I’m a cyclist. Being a cyclist in Toronto can be a very politicized thing, what with a mayor prone to shouting “War on the car!” whenever the idea that anyone, or anything, other than an automotive vehicle dare use the roads of our city. I remember the first day I biked to work on cold day in February of last year, it took the better part of the day for me to relax my shoulders – the ride had been so stressful I had been hunched in fear the entire way.
It’s frustrating to see other cyclists break the rules of the road that only serve to make all cyclists look bad. It’s stressful to take a road alongside a driver who does not agree that we can both use it at the same time. I’ve been hit twice – once while in a bike lane, and once at a red light.
So it is so awesome that things like the Sweet Rides are organized by members of the biking community. Even though I bike every day, yesterday’s Sweet Ride reminded me how fun and relaxing biking can be.
From @jsinb88, at the head of the pack down the Railpath in Toronto’s west end. Look at all those helmets!
This Sweet Ride, aptly named the Frozen Yogurt Edition, took a group of thirty or more cyclists around parts of the city, visiting frozen yogurt joints. We started at the Menchies in the Annex, then headed up to Davenport and down the Rail Path to Roncesvalles and Gurt, then down to the Lakeshore and all the way along the bottom of the city to the Distillery District, which was hosting MEC’s Bike Fest. Cycle Toronto (nee Toronto Cyclists Union) was there hosting a bike valet, something I’ve been able to use at two previous events and something I really love. You pull up, hand over your bike and helmet, they give you a number and when you’re ready to go they bring you their bike. For free!
The ride brought me to parts of the city I never would have visited otherwise. I’m just not familiar enough with the wild wild west of Toronto. But all I had to do was go with the flow, and not worry about where I was headed. The route was well planned and Hyedie did a great job wrangling us and layout out the route, giving us the heads up on tricky turns we would encounter.
At our stop at Gurt’s, from @jsinb88
There really was a sense of safety in numbers. Cars were much more forgiving around us, even letting us make a turn as a whole group. At one point two little girls were shouting at us and waving from their bedroom window – “Look at all the bikes! Hi bikes!”
The pace was such that this would have been a great day for even beginner cyclists, and the mood was so gosh darn happy I would love to see some new cyclists out a future one.
It made me very excited to look ahead to Tweed Ride, which goes down in my books as one of the most fun and accessible fundraisers ever. Word on the street is they’re planning the second Tweed Ride Toronto for this coming September. So book your calendars, bust out your tweed, and come out for an awesome day of galavanting and raising money for a good cause.
Were you at the Sweet Ride or last year’s Tweed Ride? Hope I’ll see you at the next ones!
And if you’re a seasoned cyclist, what’s your favourite route to ride in the city?