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My book made the Canadian best-sellers list!

21 Apr

I just about choked on my spritzer last Friday evening when I found out that The Urban Cycling Survival Guide had debuted at #6 on the Canadian non-fiction best-sellers list, and at #7 on the regular non-fiction list in The Globe and Mail, and Toronto Star. Took me a while to fully take in the fact that I was officially a ‘best-selling’ author. And while it may not last, it happened.

Let’s just take a moment to consider the awesomeness of a book about urban cycling making it onto this list…  A-mazing – sign of the times! Obviously I’m thrilled – people are picking up the book and I’m achieving my goal of sharing this information. Ride on, ride on!

YB - Bestsellers_ Canadian Non-fiction, April 18, 2015 - The Globe and Mail

Raising a toast with friends at my local in Kensington Market!

Raising a toast with friends at my local in Kensington Market!

 

What an honour to make the cover of NOW Toronto!

13 Apr

Wow! So as a born and bred Torontonian, and someone who has grown up flipping through NOW magazine, our free weekly ‘what’s happening in the city’ paper, I’m feeling pretty excited and honoured to be on the cover of the 2015 Cycling Special!!

And I wrote the cover story;

Surviving City Cycling:  Author Yvonne Bambrick on why riding a bike in Toronto doesn’t have to be dangerous

While it is a bit surreal seeing your face all over town for a week, I’m thrilled about the exposure this is providing for my new book The Urban Cycling Survival Guide which hit stores across Canada and the US on March 1st, 2015. I wrote this book because I wanted to get it into peoples hands and this coverage is going to be a big help. Almost anyone can ride a bike to get around town – you don’t need special clothes or gear, but you do need to understand how to be part of traffic on two wheels instead of four. My book shares all the information you need to get rolling.

Yvonne Bambrick NOW Cover Apr9_15cycling special LA cycling special LA

I wrote a book! The story of The Urban Cycling Survival Guide

25 Sep

In late September 2012, it finally occurred to me that I too often referred to the ‘gap in cycling education’ as an issue of concern in the urban mobility dialogue.  In that moment I decided it was time for action instead of talk – I was going to try and help fill that gap.

The book idea began as one focused on the province of Ontario, quickly shifted to addressing cycling across Canada, and within a few months of discussion and reflection landed firmly and finally as a book that would address how to cycle in cities across North America. By October 2013 I had found the right publisher, signed a contract with ECW Press, and officially begun my journey as a writer.

In the early days of this project, when I was still in disbelief that I’d actually signed myself up to take on something of this scale, a dear friend gave me a postcard with this quote on it.  We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot. Eleanor Roosevelt. Having glanced countless times at these words posted by my desk, I can now fully appreciate their truth.

After months of writing, researching, interviewing, editing, re-writing, and more editing, I’m thrilled to say that the book is now a reality and available for pre-order in advance of the Spring (March) 2015 launch. Beautifully illustrated by Marc Ngui, it also includes some of my photographs. Early feedback has been very positive and I can hardly wait to see it in people’s hands. In the meantime, I compiled an excerpt for the Cities for People series on Spacing –  check out Adding a bike to your urban mobility toolkit .

Website - UrbanCyclingFlyer

 

 

Book Review: The Next Eco Warriors

2 Jun

The Next Eco Warriors

Edited by Emily Hunter
Foreword by Farley Mowat
Reviewed by, Yvonne Bambrick for Alternatives Journal
(Originally posted May 9, 2011)

The Next Eco Warriors is a powerful collection of first person accounts of environmental struggles being fought by young activists from around the globe. Although they vary widely in focus, strategy and outcome – from oceans, to mining, to deforestation – the central theme concerns every living being on Earth. There is a very real fight happening right now to save an angry and dying planet before it’s too late.

Through her opening and closing words in this collection, editor Emily Hunter demonstrates clearly that, as the daughter of Greenpeace founder Robert Hunter, she is living and breathing her father’s lasting environmental legacy, while also making the case that our next generation of eco-warriors has come of age to be smarter and even more determined than its predecessors. The stakes are higher than ever and these young people are fighting for our lives.

While reading of the endless environmental violence detailed in this collection, I was often reminded that much of humanity has a fundamentally flawed and ego-based perspective on life and all that sustains it. Many, if not most, see humans as “apart from”, as opposed to “part of” the planet and all life upon it. As we have historically viewed unknown human cultures as lesser and exploitable, so to do we judge, abuse and misinterpret the language and lives of the fauna and flora essential to the fragile connective tissues and sustainability of Earth’s land and sea and air.

The Eco-Warriors in this book are people who have made this link, have had their eyes opened to the web of natural systems and the role humans are playing, and can no longer sit idle while humanity stampedes ahead in the name of progress and growth and “the economy”.

“…in realizing our interconnectedness, we need to unlearn the individualism we’re taught in this country (US). We need to relearn the responsibility of community.” Enei Begaye, p. 238

These stories tell of remarkable catalyst moments that seeded activism. Several highlight the COP 15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen as a pivotal period that not only highlighted the urgency with which we must address climate change, but that we must mobilize millions of citizens around the globe to fight for the defining cause of our time.

While I have strived for my work to have a positive impact on the planet, I’ve often felt that my efforts were too insignificant, small and localized. This book makes it abundantly clear that it actually takes many hundreds of thousands of efforts, small, medium and large, individual and collective, within and outside of governing systems, to have an important and transformative influence on society if we are to actually slow climate change.

Although the stories presented in this collection tell of success, they also recount actions that raised awareness and connected community but failed in their purpose: Carcinogenic chemicals continue to be sprayed onto communities; poorly managed garbage incinerators are expanded to burn unsorted community rubbish full of recyclable material; the seal hunts, shark finning, and dolphin kills; and shamefully wasteful global practices that go on despite evidence of inhumane actions and sustainable alternative options.

“The reality is heroes don’t win the revolutions. It is ordinary people doing the extraordinary…. only when we take up the battle is there truly a fighting chance for that world.” Emily Hunter p. 253

We rarely if ever hear of environmental actions being undertaken outside of North America and the European Union. Ms. Hunter’s collection is truly global in its reach and all the more inspiring for it. This powerful collection of stories of great human spirit is accompanied by a resource guide and a website and growing online community.

Be warned! Reading these stories will likely compel you to take action if you are not already doing so. While aimed at young people, even the most dedicated environmental champion will learn from the individuals profiled in this book. It will not only provide new insight into our global struggle for survival; it offers encouragement and evidence that one person can play a profound and vital role in this battle, all while having fun, falling in love, developing practical skills and building community.

(Book published by Conari Press, San Francisco, 2011. 253 pages.)

Yvonne Bambrick is a life-long year-round cyclist/photographer, and recently served as the founding executive director of the Toronto Cyclists Union, her hometown’s first city-wide cycling advocacy organization. When not pedaling around town, she’s also the co-ordinator of Pedestrian Sundays in Kensington Market and the Kensington Market BIA.

 

Reporting: International Women’s Day – Film Screening and Panel Discussion

2 Mar

What: International Women’s Day: Film Screening and Panel Discussion – ‘The Journey of Feminism’
Where: The Law Society of Upper Canada at Osgoode Hall
When: March 1, 2011

In recognition of International Women’s Day on March 8th, the Law Society of Upper Canada, in partnership with the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, the Ontario Bar Association and the Women’s Law Association of Ontario, hosted a well-attended documentary screening, panel discussion & reception at Osgoode Hall.

The evening began with the screening of the documentary, Constitute! which explores the largest social mobilization of women in Canadian history and shares the stories of female activists who fought for stronger equality provisions in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Following the screening, a panel of feminists, including those involved in making the documentary, were on hand to discuss the vitality of the movement in Canada – both now and in the future.  Moderated by Professor and Law Society bencher Constance Backhouse, featured panelists were Clara Ho, Staff Lawyer, Advocacy Centre for the Elderly; Linda Palmer Nye, Constitute! film subject; Marilou McPhedran, Principal, Global College, University of Winnipeg and Constitute! film subject; Julie Lassonde, Lawyer; and Mehrak Mehrvar, Gender and Governance Specialist, International Development.

The panel concluded with a recap of what continues to energize the feminist movement; its diversity, inclusivity, expertise, hard work, fun, courage, and camaraderie.  The wine and cheese reception featured a live jazz duet, and some 60’s style sing songs fit for a feminist gathering sung beautifully by Linda Palmer Nye!

* Yvonne Bambrick is an Urban Cycling Consultant and a Toronto-based Event & Portrait Photographer. Cross-posted at http://www.lawandstyle.ca

(* I’ve just joined the Precedent Magazine team to shoot & report on local lawyer-type events that will be featured on their site lawandstyle.ca)