It Happened to Me Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

On Bikes

Who Took My Seat?

It looks as though — knock on wood — that we’ve seen the last of serious snow, which means I won’t have to put up with this for another eight months:

Photo: Joey deVilla's bike, 'The Scorpion King', after the last major snowfall in Toronto, March 2005.
My bike, last winter.

Of course, there are still other annoyances with which to contend. In my case, it’s theft. This morning, when I went down to the bike room in my apartment building, I found that someone had stolen my seat. I’d never gotten around to replacing the quick-release bracket with a permanent bolt. I usually take the seat with me when I leave the bike outside, but I figured that I wouldn’t have to worry about that sort of thing in locked bike room in a nice part of town. Luckily, there’s a security camera near the door; I’m going to have to see if the security guy has the thief on tape.

Run Off the Road

I reported the theft to the building’s management. The woman who took down my report told me that she was just recovering from a cycling injury. She was biking with a friend in the Beaches area of town when a car ran them off the road. She had to be taken to the hospital for head injuries near her eye, but thankfully there was no permanent harm done.

I’ve only had one incident where a car ran me off the road. I was biking home along College Street when a car full of drunk guys — probably coming from the nearby clubs — deliberately tried to run me off the road. They pulled ahead of me and directly blocked my path, and the guy in the font passenger seat challenged me.

“You on the bike!” he yelled. “How ’bout a game of ‘chicken’?”

I pulled out my cell phone and held it so they could see it. I called out the numbers as I keyed them. “Nine! One! One!” I then called them out: “How ’bout a game of ‘breathalyzer’?”

They peeled off in a hurry. I took a note of their license plate and saw the car dealership name on their trunk. Scarborough. “Scarberia”. It figures: bored kids from “the 905” — the deep burbs.

While I’m talking about bikes, let me introduce you to my co-worker Mathijs and his blog, 101 Days to Buy a Bike. Mathijs has recently come to Accordion City from Holland.

Mathijs observes that here in North America, bikes are more of a niche thing, ridden by largely by kids, fitness enthusiasts, the creative class and extreme sports practitioners. Over in Holland, they’re as ubiquitous as cars. As a result, what he knows about bikes is limited to riding them. He started his blog to learn more about bikes and to get in touch with the Toronto biking community.

The blog’s name is derived from the fact that he’d giving himself 101 days to do the research, both on his own and via the blog, after which he’ll buy the bike. As of today, he’s got 91 days to go. Drop by his blog and check it out!

6 replies on “On Bikes”

Technically, Scarborough is in the 416… Being part of the megassity and all that. 🙂 And the 101 days dude: seems to me he’s losing a big portion of the best cycling time of the year! By the time he buys his bike, he will be riding smack dab into the middle of humidity-plus! Yucko…

I was run off the road once. I was twelve, and some high-school boys took a swerve at me to scare me – I tried to ride up on to the sidewalk, but the curb was five inches high and I planted. Left a large pea-sized chunk of my elbow off the sidewalk; the scar is still pretty impressive over twenty years later.

Back in the Netherlands I owned about 3 bikes. One for sport (race bike), one to go school and one back-up bike just in case the school one broke down or had a flat tire.

In Holland everyone rides a bike. No exaggeration. Everyone. But usually nothing fancy. Just a plain junker, usually. The best part is, you don’t need to be physically fit to ride one. Mainly because you can’t find a hill even if you tried.

When I visited Amsterdam one day my cousin suggested it’d be easier to rent some bikes and tour the city that way. Being an obese lad then wearing a suit, tie and jacket this sounded like a very sweaty proposition. It turned out to be the easiest bike ride of my life. We covered the whole downtown core and never once broke a sweat. I never even had to loosen my tie. Suddenly the bike culture in Holland made a lot of sense.

research is good and all, but, in a city with bike theft being so prevalent I dont see the point in investing (financially or emotionally)

unless its one of those foldup bikes…


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