A worldwide art and cycling organization PED.Toronto is bringing free bike art tours of the Ossington and Trinity Bellwoods neighborhood. The initiative is based out of Koffler Centre’s summer exhibit at Artscape Youngplace on Shaw.
The PED Collective organizes these community focused bike tours, exposing citizens to different layers of their cities in Buffalo, Rio, Belfast, St. John’s and Chongqing, China. And now we are lucky to have the opportunity to take a ride in our own city, our own neighborhood, all summer.
These free bike tours can be done individually or with a friend. There is no tour guide: you will borrow a bicycle at the gallery which comes equipped with the tour on speakers.
Start the experience at Artscape Youngplace
The experience is pretty simple, actually. Just head over to the Artscape building on Shaw Street, and follow the signs to the Koffler Gallery – it’s straight ahead through the front door. The bikes can be taken out whenever the gallery is open – no need to call in advance. Opening hours are Tuesday to Friday from 12 PM – 6 PM and Saturday & Sunday from 11 AM – 5 PM.
Getting a Bike
The bikes are all lined up and plugged in. You’ll need to sign a waiver and leave your ID and a credit card as security – you won’t be charged unless you damage or lose the bike – and then you’re eligible to ride!
These bikes are equipped with speakers – you just need to choose which tour you want to take, and turn it on. As soon as you do that, the tour starts on your speakers. There are helmets available to borrow too.
You can choose 1 of 3 cycle tours, each about 20 minutes in length. They are called Toronto the Good, Toronto the Better and Toronto the Best and that they go from easy (little road riding) to hardest (mostly road riding). After our tour (we did Best), we learned there is much more to it than that. Each option takes a different route and has a different theme:
- Good, which covers mostly the CAMH grounds, focuses on Toronto as a location for film and fiction
- Better travels Trinity Bellwoods and West Queen West and talks about the streetscape and local culture around the gallery
- Best was an out-there scifi narrative about endangered species and floods. I think. It took us across Queen West to Dovercourt, up to College and back east to Shaw and south back to the Artscape building.
Take Your Tour
Once you’ve chosen your tour route, follow the red dots out of the gallery and the building. Take your time pedalling the route as the tech on the bike recognizes where you are and will cut over some of the commentary to alert you when to turn. We may have missed some of the tour as a result of moving too fast, and there is no way to rewind the recording. There is also no way to change the volume, so while you’re inside the gallery it sounds really loud, it won’t sound that way out on the streets.
Back at The Koffler
The gallery features exhibits from the other cities where PED tours have been run. The exhibit and tours run throughout the summer at Koffler, until August 21st.