Framing this bike issue
Many, many thanks to all those involved in the Bike Issue (NOW, April 10-16).
You folks have consistently been on the cutting edge when it comes to cycling issues, and as we approach that perfect storm vis-à-vis reasonable urban transportation standards, you deserve a lot of the credit.
Also, my favourite NOW cover ever (and I’ve seen them all). Added personal bonus – a tag on the cover for an article that profiles the record label my son is signed to. Definitely frame-worthy.
Hoof and Cycle Courier Coalition
Kudos on the amazing cycling issue! But some goofed details to correct from the My Bike bit.
Lots of people are surprised to hear that the first Pedestrian Sunday in Kensington is April 20. It’s not.
It’s May 25 (the last Sunday of every month till October). April 20 is Reclaim Earth Day’s U-Turn On Climate Change, with a rally at Yonge-Dundas Square (noon), parade on Queen West (1 pm) and Streets Are for People fair on John Street (2 to 4 pm).
Also, I didn’t get the pedicab shipped from India but got it from George’s much-loved alleyway bike nest, Parts Unknown, in Kensington.
And that’s not my sweetheart Maria on the back of the rickshaw. Otherwise, great piece.
Electric bikes no sweat
I just picked up your magazine and was excited and expectant to see your bike issue.
I figured that you guys are progressive and would be pushing electric bikes, which are very popular around the world, with Toronto again lagging behind. But I’d love to see more coverage.
They are especially great for long commutes and hills and for people working downtown who don’t want to get sweaty.
Places like California are giving $500 subsidies to people who buy them, whereas Toronto, which likes to act like it’s an environmental leader, seems to be ignoring them.
Mish Mash Surplus
Skid mark on your lid
I was wondering if your editors noticed that almost all cyclists photographed in your informative Bike Issue were not wearing helmets.
Despite references to wearing a helmet in City Cycling 101 and a piece on sporting the latest in headgear in your Take 5 feature, most of the riders shown were helmetless (including the one on the cover, by the way).
In my North York community, it is a serious problem, with generations of children (and their parents) unaware that it must be worn by those 16 or under.
Many events, including the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s Ride For Heart, make helmet-wearing mandatory for everyone during the event.
If NOW is truly an urban newspaper, would it please set an example and show its readers that helmets are just as important to wear when cycling as clean underwear.
Divining Earth Hour
I just wanted to respond to the letter from Esther Yermus (NOW, April 3-9) concerning observant Orthodox Jews’ environmental ways of living.
Yermus failed to highlight the many other religions that value the environment.
For example, Hinduism places strong significance on trees, depicting them as symbols of abundance.
Another example is Jainism, which believes that hurting a creature results in bad karma.
It is important to recognize, appreciate and celebrate not only religions that preach environmental good but also those that believe it is their obligation to make the earth a better place.
Not fazed by toxic haze
RE Smoking Out Stealth Food (NOW, March 20-26). Wayne Roberts appears to be playing fast and loose with facts when he states sternly: “Of the 177,000 who die each year, about 70,000 die from agricultural poisons.”
Are said poisons being specifically cited in toxicology reports as being the main culprit? What other factors, other than environmental, could have contributed to these deaths? So many questions, so little time....
Roads taking a toll
The answer to so many of our urban woes does indeed lie in road tolls (NOW, April 3-9). The argument that they are unfair to the poor is a commonly cited myth.
The truly poor generally don’t own cars, and the marginally poor can’t afford to drive the cars they do own daily. If those who oppose tolls were interested in helping the poor, they’d advocate using the proceeds to eliminate transit fares.
A recent report in New York City indicated that if those driving into Manhattan paid a $15 toll and the MTA eliminated toll collection, New York could do just that.
A host of other cities are pursuing congestion charges, emissions taxes to curb traffic, calm streets and create vibrant, lung-enabling communities while also letting people get where they need to go.
RE Getting Past the Petty (NOW, April 10-16).
Was the conference promoting the idea of a Canadian Department of Peace held in some utopia?
This article mentions “[NDP MP Olivia] Chow’s moving description of what NDPer Alexa McDonough could do if she were minister of peace....”
Andrew Cash adds, “Indeed, we can imagine a minister of peace (I know it sounds a tad Orwellian).” More like a tad Alice In Wonderland.
Too bad Chow, McDonough, et al., and the Department of Peace were not around during World War I and II.
As I was reading your article on the Olympic torch protests (NOW, April 10-16), I was forming a simple four-word reply: “Hell, yeah, Gwynne Dyer.”
Then a single sentence changed everything – Dyer’s claim that “for almost all Chinese, the turmoil in Tibet is a threat to national unity.” Really?
China’s a big place, and there are many people not necessarily “spoken for” by the government. Kind of like how my government doesn’t speak for me. Dyer’s layer-cake metaphor is spot on, but put the blame on those who deserve it. Let’s not blame the 1.3 billion “Chinese” (and really, shouldn’t that be “Chinese people”?! ) for the actions of their government.
We who live in “democracies” that are failing to adequately represent our beliefs and goals should be sympathetic to the disenfranchised masses in other countries.
Rip in this Nylon
RE Junos Get Relevant, by Jason Keller (NOW, April 10-16).
I left the Nylons in 1993, but I have appeared in arenas around the world, including Madison Square Garden, as a featured performer.
The real point here is that the Juno Award for best dance recording of the year was awarded to Billy Newton-Davis Vs. Deadmau5.
Deadmau5 is becoming a world-renowned DJ/producer and is taking the dance world by storm. He is on a world tour right now.
Also, this is my fourth Juno. I am very proud of my accomplishments. I realize not everyone will be a fan.