News / Toronto

'We're no longer needed': Community bike group calls it quits

Nearly 25 years after launch, the Community Bicycle Network says cycling has come a long way in Toronto.

A cyclist rides north on Bay Street last week. The non-profit Community Bicycle Network has announced plans to close down after nearly a quarter century of fighting for cyclists in Toronto.

Eduardo Lima / Metro Order this photo

A cyclist rides north on Bay Street last week. The non-profit Community Bicycle Network has announced plans to close down after nearly a quarter century of fighting for cyclists in Toronto.

One of Toronto's oldest cycling advocacy groups is riding off into the sunset.

Community Bicycle Network, a non-profit that has promoted sustainable transportation through volunteer work in the city since 1993, has announced plans to close down and let other groups keep up the fight.

"We started out of a need for a space where cyclists could order parts and get discounts, and that led into advocacy for more services and infrastructure," said the network's board chair Adrian Currie, recalling similar early organizations like the West End Bike Club and the Cabbagetown Bike Club.

The city now has so many organizations that do what the network initially set out to do, from cycling advocacy and bike workshops to DIY spaces for people. It has become hard for the network to find "a vision and a mission" that's different from others, said Currie, who also sits on the board of Cycle Toronto.

"We decided to close the doors because we're no longer needed," he said.

The network was instrumental in introducing the country's first bike-lending program back in 2001, which featured about 150 yellow bikes. The group pushed for bike racks on TTC buses and advocated cycling infrastructure such as bikes lanes and tracks on Richmond and Adelaide, the contra-flow lane on Shaw Street and most recently the Bloor bike lanes.

The group is working itself out of a job, Currie said, which indicates that cycling in the city has come a long way. Infrastructure has increased, certainly, but there has also been a change of attitude, especially with a younger demographic embracing biking as a mode of transportation.

"People have slowly realized that you can't drive the car forever," he said, noting even city hall has shifted and cycling is no longer an issue on the periphery.

Going forward, Currie hopes existing cycling organizations will continue to advocate for more funding for complete minimum grid, separated bike lanes to increase the safety of vulnerable road users.

"There's a serious momentum right now, and it's only going to grow," he said.

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