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No Impact Man & Shallow Distractions 2

“No Impact Man” movie Poster – Courtesy of No Impact Man doc There has been much discussion here in Canada lately about the latest National Hockey League lockout. This is a topic that would leave me without regret had it occupied not a single one of my brain cells. However, a recent “letter to the ...

If Car Shopping Was Like Bicycle Shopping… 6

Racing bicyclist – photo by Team Traveller Kent over at Kent’s Bike Blog recently wrote a brilliant piece that illustrates how shopping for bicycles is less about practicality/pragmatism and more about sport & performance. To emphasize this point, Kent uses a parable where he fictitiously goes shopping for an automobile. Here is an excerpt: So ...

Invisible Helmet: Great Technology, Bad Marketing 31

The Invisible Helmet – Photo from hovding.com For several months now, the “Invisible Helmet” video has been making the rounds. It has been forwarded to me several times and hailed by some friends as “brilliant” and “ingenious”. I have been asked several times what I think of the idea. Sometimes when I am asked certain ...

My Ideal World…

Photo courtesy of YouTube video by James Schwartz / The Urban Country In this short film, James Schwartz of The Urban Country discusses urban design, parenthood, car culture, bicycles and asks, “What is your ideal world?”. James D. Schwartz is a Transportation Pragmatist and the Editor of The Urban Country. You can contact James at ...

Saved By The Wheel Lock 37

Batavus Fryslan Dutch bicycle – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country I returned to Toronto on Tuesday after spending my long weekend in New York City only to discover that somebody had tried to steal my Batavus Fryslan bicycle from my front patio. I live in a ground-level loft on a busy arterial ...

Bicycle Infrastructure Continuity 12

Artist’s rendition of the proposed revitalization of Queens Quay in Toronto – from Waterfront Toronto This past Sunday my family congregated at my place to join me for our annual bike trip & picnic. There were a total of 8 people pedaling, plus my daughter and my dog. We pedaled a total distance of 40 ...

Streetcar Tracks & Bicycles 33

Bicycles in Amsterdam – Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country (March 2012) On Monday 47-year-old Toronto resident Joseph “Maverick” Mavec died after his bicycle tire jammed in a streetcar track and he fell on his head. This tragic and unfortunate incident has prompted a discussion about navigating a city full of streetcar tracks ...

Bicycling in Toronto: Interview with Carla Wintersgill 22

Photo of Carla Wintersgill courtesy of Yvonne Bambrick for The Urban Country While pedaling to a client’s office one morning in May I witnessed a driver hurriedly squeeze past a cyclist ahead of me, missing the cyclist by mere centimetres. The woman on the bicycle shook her head but kept riding on. I pulled up ...

Recreational Bicycling in Texas 8

Photo by James Schwartz / The Urban Country Austin, TX – In North America, bicycles are primarily viewed as recreational toys. They are racing machines, exercise devices, mountain climbers, and weekend cruisers. It is uncommon in most North American cities to see a significant amount of people in their regular clothes using a bicycle for ...

Lawyer On a Bike: Interview with Ian Flett 52

Photo of Ian Flett courtesy of Yvonne Bambrick for The Urban Country Half a world away lies a land where troves of business men and ladies gracefully pedal their way to and fro their places of business. In business attire, they dress for the destination, not for the ride. But this isn’t Amsterdam or Copenhagen. ...