Ringing bells and honking horns at Yonge and Bloor turned afternoon passersby's heads as cycling warriors for Take the Tooker encouraged voters on election day, November 13, to choose bike-friendly candidates likely to push for a new lane on the Bloor-Danforth stretch from Kipling station east to Kennedy.
The small posse of two dozen poster-toting activists accuse the city of backpedalling on the Bike Plan and say it's a disgrace that it doesn't include a Bloor bike lane.
"We can't applaud complacency," says co-organizer Lana Choi, who points out that re-elected mayor David Miller has built about half the bike paths that Mel Lastman did during his first term.
"I don't think cycling has reached the level of mass concern the way the environment has," says participant Doug Lee, who adds that bike aficionados have their work cut out for them.
Organizer Hamish Wilson is more "guardedly optimistic," saying he's pleased to see that Councillor Kyle Rae is trying to establish a Bloor bike lane in his ward. "He's starting in the middle of the city, but it can ripple outwards," says Wilson, who's working on a project to unite all the bike groups in the city.
The question is, who will become the new city cycling chair? The current chair, Adam Giambrone, might not return to his post, depending on the city striking committee's decision in the next few weeks. On the phone, Giambrone says he's excited about a new wrinkle: council is going to make cycling decisions from here on in, instead of leaving it to councillors in their own wards.
"The cycling budget has gone up. It's just the effectiveness that has not been there over the last two years,' says Giambrone. "We're working out all the kinks, and now we've got to deliver results."
Meanwhile, back at the protest, one participant exchanged fierce words with security guards from the nearby RBC building, and the group was ordered to move about 20 feet away from the building on the sidewalk. To ease the tension and show that there is ample room for a bike lane on Bloor, Choi and a few others drew a temporary lane on the road with chalk.
It was cool to see motorists abide by the lines, and passing cyclists automatically steered their bikes into the space. Cyclist Zoe Hayes stopped at a red light and noted, "Cars still don't pay attention, but at least I feel I have a right to be on the road."