Uncle Jacob's less-than-organized basement stock The Secret Lives of Second Hand Bikes
Why doesn't any one want to talk about [the lack of] second hand bikes for sale in Toronto?
By Taylor Moyle
Photos by Tammy Thorne and Cayley James
Finding a cheap bike in Toronto is hard. I'm a student on a fixed budget, and biking is the easiest and one of the cheapest ways to get around downtown. After my bike was stolen (yet again) recently I decided to look into the second hand bike shops. It was a search that was much harder than anticipated. To my surprise the city is seriously lacking in brick and mortar shops that sell used bikes.
About a month ago I was out for a work date with Victoria, one of my oldest friends. About two coffees into our spreadsheet-addled afternoon, she leaned over and in a conspiratorial tone asked: “Do you want to go to SoulCycle?”
My immediate response was NO. I don’t spin.
But then, with horror, I remembered that when I was a teenager it seemed like a very grown up activity, so I went to four classes, which resulted in me announcing to the void of the internet via my Grade 10 LiveJournal that: “I LOVED SPINNING!”
"To sum it up: build a bunch of condos for people who don’t want to live in them, make the developers, real estate speculators and foreign investors rich…while regular, bike riding people who are actually here, can’t afford to live. Makes sense to me!
The majority of new builds in Toronto are condos. Over the past several years, we’ve built an average of close to 20,000 condo units per year. And about 50 per cent** of all new condo units are bought up by investors, who then turn them over to tenants, at reasonable rents, of course. (BTW, as a foreign investor, you still don’t pay capital gains on condos - so buy five units, sell them and pay no tax! Good deal!)
At the same time, just 1,700 rental units for regular people became available. Not sure, but I think they call this ‘affordable housing’. There are about 170,000 families waiting for affordable housing, waiting almost four years on average. But developers and real estate speculators aren’t letting ‘affordable housing’ get in their way.
The developers don’t seem to need to obey any real rules - just like all of the scofflaw cyclists in the city - they just pay a fancy ‘cash-in-lieu of community benefits’ fee.
Has anyone noticed that we already have 5 million people and there are only two subway lines? I guess all of the new condo owners will just drive cars anyway. What could possibly go wrong?"
**The numbers are fuzzy for the actual number of foreign buyers and range from 5 to 50 per cent depending on who you listen to.
I grew up learning how to ride by criss-crossing, the Martin Goodman trail, Toronto's segment of the trail. It was my key to independence! As someone who still can't drive there are parts of the Waterfront Trail that aren't particularly accessible to me. So this is ideal. Hop on the train, pop off in Ajax or Bronte and ride back home (hopefully with a tail wind).
Image courtesy of Great Lakes Waterfront Trail/Metrolinx