Toronto Bicycle Gabfests Report

Gabfests are always fun, if you have the time for them.

We like it when we see the same people again and again. We call that “making friends” and suspect they think of it the same way [it’s your tact and diplomacy that’s winning you new friends everyday –ed.].

Last week’s gabfest called for cycloid input into the planned Lake Ontario Park (LOP). We heard about it through a personally-directed email, but it was also announced to the publick at Martin Koob’s Biketoronto blob. Our new friend Tovi Heilbronn, a bicycle-faced road racer who is accustomed to riding time trials on a loop where the new park is to be located, organized it. Then there was the cheerful Tammy Thorne, who was informed that she is not, in fact, a “roadie.” What Tammy is, of course, is a utilitarian cyclist, as well as a cycling advocate who happens to post regular blob notes at Spacing Wire (roadies are bicycle racers who ride “road bikes,” which differentiates them from time trialists, and track bike riders, among others. Who knew?). Two others rounded out the gabfest: a couple ladies from George Brown College who held up last week’s NOW magazine and car advertiser with an announcement of the “bike chain,” a U. of Toronto bike repair clinic that was supposed to be taking place. They left when the conversation got, shall we say, technical.

What we mean is, they left when the gossip turned to people they hadn’t heard of.

Because we really didn’t talk about Lake Ontario Park, did we Tammy and Tovi. Seems Tovi was actually okay with the park as designed. It looks like it’s still going to let him ride in circles. He really didn’t get the fuss about linking LOP to the city at Leslie Street, which was our big concern. Tammy, at least, understood the need to tie the city’s on-street bike network to the carfree park, but as a west-ender needed to be reminded that in fact the “Leslie Street Spit” gets its name from an actual “Leslie Street” that links residential neighbourhoods to the north across Lakeshore Boulevard.

Otherwise, LOP will be lopped.

Nah. This gabfest turned to gossip: like, did you know the head of the Toronto City Cycling Committee (TCCCCC) is to be new Toronto councillor A.A. (Adrian) Heaps? Well, it’s so, and you heard it here first. Seems he responded to the email inviting him to the LOP discussion with the statement he doesn’t want to do anything until his “position” is made official.

We wonder if he gives adamn about bikes–or is he just another Adamn, moving on to more important things.

Gossip. What everyone knows is that Mez is working on a launch of a new group, a “Toronto Cyclist Union” [note: job opportunity –ed.], complete with a membership fee and a magazine, and an agenda to do for cyclists what the dreaded Canadian Automobile Association does for motorists.

While the CAA stands for all that’s evil and banal in the world, TCU will be its opposite. You know: “Replace Capitalism with something nice.” Launch date is sometime in 2008, which will nevertheless give it two years to destroy the power structure of Toronto City Hall as we know it, before the 2010 elections. Tammy is working on the magazine. Others, including Martino and Herb, are to have advisory status.

You read it here first.

Tovi wanted to be involved too, and regaled us with tales of the old Mez he used to know, the Mez who was camp counsellor to Tovi back in the day. Seems Mez’s youthful enterprise as a t-shirt decorator had as its first client Tovi’s summer camp [Now that would be a collector’s item! –ed.].

Could Tovi’s knowledge of Mez’s dark past have anything to do with the fact that Mez won’t return Tovi’s emails?

Allderblob readers want to know.

On our return home the night of the LOP gabfest we heard the news reported here that Ward 30 councillor Paula Fletcher has pulled back from the brink with her Eastern Avenue Bikelane proposal. It seems, strangely enough, she has realized working with her neighbouring councillor, Sandra Bussin (ward 32), would make sense. We are hopeful that if and when the Eastern Avenue Bikelanes get painted, the paint will extend east across Leslie, over to the north-south link proposed for Knox Ave. Knox leads to the “gold-plated” bikelanes on Lakeshore, and would loop back to connect to the Leslie Street Spit in reasonable order.

Of course, we still hold out hope that Leslie itself will be tamed, and one day the family and friends of Isaac Morkel will be able to remember his life on a safer bike ride to grocery stores and to the Leslie Street Spit.

Who’s still with us. Tammy, you there? Tovi? Mom?

For our loyal readers, the main event in the bicycle Gabfests report would have to be Wednesday night at the NOW lounge, where the inaugural “Town Hall” offered for Toronto’s delectation the question: “Where is Toronto on the road to total bikeability?”

If you want the facts of this gabfest you’d be wise to look here or here. But if you want gossip and innuendo, you’ve come to the right place.

‘Cause Allderblob readers want to know.

But you’ll have to wait. Tovi and Tammy, Mez and Adamn. Hang on a while. All this blobbing has tired us out. We’ll get back to you. Promise.

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