Archive for the 'cycling safety' Category

Goldsprints Montreal: Finally

Go fast. Stay Still.

Just Wednesday I wrote about the Roller Racing coming to Montreal tomorrow.  Well, yesterday I found myself over on the Bikurious Blog and learned that GoldSprints (roller racing’s younger, tight-pants wearing, beer-drinking brother) is now in Montreal.  The first event was just over a week ago, so hopefully this will be a monthly event.  There’s lots of pictures and a few videos on the GoldSprint Montreal page.

And now, it’s the weekend.  Well, it will be in eight hours.  Hang in there, and enjoy la fin de semaine.  (Don’t forget about the Montreal Bike Show).

And remember: use your bicycle for good, not evil.

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We are what we watch: YOUTUBE!

In Canada, all stock images of watching TV feature hockey. It's the law.

As avid cyclists, the one thing we like almost as much as riding bikes is watching other people ride bikes.  Ever since Mark Zuckerburg invented the internet, we’ve had an unending supply of videos to watch.  Thought I’m tempting to suggest that the kind of videos we watch reflect our personalities, I don’t think that’s always the case.  Based on my own experience, I might favour old-timey races and “classic” moments in cycling history, but I’m also likely to watch Vimeo trailers for track bike tours and bar spinzzzz.

Some videos appeal to almost all cyclists for one reason or another.  Usually it’s because the video represents something we can’t attain, either because we can’t go that fast, or because we can’t afford to take time off, purchase expensive clothes, and hire a camera crew.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Other videos are harder to watch.  For example, deep down we are troubled by fighting in cycling.  Though fodder for the “is cycling gay” debate, these altercations provide no real answers.  It is only when professional cyclists fight that we can truly witness ambition tempered by ability.  These men seem to want to hurt each other.  They just can’t.  I’m guessing they both had cyclist fathers who, tragically, taught their sons to fight in the same way: “Now son, remember to keep your arms straight, aim for the ears or the back of the head, complete at least one full spin, and for the love of God only close your fists when you get tired!”

Cycling fans, however, are another story.  Put simply, don’t fuck with them.

But what about taking inspiration from cycling?  What if we want to know why people race bikes professionally, but aren’t satisfied with the answer “because we get paid to. Why do you go to work every day?” Most importantly, what if we’re totally disappointed in the amount of cycling featured in Love Actually?

And then, of course, their are the videos that simply seem as if they were made for you alone.  In all likelihood, cycling is tangential to the video and it strikes at something deeper.  In this case, a dark, dark sense of humour.

Maybe we are what we watch, we just hate to admit it.

Where the A-holes are: Philadelphia

Here’s one for the weekend.  I love this show.  It’s like Seinfeld on crack.

The internet is abuzz with news that USA! USA! USA! will be hosting the CX World Championships (not the entire country, just Louisville) in 2013.  If you happen to love riding your bike, dismounting it to run up some stairs / hop over a hurdle, and getting really muddy (and really, who doesn’t?), then this is good news.

There’s also a video edit of Steve Bauer’s announcement that Canada has a Pro Tour team.  It’s partly in French, partly in English, and mostly in music.  Weird.

In other good news, it feels like -30 (Celsius) in Montreal today.  Good weather for merino everything.

It’s Fin du Monde Friday, so do something fun tonight.

It’s not winter everywhere: Tour Down Under

Winning.

I was fortunate enough to live in Australia for 4 months a few years ago.  Melbourne, to be exact.  I’d love to go back with my bike, as I didn’t do any riding while I was there.  I’m currently cycling Australia vicariously through the UCI pros at the Tour Down Under.  Unlike other major races, I’ve yet to find a website that is streaming the Tour Down Under, so I’ve been forced to watch the 6minute recaps on Steephill.tv.  If you’re curious, HTC Columbia Highroad is killing it, led by Andre Greipel, who is sprinting his way to victories.  It must be nice not having to compete against Cavendish.

Sometimes finding races online is a cinch.  Other times, it’s almost impossible.  Maybe I should just cave and get a membership with Cycling.tv.   But then I wonder how often I’ll watch the lesser-known races.  It’s tricky.

If anyone has any good sites for streaming the Tours and the Classics, I’d love to know.

In other news: apparently everyone rides a bike in Toronto now (I’m not sure if I believe the stats, but it’s encouraging nonetheless); Ottawa is considering a segregated bike lane along Gladstone Ave (which would really facilitate my regular pilgrimage from downtown/Centretown/Glebe to Di Rienzo’s); and Westmount is still mulling over keeping the Maisonneuve bike path open all year (DO IT!).

Christopher Thompson: Five Years

Not cool.

I love searching the internets for bicycle news.  It’s also great, however, when said news arrives magically in my inbox.  A reader forwarded me the latest news on former-physician and part-time a-hole Christopher Thompson.  A while back Thompson slammed on his brakes in front of a group of cyclists to, in his words, “teach them a lesson.”  [the above photo is that lesson] Well, Thompson should be extra careful about people behind him for the next 5 years.  He’ll be in jail.

While this might be considered good news by some, upon reflection this is a case with no winners.  The two cyclists Thompson injured will likely never feel the same way about riding a bicycle, as the psychological damage caused by an accident such as this will not quickly abate.  Thompson himself is largely ruined.  Even in the heat of the moment, we could all learn a thing or two from economists who rely heavily on costs-benefit analysis.  Before you flip off a driver or yell at a pedestrian, take a split second to run the potential results of such an action.  I always ask myself: is this worth getting punched in the face over?

If the answer is yes (perhaps a driver both passed too close and besmirched the honour of your significant other) then go for it.  But if not, chalk it up to idiocy, keep it in your memory to vent about later, and pedal on.  Or, kill them with kindness.  Not too long ago I enjoyed a particularly “close pass,” twice by the same driver.  We found ourselves at a red light together, so I knocked on the window and she rolled it down.  I said, “Hi, sorry to bug you, but in the future could you please try to leave a little more room for cyclists?”  She apologized and said of course she would.  You’d be amazed at how far common courtesy goes.

There’s almost nothing worth losing teeth over, never mind five years in jail.

Bicycle Lanes: A 75-Year-Old Debate

Everyone in their place.

The Guardian blog has a feature on the debate over cycling lanes in the UK.  The first lane opened 75 years ago today, and was received “frigidly” by cyclists, many of whom were concerned that bike lanes were an attempt to force cyclists of the roads.  How is this discussion still going on?

Today, we’re forced to do everything in our power to stay safe on the roads, while (many) motorists continue to drive distracted.  Even those who are paying attention often take the time to hurl an insult or do something douchey.  Cycling Inquisition has gone so far as to don t-shirts or back pack patches featuring local sports teams in an attempt to find common ground with (and avoid hostility from) drivers. It really shouldn’t be this hard.

Play nice, everybody.

DIY: New York Bike Lanes

I haven’t done my daily rounds of the bike blogs, but I’m quite sure this video will be on all of them.  City officials removed a controversial strip of bicycle lane in Williamsburg, NY.  It was controversial because the local Hasidic community was offended by scantily-clad women riding by.  Apparently a few cyclists took issue with the lane removal, and so they put it back.  A.V. Club (New York) has covered the story.

A.V. Club also makes reference to Toronto’s Urban Repair Squad, who do bad-ass things like dress up as construction workers and paint bike lanes in the middle of the day.

Here’s a pretty hilarious video that explains what they do (apparently they are old-timey. Can’t help but love that).

People power.  Watch out.