Bike Month begins on May 28th in Toronto! Below, a Toronto Cycling Cheat Sheet for bike lovers: Rules of the Road, resources for bike trails, and some of our favourite bike shops in the city.
QUICK AND DIRTY RULES OF THE ROAD:
Don’t pass on the right. Ever. Pass on the left, just like you were a car, no matter what.
Ring My Bell
Be LOUD! Ring your bell any time you pass a parked car with occupants inside, to avoid being hit by an opening door. But remember—your bell is a signal, so only use it when you need to draw attention to yourself.
Play it Straight and Stake Your Territory
When riding on downtown streets, it seems smart to move closer to the sidewalk in the absence of parked cars, but this actually makes you less visible to motor vehicles. Ride in a straight line, so you will be as visible as possible.
Stay Off The Sidewalk
Wear A Helmet
Double duh. Seriously. Wear a helmet. I know, I know, it messes up your hair, you forgot it at home, it’s uncomfortable. Seriously, do any of those seem at all important when compared with brain damage? Because that’s the trade off. Don’t be stupid. Also, any time anything bad happens to a cyclist, and they weren’t wearing a helmet, anti-cycling types have an excuse to blame the cyclist. Don’t give the whole team a bad rep because you wanted to wear your hair in a high ponytail today. Geez.
So So [NOT] Fine
The Toronto Cyclists Union has a good list of the different fines for cycling infractions. Hint: It’s going to cost you over $250 if you get caught running a red light. But note: cyclists cannot receive demerit points.
OUR FAVOURITE BIKE SHOPS:
Mike the Bike, 5 Oxford St. at Spadina
Mike rules. This tiny shop nestled between Kensington Market and Chinatown is great for friendly repairs and has a selection of parts and used bikes.
Bikes on Wheels, 309 Augusta Ave., 779 Queen St. W.
Bikes on Wheels has a great selection of new bikes and accessories, and repairs in the back.
Sweet Pete’s, 1204 Bloor St. W., 517 Bloor St. W.
New bikes, accessories, and repairs.
Mojo Cycles, 2170 Dundas St. W., 1652 Queen St. W.
Bikes, parts, accessories and repairs.
Urbane Cyclist, 180 John St.
A co-op focusing on daily commuter cyclists. They even repair flat tires on wheelchairs! Bikes, accessories, repairs.
Curbside Cycle, 412 Bloor St. W.
New bikes, accessories, rentals and repairs.
Cycle Couture, 926 College St.
Bikes, accessories, fashion, parts and repairs.
Ride Away Bikes, 778 Dundas St. W.
No-nonsense shop with great used selection, parts and repairs.
Duke’s Cycle, 625 Queen St. W.
Bikes, accessories and repairs.
Bike Pirates, 1292 Bloor St. W.
A volunteer-run DIY bike shop where you can learn bike maintenance, or even build a new bike. They sell parts and refurbished bikes, have cool events, and repair hours reserved for women and trans cyclists.
The City of Toronto Cycling Map has tons of trails that wind around the city, whether you’re looking for an urban ride, or you want to cycle under some leafy greens. Discover new neighbourhoods, or parkland you didn’t even know was there!
Bike Train has a great round-up of nature trails through the Humber and Don River Valleys.
Ontario Trails has great hiking, biking and camping trails.
iBikeTO has a great map that lays out Toronto bike lanes in a simple and straightforward way. Sigh. If only there was more red on this map.
Be bold! Take the Waterfront Trail to one of these fantastic and lovely country locations. ROAD TRIP!
~ Haley Cullingham