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Once Upon a Car Ownership: 8 Months Later 59

Infinity MPG t-shirt by Noisebot (don’t worry, I’m not getting any kickbacks if you buy this t-shirt) I had owned a car for most of my adult life – ever since I acquired my driver’s permit in 1996. After moving to Toronto in 2002, my car mostly sat in the garage collecting dust, but conveniently ...

“The Fixer” Not Fixing Anything 29

Photo of a cyclist passing the photographer who was probably blocking the right lane. Photo by Jack Lakey / Toronto Star Below is an open letter from me to a Toronto Star writer Jack Lakey, who calls himself “The Fixer” because he fixes things that are “broken in your neighbourhood”. The Fixer recently wrote an ...

Our Backwards Approach to Road Safety 29

A family in Copenhagen by MarkA / RateMyVelo.com English-speaking countries generally take a backwards approach to improving road safety for pedestrians and cyclists. Instead of addressing the root causes of danger, politicians implement band-aid solutions that ignore the root cause in the name of maintaining unimpeded traffic flow for motor vehicles. In most cases, motor ...

Reclaiming Streets For People 14

Photo – “Reclaimed street” by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country Toronto’s mayor Rob Ford thinks that bicycles don’t belong on the streets. Yet he rips out bike lanes forcing cyclists to share lanes with automobiles because cyclists are apparently the cause of our traffic congestion problems. Last week his brother, Doug Ford – ...

Creating Grace & Beauty Through The Bicycle 7

Drawing of Bicycling Advocate James Schwartz by Michael Rubbo Riding an upright bicycle (or sit-up bicycle) is the key to spreading urban bicycling. That’s what Mike Rubbo believes anyway, and we here at The Urban Country have to agree that the style of bicycle one chooses is as important as anything else to making urban ...

Future Bicyclist & Cargo Bikes 34

Photo of baby Sofia (Day 1) by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country You may have noticed that The Urban Country has been quiet this week. Between supporting my wife through labour and then subsequently learning how to care for our newborn child, I have had my hands quite full. Our future bicyclist Sofia ...

Do-It-Yourself Neighbourhood Bike Share 17

Do-it-yourself bike share – Photo by Xander / 416CycleStyle.com You won’t find BIXI bike sharing in his neck of the woods. In fact, BIXI may never cover his west Toronto neighbourhood. Instead of waiting, ‘Xander from 416CycleStyle.com set-up his own DIY community bike share system in his neighbourhood to provide his neighbours bicycles for hire: ...

No Cars. No Traffic Signals. No Deaths. 78

Photo by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country Are car-free liveable communities the way of the future? On Friday I posted a video highlighting how most Toronto Cyclists are considerate of others and are just trying to get to their destination in an imperfect city with streets and laws that were designed for automobiles. ...

Toronto Cyclists Are Selfish And Rude? 55

Being considerate – whether on a bicycle, in a motor car, or on your feet – is important to improving conditions on our shared streets. Treat others as you would like to be treated. If we all lived by that golden rule, our streets would be a much more pleasant place to be. Instead of ...

Toronto’s Fragmented Bicycle Network 14

Toronto’s fragmented bicycle network (PDF download) by The Urban Country Toronto is not unlike the vast majority of cities in North America, UK, and Australia when it comes to bicycle infrastructure. Progressive politicians often aim high, but are often met with resistance by motorists and businesses when building bike infrastructure. Populist politicians pretend they are ...