I'm glad someone said it (and so well, too!) because although I ride bikes, and I'm political (a left-wing kook actually), I don't really like to see the two tangled up together.
Even MACLEANS has picked up the cause ...
I look forward to Don's response ... hoping he takes them up on their very kind offer.
OPEN LETTER TO DON CHERRY
Dear Don Cherry,
We at Curbside Cycle are hoping you will lend an ear, an eye and an open mind.
Long ago American diplomats to China used to judge the prosperity of that country by the amount of cars on the road. Today, any city driver knows that the original ideals of autonomy and freedom that fueled the automotive industry have been replaced with frustration, rage, and gridlock. Prosperity can mean many things, and as drivers sit angrily in their vehicles haltingly crawling through the city streets, quality of life can feel less than prosperous.
You don’t know us, but we are an independent business – the independent business that introduced Toronto to the ultimate object of real prosperity, the Dutch bicycle, which transports its riders with dignity and swish of fashionable flair that looks fantastic with a snappy suit.
Judging by your eclectic wardrobe, by this time, your ears should be perked. We’re probably the people that gave urban Toronto that image of the left-wing latte-sipping bicyclist. Our bicycles are probably not best suited to the suburbanite bicycle hobbyist that voted Ford into power; you see, for us bikes just aren’t political. Like a bed or toaster oven they are so embedded into our lifestyle, they become part of the background.
We aren’t using them to crusade, we are using them to take kids to school, to get to work (happy and refreshed instead of angry), get groceries, and explore this fantastic city of ours.
Mr.Cherry, the fact is that if you live downtown, bicycles are simply the best way to get around. They reduce car congestion, helping those who must drive do so faster and easier. Bicycles make a great deal of fiscal sense, keeping the population fit and healthy and reducing costs all over the map.
The stereotypes you are parroting have changed. Yes, many people who want a change ride a bicycle (you can call them left-wing pinkos but they are fighting for a cause, just as you do in your work with children’s charities), but many other cyclists simply do so because IT MAKES SENSE. They are as politically attached to their bicycles as they are to their toaster ovens. They have Bay Street jobs, watch hockey and some even voted for Rob Ford.
People ride because cars can no longer keep their promise of freedom and autonomy, the bicycle can. You see, we don’t like the gravy train anymore than those folks in “Ford country”, but you may be surprised by how many Ford supporters ride around each day by bicycle. In other words, the stereotype isn’t particularly helpful and certainly doesn’t unify a city in desperate need of a diverse transportation solution.
So we’d like to take a little egg off your face and allow you to (literally) do a bit of backpedalling. We’d like to give you a bicycle. In a blushing shade of ironic pink, this bike will be customized to your own remarkable style. The bike will be a Pashley from the United Kingdom, a company that has been producing real city bikes for 80 years, and the details will be custom painted by Noah Rosen of Velocolour. We’re asking the city to choose their favorite Don Cherry pattern (below) whether it be be a Plaid, a floral, or what-have-you.
And we’d like you to come by, pick it up in person, and go for a latte with us.
Oh, and you can invite your friend Rob, too.
--> The inspiration for fender paint-job choices (I'm pretty sure plaid is the winner!)