January 16, 2021


A Message from the President

Thank you everyone who sent me notes, messages and texts of encouragement. I am somewhat overwhelmed by this role, so please, everyone, bear with me while I learn the ropes.

As the difficult year 2020 has drawn to a close, I share with you all that I too missed much of the community aspects of our club: picnics, Cyclon, overnight trips, recognition events, education sessions, and a large part of the cycling season. That said, given lemons, we did our best to make some lemonade. We found some ways to re-establish our community.

Indeed, many members had a relatively "active" 2020 cycling season, virus be damned! We rode alone, or reached out to our TBN friends, and rode and rode and rode some more. Yet there were many members who may have been new to the club, or who did not have a close group of "ride buddies" and as such did not get much out of their 2020 TBN membership. In late Spring of 2020, TBN worked out a way to get some ride events happening; by staying within the local health guidelines, our Program Directors and their fantastic leaders and sweeps were able to host many riding events through the Summer and Fall.

Many members participated by joining these "limited registration" events. Demand frequently exceeded supply, and many members were not able to join as many events as they would have liked. We had a supply problem! In the Fall, Dave Mader started Program-X to extend the season beyond October, and to provide a way for members to announce "pop-up rides" available to all members. This added some (but not enough) supply to the system.

Through 2020, TBN came to rely more on technology. We were out riding our quality TBN club routes on our own using RideWithGPS. Zoom meetings were now leveraged for education sessions, and for the AGM itself. John Burdett led the "virtual" way by reinventing his City Walks program as a virtual activity, where he has "led" members of our Community not just around Toronto, but through Halifax, Vancouver, Montreal, etc. At the beginning of 2020, I personally experimented informally with Zwift Meetups as a way to keep fit; I realized in the fall that this would be another important way to keep in touch with our TBN community during COVID times.

2020 taught us how to cope in 2021. The club is planning to repeat the approaches used last year: registration for limited-size events following all government health guidelines, pop-up rides to generate more supply for our members, and more virtual events. We will continue to have small groups at all in-person events.

We need more events, which means more volunteers than ever are needed to lead the events in 2021. If you ever say to yourself, "I want to ride; perhaps a small group might want to join me"... consider volunteering to lead that ride! If you think you can help, reach out to a Program Coordinator, the Program-X coordinator (for a pop-up ride), or to the Touring Director who can connect you to where there is a need.

If you have read this far, I thank you for your patience. From all of us on the Board, we heartily wish that you all have a safe and healthy 2021, and we look forward to seeing you all again soon, either virtually or in real life, on the roads or on the sidewalks.

Martin Lansche
Acting President - Toronto Bicycling Network

The Bicycle Thief is TBN's first 2021 movie

TBN's first Movie Night of 2021 will take place at 8:30pm on Saturday, January 23. It will feature the classic Italian movie The Bicycle Thief, which has a near-perfect rating of 98 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. We will watch the movie on our own computers -- it is available for free on YouTube -- and then discuss it together on Google Meet.

Register now on the TBN website. If you have any questions, please reach out to Lora: weekendtrips@tbn.ca

Please note the movie is in Italian with English subtitles.

The next movies on the TBN agenda are Girl on a Bicycle, scheduled for  Friday January 29 and Why We Cycle, a documentary about the cycling scene in the Netherlands, which we will watch on Thursday February 11.

Let's plan some TBN travel

Last year wasn't a good year for travel with TBN as the pandemic threw a wrecking ball through almost every plan. But our new trips committee will start up soon, and its first order of business will be to survey members on the types of trips you want. Overnight Trips Director Lora Flanagan will soon reach out to people who have already expressed interest in joining this committee -- if you want to join, please email Lora: weekendtrips@tbn.ca.

You can also email Lora if you are interested in leading an overnight trip this year. TBN has a long history of taking members on exciting cycling trips; let's keep the tradition running (as soon as it's safe to do so)!

Wolf Den trip cancelled

Confirming the inevitable. Our hoped-for annual January trip to Wolf Den on the edge of Algonquin Park, has been cancelled due to Covid restrictions.

Virtual wellness staycation

We're seeking expressions of interest in a proposed half-day virtual wellness retreat, to be held on Zoom in late February. The four-hour staycation would feature activities such as yoga, meditation, art therapy, journalling, mindfulness exercises, relaxation exercises, games and wellness discussions, either for free or at a very low cost. To show interest, please contact Lora: weekendtmailto:weekendtrips@tbn.carips@tbn.ca.


Zwifting tips and tricks

TBN's Zwift Meetups programme has been a quiet success these last couple of months. Virtual ridership is rising by the week: we have 20+ current invitees, and six to 12 participants on a typical ride.

These rides are also open to those do not have a Smart Trainer, as long as you have a bike, a "Classic" Trainer and a BLE or ANT+ speed sensor. You won't feel the hills (neither the ups nor the downs) as you do with a Smart Trainer, but you can still get a great workout and socialize with the other riders from inside your "pain cave". See TBN's Zwift Meetups page for background information, and also check out the "How To Get Started On Zwift With a Classic Trainer" page on Zwift Insider.

Zwift is a computer program/video game that offers an almost endless series of curated rides in virtual worlds that include France, Innsbruck, Austria, Yorkshire, England and Richmond, USA. In the words of one long-time TBNer on a recent ride. "Zwift is addictive".

If you are interested in Zwift rides, either as a participant or as a volunteer virtual ride leader, please email virtualrides@tbn.ca with your preferences (day, time, distance and duration), and whether you are willing to host an event. Details about upcoming Zwift meetups and other rides are on the TBN website.

For data junkies: not a pretty sight

There is no sugar coating these statistics. The number of TBN events fell 47 percent in 2020 from 2019, and those fewer events were attended by smaller groups (as expected due to Covid outdoor meeting limits). That means "participant events" (events times participants) fell a massive 70 percent, and participant kilometres (participants times km ridden) fell an even more massive 74 percent. Ways that we can turn this around in 2021 include: a) more virtual events, b) smaller, staggered start, outdoor events, and c) hoping that vaccines and everyone following local health guidelines will let authorities ease restrictions that currently limit outdoor gatherings to five people. 

TBN profiles to better reflect gender identification

To better accommodate all members, including those who may not align with a traditional binary male/female gender identification, TBN has implemented the following changes in our User Profiles:

1. We have removed the gender field, a required field that previously had only male/female choices (and was only visible to the user, and to TBN Wild Apricot Administrators). The Board has deemed that we had no useful purpose to capture this information about our members.

2. We have added an optional Preferred Pronouns field, answers to which will be visible to all members. So if a member registers for an event, another member can view that registration and see what, if any, Preferred Pronouns the registrant has chosen.

No change is required by members.

Use of the Preferred Pronouns field is entirely voluntary.

To update your profile, log into the TBN website, then click on your name and click on "Edit Profile". When you are done, press "Save" to store your changes.

To update your profile, first log into the TBN website, then click on your name and click on Edit Profile. When you are done, press Save to store your changes.


Toronto Bike Show will be back in 2022

The Toronto International Bicycle Show, scheduled for March 2021, has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. TBN has played a role in the show each year, with a busy booth in the exhibition area and we always welcome the opportunity to greet old and new friends. Sadly, that forum is on hold for another year, but we look forward to its return in 2022.

The Toronto International Bicycle Show, scheduled for March 2021, has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. TBN has played a role in the show each year, with a busy booth in the exhibition area and we always welcome the opportunity to greet old and new friends. Sadly, that forum is on hold for another year, but we look forward to its return in 2022.

Join TBNers for virtual city walks

Join your TBN friends for virtual walks in Toronto and beyond, where we use Google Streetview to explore neighbourhoods and chat on Zoom about key sights. Our Zoom conferences start at around 10:10 am on Sundays. Details on the TBN website.

This year's membership is free for paid-up members

We lost much of our 2020 riding season because of COVID19, so as a big thank you for bearing with us, TBN will automatically extend membership by 365 days for all members in good standing (those who have paid their dues in full). You lost your 2020 season with TBN, so we’re giving you another one.

The background: TBN was unable to operate from March through July, and our schedule was limited for the rest of the year. And with a second wave underway, we know we won't be offering our normal slate of winter activities.

We’ll take another look at membership dues as we continue through these challenging times and will do our utmost to continue to offer great value to all our members.

Remember to visit the TBN calendar of events to find out more about what's coming up. The little TTC logo below will help alert you to any subway closures.

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