Thursday, January 31, 2013


As a follow up to our beloved short FABRIC BIKE.... from the back alleys of Toronto we bring you our next project PAINT BIKE! (Creative with the names no?) Major thanks to our pals Jesse Bennett & Thomas Dagg for helping us film, to Nathan, Sonny, Adam, Tom & Sara for their guest appearances, and to all our friends for generally being rad & supportive. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Meanwhile in Canada: Winter Biking FTW!

Meanwhile in Canada Winter Bike photo icycle1_zps66498783.jpg

We present to you three big winter biking events for y'all in Toronto who miss the glorious scene of the summer, when cyclists take over the city in pure fabulousness. In winter Toronto rocks hard at winter biking, so come one, come all and lets have some fun!

Meanwhile in Canada Winter group ride photo icycle4_zpsad222ee7.jpg
Tomorrow!!! It's The Coldest Day of the Year Ride put on by Cycle Toronto! (What's with these last minute posts, right?... jezz...) Meet at 12 noon on Wed Jan 30 at Armoury St. and Chestnut St, just behind City Hall. (see map).

Toronto Icycle 2013!!!!! Wooot! It's Saturday, February 16th, 2013, and starts at 7pm at Dufferin Grove Park. (That's 875 Dufferin Street, just south of Bloor on the east side.) To explain this to outsiders, basically this is a bike race around an ice rink. In costumes. With your friend heckling. Nudity in various forms is ensured. Hilarity! It's because we Canadians embrace winter, and want to have fun all season long. If this doesn't inspire you to bike in the winter, nothing will. (Check out the 2011 National Post article on Icycle that asks Thora and Cannibal Vixen about what they do to bike in the winter.)

Meanwhile in Canada Winter BMX Bike photo icycle2_zps206267a4.jpg
Big ups to Jo No for the video and pictures.

And then we have a The Great Lakes Winter Classic polo tournament going on during the Toronto International Bike Show, March 2 & 3, 2013. Keep Checking out the Bike Polo TO website for information as she comes. 
Meanwhile in Canada Winter Bike Polo photo icycle3_zps24102dec.jpg

And while not an event, it's related... Our Friends at HMPL just put out a new, semi-NSFW video about enjoying "winter" biking in Vancouver. Ha. (Nice buns there Scott ;)
HMPL Winter from Matthew on Vimeo.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Ontario Cyclists- Speak up for your streets! One day to go!

Natalie Boustead, from the About Face Collective

Hey, Rob Ford may still be at Toronto City Hall, but in remembering he is only one man in a large democracy, lets all take the time to participate in this call to action by Cycle Toronto. If we can get the provincial government on board backing better cycling infrastructure, then the Fords anti-cycling slant gets CRUSHED. Let's do this- now! Deadline is Tuesday, January 29th, 2013!

Cycle Toronto LogoOn Nov 30, 2012, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) released its Draft Cycling Strategy. It's the first provincial bike policy update in 20 years! We're encouraged to see the provincial government taking action to improve cycling infrastructure and better educate all road users.

The Draft Cycling Strategy is a response in large part to the Coroner's Review of Provincial Cycling Deaths released in June 2012. The MTO is reviewing the Coroner's recommendations and we need you to tell them how important a provincial Complete Streets policy and lowered speed limits are to you. We need a specific funding commitment with realistic and achievable timelines. We also want the MTO to focus on helmet promotion rather than mandatory helmets, create a new definition for e-bikes, adopt the one-metre rule and make sideguards mandatory for heavy trucks.

Action Alert: Tell the MTO that you want safer streets! We encourage you to:

1) Read our 22 recommendations
2) Submit feedback directly to the MTO before this Tues Jan 29

The Strategy signals a growing recognition by the Province of the role cycling plays in easing congestion, achieving daily requirements for physical activity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing economic development opportunities. This is our opportunity to influence its development. Submit your comments before Tuesday!

Cycle Toronto’s on-going advocacy efforts aren't possible without you. Renew your membership or make a donation today to support our work.

Ride safely,

Jared Kolb
Director of Campaigns & Membership

Also, if you missed it, Ontario Physicians are calling for more bike lanes, STAT. Last year I attended the Ontario Cycling Summit in Toronto, which was sponsored by many levels of government, including Health Canada. In a presentation, I was stunned as I watched a presentation on Ontario's projected healthcare costs due to sedentary lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and stroke, which are set to explode within 15 years. In a cartoon the upward red line would have broken through the page and shattered the ceiling. It's going to be not only a lifestyle epidemic, but a health care crisis due to straining of funds. So if you are trying to convince people to support cycling infrastructure, tell them Doctors and Economists are calling for this due to the very real possibility that car-culture is going to bankrupt this province by 2030. So Mr. Ford, since you claim to want to run this city like a business, I suggest you act like a CFO and do something about the fiscal future of your Province and City- now.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Blog TO - The Make Den is nominated for Best DIY Workspace in Toronto!


It's nice to get noticed!   Laura Adams from Blog TO wrote a great article about us recently and I'm happy to report that I don't sound like a complete tool in it.

Even more recently, Blog TO nominated us for "Best DIY workspace in Toronto", which we are SO honoured to even be mentioned on!!  You can vote here until Saturday.   Go vote because obviously we're buying everyone beer if we win!!

Some of the interview is below, along with a few photos.

The Make Den Sewing Studio recently relocated from within 69 Vintage Collective to a new location at 1244 Bloor Street West, providing a bright and crafty addition to Bloordale's streetscape. With its robin's egg blue walls and ruffled party dress in the window, I couldn't resist popping in one dark winter evening to learn more about what this sewing and design school has to offer.

Founded in 2010, The Make Den offers sewing and design classes, workshops, and camps for all levels: from absolute beginners (like yours truly), to intermediate students looking to sharpen their skills, to aspiring designers applying to competitive fashion programs at institutions like Ryerson University, Parsons in New York City, and Central Saint Martins in London.  The Make Den's owner, Irene Stickney, has a passion for teaching students of all levels that is infectious and heartfelt. For those pursuing sewing as a hobby--about 75% of her students--The Make Den provides an outlet to explore their creative side, which is often not fulfilled in their day jobs. Irene loves helping these students create new things, have fun, and acquire a life-long skill.

For the 25% of her students pursuing a career in fashion design, Irene aims to offer top-notch instruction on technical skills and a supportive community. "Toronto has amazing designers and they need more resources. I want to be able to support designers. I want to be able to say I've made a difference for designers." The Make Den provides these students with classes, camps, studio space, endless encouragement, and even photo shoots (by Irene) to build their portfolio. Talking about her advanced students and their creations, Irene beams with pride. "Don't forget me when you're famous!" she jokes with them...

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Muttonhead Collective & Toronto Production

Rob Ford's appeal verdict will be released tomorrow at 10:30 am. Who else is nervous with anticipation? (If he gets kicked out, does anyone want to do a mashup Lance Armstrong/Rob Ford ride for kicks?) One thing our fearless leader never seemed to talk about was actual job creation or bringing back manufacturing to Toronto. Production and manufacturing jobs would be super useful to the city. Did you know Toronto was once the 3rd largest apparel manufacturing city in North America? In this city we can't all be marketing account executives, restaurant owners, bankers and real estate lawyers. This city needs a diverse job portfolio. There is also a global market shift that is making overseas production less and less affordable, along with quality control harder and more expensive to manage.

 photo muttonheadgridto_zps97b1ec26.jpg

When politicians fail to be visionary and lead, and they usually do, it's young entrepreneurs that lead the way.  Despite little to no support in regards to manufacturing from the city, Toronto is teaming with talented, productive hands. The Deadly Nightshade's past Style Spins were in celebration of local artisans and fashion and apparel producers. (Did you see us in the Toronto Star or the BBC?). The Deadly Nightshades are included in that category; Cat Essiambre has her own Seafoam Apparel Production Agency, Laura works with YNOT, Irene is the Queen of The Make Den, and Patricia is talented production gun for hire.

 photo muttonhead_zps201a9a27.jpg

The ever talented local Toronto unisex brand Muttonhead Collective was featured in last week's Grid TO. The article is a great read about the surviving production industry around Sterling Road at Landsdown and Bloor. Fittingly, this area was the location for 2012 Toronto Alternative Fashion Week. Muttonhead celebrates modern Canadiana right, through aesthetics and production methods. They are bound for success.
Since she [Meg Sinclair] created Muttonhead as her design thesis collection when she graduated from Ryerson almost three years ago, local production has been her focus. “I’m finding that people care more where it’s made rather than [if] it’s made
from organic cotton,” she says.
Muttonhead Collective is having an amazing end of season sale. Check it out!

 photo muttonheadtheend_zps5a534cdb.jpg

Monday, January 21, 2013

The #1 Rule

The Deadly Nightshades have only one rule: Don't Die.

Basically any other suggestions we have stem from Rule #1. These Biking Rules Street Code from NYC's Transportation Alternatives are all about leading by example. Leading by example is pretty much the best system to help create a pleasant cycling culture in any city, AND help anyone adhere to Rule #1.

 photo BikingRules_zps9f74bd27.jpg

There are a few things in there that could be argued- going against traffic on small one way streets can be much safer then riding with traffic on very busy streets. While helmets are awesome and DNS is in full support of protecting your central processing system with a brain bucket, helmet laws can actually prevent people from riding, and that's lame. Everything else is pretty much spot on.

Since being back in Toronto I've actually been shocked at the lack of bike lights in this city. Vancouver can get so dark you end up needing lights just to see where you are going. In Toronto we have so much light pollution visibility isn't as dire, but lights in traffic are a great way to follow DNS Rule #1. You may not realize how vulnerable you actually are until you yourself are in a car or bus and are surprised by a cyclist without a light. Check out Cycle Toronto's Get Lit! program for more info.

Cyclists have a bad rep for causing bike accidents. (If you have Linkedin you can read this bizarre thread on Ghost Bikes and the odd turn it takes.) This is basically a BS perception based on... I'm not too sure. A few bad bike eggs? Car drivers not wanting to take responsibility? It's well known that when you demonize a group of people it makes it easier for someone to justify suppressing or hurting that group, as they become the dangerous "others". Old-as-time tactic in warfare. Gross, right?

don't tell me what to do

When campaigning for change, it's important to not take on the tactics of what you are trying to change. Albert Einsteing put it best: "We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them." There is definitely a demonetization of drivers in the cycling world. In return all individual cyclists can also be lumped into one big cyclist category. So let's drop it. It won't get us anywhere. Dave Meslin did a great piece of advocacy campaign called Drivers for Jarvis based on the misconception that in the streets it's "drivers" vs. "cyclists".

I digress. Leading by example is awesome. So is changing misconceptions, and breaking down walls. Let's make this city work for everyone so we can get down to more pressing issues like the latest nail art trends, feasting with friends and dance parties.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Orontas Loves DNS (and it's mutual or something)

orontas_withlove photo orontas_withlove_zps482b1fc4.jpg

Orontas is a rad cycling brand out of Toronto. They love this city, bikes and smart design as much as we do. Naturally we've become Besties. They even partnered up and did these amazing Orontas Kit Saddle Bag with YNOT.


We're one of the few who get to be Orontas Activists, meaning we do rad stuff so they give us product to try out.  They profiled our crew on their website. If you want to know why the Deadly Nightshades are like the Wu-Tang and what is our world takeover plot, you should go mosey on over and read it already. Bonus: photo montages of what we ladies of DNS have been up to these past years.

Thanks Orontas!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Women Who Bike Brunch


Torontonians take brunch very, very seriously. I think this article by on Kate Carraway in the Gird TO sums up the luxurious booze-hound ritual that perhaps fuels 14% of all of the city's economy (by my calculations.) Then we have cyclists who take food very, very seriously. It's the main benefit of slightly endangering your life everyday in the urban cycling environment; eating whatever you want and still having a fantastic bootay. It's worth it. Trust me.

This is the typical Toronto cyclist inner monologue at brunch:
Single or double Caesar? Who I am kidding. Should I have hollandaise sauce? Yes. Should I ask for extra hollandaise? Is that my ex's ex cuddling with my ex's old co-worker in that other booth? OMG  food here me starving... Om nom nom nom... more butter.... om nom nom... I wonder who wants to go for a pastry at that new gluten free bakery down the street?
So I am happy The Toronto Cupcake Ride is putting on a Women Who Bike Brunch, on Sunday, February 24th. I'm hoping they choose a location that is cute, uses local ingredients and organic eggs, and makes a good Caesar, and is only about 10 minute bike from my house. Maybe we can pick from this lovely Toronto Brunch Map by Lindsay Zier Moguel.


Now, to find a party on the 23rd to give me a substantial hangover and good story to tell....

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Beyond the Wild

MegO here. I recently moved back to Toronto from Vancouver. I love Vancouver, but with Niamh relocated to NYC I just couldn't stand being the only Nightshade in a city, and I am a Toronto girl at heart. So the Vancouver chapter of DNS is closed for a while. We loved Vancouver, for its mountains and beaches, bike lanes and bike raves... but now we say thank you, and ta-ta for now. xo

2012-11-14105318_zps7bcbfd06 The Skeena River

Before I left BC, I had the opportunity to go up to beautiful Prince Rupert to visit my friend Cody Brown. I met him through the awesome young East Van bike scene; I helped out his collective house make a memorial to dead bikes for the Parade of Lost Souls. He's rad. He was willing to help me learn the tricks of riding fixed and we share a love for the colour purple so naturally we became besties. Cody is also Nisga'a, and last year moved back home for some of the more lucrative electrician jobs he could get up north, and also to learn more about himself and his people's way of life. I missed Cody and wanted to see the wilds of Northern BC before I left for the Big Dirty, so I went.

2012-11-19200755_zps44dfd870 Sea Lion Tacos

I loved my visit. Prince Rupert is a very beautiful and tranquil place. The mountains are giant, the rivers long and wide, the sky large and awe inspiring. The air is nothing like what I am breathing here in Toronto. Everyday we ate salmon Cody and his Grandfather caught and even turned smoked sea lion into gourmet tacos. How hipster, right? Fishing in the area makes up a huge part of the economy, but is also a way for people to have nutritious food inexpensively. The community lives off the rivers in many ways.

The Nass River

My trip really hit it home- if Canadian rivers are poisoned by oil, mining or construction, not only is the Nisga'a way of life compromised, but so are the lives the lives of the 120,000 Canadians fishery workers who bring in $5 Billion dollars a year. If the fish are gone or inedible, then what will the cost be to society, forced to pay much more for non-local food?

Backyard deer, Prince Rupert

More importantly, the majority of the community doesn't want the proposed "Northern Gateway" pipeline and mining development, not just first nation communities or hippies. Ottawa, Calgary and China should not have ultimate say in how BC coastal communities run themselves, it doesn't seem very fair to me. I met a man in Prince Rupert who had been working in oil, gas and mining for 20 years. (The area does sustain itself in natural resource extraction already.) He said about the pipeline: "The proposal is the stupidest, worst planned proposal I have ever seen with my own two eyes." The proposals put natural gas refineries where the fish spawn, and there is no contingency plan for Tsunamis or Earthquakes- in a geographically active area. The same week as Hurricane Sandy in NYC, northern Haida Gawaii had an earth quake of 7.7 magnitude. Imagine the next big one does create a Tsunami. Imagine there are dozens of oil tankers in the area, along with pipelines that can burst. This is more of a proposed Northern Gateway to Hell.

Then I met a group of guys at a bar in neighbouring Terrace who worked in mining and bragged about their drinking and cocaine habits... like, while ON the job. Great. Glad they make so much money polluting rivers. Glad we're putting all this federal monetary effort into basically helping the drug cartels. This is great for the health of the Canadian Economy I'm sure.

Trumpet Swans, Nisga'a Territory

Forcing any community to accept the proposed pipeline plans is just simply jerky thing to do. It's not right. When will our governments stand up and do the right thing?

Here is a beautiful video by Above on the Sacred Headwaters featuring Summer Rayne Oakes, model and entrepreneur. For any fashion designers out there, her company Source4Style is one of the most progressive ways to source fabric on the internet.

We're winning, by the way.  Shell has pulled out of the Sacred Headwaters, the proposed pipelines are being blocked on all three levels of Govenrments, and #IdleNoMore is creating an international solidarity movement. So lets keep it going.  I'm going to keep riding my bike, buying local and independent, avoiding plastics and reducing my consumption. Why? I like democracy, human rights, water, food and oxygen, I use all that stuff like everyday.

love, love, love,

Cody Brown, Gitwinksihlkw, Nisga'a Territory

Monday, January 7, 2013


Tired of biking outside in snowy weather?

Patrick Shas and Tom Sands are having a fundraising party at Bike Pirates in support of completion of their newest bike documentary "I Bike Toronto"

The evening will begin with a screening of the pilot of their film and the film "Ghost Bikes", a short about ghost bikes in Toronto.

Following the films will be friendly Goldsprints! Race your friends and show off your skills in the warmth of the indoors!
DJ Levesque and Dragon Scorpion's own DJ Puppies will be spinning tunes for your Goldsprints enjoyment.

(Goldsprints are a stationary bike racing platform using fixed gear or single speed bikes on rollers. Check out this video of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSOSK4kMckU)
Saturday, January 12, 2013  
7:00pm until 2:00am

Doors 7pm
Film Screening 7:30pm
Gold Sprints 8:30pm

Beverages will be available in the kitchen to help support Tom and Patrick's full length documentary endeavours.