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Australian Councillor Who Gets It 5

My friend and documentary filmmaker Mike Rubbo recently made a very inspiring short film that captures a day spent with Australian city councillor Jackie Fristacky. Jackie is a city councillor in Yarra City area of Melbourne where she previously served as Mayor in 2005-2006. What sets Jackie apart from your typical city councillor is that ...

The Bike Path That Almost Was 8

Video by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country – Music by danosongs.com Yesterday I ventured out to the suburbs of Toronto to video record one of my favourite bike paths on Eglinton Ave West in suburban Etobicoke. The 5km+ unobstructed bi-directional bike lanes is a rarity in a city where most unobstructed bike lanes ...

Bike Sharing in Car Capital of the World?

Photo by Mark Green / The Urban Country (Jan 2010) Can bike sharing possibly succeed in the world’s largest automobile market? It doesn’t sound logical, but it’s a reality on a planet that simply doesn’t have enough space for all of its inhabitants to drive a car. Bicycles are a practical and low-cost solution to ...

Forgetting About the Joneses 5

Back in March 2009, a mock Nissan commercial surfaced on YouTube that pits Hyundai against Toyota, starring Andy Richter and James Adomian. I thought a slight change to the ending of the video would be more appropriate. (Hopefully the lawyers over at Nissan are sympathetic to us cyclists). The video highlights something that we have ...

Bicycle Friendly Workplaces 12

Bicycle-friendly workplaces can help overcome a major barrier to commuter cycling. Although I didn’t list “bicycle unfriendly workplaces” as one of the major barriers to cycling in a recent article, it can be extremely discouraging if a place of business doesn’t provide at minimum, a safe place to lock up your bicycle. Businesses have begun ...

Hating Cyclists on Facebook 8

Today I stumbled across a Facebook page entitled “There’s a perfectly good path right next to the road you stupid cyclist”. Cyclist hate groups on Facebook are common, but this one in particular is more distasteful than others I have come across because it boasts more than 31,000 fans, and it in no uncertain terms ...

Winter Cycling in Toronto 4

This morning I set out for a pleasant bike ride along Lake Ontario in Toronto. I originally brought my dog with me, but her paws didn’t fare well with the salt that was plastered on the sidewalks here to melt the ice. It also didn’t help that it was –15C (5F) (or –26C (-14.8F) with ...

2010: The Year of the Tiger

I can hardly believe that another decade has now ended – how fast time passes. We are now in 2010 – the year of the Tiger (officially beginning on Chinese New Year – February 14th, 2010) Tigers do not find worth in power or money. They will be completely honest about how they feel and ...

2009 Urban Country Mash-up Video 4

2009 Urban Country Mash-up by James Schwartz on Vimeo. A tradition that began in 2005 on The Urban Country is an annual mash-up of video clips that I took with my digital camera throughout the year. The central theme of the video is to promote living a healthy, active, lifestyle and to cherish the outdoors. ...

The Sit-Up Cycling Revolution 16

Photo ‘Toronto Morning Rush Hour’ by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country (May 2009) A few days ago I was propositioned by a sales rep for an online retailer to promote their cycling clothes. Such E-mails are very common when you run a website, and 99% of the time I simply ignore them. This ...