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9 Reasons Urban Cycling Makes You an Overall Hardcore Person

By Claire McFarlane, Illustration by Ian Sullivan Cant

When I first moved to Toronto, my dear sister (an already city-savvy cyclist) gave me her old bike, a helmet and a lock and a few words of wisdom about cycling in Toronto. Advice such as, “Always cross streetcar tracks at a 90 degree angle to avoid getting stuck in them,” have come in extremely handy since. Now, almost a year later, I am more in love than ever with cycling and rely on my bike as my primary form of transportation. Over the past year I’ve realized that cycling has allowed me to evolve into perhaps an overall better, tougher and more hardcore person, and I figure it likely helps others accomplish the same. (Please be advised that the following reasons cycling helps you become an overall hardcore person are solely the representation of my personal opinions and may not reflect the views of all or other cyclists.)

  1.  You are the epitome of efficiency. You have the power to combine your workout and your commute while enjoying an amazing urban adventure.
  2.  You develop a kind of courage that you might not normally have, the kind that allows you to yell at asshole drives that park in the bike lane and who don’t leave you enough space on the road. *
  3.  You, on occasion, may wipe out, but you pick yourself up and keep riding; a little road rash isn’t enough to kill your cycling spirit.
  4.  You develop a bit of an ego after the first few times you pass the same fancy car stuck in traffic on your commute.
  5. You are completely independent; you never need to rely on a second party to get where you need to go.
  6.  You have successfully debunked the old tale that being out in the rain causes illness because you have biked through countless downpours and never missed a beat.
  7. You are always on time for everything because almost no amount of traffic or TTC outages can slow you down.
  8. Your pants start to get worn out in the crotch but you can use the 5 minutes (or more) you saved not sitting in traffic to change out of your ‘bike pants’ and into your ‘work pants’.
  9. Your coworkers may make fun of your helmet but you brush it off because you know just how hardcore you really are (and that your hair looks great).

I strongly believe that cycling helped me to not only survive my first year living in the city but helped me to thrive and to thoroughly enjoy the past 12 months.

*Not all motorists who park in the bike lane or who are not willing to share the road are necessarily assholes, they may have a good reason for doing so (but they really shouldn’t be).

Claire McFarlane has been the dandy managing editor for the last six months and is returning to Ryerson’s journalism school in the fall.

Coming Soon: Ryerson journalism student  – and brand new city cyclist – Jenna Campbell will join the dandy team and share with readers her perspective on cycling for the first time in Toronto.

Related on the dandyBLOG:

7 Ways to Save your Lover

End of the Road for Ride For A Dream

City Cyclist: Toronto construction and bad bike lanes

dandyARCHIVE: Heels on Wheels with Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon

A new Torontonian’s first bike (coming soon)

A new Torontonian’s first bike ride (coming soon)

9 Reasons Urban Cycling Makes You an Overall Hardcore Person
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There is an overhyped fear that members might get upset. 

I’m really not too worried if members get upset. I’d rather they didn’t get upset, but it’s not a big deal if they do. 

People get upset all the time. Some people have personalities where they’re prone to being easily upset. 

It’s whether being upset has consequences. The answer is usually no. 

I care about whether members visit less, participate less, or buy less. If being upset correlates with one of those, then it’s time to take actions. 

In a large enough community, a minority will be upset about anything you do. Some just won’t like you because you’re the authority figure. 

The danger is spending too much time trying to make these people happy. They will never be happy. Spending your time placating the negative members will leave you emotionally drained. You feel like the victim.

Spend your time helping happy members do something great. You will feel much better.

On October 29th to 30th, the world’s top 250 community professionals are going to SPRINT in San Francisco. Will you be one of them?

Why Community Professionals Feel Like Victims
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RFM AvatarSmall



Amazon has done Sony and Microsoft a big favour by acquiring Twitch.

  • Amazon has reached an agreement to purchase Twitch for $972m in cash.
  • Twitch is a YouTube-like website that allows users to upload their video game experiences and share them with other like-minded users.
  • The site has 55m users with 7m logging on every day.
  • Engagement is extremely strong with each of the 7m users spending an average of 2 hours per day on the website.
  • Twitch will become part of the Amazon group of companies but will continue to operate independently.
  • Apart from Twitch’s owners, by far the biggest winners from this transaction are Sony and Microsoft.
  • Gaming is the single biggest piece of the Digital Life pie.
  • Users spend more time playing games on their smartphones and tablets than they do anything else.
  • The Google ecosystem is the largest and strongest ecosystem in the market and it has a glaring hole in its offering: Gaming.
  • By acquiring Twitch, Google would have been a position to use Twitch’s relationship with 55m gamers to jump in and give Microsoft and Sony a really hard time.
  • This is why when it appeared that Google was going to buy Twitch, I was of the opinion that Microsoft and Sony needed to do something to head Google off at the pass (see here).
  • Amazon has very kindly done both companies a big favour and kept Twitch out of Google’s clutches.
  • I suspect that the reason why Google failed to acquire Twitch is the same reason why Amazon will get very little benefit from this acquisition.
  • I think that Google failed to acquire Twitch because Twitch insisted on remaining independent while Google knows full well that to get any value out of it, it needs to be integrated into its Digital Life offering.
  • Start-up companies like this are such hot property right now that they can insist on, and get whatever terms they like when it comes to acquisition.
  • Facebook has exactly the same problem with WhatsApp (see here) and I think that it will be unable to do anything with it while the current situation persists.
  • Consequently, I think that Amazon is going to really struggle to create a coherent gaming offering around Twitch until it can convince the founders to properly integrate into Amazon.
  • This gives Sony and Microsoft breathing space when it comes to the threat that Google presents to their ecosystems.
  • This is particularly so for Sony, whose ecosystem ambitions are almost entirely dependent on growing its influence beyond gaming and media consumption.
  • PlayStation, PC and Xbox produce almost all of Twitch’s content and these platforms are controlled by the two companies.
  • Consequently, I do not think it would be very difficult for Twitch’s offering to be recreated or even improved if the two could come to some arrangement.
  • In the immediate term this is very unlikely and both companies can be very thankful that Twitch has gone to a far less dangerous competitor in the digital ecosystem world.

Amazon – A very good turn
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Over the years we’ve seen everyday Canadians rack up massive wireless roaming charges. However, it’s not just ordinary people making the carriers revenues increase, but high profile politicians.

Alberta PC leadership candidate Thomas Lukaszuk is coming clean before the big election and declared he amassed a huge charges during a 2012 vacation as part of the “Compassion to Action” program Lukaszuk, who was Deputy Premier at the time, said, “there really isn’t private time” and he had to attend to urgent legal file “that required my attention…[and] needed to be dealt with.”

Upon finding out the monetary damage, which was over $20,000, his staff contacted TELUS to reduce the charges, but was unsuccessful and “the bill was begrudgingly paid.” In retaliation, Lukaszuk has since changed carriers.

“Absolutely I made a mistake, and for that I apologize. I did not check the data plan myself, and I did not confirm that my office had done so. The result was that accomplishing a task cost the government more than it should have. This was an expensive lesson,” said Lukaszuk.

Yes, the taxpayers paid his wireless charges.

Source Lukaszuk, Star

Thomas Lukaszuk’s $20,000 roaming bill paid by taxpayers, says ‘This was an expensive lesson’
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Earlier this year, The Duke of York and Nominet Trust announced the launch of a new initiative to encourage young people to start their own business ventures.

This week, KPMG, one of the leading providers of professional accounting services in the UK, announced they will be backing the initiative, which is aiming to help more than one million UK youth develop digital skills and business ideas over the next five years:

KPMG plus Barclays, MicrosoftTelefónica (O2), Mozilla,, Silicon Valley Bank and University of Huddersfield have given their support to iDEA – the inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, which has been devised by The Duke of York and Nominet Trust – the UK’s only dedicated tech for good funder.

iDEA has been created to help 14-25-year-olds develop their digital, enterprise and entrepreneurial skills, boost the confidence of young people and increase their employability status.

Young people taking part in the iDEA award scheme will have their skills and achievements recognised through open badges - a new global standard to recognise skills and achievements across the web. In addition to the three core iDEA badges, many of the new partners will sponsor their own open badge and offer participants in the programme the chance to carry out online tasks in order to earn one.

A full launch of the initiative will happen in October 2014.

For more information, visit

What a good iDEA!
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