Monthly Archives: November 2013

Henry Ford making bicycles?

If Toronto wants to read the future of cars and bicycles in cities, it should look south of the border to Detroit. It’s common knowledge that Detroit saw the birth of the mass-produced automobile, boomed with the domestic production of cars for everyone, then collapsed and went bankrupt as production became unsustainable.

Abandoned Packard Automobile Factory

Abandoned Packard Automobile Factory

There are a few twists to this story that are not so well known.

First, Henry Ford didn’t give us the 40-hour working week, a living wage, pensions and vacation pay. The unions representing automobile workers fought tooth-and-claw for these, and they won. If you like these benefits, don’t thank your bosses, thank the unions.

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Second, Ford hated the world he created. In the end he couldn’t stand the cities that he helped to ruin. Desparate for the world into which he had been born, he spent his final years trying to create a utopian community without cars.

And finally, manufacturing is not dead in Detroit. What’s bringing it back is not cars, but – among other things – bicycles. Earlier this year Shinola commenced production in Detroit, manufacturing watches and leather goods, and assembling the bicycles they manufacture in their Wisconsin factory.

THE PLACES WE WORK_Page_14_Image_0001

On their web page they ask “Why not accept that manufacturing is gone from this country? Why not let the rust and weeds finish what they started? Why not just embrace the era of disposability?”

And the answer: “Because we don’t think American manufacturing ever failed for being too good. Our worst didn’t come when we were at our best. It happened when we thought good was good enough.”

If old Henry were alive today and blessed with the wisdom of his later years, perhaps he’d be busy in the Shinola factory making bicycles.


Freshly painted bike lanes on Wellesley

The buffer zone is thin, but much appreciated
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This is part of the planned Wellesley – Harbord corridor, which should be finished next year. Ultimately, the buffer zone will separate cycle from automobile traffic by flexible plastic bollards to prevent cars from interfering with cyclists.


Cycle Toronto Meeting on Protected Bike Lanes

Cycle Toronto is moving ahead with their campaign for protected bike lanes on Richmond and Adelaide Streets. This would open up a safe cycling route into and out of the city centre from the west.

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From the Cycle Toronto website:

Protected bike lanes can help to reduce the stress and make cycling safer for people biking downtown, especially for novice cyclists. Richmond and Adelaide Streets are prime candidates. Richmond Street and Adelaide Street are high volume roads with average speeds above 40km/h.

The Environmental Assessment is underway. We anticipate its conclusion by December 2013. City staff will also explore ways to have the protected bike lanes connect to existing bikeways west of Bathurst Street and east of Sherbourne Street.

Meetings take place on Monday, November 18, and Tuesday, November 19, 2013 with the following schedule

9 a.m. to 9 p.m. – Materials on display
3 p.m. to 8 p.m. – Project team on site to answer questions
Monday, 6 p.m. – Spoken presentation of the materials

Location:
Metro Hall, Rotunda
55 John Street
Toronto ON M5V 3C6


Leaning Lock-up

Are you tired of scratching your beautiful shiny bike on Toronto city’s posts and rings? Try this:

leaning lock-up 1

leaning lock-up 2