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Winter’s Coming. Will Canada’s Pandemic Bicycle Boom Last? – The New York Times

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Since 1992, July for me has often meant spending three weeks driving thousands of kilometers to report on the cyclists competing in the Tour de France.

Credit…Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA, via Shutterstock

So even though I’m not there this year, it has still taken a bit of adjustment to deal with the tour being in September. Delayed and being held under special pandemic protocols, the race is nevertheless going on as coronavirus cases spike in France. Indeed, Nice was declared an infection red zone just as it was about to host the opening stages.

[Read: Masks in Place, the Tour de France Puts On a Brave Face]

Within the race, it looks as if the protocols have more or less worked. No team has had two positive tests, which would have forced it to withdraw. Although there has been a sprinkling of positives, including one from Christian Prudhomme, the race director.

[Read: A Relieved Tour de France Has the Finish in Sight]

While I’m not in France to experience the tour, another development in the world of cycling — a local one — has helped offset my disappointment. Canadians have gone crazy about cycling.

I don’t just write about cycling. As a low-performance athlete, I usually spend my summers putting in dismal results in time trials, races against the clock, and preparing for cyclocross, the end-of-season racing that mixes in some running and nearly every possible riding surface on its circuits, including deep mud and smooth tarmac. Lately, when I’ve been riding outdoors, I’ve been doing it with a lot more people.

Credit…Ian Austen/The New York Times

By late spring, it was becoming nearly impossible to buy a bike anywhere in the world. That was a reflection both of the unexpected surge in demand and a supply chain that was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. Most bikes, aside from high-end, customized offerings, are churned out by a small number of companies based in Taiwan that have extensive operations in China. My colleague Raymond Zhong recently profiled the biggest of those companies, the aptly named Giant, and its chairwoman, Bonnie Tu.

[Read: Sorry, the World’s Biggest Bike Maker Can’t Help You Buy a Bike Right Now]

In Ottawa, Canada’s bicycle boom has exhibited itself in an unusual way. The morning and afternoon bicycle rush hour didn’t return. But when I’m out doing errands by bike, it’s now often a struggle to find a parking space outside stores. And on weekends, when I’m on rides measured in hours, it’s increasingly common to see people on very inexpensive bicycles, who are not wearing fancy cycling clothes, cycling well outside the city.

Many cities have responded. Cars have been temporarily barred from some lanes or entire roads in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal and elsewhere. In addition to closing streets, Halifax has moved to slow motor traffic on some streets and limit vehicles to residents.

The question now is, will this enthusiasm for cycling survive winter and the post-pandemic period?

To get some sense of what’s to come and how cities might keep cycling fever going, I spoke with Beth Savan, a senior lecturer and adjunct professor in the geography and planning department of the University of Toronto. Dr. Savan was the main investigator in a study published last year by researchers at her university, along with others at McGill University and Simon Fraser University, about how to increase cycling in Canada.

Credit…Ian Austen/The New York Times

She said she was encouraged that people rushed out to buy new bikes rather than dust off old ones because it suggests that they may be more invested in sticking with cycling. She also noted that this is the first bicycle boom since the advent of the e-bike. (Gretchen Reynolds recently reported on studies looking at whether electrically assisted bikes are safe and if they actually provide good exercise.)

Dr. Savan has also noticed in recent months that the lines between recreational and transportation uses of bikes are blurring, another sign that the national interest in cycling might persist.

“People will now take a nice route to go on their errands to get some exercise or some pleasure along the way,” she said. “It’s kind of a new situation.”

Augmenting that effect has been the large number of people working from home who are now also largely shopping within their neighborhoods. Many of those people, she said, have discovered that bicycles are more effective than cars for those short trips.

For the winter, Dr. Savan said that Canadian cities should think about adopting the model of some places in Scandinavia, where sidewalks are cleared first, then bike paths and finally roads. Her group’s study, by the way, shows that winter cycling before the pandemic was strong in many places that bore the full brunt of the season.

Dr. Savan urged local government to view their current cycling accommodations as pilot projects to cycling rather than as temporary pandemic measures.

“To try and engineer lower a lower proportion of trips undertaken by car, that’s really where the challenge is,” she said. “As people start to feel more confident about going back to work in indoor spaces, they will be tempted to drive more.”


Credit…Jennifer Gauthier/Reuters

A native of Windsor, Ontario, Ian Austen was educated in Toronto, lives in Ottawa and has reported about Canada for The New York Times for the past 16 years. Follow him on Twitter at @ianrausten.


We’re eager to have your thoughts about this newsletter and events in Canada in general. Please send them to nytcanada@nytimes.com.

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Ryan, Falcons avenge earlier loss to Panthers – TSN

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — This time, the Atlanta Falcons finished.

Matt Ryan threw for 281 yards and ran for a touchdown, Younghoe Koo made four field goals and the Atlanta Falcons held on to beat the Carolina Panthers 25-17 on Thursday night behind a strong defensive performance to avoid a series season sweep.

The Falcons (2-6) have had a penchant for squandering leads, coming into the game 1-3 when leading entering the fourth quarter. Carolina was driving late, but Atlanta stopped the rally when Blidi Wreh-Wilson intercepted Teddy Bridgewater near the Falcons’ 10-yard line with 1:04 remaining.

“That’s what we’ve been talking about, ending games with either sacks or interceptions and the guys went out today and did exactly that,” Falcons coach Raheem Morris. “The ball went up in the air and Blidi came down with it and it was awesome.”

Todd Gurley grinded out 46 yards rushing and a touchdown, Julio Jones added 137 yards receiving against a banged-up Panthers secondary and the Falcons defence limited the Panthers to 2 of 10 on third down conversions to improve to 2-1 since Morris replaced Dan Quinn as head coach.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule said it felt like Bridgewater was constantly under duress.

“We had a hard time blocking their front,” Rhule said. “We weren’t able to get our receivers involved. We were 2 of 10 on third downs and we can’t live like that.”

Bridgewater tried to spur Carolina to a comeback in front of a sparse crowd of 5,240 due to COVID-19 after Koo missed an extra point that would have made it a two-possession game.

Bridgewater, who was knocked out of the game for two possessions with a neck injury following a late hit by Charles Harris — one that resulted in him being ejected — took over with the Panthers down by eight points with less than 3 minutes to play. He completed a 35-yard strike to D.J. Moore on third and 18 to move the Panthers into Falcons territory. But his final pass was easily picked.

Bridgewater was limited to 176 yards passing as the Panthers (3-5) lost their third straight game without injured Christian McCaffrey.

“I don’t think any of us played real well tonight,” Rhule said of Bridgewater’s performance.

Said Bridgewater: “Tough loss and we have to find ways to finish the game. That can’t be the common thing around here — coming up short.”

The Falcons avenged a 23-16 loss to Carolina 18 days ago in which Bridgewater threw for 313 yards and two scores and Mike Davis piled up 149 yards rushing. Davis was held to 77 yards this time on a wet field where players routinely swapped cleats to adapt to the changing conditions.

But Jones didn’t play in the first meeting.

He was a huge difference in this one, setting the tone by hauling in catches two catches for 52 yards on the game’s first two plays. Playing against a Panthers secondary that was already without two starters and lost another when Donte Jackson reinjured his toe in the first half, proved to be easy pickings for Jones.

“It’s fun, no question about it,” Ryan said of having Jones in the lineup. “The way we started the game is when we’re at our best, play-action pass. I hope it’s the start of something. I really feel like, although we’re 2-6, we’ve been in some tight ones.”

SAMUEL’S BIG DAY

The Panthers had opened a 14-6 lead in the second quarter when Bridgewater found Curtis Samuel for a 29-yard touchdown pass on a well set up flea flicker. It was Samuel’s second TD of the half, scoring earlier on a 12-yard run up the middle to give Carolina its first lead.

The 24-year-old Samuel has three career games with a TD rushing and receiving, which trails only Jerry Rice (5) among wide receivers in the Super Bowl era.

RYAN’S RUN

Ryan said he wasn’t sure if he would get to the end zone on a 13-yard TD run in the first half but knew he had a chance when cornerback Troy Pride slipped while trying to chase him down.

“Just fast enough,” Ryan said. “I feel like I’ve always been that way throughout my career, just fast enough to make them pay sometimes on third downs. It was a big score for us there. We really needed it.”

When asked about the reactions of his teammates, Ryan said, “I can’t tell if they’re laughing at me or just having a good time and excited for it.”

INJURIES

Falcons: Wide receiver Calvin Ridley left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury after making a reception in the red zone and did not return. Morris offered no update on his status after the game. … Cornerback Kendall Sheffield left the game early with a head injury, but did return.

Panthers: Cornerback Donte Jackson’s lingering toe injury forced him to leave the game early again, and the banged-up Panthers secondary had to finish with rookie Troy Pride and Corn Elder at cornerback spots.

UP NEXT

Falcons: Host the Broncos on Nov. 8

Panthers: Open the second half of the season at the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs on Nov. 8.

___

More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Ryan, Falcons avenge earlier loss to Panthers with road victory – TSN

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — This time, the Atlanta Falcons finished.

Matt Ryan threw for 281 yards and ran for a touchdown, Younghoe Koo made four field goals and the Atlanta Falcons held on to beat the Carolina Panthers 25-17 on Thursday night behind a strong defensive performance to avoid a series season sweep.

The Falcons (2-6) have had a penchant for squandering leads, coming into the game 1-3 when leading entering the fourth quarter. Carolina was driving late, but Atlanta stopped the rally when Blidi Wreh-Wilson intercepted Teddy Bridgewater near the Falcons’ 10-yard line with 1:04 remaining.

“That’s what we’ve been talking about, ending games with either sacks or interceptions and the guys went out today and did exactly that,” Falcons coach Raheem Morris. “The ball went up in the air and Blidi came down with it and it was awesome.”

Todd Gurley grinded out 46 yards rushing and a touchdown, Julio Jones added 137 yards receiving against a banged-up Panthers secondary and the Falcons defence limited the Panthers to 2 of 10 on third down conversions to improve to 2-1 since Morris replaced Dan Quinn as head coach.

Panthers coach Matt Rhule said it felt like Bridgewater was constantly under duress.

“We had a hard time blocking their front,” Rhule said. “We weren’t able to get our receivers involved. We were 2 of 10 on third downs and we can’t live like that.”

Bridgewater tried to spur Carolina to a comeback in front of a sparse crowd of 5,240 due to COVID-19 after Koo missed an extra point that would have made it a two-possession game.

Bridgewater, who was knocked out of the game for two possessions with a neck injury following a late hit by Charles Harris — one that resulted in him being ejected — took over with the Panthers down by eight points with less than 3 minutes to play. He completed a 35-yard strike to D.J. Moore on third and 18 to move the Panthers into Falcons territory. But his final pass was easily picked.

Bridgewater was limited to 176 yards passing as the Panthers (3-5) lost their third straight game without injured Christian McCaffrey.

“I don’t think any of us played real well tonight,” Rhule said of Bridgewater’s performance.

Said Bridgewater: “Tough loss and we have to find ways to finish the game. That can’t be the common thing around here — coming up short.”

The Falcons avenged a 23-16 loss to Carolina 18 days ago in which Bridgewater threw for 313 yards and two scores and Mike Davis piled up 149 yards rushing. Davis was held to 77 yards this time on a wet field where players routinely swapped cleats to adapt to the changing conditions.

But Jones didn’t play in the first meeting.

He was a huge difference in this one, setting the tone by hauling in catches two catches for 52 yards on the game’s first two plays. Playing against a Panthers secondary that was already without two starters and lost another when Donte Jackson reinjured his toe in the first half, proved to be easy pickings for Jones.

“It’s fun, no question about it,” Ryan said of having Jones in the lineup. “The way we started the game is when we’re at our best, play-action pass. I hope it’s the start of something. I really feel like, although we’re 2-6, we’ve been in some tight ones.”

SAMUEL’S BIG DAY

The Panthers had opened a 14-6 lead in the second quarter when Bridgewater found Curtis Samuel for a 29-yard touchdown pass on a well set up flea flicker. It was Samuel’s second TD of the half, scoring earlier on a 12-yard run up the middle to give Carolina its first lead.

The 24-year-old Samuel has three career games with a TD rushing and receiving, which trails only Jerry Rice (5) among wide receivers in the Super Bowl era.

RYAN’S RUN

Ryan said he wasn’t sure if he would get to the end zone on a 13-yard TD run in the first half but knew he had a chance when cornerback Troy Pride slipped while trying to chase him down.

“Just fast enough,” Ryan said. “I feel like I’ve always been that way throughout my career, just fast enough to make them pay sometimes on third downs. It was a big score for us there. We really needed it.”

When asked about the reactions of his teammates, Ryan said, “I can’t tell if they’re laughing at me or just having a good time and excited for it.”

INJURIES

Falcons: Wide receiver Calvin Ridley left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury after making a reception in the red zone and did not return. Morris offered no update on his status after the game. … Cornerback Kendall Sheffield left the game early with a head injury, but did return.

Panthers: Cornerback Donte Jackson’s lingering toe injury forced him to leave the game early again, and the banged-up Panthers secondary had to finish with rookie Troy Pride and Corn Elder at cornerback spots.

UP NEXT

Falcons: Host the Broncos on Nov. 8

Panthers: Open the second half of the season at the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs on Nov. 8.

___

More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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TNF: Carolina Panthers vs Atlanta Falcons 10/29/20 NFL Picks, Odds, Predictions – Sports Chat Place

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Atlanta Falcons (1-6) at Carolina Panthers (3-4)

NFL Football: Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 8:20 pm (Bank of America Stadium)

The Line: Carolina Panthers -2.5 — Over/Under: 49
Click Here for the Latest Odds

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The Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers meet Thursday in week 8 NFL action at Bank of America Stadium.

The Atlanta Falcons look for their second road win to rebound from a ritual 1-6 start to the NFL season. The Atlanta Falcons have won five of their last seven road games. Matt Ryan is completing 66.4 percent of his passes for 2,181 yards, 12 touchdowns and three interceptions. Ryan has one or less touchdown passes in four of his last five games. Calvin Ridley and Julio Jones have combined for 1,062 receiving yards and eight touchdowns while Russell Gage has 31 receptions. The Atlanta Falcons ground game is averaging 105.4 yards per contest, and Todd Gurley II leads the way with 485 yards and seven touchdowns. Defensively, Atlanta is allowing 29.6 points and 425.9 yards per game. Foyesade Oluokun leads the Atlanta Falcons with 49 tackles, Grady Jarrett has 2.5 sacks and Blidi Wreh-Wilson has one interception.

The Carolina Panthers look for a spark of consistency after splitting their last six games. The Carolina Panthers have lost six of their last seven home games. Teddy Bridgewater is completing 72.2 percent of his passes for 1,930 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions. Bridgewater has two touchdown passes in three of his last four games. Robby Anderson and DJ Moore have combined for 1,207 receiving yards and four touchdowns while Mike Davis has 37 receptions. The Carolina Panthers ground game is averaging 105.4 yards per contest, and Davis leads the way with 284 yards and two touchdowns. Defensively, Carolina is allowing 24 points and 351.1 yards per game. Shaq Thompson leads the Carolina Panthers with 60 tackles, Brian Burns has three sacks and Donte Jackson has two interceptions.

Wonder who the Top Experts Picked? Click Here To Find Out

The Falcons are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 road games, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as an underdog and 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Panthers are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 home games, 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games as a favorite and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The over is 4-1 in Falcons last 5 road games. The under is 4-1 in Panthers last 5 games overall. The Falcons are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings. The home team is 11-5 ATS in their last 16 meetings.

The Atlanta Falcons continue to blow fourth quarter leads and at this point players have to be ready for the season to be finished. Frustration has to be setting in and confidence can’t be high, and the Falcons remain one of the worst defensive teams in the league, ranked 31st in total yards and passing yards. The Panthers continue to be hit or miss, but one of their three wins this season was a seven-point win on the road against the Falcons and they just took the Saints down to the wire as big underdogs last week. Neither of these clubs are worldbeaters, but the Panthers have no question shown more fight this season and look like a decent team overall. Not sure how anybody backs the Falcons with confidence given the constant collapses. 

I’ll lay the small chalk with the Panthers at home.

See Who The Experts Picked To Win This One

Randy’s Pick
Carolina Panthers -2.5

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.

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