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October 15, 2016 16:08 +0000  |  Cycling London Moving United Kingdom 1

We've managed to get out of London and move up to Cambridge, and it is so much nicer here. Cambridge is almost everything London isn't: clean, quiet, bike-friendly, and accessible. Where in London it will take 40min to 2 hours on the dark, disgusting Tube to get anywhere and do anything, in Cambridge you just hop on your bike and you're anywhere in town in less than 20min. There are garden festivals in the big open parks that double as cow pastures, and the air is clean. London's air quality is a toxic mess and a constant reminder of how much (nearly) everyone living there hates it.

Where our London flat was a dark, damp, rat-infested ground-floor shithole, our Cambridge home is a big, beautiful two bedroom flat in a modern building with secure bike parking. The rooms are wired for ethernet and the wifi is crazy-fast, the rooms are warm and the showers (yes, that's showers plural) are spacious and just wonderful.

OMG I don't think I can convey how much better life in Cambridge is when compared to London.

Christina has settled into her job as lecturer at the university and despite her fears, I think she's getting the hang of it. Fresh out of her PhD, she's now a lecturer at one of the most prestigious universities on the planet. I'm really proud of her.

In terms of my career, things have been a little more bumpy. I didn't want to renew my contract working for the British Government, so I moved to a company that had a London & Cambridge office hoping to take some of the pain out of the move. Then the job at Mozilla came up, and I almost got it, and now I've decided to give up on contracting altogether in order to take a job at a local start-up as lead developer. My time with my current employer ends in less than a week and then I've got a week off before I start at Money Mover. Lots of moving around, but I think in this latest stop, I've found a good company that suits me.

It sure will be nice to be doing the start-up thing again. I've really missed it.

October 02, 2011 11:38 +0000  |  Amsterdam Cycling Utrecht 0

Our route to Utrecht along the Amstel river'

Christina suggested we do a bike trip from Amsterdam to Ouderkerk with a steak at the end of the journey and I couldn't say no. The steak... well it was just ok, but what came after was just crazy: we decided to continue south to the tiny town of Nes, and beyond that... well why not just continue onto Utrecht?

We didn't know at the time, but after finishing the entire trip to Utrecht Centraal, we had travelled a total of 50.5 kilometres.

For some semblance of relative scale, that's like riding a bike from Vancouver to White Rock, or Toronto to Oshawa... and having a full, separated bike lane for roughly 95% of the trip (there were a couple spots where the road was really small, or the bike lanes were under construction).

In total, the trip took roughly six hours (OMG) and since my bike isn't adjusted for my height (oops) it was pretty damn painful. At times it was dark, or foggy, or spider-webby, and the sky was HUGE, with a red sun going down and an orange crescent moon. It was beautiful, and cold, and awesome.

April 16, 2011 21:54 +0000  |  Cycling Friends 3

I had a lovely, though taxing day today. My new friend Sue invited me out for a day-long cycling trip following a flower parade from Voorhout to Lisse. The idea was to take our bikes out there by train and then ride them along the parade route in time to catch the actual parade as it rolled into Lisse.

It didn't actually happen that way though. When we arrived in Voorhout, the parade was just starting. We had to weave through the onlookers to get ahead of the parade and make our way northeast to Lisse. We'd be moving faster than the parade, so we could still be in Lisse to see it roll by. But then we got lost... and sidetracked by the hectares upon hectares of vibrant tulips spread over the countryside. Sue insisted on stopping for pictures an aweful lot, and then at one point, no one was remembering to check our GPSs, so we went way off course. But no big deal, we were still ahead of the parade, and now we had a couple hours of sightseeing done.

We found our way to Lisse, thanks to the wonders of technology and the kindness of strangers, toured a beautiful church and perused the open market for lunch. Can I just say how awesome Dutch doughnuts are? NOM. I also had a shaved ham sandwich with caramelised onions and some tasty sauce along with some fresh squeezed orange juice. (...and I do mean fresh-squeezed. The oranges were right there).

The parade finally arrived in Lisse. (Have I mentioned that this is a multi-city parade? It goes all over the region, all day long). The theme this year was Broadway shows, so there were floats dedicated to Wicked, Westside Story, The Lion King, Mary Poppins, and Grease to name a few of the English ones. And here's the thing: every float was made of flowers. All of the colour, design, everything but the physical supports underneath were made of real flowers. The floats weren't only beautiful, but they smelled great too!

Dan (not me, but Sue's Romanian friend) wanted to go to "Goh-gan-hoff" (I don't know how to spell the proper Dutch name, but that's roughly what it sounds like) to see the apparently world-famous fields and buy some bulbs for his own garden in Belgium, so we continued North through the aforementioned fields. Even with the weather being less-than-friendly, it was a really beautiful trip. Along the way, we ran into the parade now and then as our trip took us away and back toward the parade route throughout the day. We biked North, then East toward Hoofdorp, where I knew there was a Gowalla snowflake to pick up and didn't want to miss my chance, and from there, we hit the Hoofdorp train station and went our separate ways.

Altogether a really great day. Going by my rough map (below), Google says we travelled more than 31K, which is pretty awesome.

August 12, 2008 22:36 +0000  |  Cycling Public Space Vancouver Vancouver Public Space Network 3

The following was in the Vancouver Public Space Network newsletter today and I thought that I might share it here for those who might be interested. This segment touches on something I mentioned a while back called Ciclovía, an event in Bogotá, Columbia. Apparently, the brain behind that event and others like it down there is doing a talk here in Vancouver. Space is limited, so register now if you're interested:

We are now facing a “perfect storm” of increasing global warming and environmental degradation, growing traffic congestion, an obesity crisis and other public health concerns, soaring energy costs and slowing economic growth. It is time to go beyond baby steps and take some major leaps. We must re-position walking and cycling as key parts of the solution to these major challenges.

As Bogotá has shown, creating great public spaces for walking and cycling contributes enormously to creating healthier, happier, more thriving communities. Hear former Bogota Commissioner of Parks, Sport and Recreation share his experiences and his lessons for Vancouver. The evening is being co-sponsored by Translink, the SFU City Program, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Public Space Network.

Event takes place Wednesday, August 20th at 7:00pm, SFU Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings Street. Admission is free but reservations are required.

August 08, 2008 07:57 +0000  |  Cycling Vancouver 0

I just returned from teaching Poesy HTML-foo at her place on Commercial. Rather than taking a bus or the SkyTrain though, I decided to make all my travel arrangements today by bike: Home to work, to Posey's, to Home.

The reason that this commute is significant enough to post here however is not the means of transport or even the route, but the time of day. I just rode down the Sea Wall at midnight.

It's a very different experience at this time of night. Nearly no one is around at this hour, no kids, no dogs, no one playing volleyball or going for a jog -- just me, my bike and False Creek.

It was o so quiet.

I'd like to go again some time, maybe even with a friend, but next time I go, I shall have to invest in a new light. The one I have isn't built for illumination, but visibility... not so handy when you're on the sea wall and there's no light on that curb up ahead ;-)

July 09, 2008 19:01 +0000  |  Cities Cycling Vancouver 2

I ran across this in 24 this morning and decided to check the guy out online. Calling himself the bulletproof courier (though I'm not sure how he arrived at that name), he rides his bike around town with a digital video camera strapped to his helmet.

From a social perspective, the act itself is interesting, and for those of you who will probably ask, despite my opposition to CCTV, I don't really have a problem with what this guy's doing. He's an individual in a free country exercising that right in a public space. The ambiguity comes with his broadcasting this stuff in a public forum, which is the grey area. I'd be curious to see what my other activist friends think of this.

Regardless, it's pretty neat if you have a few minutes.

June 28, 2008 04:30 +0000  |  Activism Cycling Vancouver 0

Admittedly, there is scientific evidence that beautiful weather does good things to your mood, so perhaps all of this happy-mooding is simply endorphins caused by UV radiation, but frankly, I just don't care enough to worry about such things. The weather today was gorgeous -- a perfect setting for June's Critical Mass ride.

Here are a series of pictures I took throughout our ride while I listened to groovy tunage coming off the back of one guy's ride and checked out the hot girl on rollerblades dancing along side him. Some other fun stuff I saw today:

One of the cyclists waving a peace sign at some of the onlooking pedestrians

The wind in my hair as I cruised in high gear down Georgia St at rush hour.

The tricked out harley-esque bikes and other fun mods, like a bubble machine or speakers mounted on the back.

Girls in fairy wings.

Friendly motorists who were kind enough to wait for us to pass.

This was the biggest CM I've seen so far -- due in part no doubt to the wonderful weather conditions. There were easily a few thousand on the road today. It's a hell of a sight.

It's really an amazing ride. You should try it!

May 31, 2007 13:31 +0000  |  Activism Cycling 0

I went to my first Critical Mass Bike Ride last Friday and was so appalled by what I saw, I bailed early.

As an experience, it was rather exciting. Roughly 200 cyclists gathered at the corner of Spadina and Bloor, and once everyone is ready, we set out down Bloor heading East. However, I realised early on that this thing wasn't organised at all. The mob was being guided by whomever happened to be at the front and more often than not, people in the front didn't know this. The result was a slow moving blob rolling through the city.

Now in most cases, I wouldn't consider this a big problem. If we can have Sunday Drivers, I don't see a problem with Meandering Friday Cyclists. However, the mob also made a point of expressly not obeying street signals. And when we reached Yonge & College, a large group of them decided that it'd be appropriate to just stop right in the intersection, blocking a long line of traffic including a street car. It was at this point that some stupid woman next to me started shouting gleefully: "Block that streetcar! Block that streetcar!". I took my bike off the road, waited for the spectacle to finish (complete with one asshat stopping to play a trumpet in the middle of the road) and then headed home.

It's important to note here that I'm a fan of street parties. Hell, New Mind Space's "Flight of Fancy" was one of my favourite events last year. But cycling is very different. Cyclists in this country work very hard to be respected on the road. We're constantly claiming that we should have the same respect as other vehicles and in exchange for that respect, we agree to follow the same rules other vehicles do. Actions like this will only serve to give non-cyclists ammunition against us and that's something we don't need.

Blocking a few cars maybe, but a whole street car with 100 people on it? That's assholish.

April 22, 2007 14:50 +0000  |  Cycling Friends Toronto 1

A map of our travels
A Google-map of our adventure. [High-res version] [Google link]

Toronto's weather these past few days has been amazing. With clear blue skies and 15°-25°C weather, the city was screaming for bike riders. Everywhere you looked, people were dusting off their old two-wheelers and partaking on a relaxing roll through the city... but not us. No, I called Stephen Saturday morning and said: "Lets ride to High Park!" and so I hopped on Syria and rode West to Spadina & Bloor, picked up Stephen and started our killer journey.

Now it should be mentioned that this sounds like a really big deal, but an experienced cyclist would probably fall over laughing at the way I'm describing this trip. I make no claims that this is an exceptional journey for everyone, but for an out of shape programmer, this was tough run. We rode out to High Park, back along Roncesvalles, down Dundas West until we ran out of working road (they're doing construction), to Spadina, down to Queen (NOT fun), down Queen to Church, up through the villiage to Wellesley, where we parted ways and I went to Pape & Bloor for Lukie's birthday party.

Along the way, we stopped for some tasty ethnic food in the Polish sector (Roncesvalles & Queen) and had some ill-conceived icecream in the villiage. Total trip distance: 26km. Total time spent: 6hours. ...and I hurt. I'm sitting on Stephen's couch right now blogging this and my feet STILL hurt. This must be how people who go to the gym feel :-)