You will all know Mike Strobel, columnist and former editor-in-chief of the Toronto Sun and Car Advertiser. Elsewhere, he has been called “among the five best reasons” for reading that newspaper. We still vaguely remember the column he wrote about Critical Mass, the monthly celebration of all things “bicycle.” It was the summer of 2004 or so. Back then, he was on his first CM ride and he loved it. He wasn’t pleased about getting a traffic ticket though (don’t ask; he was missing a reflector or something).
Today he wrote another column on bicycles, called “Start lining up for a lane.” In it he complains about the new bikelanes on Eastern Avenue. Apparently since the Dundas bikelanes were painted (back in 2003) he’s been a regular driver along Eastern. But Eastern’s no good for him anymore and he’s wondering where he’s welcome in his mobile global warmer. He’s feeling vexed, boxed in, discriminated against because he needs four fat wheels, not two skinny ones.
We feel for the guy, we really do. He had some good points in his piece, although he did not search very far for the true reason for the installation of bikelanes along Eastern. He thinks it has something to do with making life easier for cyclists. In fact, it will only make life more difficult, at least in the short run. It will turn more west-bound cars onto Leslie to get onto Lakeshore blvd. We imagine a car-count there (on Leslie) done post-Eastern Ave. bikelanes will negate any chance Leslie once had for a bikelane. And that’s a pity. It will turn more east-bound cars up Broadview to get to Dundas. Riding Dundas of late has been heavy with bad air as the rear ends of Strobel-mobiles fart into the evening breezes.
But back to Strobel’s column. The remarkable thing about it was he really nailed the connection between car advertising and car dependence. In a few sweet sentences he stated the ALLDERBLOB’s raison d’ettre:
3. Ban Car Ads. Worked on smokers, eh? Especially with all those PSAs showing blackened lungs.
Car advertising makes us lust for Cadillacs and Volvos as we once lusted for Craven A’s and Viscounts.
Tear down those billboards that make us lustful all along the Gardiner Expressway.
Put up big pictures of pollution-blackened lungs instead.
Sadly, as Vic of the International Bicycle Conspiracy has observed, it’s likely he was being sarcastic.