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LCBO probably makes more progress in one flyer than Toronto’s cycling advocates make in two years…

Published May 3, 2010

by dbazely

My latest set of blogs are a bit delayed, because following on from teaching BIOLOGY 2010, York's Plant Biology course, and the arrival of a very early spring, I am writing a lot about food - security and sustainability. These blogs take a lot of fact-checking and research and are time-consuming to write.

So, here's a quick shout out to the LCBO - the Liquor Control Board of Ontario - who this past weekend, likely did more to promote cycling as a form of sustainable transportation among non-enthusiasts, than all of the cyclists, cycle clubs and cycling advocates that I know, put together, including the City of Toronto cycling office!


They put a very handsome young man, dressed in an impeccably tailored suit on a bike, and made it the cover of last weekend's flyer promoting French wine. This arrived as an insert in our Saturday paper.

Marketing-wise, we'd normally expect to see this chap in an ad for an expensive sports car, but here he is, on a bike, looking cool and trendy. Ahem, note to male members of my fellow middle-aged cohort "you are more likely to keep fitting into your expensive suits, if you cycle, rather than buy a sports car".

I have cycled hundreds and hundreds of kilometers in Oxford and Cambridge, as well as in the Netherlands, and Sweden. Everyone and their dog cycles around. BUT here in North America, despite the best intentions of  advocates, cycling's just not as widely perceived as something that everyone should do, for all of their life. I hope that this flyer cover has some unintended consequences that are good for the environment and people's health.

Just one beef about the adverts: as the parent of a teen, who thinks that bike helmets are totally dorky, despite the stats and the wide availability of cool helmets (widely reviewed, including at the website, Outdoor Urbanite) - I do wish that the inside shot with the baguette and flowers showed the model wearing a bike helmet.

[photopress:LCBO_french_lessons2.jpg,thumb,pp_image] DrumTom

Dawn R. Bazely

Posted in: Blogs | IRIS Director Blog | Shopping the Talk

3 thoughts on “LCBO probably makes more progress in one flyer than Toronto’s cycling advocates make in two years…

  1. I noticed this advert too and was impressed, but didn’t make the connection that it was actually promoting biking in a society that is largely non-bike-conscious. Who knows, maybe it will encourage Torontonians/Ontarians to bike more…but I think Toronto needs more handsome streets like those of Paris where people will get a joy out of riding, not be constantly harrassed by drivers that don’t have the same respect for riders like they do in Europe!

    P.S.> I was one of the students in last year’s Design for Sustainability summer course that you taught in! Good to see that you’re blogging! 🙂

  2. Dear Cristina – hello! I was just teaching the ecological framework for this year’s sustainable design course and got laryngitis. But, this did not stop me from giving a lecture at the Canadian Armed Forces College about Human Security, yesterday!
    I think that the advert is sending an unconscious, (perhaps), message. But, I also agree with you that we need more bike-friendly streets in Toronto.
    The old adage about “walking a mile” in someone’s shoes is SO correct. Because I cycled for years, I give cyclists as much space as I can (which gets me honked by other drivers). On the flip side, I get very upset when I see cyclists riding without lights at night. The other week, I passed 5 bikes driving to High Park from U of T area, and NONE of them had lights. In Oxford or Cambridge, light-less riders get ticketed. We need to have both drivers and cyclists follow rules better. Best, dawn

  3. Uh no….doesn’t do it for me.

    I wear a suit to work and would never bike to work in it. The seat would wear out the expensive pant material. Also, the weather can be unpredictable….would never chance wetting quality clothing.

    Even environmentally friendly bosses don’t appreciate a soaking wet executive, sales rep etc.

    I tried to take transit in the winter…and the hostile environment was not suit or dress-shoe friendly.

    Utopia is a nice dream. Then you have to wake up.

    PS: same for women in nice dress-wear
    PSS: ask a woman…choose…a safe, secure car…or to sit next to a make stranger on a bus…car wins. Women cheirsh safety…and protecting those lovely shoes! 🙂