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About Us 3

The Urban Country‘s mission is simple. We publish 2-3 quality articles per week to advocate for using bicycles as transportation in North America to improve our cities, our people, and the world. The Urban Country has appeared on Guardian UK Bike Blog, National Public Radio, CBC Radio One, the Globe & Mail, the Toronto Star, ...

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 ...

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 ...

Leaders Should Learn from Copenhagen 7

Photo courtesy of Rob Inh00d  The 15th Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen has ended – and not surprisingly it lacks a binding agreement between the parties. This conference was particularly significant because it was identified by the 2007 Bali Road Map as the point ...

Copenhagen 2009 – We Have Ourselves to Blame 2

Photos courtesy of Corriere Della Sera.it Only one week remains at the Copenhagen Climate Summit (COP15). Delegates from around the world are hoping to hammer out an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Environment ministers started arriving in Copenhagen yesterday and world leaders will be arriving this coming week. With the Kyoto protocol expiring ...