Remember those “I survived Toronto”
from summer 2003? The checklist on them read: SARS, West Nile, Mad Cow, SARS again. The 2009 tee would be less lethal but more depressing: rain, recession, trash, tornadoes, more rain. T-shirts
But Torontonians took it in stride. When it poured, we crammed into the slew of fantastic new
. When the sun finally shone, it wasn’t just kids spread-eagled on the grass in Trinity-Bellwoods. Dinner parties were an excuse to plow through stockpiled LCBO bottles, and with ferry service to the Island on pause, everyone suddenly remembered the Beach. The Rolling Stones didn’t need to bail the city out this time. We did it ourselves. cafés
With a new DIY attitude came one crucial summer accessory: the bicycle. Cheaper than driving and more individual than a new pair of jeans, it seemed like everyone from Bay Street’s suits to bespectacled Queen Westers to new moms in Leslieville was sporting two wheels. Whatever the style, there was a bike to match. Here, a look at eight Toronto cyclists who did it with aplomb.
12670 (All photos by Kate Allen) Who: Dennis Vanhoekelen<br /> Spotted: Queen and University<br /> Vanhoekelen, a bike messenger, got his 1983 Miyata frame for free from an ex-racer, then spent $1,000 on touch-ups and accessories. Pink ones. Another bike polo player, Vanhoekelen is a member of the Westside Maniacs, arguably Toronto’s most dedicated team. “We’re serious. We rank,” says Vanhoekelen. The whole conversation would have been more intimidating if we weren’t so distracted by the photos of his adorable daughter pasted onto his disc wheels. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Dennis.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Dennis.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Dennis.jpg 400 534  https://torontolife.com/style/summer-of-the-bike-eight-cyclists-who-ride-in-style/slide/dennis/ dennis 0 0
(All photos by Kate Allen)
12677 Who: Vanessa Jackson<br /> Where: Dundas and Manning<br /> Jackson uses her copper CCM Sunsport to commute between her Dundas and Ossington pad and her pad Thai–shilling job at the Queen Mother Café. “Penny” has been a trusty companion ever since Jackson found her on Craigslist, except for when a bunch of axe-wielding neighbourhood kids hacked off the front reflector. So much for Ossington becoming too gentrified. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/VanessaJackson.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/VanessaJackson.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/VanessaJackson.jpg 400 534  https://torontolife.com/style/summer-of-the-bike-eight-cyclists-who-ride-in-style/slide/vanessajackson/ vanessajackson 0 0
12673 Who: Libydo <br /> Spotted: Dundas and Montrose<br /> Libydo, a dancer, doesn’t use his Specialized BMX racer for tricks. “I just ride really, really fast,” he says. This is his sixth BMX—the previous five were stolen. He can’t be sure, but Libydo suspects a certain infamous bicycle thief was behind at least some of the disappearances. These days, he uses an extra-strong lock. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Lybido.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Lybido.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Lybido.jpg 400 534  https://torontolife.com/style/summer-of-the-bike-eight-cyclists-who-ride-in-style/slide/lybido/ lybido 0 0
12676 Who: Vanessa Fischer<br /> Spotted: Trinity-Bellwoods Park<br /> Fischer paid $140 for her baby blue Glider at super-sketchy Uncle Jacob’s at College and Spadina. Is her bike an accessory? “No, it’s a mode of transportation,” she says. “I like fashion, but not that much.” https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/VanessaFischer4.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/VanessaFischer4.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/VanessaFischer4.jpg 400 534  https://torontolife.com/style/summer-of-the-bike-eight-cyclists-who-ride-in-style/slide/vanessafischer4/ vanessafischer4 0 0
12675 Who: Sophie Lambert<br /> Spotted: Queen and Yonge <br /> Lambert bikes in heels from her Bathurst and Harbord home to her marketing gig at King and Yonge. “It’s totally easy,” she says. The Club Monaco pencil skirt is another story. “It is a bit of a balancing act. I do have to hike it up a bit.” The label-free low-rider, which matches the three-inch Marc by Marc Jacobs pumps, was $700 from Urbane Cyclist on John Street. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Sophie3.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Sophie3.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Sophie3.jpg 400 534  https://torontolife.com/style/summer-of-the-bike-eight-cyclists-who-ride-in-style/slide/sophie3/ sophie3 0 0
12674 Who: Keith Jones<br /> Where: Trinity-Bellwoods Park<br /> Jones found this Quebec-made 1982 Velosport on Craigslist and immediately scrubbed off all the logos. “I didn’t like the font,” he says. He considered it a steal for $300, because it has the highest-grade Shimano parts available when it was made, and the wheels are a rare size not made anymore. The bike has already seen some major action with its new owner. Jones biked to Montreal over three days in August. This is Jones’ summer bike; his winter ride is made by Workmans, a New York company that designs sturdy, low-gravity delivery bicycles with a smaller front wheel to accommodate a basket big enough for pizza boxes. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/NN1.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/NN1.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/NN1.jpg 400 534  https://torontolife.com/style/summer-of-the-bike-eight-cyclists-who-ride-in-style/slide/nn1/ nn1 0 0
12672 Who: Kumalo Nio<br /> Where: College and Bay<br /> Nio noticed that this hyper-designed Batavus bike was all the rage when she visited Amsterdam, so when she found one at Curbside Cycle in the Annex, she scooped it up for $700. A pedal-powered generator illuminates the front light; the bike also has a built-in wheel lock. But Nio mainly likes “Green Eggs” because it’s clothing-friendly: she can wear dresses and skirts while riding, and her tennis bag fits in the back basket. https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/kumala3.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/kumala3.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/kumala3.jpg 400 534  https://torontolife.com/style/summer-of-the-bike-eight-cyclists-who-ride-in-style/slide/kumala3/ kumala3 0 0
12671 Who: Feleepe (No last name. “It’s just Feleepe”) <br /> Spotted: Kensington Market<br /> This gussied-up Belgian track frame, nicknamed “Silberblitz,” is more than just eye candy—it’s also Feleepe’s mount for bike polo. This ride cost $1,500 to assemble, including the homemade metal saddle. A carpenter-cabinetmaker by day, German-born Feleepe cut the seat out of a sheet of 18-gauge stainless steel. He insists his design is comfy, though “not so much for women.” https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Feleepe2.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Feleepe2.jpg https://torontolife.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/Feleepe2.jpg 400 534  https://torontolife.com/style/summer-of-the-bike-eight-cyclists-who-ride-in-style/slide/feleepe2/ feleepe2 0 0
12 thoughts on “Summer of the bike: eight cyclists who ride in style”
This was a fun article. More of these, please.
I like the Sophie chick in heels. She’s hot. More of her, please.
… and not a single bike helmet on any of them. I guess since everyone here rides stylish bikes they’re immune to head injuries.
Sexy! I would totally hit on any of these cyclists when visiting them in the hospital for treatment of head trauma! Hotcha! Yowza!
Jeff, how do you know they didn’t remove their helmets for the picture and can you explain why helmets are almost unheard of in Europe?
I commute daily and there’s no way in this car-ridden city that I’d go without my helmet. That said, I’m from the U.K. and have cycled many, many times in Europe and generally find drivers are far more cyclist-friendly and respectful even though they do generally drive much faster.
Lizzie, I noticed that about Europe as well. People drive like maniacs there so I was expecting to see accidents at every turn but that wasn’t the case. Then again, in Europe most bike likes are physically separated from cars and pedestrians so that might be why fewer people opt to wear helmets there.
I started commuting daily to work downtown from the east end this spring, and at first I opted to forgo the helmet but three near misses with car doors in the downtown core changed my mind so unless I’m on a dedicated bike route like the one along the lakeshore, I put on my helmet. Toronto has a long way to go toward becoming bike friendly. I don’t know that I would even commute if I had to ride further west than I do. Biking has made me a better car driver, that’s for sure.
And I’m probably more cautious than the impatient cyclist behind me would like but whatever, I want to arrive alive.
Toronto LIfe is irresponsibly putting a women in high heels without a helmet on a bike as the front photo of this article. Cycling downtown in high heels is dangerous. I’d like to see her in this get up when it rains.
I’m all for being stylish, but come on people. no helmets!! You are just allowing those in and those who have read this article to think helmets aren’t needed to look cool. It won’t look so cool when your skull is on the pavement.
i think we can all agree on the importance of helmets and not riding about in traffic in high heels, but these are just fashion photos of people posing with their (sometimes hideous) bikes.
“super-sketchy uncle jacob’s”
Cheers to all those cyclist out there. Keep it up!
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