April 1/11 9:53 am - Toronto Announces 2015 Road Worlds Bid ... or Not?
Posted by Editor on 04/1/11
Canadian Cyclist has just left one of the more bizarre press conferences we have ever attended. After receiving a last minute invitation last night from Toronto City Hall, we arrived for a 9:00 am press conference.
Mayor Rob Ford, flanked by Councillor Doug Ford (his brother) and long time supporter Don Cherry announced that the City of Toronto would be taking over the 2015 Road Worlds bid that was dropped last week by Serge Arsenault and the City of Quebec (see Daily News - Quebec City Pulls 2015 Road Worlds Bid).
Ford explained that he is not anti-bike, and that he believes that Toronto would be a superb location to host the world championships.
"I hope this can put to rest the idea that either I or my great friend here, Mr Don Cherry, are against bicycles. Bikes are a great form of transportation, and fitness; they just need to be kept in the right place, namely bike paths or those round tracks, like for this world championships."
At this point, some of the staff and the press began to look confused, and Mr Ford was asked if he was aware that it was the Road world championships that the bid was for, which involved shutting down sections of city streets for up to 10-12 hours per day?
It was Mayor Ford's turn to looked confused, and he abruptly left the stage with members of his staff. For the next few minutes it was quiet, and then Ford was heard shouting from the next room, including the statement "there is no god damn way we are closing streets for some stupid bike race..."
When he returned to the stage a few minutes later, red faced and perspiring, Ford appeared to recant his earlier announcement, saying "there appears to have been some misunderstanding on the nature of this event ... we will have to undertake ... further study on this matter and get back to you." He then abruptly left the stage, ignoring a clamour of questions.
Don Cherry was smiling broadly as he left, chanting 'pinko cyclists, pinko cyclists' .
Photos and video to follow. Stay tuned...