Bicycle Bump, a.k.a. The “Cyclists Union:” Dave Meslin’s work comes to fruition

Breaking News Dept.

King Mez‘s been busy lately.

Today we saw his letter to the editor published in the Toronto Star and Car Advertiser.

Mez wrote about the vote for MMP, or Mixed member proportional representation, that was defeated in the Ontario provincial election the other day. The proposal would have seen the creation of a system to elect a legislature more closely aligned with the actual vote: in other words, when the Greens get 9% of the vote, it might work out that closer to 9% of parliament would be members of the Green Party. Instead, what we have today (and continuing since the defeat of the proposal) is a scheme where a party can be elected to majority status by a minority of voters, provided the opposition is spread thinly enough.

We like Mez. We happen to agree with him about MMP.

He’s sure been busy lately. What else has he been up to? Oh yeah, he impregnated Toronto with a Cyclist’s Union “Cyclists Union” [note: when referring to the cyclists union, do not say “cyclist’s union,” “cyclist union,” or any other variant, on order of king mez himself: it’s a brand thing. –ed.]

Bicycle Bump, aka The Cyclist’s Union click for close-up

We alluded to this here and Herb over at IBikeTO recently blobbed about it. Actually, the glorious event occured last month, on Sept. 30.

In case you missed it, Mez pulled together some 70 folks to present an idea for a new member-funded cycling group that would have as its central mandate the lobbying that TCAT does, and the advocacy and “fun” that ARC is known for, as well as a model of insurance/roadside assistance similar to what CAA does for motorists. It would include a new magazine, to be funded by advertising and provided free to all paid-up members.

He showed his research into similar organizations in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, SF, Chicago and NYC, with evidence that .07 % of the population as members (like in New York) would give Toronto 1,800 members, and .87 % (like in Vancouver/Seattle) would give Toronto 21,000 members.

Much oohing and ahing followed, along with a secret vote: 65 out of 67 votes cast said the people there that night would happily join and work toward the success of the group. Only one person said Mez is a nutbar and should “go away.”

The intention is to roll out the group in June 2008, with Mez to run it for the first year and for for a new board of governors to meet and elect/appoint a new director following that.

Surprisingly, less has been written about it on the web than we would’ve thought by now. What’s up with that? It may be that “King Mez” has the reins a little close to his chest with this one. We ran into him a couple days after the event and he gave instructions not to refer to the “Toronto Cyclists Union” as the “TCU.”

Suitably chastised, we walked away muttering. TCU sounds dopey, it’s true, but sometimes that’s life. Fact is, you don’t get to pick your nicknames. It may be that the “Cyclist’sCyclists Union” will stick, but if you feel the need to instruct and correct, chances are the thing will take a nickname you don’t like. Us, we prefer UBU (for “Urban Bicycle Union”).

You can email Mez (see below) for announcements about the group, and there is a facebook site (see also below) for folks to keep abreast.

October 1st, 2007

Toronto’s Cycling Community is Pregnant

On a beautiful evening in late September, under a full moon, the Toronto Cyclists Union was fertilised. Over seventy bicycle advocates and organisers from over twenty organisations came together under one roof and offered their overwhelming support for this new creature.

Nine months later, in June 2008, we are expecting the arrival of a vigorous young organisation: Toronto’s first membership-driven bicycle advocacy group.

The Toronto Cyclists Union will provide a loud voice for all bicycle riders. It’s time to stand up and demand the attention, respect, funding and facilities that we deserve.

The City of Toronto has a great Bike Plan, but implementation has been as slow as a bike with a flat tire…and no pedals. It is unacceptable the extent to which our roads give priority to cars at the expense of cyclists’ safety. Exclusive bike lanes are rare and are often filled with potholes and/or parked cars.

Working with other groups such as the Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation (TCAT), Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists (ARC), IBikeTO, Toronto Bicycle Network and many others, the Cyclists Union will build our community into a strong, diverse, fun and effective network of thousands of bike riders fighting for change.

To get updates on the development of the Cyclists Union over these nine months and to find out how to get involved you can:

1) Subscribe to monthly updates by sending an e-mail to: “ultrasound at”
2) Join our facebook group

Dave Meslin: you will want to pay attention to this guy.

One Response to “Bicycle Bump, a.k.a. The “Cyclists Union:” Dave Meslin’s work comes to fruition”


    [...] out party, where the new Magazine Dandyhorse was launched. This was the party we were waiting for, the one Mez promised us over a year ago. It was worth the wait. Everyone was there. Even Sally’s [...]

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