March 05, 2019

The Good, Bad & Ugly of the Middle East – Part 3

The first two posts about our Middle East trip showed the good hospitality and sights of Jordan while Egypt’s extensive history is weighed down by its people, though the harassment we faced there was likely out of economic necessity. That effectively meant naming Israel-Palestine as the ugly part of the trip.
View of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives

February 27, 2019

The Good, Bad & Ugly of the Middle East – Part 2

In the first part of the Middle East series, I reflected on Jordan’s hospitality and great sights. In fitting with the theme, let’s go back to our first country which was Egypt. One thing that can make or break a person’s impression of a country is the people and unfortunately, this is where Egypt failed despite having wonders such as the Pyramids and the low cost of travel.
Pharaoh Khafre's Pyramid

February 12, 2019

The Good, Bad & Ugly of the Middle East – Part 1

Imagine an area rich in history but torn by conflict. One where December temperatures are summer-like by day but almost freezing at night. One where frequent security presence and extreme inequalities between neighbours is the norm. From December 13 to January 1, Helen and I did our first big trip together by visiting the Middle Eastern countries of Egypt, Jordan, Israel, and Palestine. Here is what I would describe the good, bad, and ugly parts of the region.
Enjoying the sunset view from Amman's Citadel

January 25, 2019

Some Momentum for 2019

OK! So I haven’t had the chance to write here for almost three months. Part of it was because I was on vacation in the Middle East in December (more on that soon), but things have not been idle on the cycling front this month with some developments worth sharing.

Early Signs of Optimism
2015 Coldest Day of the Year Ride on Adelaide
To call the Richmond-Adelaide protected bike lanes a success is a serious understatement. Since the bike lanes were first installed in 2014, ridership increased more than tenfold to become Toronto’s busiest bike route with collisions reduced by 73% and minimal impact on motor vehicle users. Given these findings, city staff finally recommended making these bike lanes permanent, though it baffles me how it could take almost five years to get from approval to this point. With the Infrastructure and Environment Committee (which replaced the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee) voting unanimously to keep the bike lanes, the motion should be slam dunk at City Council next week and could be one of the few times this term where a cycling motion unanimously passes city council. If only the same could happen when REimagining Yonge returns to City Council in a couple of months …

November 07, 2018

North York's Cycling Black Hole

When looking at Toronto’s cycling map, there appears to be a large black hole in North York bounded by the Don trail system, the Finch hydro corridor, the Humber River Trail, and the Beltline Trail (or Eglinton). It is a reality I face whenever I bike to work near Dufferin and Lawrence via the West Toronto Railpath and Caledonia. Bike lanes do exist on Marlee – which I used often when heading to certain downtown destinations after work – but they don’t connect to anything north of the Beltline. It is a shame, given the large amount of employment lands along Caledonia and near Downsview Park. Last month, I checked out the proposed York University and Downsview connections while doing some municipal election volunteering with Progress Toronto to better understand how to fill this hole.
Toronto's cycling map - note the large gap in North York

October 24, 2018

An Undeniably Important Female Cycling Pioneer

For many people within the cycling community, the name Nora Young (1917 – 2016) may not sound familiar. Five decades before female cyclists were allowed to compete in the Olympics in the 1980’s, Nora was one of Toronto’s original female cycling pioneers who also excelled in multiple sports. Director Julia Morgan is currently working on a film called “Undeniably Young: Nora Young and the Six-Day Race” to raise awareness about Nora and the importance of women’s cycling history in general. She is raising funds to finish the film through an IndieGoGo campaign which runs until November 6. I spoke with Julia to get a better understanding of the film and Nora’s impact on women’s cycling.

October 12, 2018

Completing the East End Grid

Last month, the City of Toronto installed new bike lanes in Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park. When I had a chance to briefly check them out recently, I found them to be a promising start. However, there are several key gaps which need to be filled in order to truly give a boost to cycling in those neighbourhoods and Toronto’s east end as a whole.
Recently installed bike lanes on Thorncliffe Park Drive