Back on the west coast for our annual visit. My first dilemma: a misplaced bike lock key for the Dahon that I keep stashed out here. Solution: I walk over to the Bike Kitchen, which is a student run shop in the basement of the student services centre.
DSC03442 After they were satisfied that I was the owner of the bike with lock, a nice fellow named Phillip cut off the U lock with a handy grinder.DSC03441

Here is some secure bike parking behind the Chemistry building.

I was wandering around because I wanted to see a bit of the UBC Grand Prix, a criterium being run today on campus.

Lots of action in the Cat 3-4 race.DSC03489

Later this week, I’ll be biking around town to look at the updates to the local bike infrastructure.


UPDATE: Park will open at noon on July 18, 2014!!

despite a lot of recent media coverage, the park is not open, and apparently some people have been breaking down the construction fences to ride it. This will only delay the official opening. Don’t spoil it for everyone!

See the following e-mail:

Dear Friends,

Thank you to those of you who were able to come out on June 30 for our volunteer work day. We were really impressed by everyone’s enthusiasm, with about 40 people out to the site on short notice for some sweat equity and product testing.

The site is still closed to the public. There are still a number of things we need to finish like fencing and signage. We hope to officially open very soon. If everything goes smoothly we should be opening in the next couple of weeks.

Stay out of the site
One of the things we are concerned about is that people have been tearing down our construction fences to go for a ride. The site is still officially a construction site that is closed to the public. Tearing down our fences will slow down the official opening of the park if we have to spend our resources re-installing or re-enforcing fences rather than finishing off those last few things we need to get done.

Don’t ride 24hrs after rain
We are also concerned that people are riding the park when it’s wet. Because most of the features are clay they are susceptible to erosion and we expect that additional maintenance of the park will be required after heavy rain, however if people are riding the park when it’s wet it will significantly increase the speed of erosion and ruin the park. For the long term health and sustainability of the park, please help us get the word out that people should not be riding 24 hours after rain, to give the site some time to dry out. This rule also applies to any of the dirt trails you may be enjoying in our ravines.

I would appreciate your help in getting the word out.

Please contact me if you have any questions or tweet us @TOtrees.

Thanks again for your help,
Karen Sun
Parks Program Officer- Stewardship
City of Toronto – Natural Environment & Community Programs

My friend Steve and his son Tim were in town to visit Bedford Unicycles, and so I thought that I would tag along.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Little did we know that up those stairs would be a treasure trove of all things unicycle.

I thought that the owner, Darren, looked familiar. It turns out that I had seen him just a few weeks ago at the Junction Solstice Festival, when he dropped by the Cycle Toronto booth several times, each time with a more interesting conveyance.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA He is very dedicated to promoting unicycling, builds and sells his own machines, and ships to customers all over the world.

In the lower part of this picture, you might notice the very large Hallowe’en themed Lego diorama.

Here are some close ups.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This last bit is not a real Lego set, although it would be no more bizarre than the famous Playmobil Airport Security set.

Darren was also working on a commission from several funeral homes to build models. Here the embalming room and the casket showroom.

The other rooms for visitations and services.

Back to the unicycles. The shoe-bicycle once again.

Tim checks out his birthday present: a giraffe unicycle.

Off to the parking lot for a test ride.

and here is Tim about half an hour after getting home. Go Tim, go!

Although my sense of balance is not what it used to be, I’m intrigued. Maybe a unicycle would only count as half a bike to add to my collection.

Canada Day 2014

Seen along Harbord: the Green Party cleaning up election signs, by bike, naturally!

there was a family oriented event at Queen’s Park today.

but my favourite aspect of the event was the fact that Queen’s Park Crescent was closed, and people were free to bike and walk.


This is just a tiny glimpse of what Open Streets Toronto would look like. C’mon folks, we can at least manage one measly day.

Happy Canada Day, everyone!

UPDATE: the park is open as of July 18, 2014

Today was volunteer day at the new Sunnyside Bike Park that is due to open in July. The call went out for people to help out with some basic landscaping. The city also took the opportunity to take lots of pictures of the volunteers working. From my visit today, I can see that it is going to be awesome, especially considering the very small silver of land that it occupies bounded by the Gardiner, Lakeshore, Ellis and Colborne Lodge. Here are some panoramas of the basic skills track and a BMX pump track near the entrance.

IMG_1639 The black BMX track is made up of modular sections that are bolted together.

and here is a video of the tracks near the entrance.

Further on, there is a very large mound with a few wooden ramps off the top, from which you can see the whole park.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From this vantage point, looking back at the entrance, you can see some jumps and a wall feature.

Looking the other way, more jumps.

Councillor Doucette posing for a photo, holding a trail grooming tool.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Ward13bikes will be working with her to improve the safety of bike and pedestrian crossings at Lakeshore and the Queensway for both Ellis Ave. and Colborne Lodge Dr.

After a couple of hours of hard work, the volunteers were allowed to run loose around the park.



Designer Jay Hoots enjoying the sight of people enjoying his park.




Thanks to Parks and Rec for setting up this opportunity to put a little sweat equity into what is going to be a fantastic facility. (and a note to my curmudgeon advocacy friends: from what I understand, this is coming out of the parks budget, not the transportation budget)


The bike park is not open yet (July 7, 2014) See the important notice here.

higher res photos, and some outtakes are here.

More pictures posted on this thread.

Some GoPro footage of Jay Hoots riding here.

Aerovelo: designing ETA

Aerovelo posted a nice update on their website about their latest speedbike project Eta, so it was time to drop by the shop to see how things were going. Here the team is going through a status update. Things are still on track for getting a bike rolling by the middle or end of July.

Here are the male forms for the shell. On the left hand one, you can see a cutline, which is where the fairing will separate to load the driver. First step will be to layup on these forms to make a female mold.

Trefor shows off a faired spoke. These will be tested against commercial trispoke wheels, and disc wheels to see what will be used in the final bike.

Here is one of the slides he showed with his work plan. In metric, that should be a “crap tonne” of spokes.

During a break, Calvin starts working on lunch for the team.

Out in the hallway sits Valkyrie, this year’s ASME bike. This is a close up of the tilt mechanism.

The team has been concerned about fundraising to keep this project going. Their kickstarter webpage states that their overall fundraising goal is about 120K, although at this point it is not looking good for them to raise even the 30K minimum amount. Others have asked what the distinction is between Aerovelo and the Human Powered Vehicle Design Team (HPVDT). The distinction is as follows: Todd and Cam founded the HPVDT while Todd was still a student at U of T, but while both of them were already working on the Human Powered Orthnitopter project. The primary focus of the HPVDT has always been to produce a bike to complete in the annual ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge. The HPVDT’s budget runs to about 15K a year, most of which is spent on the bike, and a small amount partially subsidizes student travel to the competition. The HPVDT has run a succession of bikes, including ACE, Vortex, Bluenose, Celero, and Valkyrie.

Aerovelo was started by Todd and Cam as a way to tackle more ambitious projects, such as the Human Powered Helicopter Atlas that won the Sikorsky prize last year.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Aerovelo’s overall objectives are twofold: to tackle high profile projects that push the limits of human power (and as such provide examples of ultra energy efficient forms of transportation), and to provide students with a high quality engineering experience. Most of their work takes place in the summer, and their model is to recruit a student team each year, and to provide them with paid employment during the summer. Naturally, a fair number of HPVDT members apply to participate in Aerovelo projects, but this summer’s Aerovelo team is more than half entirely new people. Todd and Cam did a fair amount of fundraising to get the helicopter built, and although they won the $250K prize, most of that money had already been spent by the time the helicopter flew. They are being similarly ambitious with their speedbike project this summer, but without the prospect of a pot of gold at the end. The 120K budget reflects the fact that the students are paid (HPVDT activity is unpaid), and the fact that the Eta project is quite a bit more sophisticated than HPVDT’s prior bikes. Eta is the first bike that is being designed from the beginning for ultimate speed. Given that Aerovelo/HPVDT managed to get Bluenose, a modified ASME bike, up to 78 mph last year at the World Human Powered Speed Challenge speaks to the potential for success this year.

The competition has been fierce the past three years, since the Human Power Team Delft/Amsterdam (HPT) started showing up. They are well funded, and have brought a new level of sophistication to this event. They have won the WHPSC three years in a row. Their first year, 2011, they beat Sam Whittingham from BC who had won this event for more than ten years running, and was the world record holder at 133.3 kph, set in 2009. Last year, HPT reset the record to 133.8 kph. This is the record that Aerovelo is trying to recapture and to bring back to Canada. You can follow the Dutch team’s progress at their website, and you will note that their bike is already complete, and they are concentrating on testing and training of their riders. Aerovelo finds itself in the position of the underdog once again. It is going to be an interesting summer leading up to the WHPSC 2014.

Tonight was the long awaited final public consultation on the West Toronto Railpath extension. This followed a public meeting that was almost a full year ago. I’m very happy to report that the revisions to the design are almost all positive.

Here is a sign summarizing what has happened since that last public meeting.The main points were that there was overwhelming support for the project to go forward, and that the design review panel urged all stakeholders to work together to provide more land to improve the routing of the railpath extension.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The changes in the details of the proposed route were mostly worth the wait.

Here is a shot of the possible links to the rail path just south of Dundas and Lansdowne, where the extension begins, including various circuitous loops on surface streets.

These have now been discounted in favour of a straight line down to the rail path.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The section at A-A shows a ramp coming down from the south side of the Sterling/Dundas intersection to the extension of the rail path that comes straight under the Dundas St. bridge from the existing path. During the Q&A, Liz raised the issue of an earlier proposal to extend the rail path from the spot where Jenna Morrison was killed, across Sterling parallel along the north side of Dundas, and then across a bike only bridge to get over the Barrie rail line, and potentially also connecting to the end of College St. Dan Egan said that this was discarded as a scenario to extend the rail path, but was still being considered to improve safety in this whole area.

The next panel shows the bridge across the Newmarket/Barrie line, including nice renderings of the bridge. All slopes will be less than 1 in 20 so that they will meet wheelchair accessibility standards. There is also access from the bridge to the No Frills area. Although another bridge to Roncy was beyond the scope of this project, we were told that the design of the bridge will take into account the possibility of such a bridge in the future.

There is the bridge over Brock St. There will be some access to the Railpath from the south side at this point.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The original map from last year showed various on street routes to go around the Dufferin/Queen intersection, including short sections of Peel and Gladstone.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Thankfully some right of ways have been opened up so that the Railpath can now be extended along the railway corridor instead.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Just to the right of this section, the Railpath continues alongside Sudbury St. Referring to section I-I in the above map, the cross section shows a multi use trail somewhat buffered from the street by landscaping.

Further along Sudbury St, the path follows the street and veers away from the rail corridor. There is a dashed line on one of the above maps that shows a future “possibility” of continuing instead along the rail corridor, but this depends on more working out of right of way.
In particular, 99 Sudbury is a building that blocks the direct path, but it is slated for development (i.e. demolition), and it is possible that a future project will allow clearance for the Railpath.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA To the right of this map, there are sharrows along Sudbury street.

Sudbury St. terminates at King, and here the planners freely admit that the details of the on street bike paths are not final. In particular, I am not enthusiastic about the bidirectional bike path proposed for the south side of Douro. Didn’t we just go through the exercise of going away from bi directional bike paths on Harbord? Joey also had an issue with routing west bound cyclists through the Shaw/King intersection which is crisscrossed with streetcar tracks.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This shows the end of the project area, with the bike path along Douro, connecting to Wellington.

Here is a clever visual aid to show people the proposed width of the Railpath, 3.5m, which is equal to the present section. There is also an option to make it 4.5 m wide, at the expense of some landscaping on both sides. This was one of the points where the planners were asking for public input.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

By the time of the public presentation of the project, we had a full house.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Dan Egan got a few chuckles from the audience when he noted that it was nice, for a change, to be working on a project that many people actually wanted to see built.

In response to my question about the ongoing EA of the Dupont Bike Lanes, he said that he can’t imagine that there would be enough support to get the bike lane taken out, and if the section of the bike lane under the rail bridge (the connection between Wards 13 and 14 to the Railpath) were ever to be replaced, it would be with something of equal value in terms of cyclist safety.

Next steps: there is the possibility for public input for a little while longer, and then a final report will be submitted this fall.

All in all, there was a very positive buzz in the room, and the assumption was that this thing was actually going to happen. The presence of Councillors Perks, Bailao and (briefly) Layton was noted.

NOTE: the deadline for public comment at this stage is July 11, 2014. Send comments to westrailpath@toronto.ca

Update: the official link to the full slide deck is below:

and the city has related information on this page, including peripheral projects such as the Liberty Village Bike/Ped Bridge which is also due to go in around 2016.

Further updates:
Below is a letter from the Ward 14, 18, 19, and 13 groups of Cycle Toronto, expressing some of our concerns about the proposed alignment. Remember that the deadline for public comment is July 11.
Railpath Expansion Multi-Ward Feedback July 2nd 2014

Globe and Mail coverage here.


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