about cycling and art in Toronto.  Hopefully this is just the beginning!

DH: How did Rob Ford's interaction with The Good Bike affect the project and do you have any regrets?
GB: People need to know that Rob Ford really had nothing to do with our project: we received no funding or support from his office.  We were initially quite upset about the photo that was taken of the Mayor on our bike. We’d expressly asked him to stay away from it because we were weary of looking like a band aid for his anti-bike and anti-art politics. He never spoke to us about the project, and he had no involvement in the project beyond his office trying to hijack our facebook and twitter accounts. We did write him a letter. We never received a response from him.

DH: Did all the locations used listed in the zine have personal significance to you two, or how did you decide on the locations you used? 

GB: Some were personal to us, and some were suggested by friends and strangers. It really was a community effort.


DH: How do bicycles affect the culture of our city?

GB: Bikes make any city cleaner, more social, less aggressive, healthier and happier. Bikes make for an all around better place to live.



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Toronto International Bike Show recap

The Toronto BMX Jam raised the roof at the Spring 2012 Toronto International Bike Show.

Toronto International Bike Show recap

Photos by Jamie Rosenthal
Story by Tammy Thorne

Bikes! Bikes! Bikes!

That’s what it was all about all weekend long (March 2 - 4, 2012) at the Better Living Centre on the Exhibition Grounds here in Toronto for the International Bicycle Show.

dandyhorse magazines that were delivered via Wike trailer to a selection of our sponsors on Friday -- Opus, Sweet Pete’s, The Cycle Shoppe, MEC -- were nabbed up quicker than you can say “Passing on your left!”

For the 13th year in a row the Spring bike show was a big success for retailers, manufacturers, bike tour operators, non-profits and, of course, those BMX and MTB riders itching to get outside to ride ...but instead, got to show off their skills inside.

Mike Heaton, event organizer for the TorontoBMX Jam, put on another amazing contest this year.

dandy friend and upcoming contributor, Justin Soares, placed second in the senior amateur category behind Brandon Webster. Pro winner was Drew Bezanson, followed by Daniel Sandoval in second. Our dandy pal and Sour Fever rider Ian Christison (featured in our winter issue here) was feeling some pain when we saw him on Sunday, after riding Saturday's qualifiers. Full results list can be found on the TorontoBMX site here.

BMX riders wait to 'drop in'.

Photos by Jamie Rosenthal.

Heaton’s ramps from the TorontoBMX Jam have been used as part of a Freestyle BMX Park at Wallace Emerson community centre at Dufferin and Dupont. (Read about this park in our first issue of dandyhorse, here.) Ramps were located on the outdoor rink just south of the community centre and there is also a 500 foot clay and dirt track at the west end of the Wallace Emerson park. The ramps are on loan by Heaton to the riders of Toronto for the summer months. Toronto BMX has the mandate to “build more bike parks” and is involved in spearheading the creation of new parks in Toronto and has been organizing the annual spring Toronto BMX Jam at the bike show from the start.

Flatland BMX riders don’t need ramps to put on a good show, but they came from as far away as Japan. These Japanese riders below put on a particularly graceful show.


Flatland BMX photos by Tammy Thorne.

Our friends from the Bamboo Bike Studio partnered with artist Alberto de Ciccio won 3rd best booth this year.

A bamboo bike, above, and our friends at Wike, below, showing one of their trailers with a kayak attached.

Photos by Tammy Thorne.

The guys from YNOT selling bags made right here in Toronto, below. Photo by Jamie Rosenthal.

We had a great time coming back again on Sunday with dandy “wing man” Amanda Beattie tweeting about the talent. Follow us on twitter @dandyhorse for more fun.

Read our dandyhorse archival story from issue one about Wallace Emerson BMX Park here.

Spring issue coming this May!

Inquire today about advertising opportunities by emailing 

Our media kit can be found here.


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Ramped Up

Photo by Bouke Salverda

This past weekend the dandyhorse team dropped in on the Toronto International Bicycle Show which features the Toronto BMX Jam organized by Mike Heaton. Read about our bike show visit on the dandyBLOG here.

The following article originally appeared in dandyhorse Issue #1, get it here.

All-wood is good

by Tammy Thorne

“I’d like to build an action sports centre,” says Michael Heaton. “It would be just like any other recreation centre in the city, except instead of a swimming pool and basketball court it would have a skatepark, bmx park, maybe a small dirt race track, and a media centre where videos could be made.”

Heaton has the right idea according to the dozens of kids who ride every day at the newest park he helped create in Toronto’s downtown west end. The ramps at the new park are from the privately run Toronto bmx Jam, and this is the second summer they were moved to Wallace Emerson Park at Dupont and Dufferin.

Jamie Harris Burke is one of the riders who applauds Heaton’s efforts. “It is important to have bmx parks because there are so many bmx riders in the city and we need somewhere to ride rather then being discriminated against and forced out of skateparks.”

Burke is devoted to bmx despite having sustained many injuries doing it. “It’s very creative and social, yet it’s not competitive or a team sport. It is a very independent sport and so it is up to you to push yourself and learn new things. It is a great stress relief and it is a huge self-motivator. It’s literally an addictive rush of adrenaline. There are so many positives and only one negative I can think of – it pays a high toll on your body.”

The tattoo that covers the right side of his torso says “Pain for Pleasure” and features a tree made of bicycles. “To me it means life. There’s always going to be good times and bad and there will always be something hard or annoying or negative in the way of achieving something positive,” he explains. “It’s an incredible feeling to land a trick you’ve tried for years, or that you’ve had a serious injury trying, where you had to fight the mental side of overcoming the fear of falling again.”

He started riding bmx six years ago at Cummer Park near Leslie and Finch in North York. Now 19, Burke runs bmx day camps as part of the City’s Fun summer camps for kids at Wallace Emerson. The park will also host an end of summer event on September 2 and 3. The ramps will likely go back into storage sometime after that, but that won’t stop Burke from getting his bmx fix.


Read about our 2012 visit to the Toronto International Bike Show, which features the Toronto BMX jam here.

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