Thursday, December 28, 2006

Here and there

Copenhagen times its traffic signals for cyclists at 20 km/h. Our Conservative Government has the same plan, and it's scheduled to be implemented across the county in 2049.

Speaking of the "new government of Canada", Rona Ambrose is getting demoted for delivering her boss's message.

The United Kingdom is considering carbon rationing. I wonder if this would involve passing on the carbon ration as an item gets resold. I guess it could be up to the market to decide. If a grocery store buys a mango, it might pay for the carbon ration that the truck driver had to buy, which would mean the grocery store might choose to pass that cost on to the customer. For electricity consumption, this would help those very efficient families who pack 14 people into one house and are paying premiums because they look like a very wasteful family of 4. Who’s demographic is that?

Toronto Sun writer Moira MacDonald goes car free. It’s not one of those articles where someone rides a bike for a week to prove “it can’t be done and this is why I need my SUV.” She’s doing it for real and it’s working for her and her son.

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Darren J 12/28/2006 08:01:00 AM | 0 comments |

Friday, December 22, 2006

Elsewhere in the bikiverse

Steven Page supports the Tooker bike lane and is "fighting" for bike lanes.

The Toronto Star's George Horhota makes sense of the Statscan report on commuting. Specifying who are the people who enjoy their commutes is much more significant than how many hate it versus how many tollerate it. And, as if you needed to be told, cyclists are the happiest commuters.

Have a cheer-filled, fun and happy Christmas! At least this warm weather means you might be able to convince some family or friends to join you outside for a bike ride over the holidays.

Oh, one more thing. Do you keep buying bike accessories for that special person in your life, hoping the gift will be forgotten and end up on your bike? How inconsiderate! Saturday Night Live has a better suggestion.

Darren J 12/22/2006 11:46:00 AM | 2 comments |

One Year Ago



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Darren J 12/22/2006 07:43:00 AM | 4 comments |

Thursday, December 14, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: Ontario Helmet Law motion passed

Misguided politicians voted in favour of the motion for an expanded helmet law. I believe this means that the issue will now be debated. It is not yet law.

Ontario Legislature unanimously calls upon government to make helmet use mandatory for province's cyclists

TORONTO, Dec. 14 /CNW/ - The Ontario Legislature unanimously passed a
Motion today, calling on the government to make helmet use mandatory for all
cyclists in Ontario.
The Private Member's Motion, introduced by Kitchener Centre MPP John
Milloy, also requests that the government explore legislative measures to make
helmet use mandatory for those using in-line skates, skateboards, scooters and
similar devices. Finally, the Motion calls upon the government to initiate a
comprehensive safety and education campaign to help promote helmet use by
cyclists, in-line skaters, skateboarders and those on scooters or using
similar devices.
At present, only those under the age of 18 are required to wear a
certified bike helmet when cycling on Ontario's roadways.
Numerous studies have indicated the success of helmet legislation and
education at reducing the number of serious injuries and even deaths.

For further information: Drew Collins, Office of John Milloy, MPP,
Kitchener Centre, Tel: (416) 325-1856


I am sure they are doing this thinking that it is helping out, but it is not.

Many of the reasons it is wrong to make a helmet law have been listed by the Citizens for Safe Cycling president on the Viki site.

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Darren J 12/14/2006 05:20:00 PM | 5 comments |

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Provincial matters with provincial responses

The grey sky overhead today was brighter than the roof of my car yesterday. Other than a few idiots on the road, like the one driving in the oncoming traffic lane towards me while passing an SUV in a residential area, it was a pleasant ride.

I sent my second email to my Member of Provincial Parliament yesterday. She replied to my first, but sort of passed it off and told me to talk to municipal politicians. I was disappointed in that type of response, and told her that "cycling is transportation" and transportation is a provincial concern. I'm curious if this discussion will go anywhere now.

If you live in the province of Ontario, you might be interested to know that MPP John Milloy of Kitchener is pushing for an expansion of the helmet law to include all ages. This kind of law has done nothing but harm cyclist safety in other jurisdictions by reducing the number of cyclists on the road. This would be a good time to let your MPP know that you're able to make decisions on your own.

If the province wants to make cycling and walking safer, they should go after the people who drive recklessly, who we see every day.

The text of the Ballot Item follows. The original text is here, about half way down the page.

Ballot Item Number 68 - To be debated on December 14, 2006.

Mr. Milloy - That, in the opinion of this House, the Government of Ontario:

Recognize the safety benefits of wearing an approved helmet by those using bicycles, in-line skates, skateboards, scooters and similar devices;

Acknowledge that the original intent of legislative changes made by this Legislature to Ontario's Highway Traffic Act in 1993 was that all cyclists should wear an approved helmet regardless of age;

Make helmet use mandatory for all cyclists in Ontario by repealing the regulation which exempts cyclists over the age of 18 from these legislative changes;

Explore legislative measures to make helmet use mandatory for those using other muscular-powered devices such as in-line skates, skateboards and scooters;

Take into account those who cannot wear a helmet because to do so would interfere with his or her religious beliefs or practices;

Instruct the Ministry of Health Promotion, in conjunction with the Ministry of Transportation and other relevant Ministries and stakeholders to develop a comprehensive education and safety campaign aimed at encouraging helmet use by those using bicycles, in-line skates, skateboards, scooters and similar devices;

Ensure any safety campaign also address broader safety issues related to bicycles, in-line skates, skateboards, scooters and similar devices including the role and responsibility of communities in ensuring the safety of all those using such devices as well as the special responsibility of motorists to ensure the safety of cyclists and others on our roadways.

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Darren J 12/13/2006 09:23:00 AM | 4 comments |

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The 500 kilo challenge

We're being urged to conserve. I hope the new plan has some carrots and sticks in it.

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Darren J 12/07/2006 09:28:00 PM | 1 comments |

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Bike Forest Parading

If this doesn't make you smile, I don't know what will.



It looks like the entire Bike Forest is on display. I like seeing the pimped Rhoades Car cruising down the street.

Thanks for the heads up Vic, and way-to-go Brent!

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Darren J 12/06/2006 04:00:00 PM | 1 comments |

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The budding veteran

Just in case there are any high paid openings for Cycling Advisor to the Prime Minister in the next year, I didn't mean to sound mocking here.

After pontificating on Stephane Dion's worthiness to be the the Liberal leader without doing any research, it became obvious to me why news powerhouses like Larry King prefer to work without reviewing any background material.* It's easy! However, Larry King has a small leg up on me in that he actually ends up talking to the targets of his news program.

Since my previous "analysis", I watched Stephane Dion in an interview on the TV Ontario program called The Agenda with Steve Paikin. He explained a lot, and left me thinking "too bad he's not going to win."

My complaint about the Liberal Party's lack of performance on the environment should be primarily aimed at the people there with Cretien, since, as I didn't realize, Dion only took over the reigns of Environment Minister in mid-2004. He had one and a half years. I'm not going to apologize for him, but I'm open to hearing a list of the programs he put in place that were apparently canceled (I searched online and haven't found anything yet).

At first I was annoyed by all his pillar talk (the 3 pillars of the environment, social blah blah), but I've since realized that what I thought was an attempt at high gloss marketing aimed at amateur politicians, was more likely an amateur marketing campaign created by a low gloss geeky politician. Maybe it was successful since I actually remembered the pillar that mattered to me months later.

On Cross County Check Up this past weekend (mp3 audio here), I was surprised to hear all the people saying that the Conservatives should be happy because of his lack of charm, or the NDP should be happy because he's not strong enough for those socially concerned. From what I see, if he can prove he's serious about a real environmental plan and social plan, he'll draw all those who've been reluctantly heading for the NDP and Green Party trying to inspire change. The NDP and the Green Party should be worried. And, as a result, so should the Conservatives.

* Somewhat relevant Larry King link

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Darren J 12/05/2006 08:11:00 PM | 1 comments |

Monday, December 04, 2006

Tough Guy

-4 C this morning.

I was considering leaving the bike at home and taking transit instead. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, so I wasn't feeling energetic. I go online, check my email, drink some coffee, read some blogs about other people biking in the winter.

Yes! I can do it! I did it last winter, and I've seen much worse than -4. I can handle it. The roads are clear. It doesn't matter that my winter bike isn't ready. I'll wear an extra pair of gloves and pull the balaclava over my face.

I walk out the door, carrying my bike down the steps to the sidewalk feeling like a total bad-ass when a skinny little 10 year old kid walks past me wearing shorts. He's not shivering at all. He looks at me a few times as I set off, as if to say, "that astronaut outfit is just so you can ride a bike?"

Cycling was the right decision. The fresh air is just what I needed. I have to start thinking about frost bite now that the temperature has dropped below zero. Next time, I'll put some plastic in my shoes to cut down on the air flow and keep my toes warm. Other than that, I was comfortable, if not a little sweaty.

Today's get-up:
regular underwear, no long underwear (which was fine)
wool t-shirt
wool socks
regular cotton hiking pants
fleece jacket
cycling wind/rain proof jacket
cycling shoes
thin balaclava
fleece gloves, with wool gloves on top
no glasses (a little bit annoying, but not enough that I bothered to get them out of my bag)
helmet and reflective vest

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Darren J 12/04/2006 12:45:00 PM | 4 comments |

Friday, December 01, 2006

Kewl stopping


After getting some advice a couple weeks ago, I decided it would be good to do something about my substandard brakes.

I cleaned my rims, replaced both my brake cables and installed Kool Stop brake pads on the front.

The first time I stopped, I thought my front fork was going to collapse underneath me. The sharpness went away quickly, and the stopping is now smooth and much more effective.

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Darren J 12/01/2006 08:11:00 PM | 3 comments |