Bikes on Reels Part 4: Parkdale’s the Wild West in Monkey Warfare

For more than 100 years we’ve been riding bikes and going to the movies. In this new dandy series we examine how two of the world’s most noted pastimes intersect. When and how have two wheels been caught on film? Over the next six months I’ll be examining cycling in films. It’s one part film review and one part bike nerd exploration. From coming of age nostalgia, to surreal escapism, to film noir and everything in between, here is the fourth story in the series. You can read parts 1, 2, and 3 by clicking here.

Don McKellar and Tracy Wright Image courtesy of New Real Films

Bikes on Reels Part 4: Parkdale’s the Wild West in Monkey Warfare

Story by Cayley James

In 2006 a little movie, called Monkey Warfare, came out about bike riding anarchists in Toronto. Director Reg Harkema had made his name in the 90s as an editor working alongside noted filmmakers Bruce McDonald, Don McKellar and Guy Maddin. All of whom were instrumental in creating a very distinct voice for Gen-X Canadian cinema. Monkey Warfare, his first feature as director, is a peculiar time-capsule of a city on the brink.

At a brisk 75 minutes the film is a twee, sardonic send up to the ever fraught relationship between bikes and cars, gentrification and authenticity. With its Godard inspired jump cuts, text on screen, and affection for political rhetoric it's clearly inspired by classic French New Wave films like Masculine et Feminine and La Chinoise.

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Heels on Wheels: Nadia Litz

Photo by Ann Ruppenstein

Heels on Wheels: Nadia Litz, actress, director in residence at the Canadian Film Centre

Has your iconic role in Monkey Warfare changed your attitude towards biking in any way?

Toronto Life did a story on bike culture and used that same photo from my film Monkey Warfare of me flipping the bird without mentioning that it was a still from a film. I just became more cognizant of the fact that people take riding very seriously in this city… and that people know that image more than they know the film! Continue reading

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Are Bike Thieves Getting a Free Ride With GO?

Inforgraphic by Taylor Moyle 

Are bike thieves getting a free ride with GO?

By Taylor Moyle

This isn’t a typical dandyhorse story.

This one’s for you bike thieves.

Your nearest GO station provides ample opportunity for bike theft. Why? Well, in large part because they don’t seem to be doing anything about the problem. This is good for bike thieves because there are hundreds of bikes locked up at GO station bike racks on any given summer day, and often decent ones as people have biked a fair distance to get there in some cases. Many of the bike parking stands have roofs over them, but not all have cameras monitoring them.

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How The Green Line Will Benefit Toronto’s Cycling Community

Photo by Kyle Baptista for Park People

How The Green Line Will Benefit Toronto’s Cycling Community

By Taylor Moyle 

Toronto’s Green Line, a 5-km linear park in a hydro corridor that connects communities may finally become a reality this year.

The interconnected series of parks runs from Spadina to Lansdowne and will feature green space for pedestrians to relax in. Not only that, the linear park will create a new way for cyclists to travel between communities in Toronto’s west end core

Within the City’s 2017 budget, $275,000 has been dedicated to the 5-km linear park for it to finally come to fruition after three years of community lobbying.

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Cycle Toronto’s Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2017

Cycle Toronto's Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2017

Pictures and Story by Cayley James 

There was something noticeably different about this year's coldest ride compared to previous years. While 2015 had snow and ice, and 2014 had near white out conditions, there was barely a snowflake in the air on Saturday, February 4, 2017, for Cycle Toronto’s annual meet up to promote winter cycling.

There were people of all ages, on every kind of ride imaginable; from cargos to fixies to twenty-seven-year-old mountain bikes adorned with streamers, it appeared that the lack of precipitation this year made Cycle Toronto’s mission to get more folks on bikes in the winter an easy one.

A day is considered easily bikeable if the average daily temperature is above -10 degrees Celsius. Although this past month has been one of the darkest on record it has also been one of the mildest. According to Environment Canada, Toronto hasn’t had this mild of a January in nearly 80 years.

Jared Kolb, executive director of Cycle Toronto, and Councillor Mike Layton led the group of 100 or so eager riders on the 6-km ride. From Art Eggleton Park (at Grace and Harbord) to Yonge and Gerrard the route featured the much discussed Bloor Bike Lane from Shaw to Sherbourne. The new lane has, according to Bells on Bloor, showed an average of 1,700 trips per day in January. That number rivals the City’s own summertime pre-installation counts on the same stretch of road.

Almost every person I spoke to was a first time attendee of the event (myself included). The organisers also made a point of moving the event about half an hour earlier to accommodate the anti-Islamaphobia rally taking place at the US Consulate. Despite the nippy westerly wind, the dry streets were full of engaged citizens fighting for a more inclusive and supportive future this weekend. A productive Saturday to say the least.

Stay tuned to for tips and tricks to make winter riding more enjoyable. In the meantime, don't forget to layer up, light up, and keep your extremities toasty. You should also clean and lube your chain to make sure it doesn't seize up. 

Mike Layton (Left) and Cycle Toronto's Jared Kolb (Right)
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