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August 2009
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Don't Bring Your Bike in Here

The angry environmentalist came out in me yesterday. I had ultimate frisbee last night at Sunnybrook Park (NOT transit friendly) so my bf and I decided to carpool – I would bike to work in the morning than bike over to his office to head over together. I was so caught off guard when I got to his office that I just got angry (probably not the best way to react in retrospect).

When I arrived at his office I texted him to say I had arrived, walked into the lobby of his building, bike in tow, and was waiting for the elevator. And then it happened. This overweight, googlie-eyed man started yelling at me ‘This is private property. What do you think you’re doing? There are no bikes in here! Get out. This is for private residents.’

I couldn’t be one of those residents? I didn’t have anything on that would suggest I was protesting something. I had no posters, stickers or any other paraphernalia I was going to post somewhere. I was standing there in my plain MEC bike shorts, solid coloured bike shirt with my backpack and helmet on.

Whoa! I couldn’t believe that with all the ‘green’ movements in Toronto I couldn’t bring my bike in. I did say to him ‘Ok. I’ll be sure to check the Toronto laws.’ At which point a yelling match ensued. He also then used his stature to intimidate me – all 165cm and 51kg (5’6″ & 115lbs) was no match as he came storming towards me.

Here’s the part that really got me. I was being thrown out of the building for having my bicycle with me, actually thrown off their ‘private’ sidewalk too (yes the city owns the first 3m of your property, if not past that to water main), when people can bring their pets to work. I think that was what made me so angry.

Don’t get me wrong I’m not anti-pets (I have two siamese cats, a husky-lab dog, help out with my brother leopard gecko, etc). But it did get me thinking.

Unlike a pet my bike will not pee on you or the floor. Same for #2. My bike won’t jump up on your lap, your desk or anything else. My bike will not scratch the walls (I might scratch the walls but cyclists are usually aware and careful). My bike will not give you fleas. My bike will not make your allergies attack you. And most people don’t see a bike and run with fear (yes my white bike with pink trim is quite menacing, especially with my light blue helmet).

What should we do for the ‘green’ future?

It really got me thinking. As we become more environmentally friendly do we really need to create bi-laws that permit us to bring our eco-friendly transport with us? Or can building managers just adapt? More research is needed on this but I wanted to post my frustrations.

Not everyone needs to be an envorinmentalist or environmentally conscious, but we all need to be accepting of each others choices. Maybe what also angered me yesterday was the complete lack of tolerance for someone who cared about the environment, for someone who carpooled.