Midnight Ride (with lasers)

23 06 2013

What better way to spend the few fleeting hours of darkness of the shortest night of the year, than to ride the night away with a big group of fellow cyclists, with a portable sound system and laser light show.

It's like a bicycle disco.

It’s like a bicycle disco.

Before the ride, participants pimped out their steeds with all sorts of lights.

Before the ride, participants pimped out their steeds with all sorts of lights.

Rollin' down the Ave.

Rollin’ down the Ave.

Smiles all around.

Smiles all around.

Laser wheels in the late night twilight.

Phantom wheels in the late night twilight.

Riding on, into the night.

Riding on, into the night.

Taking the streets, groovin' to the tunes.

Taking the streets, groovin’ to the tunes.

It's actually quite hard to get a photo of this big a group at night.

It’s actually quite hard to get a photo of this big a group at night.

Retro futurism (with bikes and rowdy riders).

Retro futurism (with bikes and rowdy riders).

Zoomin' through the 'hoods.

Zoomin’ through the ‘hoods.

Instructions: 1) Weave sparkler through spokes. 2) Light with torch or other sparkler. 3) Ride away before you set something on fire.

Instructions: 1) Weave sparkler through spokes. 2) Light with torch or other sparkler. 3) Ride away before you set something on fire.

Future-bike disco.

Future-bike disco.

Invade a parkade.

Invade a parkade.

Lovers in auto-centric times.

Lovers in auto-centric times.

Photos with friends.

Photos with friends.

It's a portable disco!

It’s a DIY disco!

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Riding After Midnight

18 05 2012

As the night time temperatures warm enough that frostbite and hypothermia are no longer a worry, the deserted streets beckon riders already weary of crowded bike paths and streets congested with more construction than Hazzard County (I can’t believe I just made that reference).

Riders in the night, crossing Gretzky.

Always a challenge keeping up with the Raving Bike Fiend.

Cyclists in the moonlight.

Zooming through a subterranean loading dock.

All the cars have left downtown, leaving so much room to play.

Even midnight riders have to stop for a traffic light now and then.

Passing through your neighborhood like ghosts in the night.

As I write this and look at the photos from recent late night excursions, I’m reminded that the streets are a lot quieter these days in my neighborhood, and not just because  school’s out. There have been a series of stranger-assaults on women walking alone at night. This is fucked. What is even more fucked, though, is that the police and (especially) the media’s response has been to generate panic, fear and victim blaming, warning women not to go out at night and not to walk alone. I’m not saying that this is nothing to worry about, and being vigilant and aware of your surroundings is always a good idea, but shit can happen anytime, anywhere, and the sad fact is that a women is far more likely to be assaulted in her own home by someone she knows than by a stranger on the street, no matter what the time of day or neighborhood. In fact, it happens so often that it isn’t considered newsworthy enough to report, or shocking enough to sell newspapers.

I’m a creature of the night. It’s both my playground and my solace, and I won’t let creeps and tabloid fear-mongering take that away. Dark, mysterious, unknown, it’s easy to fear the night, easy to buy into stories that fuel the anxiety, but I just want to say how quiet, beautiful, liberating, tranquil, consoling, calming, awe inspiring, energizing, limitless the dark hours, while everyone else is sleeping, can be. And if you don’t believe me, I have a challenge for you: take a late night ride on a weeknight, by yourself or with a friend, and see for yourself how much less action there is than during rush hour and how hospitable the wide open streets really are.





The Jingle Ride Cometh

14 12 2011

I know planning group rides in the winter can be a bit of a crap shoot, but I like riding with people, and I miss riding with friends now that winter has made it so much less appealing to be outside on a bike. Know what else I like? Shiny things, coloured lights, the pleasant tinkling of bells, and skating! Combine all these together and you get:

Jingle Ride!

Wednesday December 14th

It starts at 6:00 at EBC (10043 – 80 Ave – back alley entrance) with a quick winter cycling skillshare, then at 6:30 we leave for a fairly easy ride to check out some notable Xmas light displays.

You can be sure this house is on the must-see list.

We’ll make several stops, and eventually end up at the legislative grounds to go for a little skate. Holiday cheer (especially in warm beverage form) and bicycle decorations are encouraged, and I’m totally jumping on this opportunity to legitimately light my bike up like an Xmas tree and deck it out so the rattling of potholes turns into sleigh bell music.

Porta-Bike will be at the ride, with bells on!

Alas, my bike awaits the rest of the decorations in my living room. My parents were here last night and thought I’d flipped, decorating a bike instead of a tree. Of course, Porta-Bike’s a working bike, and won’t stay inside for long. But now that I think about it, I wasn’t planning on getting a tree anyway, and since I’ve got other bikes that won’t be doing anything ’til spring anyway, maybe decorating a bike for the holidays isn’t the craziest idea in the world…