Monday, February 25, 2013

Women Mean Business

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photo of Deadly Nightshades by Miguel Jacob

The League of American Cyclists have a new free webinar series. The first one was a great talk on "How to Start and Sustain a Women's Bike Club", which featured a talk by our lovely friend Sarai at GIRL BIKE LOVE. This Wednesday, February 27th, anyone around the world can join in on the topic of Women Mean Business: The Economic Impact of Women Bicyclists.  
 "Though underrepresented in many aspects of the bicycle movement, there's growing evidence that women hold the purse strings when it comes to the future success of the bike industry."
Women Mean Business also happens to be the theme of the upcoming Woman's National Cycling Summit on March 4th in the 'Murican capital of Washington DC.
"The Forum will include keynote addresses from industry pioneer Georgena Terry (pictured), Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, as well as break-out sessions, lunch plenary, networking and so much more."
The cycling industry may be the last one in the world to get that women have money, like to spend money, and will spend money on cycling products when given the proper chance. Even the PGA, the grand-daddy of Golf (a sport also referred to as the second board room), just announced it is targeting women to ensure the fiscal sustainability of the sport. Time has painted the picture of the growing spending power of women. Lil Wayne can sit down. Ladies are the ones making it rain.

It's time we had that talk Cycling Industry. It's not us. It's you. We have money. We want to bike. So if we aren't biking and we aren't spending, you're doing it wrong. That means you're not giving us good products, good prices and good distribution. It's not just making pink bikes with flowers. Or putting a model on a bike to pose in your ads. Or making biking to women only about being"fashionable". (I understand the irony of a Deadly Nightshade writing this.) Marketing lifestyle choices and marketing fashion apparel are different things at the end of the day.

Maybe some of you bike companies could take a hint from Elen DeGeneres.

But before products, women cycling is about advocacy and government lobbying. The car industry does that right. At Velo-City 2012,  I got to learn the hard data of getting more women cycling. It's all about safety, or perceived safety. Marisa Espinosa- Senior Manager of Service Planning, Translink BC, pointed out that their data shows that the cycling "gender gap" is also due to women being the primary child care providers in Vancouver, which means transporting young children. It means curating families and raising the next generation of citizens, and shaping the transportation choices they make in the future. Without proper cycling infrastructure like separated bike lanes, reduced car traffic speed and laws, few women are willing to look past the dangers of cycling on our car-ruled roads.

Let's take a minute to remember the late Jenna Morrison, her son, her husband, and her unborn child. Our traffic system, transport truck laws and justice system completely failed this family. How can we expect to get more families cycling when we don't address this? Ironically, cars kill more children via collisions and lifestyle diseases caused by sedentary lifestyle. (That's not even getting into environmental factors like local air pollution causing childhood asthma, or catastrophic climate change.) In the long run, we are hurting ourselves and children more by sticking to cars thinking they are "safe."

So it is a combination of solid safety infrastructure creation, and addressing the issue of the perceived safety issue. Throw in some pretty girls on bikes to make people smile, sure! I'm all for it. Let's be real for a minute; biking can be dangerous. We can fix that. Car culture, grid lock, and auto emissions are killing us everyday. Bikes can fix that.

Watch this speech by the Queen Elizabeth II - Diamond Jubilee Medal recipient Gil Panalosa. He is the executive director of 8-80 Cities, based out of Toronto. Wouldn't it be swell if our city actually took his advice? To bring it back, he talks about sustainable cities, children, the need for "complete street systems", proper road design, and the incredible force that is NYC Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan.

Let's do this ladies. xo

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Kym Perfetto for Affinity

Affinity Bicycles Featuring Kym Perfetto from Roberts Horowitz Creative on Vimeo.

God I miss NYC.

Kym Perfetto of the legendary NYC spin club Cyclesoul would make a Canadian Tire tricycle look sexy. I remember briefly talking to her once at a Chrome party and felt like a huge dork she was so energetic and awesome. Seems like she has also partnered with Drew of Fake Money for a electro dance project NO WAY JOSIE. So much awesome runs in such a tight circle of NYC bike peeps.

And here is Kym Perfetoo is in a short Casey Neistat film running in heels for NY Fashion Week... who else can relate? That's the beauty of bikes and heels... less walking, more biking right up to where you're going to be. More people in the smoking pit outside asking about biking in heels, more showcasing how bikes are awesome. Win. Win. Win.

Continuing on with the awesome theme... Casey Neistat's Bike Thief 2012. Wow.

Reminds me of our joke that steamed from our trip to the 2010 NYC BFF... how many Nightshades does it take to lock up a bike? 

Monday, February 18, 2013


The best clothing swaps in Toronto are curated by the Deadly Nightshades. We may all be biased in thinking this, but what other Toronto clothing swaps get featured in Blog TO, have major Toronto fashion scene characters come out and throw down walk-offs, and land you with rad items that will get you in the Huffington Post? We do!

Check out the Facebook event HERE! 

It's the greenest, funnest, most affordable way to purge your closet, get great new stuff, hang out/ have fun with your friends, and make new ones! For the first time, we are hosting the event at the still sparkling brand-new Make Den location!  (1244 Bloor Street West, two blocks east of Landsdown on the North Side. Look for an amazing Queen of Hearts window display and a Seafoam interior.) It's convenient as you can sign up to learn how to alter those amazing swap finds or rent a sewing machine if you don't have one yourself.

swap and alter all in one place , photo from the Make Den, 

The event is NOT at midnight- this swap starts at 8pm, Saturday February 23rd, and goes t'ill midnight. What a great way to avoid the bar scene! Or, since the Make Den is conveniently located in the up-and coming trendy Bloordale area, you can pop over to places like Three Speed, Bar Neon, or the Whippoorwill before or after swapping.

This time we are also going to have a fabric sale in the back! If you have left-over fabric, trims, notions or thingamabobs, for $10 you can sell your goods to a really awesome crowd. Contact us to book a table.

A reminder on swapping etiquette; All clothes, accessories and fabrics to be swapped should be in good condition, freshly washed if have been worn, with no stains. Minor tears and fixable things are okay.

See you then!

P.S. This year, left over clothes will be donated to the EHM clothing bank, one of Toronto oldest homeless shelters. So feel free to bring more then you plan on taking away. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

One Billion Rising on Valentine's Day

Back in the day St. Valentinus was a Martyr for marrying Roman soldiers in Christian ceremonies. Today is his feast day. It became wildly popular in the Romantic era as a courtship thing, and wildly over commercialized in our era. Not being a hallmark girl, I don't take this as a day to do the traditional things while in a relationship or do Bridget Jones lamenting if I am single. F that noise. Right now I am going to reflect on what loving in a difficult time means. How can you practice love in a time of oppression and difficulty?

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One Billion Rising to me is just awesome. Women and men from around the world are standing in solidarity against a culture of fear, power and violence. It's awesome, check it out. You can get a live stream from events all over the world, and check out uploaded videos from previous years.

Love, love, love...

Sunday, February 10, 2013


This amazing documentary on rising girls in the pro BMX circuit is one of the best things I have seen so far. Women cyclists seem to be breaking into in the bike scenes in all regards, from sports to infrastructure.

Sister Session – ONLINE PREMIERE! from Simple Session on Vimeo.

Directed by: Brett Astrid Võmma, Helen Habakuk, Doris Tääker
Produced by: Brett Astrid Võmma, Risto Kalmre
Girls riding: Katherine Diaz VEN, Chiara Felder GER, Rebecca Berg GER, Angie Marino USA, Zandile Mkwanazi GER, Allison López ARG, Saki Sawada JPN, Sam Moodie GBR, Camila Harambour CHI, Kayley Ashworth GBR

Thank you so much to GIRL BIKE LOVE for pointing me to this supper rad video about Female BMXers at Simple Session 2011.

This amazing looking documentary on sustainable textile design in India also popped up online. I would love to see the full thing!

Unravel Trailer from Soul Rebel Films on Vimeo.

Soul Rebel Films, Unravel Trailer

Monday, February 4, 2013

Free Toronto Sustainable Economy Events!

Are you familiar with the amazing Toronto Sustainability Speaker Series? If not, let me make the introductions.
"The Toronto Sustainability Speaker Series (TSSS) was launched in 2008 to dispel the myth that sustainability is a cost to business and to share the experiences of companies that have found economic advantages by integrating sustainability into their corporate strategy."

This Thursday, February 7th, 2013 there will be a free live webcast & twitterchat (#tssschat) from 5:00 – 6:30 PM EST. Author of The New Sustainability Advantage and sustainability change agent Dr. Bob Willard explores cutting edge research on an emerging “Gold Standard” to recognize a truly sustainable enterprise – an enterprise that will lead us to Capitalism 2.0. During this interactive discussion Bob will highlight:
  • The global effort to define new standards, principles, indicators, and metrics for a sustainable enterprise
  • Why the current rankings of the most sustainable companies are not helpful
  • Why important stakeholders are anxiously awaiting a better model to assess companies
  • Why companies that have already started to set Gold Standard-like goals have achieved greater profitability, resilience and cultures of innovation
  • Bob’s own suggested environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria for a Gold Standard
On a personal note, I saw Bob Willard speak at the Leading Change forrum at the past GLOBE 2012. He comes from the corporate world and has navigated working with very traditional corporations and industries. Coming from the opposite spectrum of sustainable business, I learned a lot about how larger companies think, how to work with them, and what to learn from what worked and what didn't work in creating long-lasting change in large organizations. Definitely worth checking out!

Next up!

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"Thursday, February 21st, join Sarah Portway (fashion academic, educator and sustainability nerd) at Fresh Collective Queen Street for the official Toronto launch of her now published Master's thesis entitled Regenerative Abundance: Fast and Sustainable Apparel Production in Toronto... Added Bonus! We'll be giving away one of the Paper People Clothing Penny Dress!"
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I'm going- I hope to see you lovely sustainable Toronto fashion people there! xo