Heels on Wheels Goes Tandem: Leanne Eisen

Leanne Eisen Heels on Wheels by Molly Crealock

By Tammy Thorne
Photos by Molly Crealock

Why did you decide to get married on Day of Delight?

Day of Delight is Clay & Paper Theatre's annual celebration of love, courtship and desire. This festival is all about leaving cynicism behind, and celebrating love. What better place could you think of to hold a wedding? I'm not a big fan of traditional weddings. I've been to a million of them, and they're all the same. Boring. Most ceremonies are constrained by outdated traditions and say very little about the people who are involved in them. Day of Delight has theatre, music, installation and participatory projects including Cardbordia (an entire land made of cardboard) and a musical bicycle parade! How cool is that? We want to say "Hey, this thing we've got here is pretty great. Let's celebrate!".

Will you be wearing heels as you ride off on your tandem bike?

I made a solemn vow many years ago to never wear heels again. I have broken that vow on occasion in the name of fashion and have always lived to regret it.

What about your groom-to-be Ben?

Ben can usually be found wearing Keen Austin cycle commuter shoes. Clipless shoes in disguise. Ingenious!

How did you and Ben meet?

We met in high school in Fergus, Ontario, but were both too shy to talk to one another. We somehow met up again through in our early twenties and ended up on a midnight canoe ride together. We capsized and had to swim for an island toward the middle of the lake. Having lost the canoe, we sat up talking all night while we waited to be rescued the next morning. That was our first date. We clicked, fell madly in love, and have been together ever since.

What role does the bicycle play in your lives?

A bicycle is an expression of the synthesis between the self and the community. It's also the best and most useful vehicle ever developed.

How long have you been part of the Clay & Paper Theatre group?

I began as a volunteer three years ago as member of Clay and Paper's "Revolutionary Choir," singing "Bicycle Revolution!" I slowly wormed myself into their collective and have been working there for just over a year.

How Long have you been involved with Take the Tooker?

Ben and I saw the ad for the first Take The Tooker group ride in 2005. We decided to get involved when speaking with Darren Stehr on that ride, and have been working with them ever since. If you think about it, It makes sense to have a East/West bikeway through Toronto. Most car/bike collisions happen on East/West streets, and off of bicycle routes, so it's clear that it's something we need. Why not put it somewhere we want to go, where there aren't streetcar tracks? You think it'll impede car traffic? No problem: the subway is right there. It's a no brainer, really.

How could Toronto's streets be safer for cyclists?

Toronto's streets could be safer for cyclists if there was more concern and respect among all users of public space.

What do you think of this Ann Strong quote? “The bicycle is as good company as most husbands. When it gets old a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking he entire community.” (It was on the first telegram I received from Martin de la Rue who will perform at the Day of Delight!)

Bicycles don't get old like husbands. A quality bicycle should be an heirloom that lasts multiple generations. For example, I still ride my grandmother's omafiets.

Leanne Eisen is a bike loving, photo taking, ukulele playing, omafiets pedalling, visual artist.  leanneeisen.com

Clay & Paper Theatre presents: The 9th annual Day of Delight
A celebration of love, courtship and desire!

Clay & Paper Theatre requests the honour of your presence in Dufferin Grove Park on Sunday, June nineteenth for our most romantic Day of Delight to date! Our ninth annual celebration of love, courtship and desire will culminate in a real wedding that will be celebrated by all our fanciful festival revelers. Bring someone you love to beautiful Dufferin Grove Park for an afternoon of theatre, music, dance, installation and participatory works, including: Cardbordia, our beloved cardboard village, aerial dance, Punch and Judy's puppet kissing booth, stilt dancing, storytelling, anonymous love letters to strangers, a stag n’ doe can-can, country love songs, and a musical bicycle parade – complete with giant puppets – that will deliver you to our very special Day of Delight wedding!

Participating artists include: Lisa Marie DiLiberto, CYCLOPS: Cycling Oriented Bicycle Squad, Sage Tyrtle, The Upside Down Ladies, Circus Alchemy, The Ismailova Theatre of Dance, Clare Samuel, Collective Exchange, Shannon Roszell, The Saucy Tarts, Martin Helmut Reis, Blackcurrant Productions, Kristina Esposito, Richard Underhill, Honey and Blair, and more!

Sunday, June 19th, 2011, 2 - 5 pm
Dufferin Grove Park, 875 Dufferin Street
Pay-What-You-Can / $10 Suggested

Facebook: The 9th Annual Day of Delight

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Bells on Bloor Saturday, June 18, 2011

Connect with thousands of bicycle-minded friends this Saturday, June 18, 2011 for the Bells on Bloor procession.

Starting at High Park (at the Bloor Street entrance), a pedal-powered wave of people on bikes will make its way to Queen's Park to a chorus of bicycle bells. Celebrate bicycles, community and healthy, sustainable transportation while showing your support for safe bike lanes on Bloor... a police escort helps to ensure safety for all. Learn more about Bells on Bloor here.

Bloor/Danforth is an important street to the lives of many Torontonians and welcomes countless visitors every day. In our Spring 2011 issue of dandyhorse magazine we examine how Bicycles are Good for Business on Bloor.

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A Community Connected by Bicycles in Christie Pits Park

Councillor Mike Laytown handing out bells

The sun came out over Christie Pits park were we met with the participants of the Bike With Mike scavenger hunt on June 12. Families and friends returned from exploring Ward 19 (Trinity-Spadina) with Councillor Mike Layton, greeted by The Friends of Christie Pits and a fired up pizza oven with nearby bicycle cleaning and repairs by The Bicycle Commons, BikeSauce and Bike Pirates. BIXI Toronto delivered a few bicycles out of the service area for participants to try, CAN-BIKE was on hand to demonstrate cycling skills and Clay & Paper's CYCLOPS put on a show for the crowd.

Photos by Tammy Thorne

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Bikes Are Good For Business

by dandyhorse staff
images courtesy of Catia da Silva, &Co Architects

Bloor Street defines the heart of Toronto. Literally. Bloor is a major east-west route that separates the business, cultural and historic core of the city from its edges. It remains more neighbourhood high street than highway; more community hub than expressway. Yet thoroughfare is how planners and politicians have often envisioned Bloor. In Volume 4, Issue 1, we reimagine Bloor through the eyes of cyclists, pedestrians, children, the differently abled, politicians and business owners as well as drivers.

We visualize what it would look like if the street served all of our community instead of largely serving the car. Our task has been made easier by groups such as Take The Tooker, which for six years has advocated for a bike lane the length of Bloor, and the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation (TCAT), which has encouraged others to examine the impact of street design on all road users. And a lot is at stake. Dan Leeming, founding partner at The Planning Partnership, noted during the 2010 Complete Streets Forum, “Streets are 20-30% of an urban area – they’re publicly owned and should therefore behave in the public interest.”

In our Spring 2011 issue, we ride tandem with visually impaired riders, hitch our bicycles up to bike corrals in Bloor West Village and get an early look at the cinematic reincarnation of the “world’s most prolific bike thief.” We slow down to take a look at a car-free Annex, stopping to shop along the way. We welcome BIXI to Toronto, talk politics with Adam Vaughan and Denzil Minnan-Wong and investigate what really happened with Yorkville’s road redevelopment. A new mom tells us how to go carless with kids and we illustrate what a safer ride on the Danforth would look like. We realize the importance of riding your bike to work – whether you’re the CEO of a major bank or a cashier at The Big Carrot. We also learn a pretty lesson about reading and riding and imagine the West Toronto Railpath as a hub for velo-city – an elevated, pollution-free, rapid mobility system to take cyclists and skaters downtown and to the lake. We’ve got all this and more in one long, continuous, pothole-ridden, bike lane-hungry stretch of road.

We are asking: What would it be like if we made people the priority on Bloor-Danforth?

Ambitious? We hope so. “Successful cities didn’t nibble at the edge of change,” sustainable transportation consultant Geoff Noxon advised Toronto planners, policy makers and activists at the Complete Streets Forum. “They bit off more than they could chew and then came back for more.” So digest this and then think about how to remake your community.

dandyhorse magazine Volume 4, Issue 1 is available FREE at these sponsor shops.

Purchase our Spring 2011 issue at these fine retailers.

Show your support and subscribe to dandyhorse magazine today. Subscribers get dandy delivered right to their door and free online access to all of our back issues.

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Call for dandy Volunteers 2011

dandyhorse magazine is Canada’s only arts and culture magazine for people who ride bikes. We publish twice per year (April/May and August/September) and will now publish an online winter edition, staring this year!

We're looking for fellow bike lovers with outgoing personalities and the desire to be a part of our wonderful team:

(1) EVENTS Volunteers

By joining the dandyhorse team as an events volunteer you’ll bring your positive and outgoing personality and passion for all things bike to bicycle and art events across Toronto. Event volunteers are expected to attend 2 to 10 events starting immediately until the end of the year and assist in selling magazines and subscriptions while promoting the dandy brand. In addition to attending events, volunteers will liaise with retail shops fulfilling orders, maintaining stock and securing new retail opportunities.

Events volunteers are expected to be available 5-8 hours per week including weekends. This position has room for promotion to the circulation department.

Email Tammy tammy @ dandyhorsemagazine.com or Duncan Duncan @ dandyhorsemagazine.com with your resume and statement of intent.

(2) dandyWEB CONTRIBUTORS needed!

We’re having a hard time keeping up with our exciting new web presence dandyhorsemagazine.com and need new contributors to profile shops, photograph and interview people riding in the streets for our Bike Spotting section of the dandyBLOG and attend events.

We are looking for people who like to write, take photos and ride bikes! Candidates who can both write articles and take photographs will receive priority although we welcome applications from those interested in just writing or photography.

Successful candidates will be featured contributors to our first online winter issue.

Email Tammy tammy @ dandyhorsemagazine.com or Duncan Duncan @ dandyhorsemagazine.com with your resume and statement of intent.

dandyhorse magazine is 100% volunteer driven. Ongoing opportunities for magazine contributions exist.

Our September 2011 issue will be guest edited by Bob Blumer from the Food Network.

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