AuthorCraig Forcese; Nicole LaViolette
Chapter 1
Bicycles and cycling have been a feature of Canadian lives and roadways
since the 19th century.1 But there is no doubt that we are witnessing a new
cycling boom in the 21st century. For example, commentators have repeat-
edly called cycling the “new golf,” a comparison emphasizing the extent to
which bicycle riding has become a preferred activity for movers and shakers
who traditionally populate the greens.2 For many people, however, cycling is
much more than business networking in lycra. Bicycles are widely used today
by Canadians for leisure, work, commuting, travel, exercise, and athletic
competition. They are not only a source of recreation, but for an increasing
number, a chief source of mobility.
Seemingly in direct proportion, news items regularly report on accidents
involving cyclists, the value (or not) of mandatory helmet laws, doping
scandals in professional cycling, and proposals for amendments to existing
traff‌ic laws to increase safety for cyclists. Municipalities are incrementally
improving cycling infrastructure and bicycle routes, while legislatures de-
bate legal reforms to acknowledge the needs and status of cyclists. Manu-
facturers are enjoying a boom in the sales and manufacture of bicycles and
cycling equipment. The sport of cycling, with events like the Tour de France,
has become not only popular entertainment, but also a common pastime
for an increasing number of amateur cyclists. On top of actual bike racing,
organized bicycle tours and rides, charity rides, and the latest European
import, the “Grand Fondo” or “big ride,” are now extremely popular. And
cycling-related sporting disciplines, like triathlon, have witnessed a partici-
pation explosion over the last decade.

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