There’s a scene in the documentary Manufacturing Consent in which Noam Chomsky makes some offhand critiques about sports. I first saw this film in high school, when I was an avid athlete. Chomsky’s comments are rather tangential to main topic of the documentary – filtering, control, and “propaganda models” in the American news media – … More Can Sports be Intellectual?
Throughout high school, I played competitive basketball at the top level in Ontario. While basketball players are not at the very top of the jock-scale, there was still enough trash-talking, inflated egos, and shitty masculinity (which I regretfully participated in at times) to turn me off of the sport by the time I got to … More Cycling is Still Bro
About a month ago, 60 Minutes ran a segment investigating the issue of so-called “mechanical doping” in cycling. The (admittedly silly) term refers to mechanical cheating, specifically, the surreptitious placement of motors in bicycles used in professional racing. I’ll get into the specifics in a moment, but will mention as a preface that the gist … More Do you Believe in Mechanical Doping?
I’m going to start with the assumption that, at one time and place or another, people who bike have been chastised by people who drive for not “following the rules of the road.” I have seen and heard this grievance aired frequently. It has often been presented as an argument against increased bicycle infrastructure. It … More The Rules of the Road are Baloney
If you live around Bloor Street in Toronto you might have noticed something remarkable today: the commencement of the installation of bike lanes on Bloor. I hope it not too hyperbolic to say that this is a momentous occasion, and as such, I should probably write a positive and optimistic piece. But instead I’m going … More The Latest Front in the “War on Cars”
As far as questions of ethics in sports go, cycling has been one of the most pronounced sources of moral dilemma. While the source of the dilemmas might seem obvious it’s worth examining their ostensible roots. Sports are supposed to be fair. Fairness is typically construed to mean that no participant should have access to … More Performance Enhancing Drugs and the Limits of Human Nature
Those of you who don’t live in Toronto are unaware, but a previously unfathomable thing came to pass on Wednesday. Toronto City Council voted in favour of a pilot project for bike lanes on one of Toronto’s major (if not the major) thoroughfares, Bloor Street. The rallying call of “Bike Lanes on Bloor” from cyclists … More Bikes Lanes on Bloor and the Suburbs: On Dependency and Freedom from Cars
I suspect a recurring theme on this blog will be: what’s the point? My inaugural post starts by facing this existential question. In a world where free-will seems dubious, or at least impotent in the face of powers beyond one’s control, and where one’s actions appear so insignificant and futile, what of ethics? I’ve routinely … More “It’s Not Like Riding a Bike Will Change Anything”
In Toronto, where I do most of my biking, bike ridership is growing, but a fully-fledged bike culture has yet to emerge. I mean this in as broad a sense as possible. There are certainly cyclists, and bike scenes, and various cycling-subcultures. But cycling has yet to become fully integrated into the fabric of the … More Etiquette and Infrastructure
Steven Herrick at the Guardian wonders: Why do people make fun of spandex bike clothing? It is a peculiar phenomenon for cyclists. When people find out that I’m “a cyclist” (which is often how I get introduced in social settings by friends), I routinely get asked, “You’re not one of those people who wears tight … More Why do People Make Fun of Spandex Bike Clothes?