Never leave home without your panniers

You never know when you might win something—and I was glad I had my panniers on my bike at the wrap-up party of the Bike to Work Week. I won a gift basket from Vancouver’s Yale Rhythm and Blues Club including a bottle of wine, VIP passes, CD and t-shirt. Thank you Yale Club.

Vancouver cyclists were really lucky this year. We had great weather every day during the 2008 Bike to Work Week. Over 1,700 new riders participated. The BBQ at Science World—okay, Telus World of Science—included music by the Bicycle Shed Ensemble and entertainment by the B:C: Clettes dance group. Two people propelled the sound system by pedalling stationary bicycles and M&M Meats provided food.

While flipping through the new issue of Momentum magazine, I noticed a great item for rainy days in Vancouver—an attachment to hold the umbrella (see photo above). I need to find a local retailer.

For more cycling information, visit Vancouver Area Cycling Coalition.

Coming Cycle Events

June is Bike Month—50 events

Tour de Blintz, June 8 & 15, 2008

Slow Food Cycle Tour of Agassiz, BC, August 9, 2008

If you rather not cycle, how about building your own online Kaleidoscope?


Man who loves film too much

In his role as a television film critic, David Gilmour always struck me as a cranky opinionated guy who thought the world revolved around him. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t drawn to his memoir about a three-year period he hung out with his high-school dropout son watching films that Gilmour chose.

One evening, at one of Vancouver’s best Indian buffet diners, I unwrapped a birthday present revealing the cover of The Film Club. At first glance, I was relieved the book wasn’t a self-help title, the type one or two friends are compelled to give. I thought, yeah, I’ll read this sometime.

For several months, my copy of The Film Club sat on a shelf in my living room with its cover facing up. One night, tired of watching re-runs of Law & Order re-runs I picked up the book to accompany me into the tub. As I settled in the warm water with the book, I quickly concluded that the role of writer was a better fit for Gilmour than film critic. Maybe that’s what was wrong with him—a writer locked inside the body of an art critic.

The book’s bio indicated that not only had Gilmour written a few novels, but one novel had won a Governor’s Award. And his TV show, Gilmour on the Arts, won some kind of award. Too bad, I thought, I had tuned him out for the crime of being opinionated, when ironically, that’s what he was being paid to do.

While reading The Film Club, I started to skim the references to movies as I found the delivery of so many—some known to me and some unknown—difficult to absorb. As I continued reading, I skimmed more, thinking the book would be a handy reference later if I ever wanted to watch old films (and it’s nice that the book includes an index of the movies discussed).

Sometimes it felt as if Gilmour was dropping names a bit too much—particularly David Cronenberg’s—relying on those former film critic connections to up his credibility. And sometimes the telling of the son’s romantic and sexual explorations ran a little on the creepy side, reminding me of Gilmour, the former notorious womanizer.

Perhaps it was a little too intimate. Perhaps at times a bit too tender. The story portrayed a man running against time and wanting to help his son grow up, but also perhaps fearing the loss of an important role. Was fatherhood slipping away? Not likely. Gilmour’s unusual educational model—the films—was a brave approach, something some readers (bloggers and critics) found offensive. The Film Club turned out to be a good thing for both father and son.

My accidental reading of this Gilmour book put his name on my reading list.


• CBC’s Evan Solomon positions David Gilmour as provocateur. And Gilmour announces his has given up writing novels—because he has found happiness.
• Brian Fawcett’s review of The Film Club
• A blogger who really didn’t like The Film Club backed with good reasons
• A blogger who, unlike me, wanted more film stuff
• A review with photos of father and son and links to interview with David Gilmour

Don’t bogart that road, my friend

When presenting at SFU Business School on May 15, 2008, the cycling advocate from Rutgers University was so excited that several times he knocked off his clip-on mic. While John Pucher’s 1½ hour presentation was way too long, it contained a lot of good information for cycling commuter advocates to bring to city planners.

Most noteworthy lesson from Pucher’s study of cycling in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany is that when cycling increases, accidents decrease. It’s so safe to cycle in these countries that commuters do not wear helmets.

Also, cycling demographics show as people age, the more they commute by bicycle.

In Berlin, free Internet cycling trip planning is offered. Cyclists can indicate preferences for speed, type of pavement, type of street, and so on. Cyclists can also plan their trips by cellphone, viewing the map in the cellphone’s display.

SFU Business School on Granville apologized for the lack of bicycle racks claiming their racks were stolen.


A biketopian vision

In the June 2008 issue of Walrus, there’s a great article on cycling titled, Geared Up: On the road to two-wheeled transcendence. Reading the first sentence or two, trying to remember the streets of Toronto that were mentioned, I wondered how the writer got away with such a terrible lead. Another sentence or two and I was hooked. My smug criticism melted to wonderment as Bill Reynolds’ slow hook mirrored the subject he writes about—cycling to commute. Reynolds also describes leisure cycling and a bit about racing. Walrus calls the article a rider’s biketopian vision.

Reynolds takes the reader around some parts of Toronto, past a deadly accident, onto country cycling and a bicycle group crashup with another death. He includes a history of the bicycle, a discourse on urban commuting cycling and a brief look at European cycling systems.

In Vancouver on June 15, John Pucher from Rutgers University’s gives a talk on cycling in the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. For information on Cycling for Everyone, check out SFU’s free public lectures.

Here’s a group of women cyclists called the B:C:Clettes having fun.

Other cycling sources:
The Bike Guy’s blog
Momentum Magazine’s blog

Love at first blink

Movie poster

I’m glad a friend recommended seeing The Diving Bell and the Butterfly on the big screen and not wait for the DVD. I had missed the movie during its regular run, so I was also pleased that the Van East theatre, that no longer exists, brought it back for another weekend in the matinée time slot.

I love movie matinées. For one thing, the matinée is not as crowded as other times. The blast of light that hits my face as I leave the theatre makes me feel like a squirrel or groundhog, coming out of its nest for a journey outside. Sometimes my eyes are slow to adjust to the light, other times it’s a matter of seconds and I’ve forgotten the darkness. Some movies fade just as quickly as the darkness. But not The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. It will be with me for a long time. I’ll read the book and I’ll get the DVD to see the extras.

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