East is West, I mean, oh, damn Toronto.
12.06.08 by Buffalo Bill
I don’t know why it is, but for some reason whenever I am in Toronto, my sense of direction fails me, and I get turned around. North becomes South, and I get very confused as to my West and East, which is pretty important in TO, because it is oriented as a grid along Lake Ontario, with Yonge Street as the North Sount axis. Even with the sun up, as it was yesterday, my head was telling me that I was riding West, when my eyes could see the shadows cast by setting sun in front of me. I actually had to look at that sentence twice, and correct West to East, so confused am I.
Anyway, enough of my problems. If you went to TO in 95, you will remember Spreads, a courier hangout, a bit like the Duke used to be for London, at Temperance Street which is in the heart of the Core, downtown TO. Spreads is no more, and it’s not entirely clear if there is a replacement. I rode up there last night after I built my bike, half-expecting to turn the corner and see 500 drunk bicycle messengers milling around. Instead, there was an empty street. Nostalgia is over-rated, as the cliche has it.
Today I went to the Jet Fuel Coffee Shop, run by one of the original alleycats, Jonny Englar, and hooked up with this ugly mug. Jonny and Erik were just off to the Island to build a ‘floating monstrosity’, some sort of sketchy, nasty dangerous checkpoint for the main race of the champs, which is taking place out on the island. This concept is being supplied by the crew that conceived and produced the Human Powered Rollercoaster, a legendary and dangerous figure of eight track. Sounds like fun.
Incidentally, this blog was brought to you courtesy of La Carrera cycles, who are at 106 Harbord St., Toronto. For those of you in TO, or heading for TO, pick up an unofficial programme and a coffee from La Carrera. And ogle the Futura custom paint on the Colnago. If you are really lucky, you might run into this guy, Squid from New York City, who must be amongst the most respected messengers on the planet, if not THE most respected messengers on the planet. We were trying to work out, Nadir, Squid and I, counting on our fingers, how long it was since CMWC was last in TO. 13 years. Squid told me today that CMWC 95 was his first messenger event of any description, and it totally blew his mind. It was CMWC that inspired the organisation of the first alleycat in NYC in 95, which in turn led to the birth of messenger culture in NYC, and indirectly the incredible growth of bicycle culture in NYC. All from the messenger worlds.
I made a Flickr group for CMWC 2008 which is here.
My own CMWC 2008 set is here.