May 23, 2014 9:01 am

New book captures the tales of Toronto cyclists

WATCH ABOVE: Author Christine Bruce takes reporter Mark McAllister for a tour and shares stories from ‘This Road Continues One Block North’.

TORONTO – There was something special about that little alien on the handlebars of the pink and green bicycle when we came across it.

Maybe it was the big blue eyes. Perhaps the loud squeak when squeezing the top of its head.

Christine Bruce had an inkling based on experience and wanted to meet the owner.

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We were out on our own cycling journey through Toronto so she could share her story but we would have to wait.

The 56-year-old knew it was the person that rode the bike locked up on the sidewalk along College St. that made it attractive. That’s where the story would come from.

In this case, it was Megan Kenny. A rocker serving up meatball sandwiches in a nearby restaurant with a love for the road on two wheels.

This was Kenny’s Space Bike complete with custom rims, pedals and green chain.

Sixty tales just like it have been gathered to create a book called ‘This Road Continues One Block North‘ in an effort to capture the joys of cycling.

There are nearly 500 pages of adventures along streets and pathways, written by Bruce by going for rides and chatting with folks along the way.

If the riders weren’t around and she saw something unique, she would simply leave a card and ask them to call.

Like the so-called Frankenbike we encountered just north of College Street. It was a rebuilt ride with new handgrips and well-worn tires.

She calls them inspiring. She refers to them as love stories.

You can’t help but be intrigued when you see titles like ‘How Now, Wrench?’ or ‘Goin’ to BAM Land’ among the chapters.

Now there’s an online blog to chronicle even more interviews with more characters.

Bruce prefers not to wade into the debate surrounding bike infrastructure in the city. Instead, she wants to stay positive and create a sense of community.

We travel further and she speaks of the little girl who took her training wheels off for the first time.

Around the corner, I’m encouraged to listen to the sounds of cycle bells.

The book is being made available in bike shops for those already in the community.

If it happens to provide motivation for the casual rider to get out more, Bruce likely can’t wait to speak with them about their experiences.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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