July 04, 2022

Riding Toronto with Mayor John Bauters - Part 1

Back on February 9, Mayor John Bauters of Emeryville, California put up a poll asking where bike advocates wanted him to go for a ride this summer. He then replied to @SusieH33 saying he would do Toronto if 100 people separately replied with “Toronto”. In true #BikeTO fashion, we flooded his Twitter account with replies calling on him to visit this city. On Sunday, July 3, Mr. Bauters made good on his promise to ride with local advocates, as well as helped out the Toronto Bike Brigade on Saturday.

Robin Richardson and Lanrick Bennett Jr organized the ride which went down Yonge Street to highlight the need to make the Midtown Yonge complete street pilot permanent in January 2023. The ride then went along Bloor Street, University Avenue, Adelaide Street, and Sherbourne Street to Sugar Beach before taking Esplanade-Mill to the Distillery District for some ice cream at Soma Chocolatemaker. A must for any ride with Mr. Bauters. 😉

Roughly 70 people (plus Mozzie) came out to Lawton Park to welcome Mr. Bauters. Before riding, he made the crowd chuckle about how’s he’s not actually a celebrity and that he had some questions about drivers on Yonge Street which made him feel very disturbed. Unlike many cities, Mr. Bauters does not get a salary or staff as the mayor of Emeryville; a city of 13,000 people in the San Francisco Bay area. He demonstrated his passion for not just safe streets, but also affordable housing and places for children to grow and lead healthy lives.

Lanrick, John, and Robin taking centre stage before the ride

About ten people from Scarborough – Including Nithursan and Jonathan – made it for this occasion.

Here’s a shot of the ride assembling on Lawton Boulevard before riding along Yonge Street.

Along Yonge Street, Lanrick encouraged us to take the lane except for when we needed to regroup. Here are a few more photos along the street.

Mayor John Bauters can be seen with the Bike Brigade t-shirt

Here is Bloor Street just before we turned left onto Avenue Road. You can see Albert Koehl of the Toronto Community Bikeways Coalition and City Council candidate Kevin Rupasinghe.

Even though the bike lanes were wide on University, we continued to take the lane.

Here is a video I made on University to show how many riders were present.

Adelaide Street was not that pleasant with streetcar tracks and a driver blocking the bike lane. Appreciate the “safe streets save lives” message from Jess Spieker’s t-shirt.

We then gathered at Sugar Beach for a couple of more photos and some much needed shade for Mozzie (and everyone else).


Our last stop brought up to the Distillery District for a group photo which Ashley Millman of Councillor Brad Bradford’s office kindly took for us.

We then grabbed some delicious ice cream at Soma Chocolatemaker, where I tried their dark chocolate and blueberry flavours.

Before leaving to play fetch with Mozzie, I had the chance to interview Mayor Bauters about Emeryville and his insights on cycling in Toronto. You can read the interview here.

Thanks again to Robin and Lanrick for organizing the ride, as well as to Mayor John Bauters for visiting Toronto. As Mayor Bauters frequently mentions at the end of his videos, GO OUTSIDE!


Just before I hit the "Publish" button on this post, I was informed Brian Tao created this video about the ride. You can watch it below.

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