Photo by Martin Reis, aka Tino
Last fall I took a trip to Toronto to visit a couple friends and when I got there I was blown away by the number of bikes. There were loads of cyclists, bike parking lots everywhere and a general feeling that cycling is a heavily-used form of transportation. It’s crazy to think that although it’s just a stone’s throw from the U.S., bicycling in Toronto is significantly more popular. According to the 2009 City of Toronto Cycling Study, nearly 30 percent of Toronto residents age 15 and older used bicycles for utilitarian purposes, growing from 20 percent in 1999. Biking to work and school has increased to 16 percent of residents age 15 and older vs. 11 percent in 1999. This is a city that clearly sees bikes as a viable mode of transportation.
This spring we hope to help nudge those numbers up even more with the launch of Ride the City – Toronto, our first city outside the U.S. The effort was begun largely because of a request and kind badgering from Linda Liutkus. Thanks for pushing this, Linda! Herb van den Dool and I Bike T.O. were instrumental in providing route feedback and initial testing of the routes. The Toronto Cyclists Union has also been a great contributor to providing route suggestions and has helped to flag early issues, including missing bike paths and problematic intersections. They also suggested that we show distances and elevation gains using metric units (Thanks again, Linda). Finally thanks to Mike Brady who spend many hours on the GIS side.
For those who are new to Ride the City, feel free to check out our handy FAQs - they're full of step-by-step instructions and screenshots: http://www.ridethecity.com/faq
Happy spring and safe riding!