Kings College Circle

Kings College Circle is a circular roadway that surrounds the front “lawn” of the St. George Campus of the University of Toronto.

Traffic circulates in a counterclockwise direction, and there are various roads that funnel traffic in and out. With the start of the fall term, the amount of foot and bike traffic increases. Apparently speed was thought to be a problem, so in mid September, these rumblestrips suddenly appeared.
sept18 They were cut fairly deep into the pavement with square edges, and in the City of Toronto Cycling group on facebook, there were suddenly a whole series of complaints, and some anecdotes about them causing flat tires. Here’s a lower angle shot showing just how nasty they are.
sept18a Similar strips were cut into Galbraith Rd, and the short connector to the underpass leading to Wellesley St.

Possibly in response to this type of complaint, the rumble strips were painted yellow to make them more visible.

Around the same time, it was announced that a narrow strip would be paved back for the use of cyclists. That happened this past weekend. Here is one such strip, which is about 50 cm wide.

If you look at these fill ins from the side, they are pretty flat on top, and are a vast improvement.

They even put two sets on sections of roadway with two way traffic, such as this section of Galbraith Rd.

The only other issue is that these strips for bikes are not very visible, and in fact, while I was taking these pictures, the majority of cyclists were riding over the rumble strips as per usual.

A nice enhancement would be to have a mini bike lane symbol by these filled in sections. You could even use them to suggest the correct flow of bike traffic:

Kudos to the City, or whoever it was for filling in the strips, but a raspberry for putting them in the first place without any public consultation that I was aware of.

Finally, there has been a radar gun installed on the circle. See how high you can score on a bike.
Forget that; I’m not going to encourage speeding, especially when you’re taking a picture while riding. You wouldn’t catch me doing it.

Update: note that U of T Transportation Services has a FB page, and they did post notices about the rumble strip issue over the last week or two.

Update #2: Transportation responded to the suggestion of additional markings on their FB group, and we shall see what happens. There is also a response from a driver who notes that the filled in bits make it much easier to drive over the rumblestrips at speed, and so questions their effectiveness.

Today was the official opening of the Sunnyside Bike Park. The park had been open for a while, but today was the day for speeches.

There were families, riders and kids everywhere.

We were there representing the Ward 13 advocacy group of Cycle Toronto. It was a good opportunity to let people know about our concerns about intersection safety in the area, as well as broader CT campaigns such as #Minimumgrid. Here Janet Joy is networking.

It was great to see Jay Hoots back at the park.

Time for some speeches.

Then the ribbon cutting.

Then a riding demo.

Is this more distracting to drivers on the Gardiner than the video billboards that have been sprouting up over the last few years?

I saw this guy brazing around the BMX tracks on this scooter.

Janet Joy talks to the media.

A great day for biking in Toronto.

More pictures at the Ward13Bikes Tumblr.

Much prettier pictures and a nice article here.

BM2014: Wrap Up

This was a year of high expectations. We had two teams, HPT Delft/Amsterdam, and Aerovelo, coming in with the assumption that they would reset the world record. Reality collided with hopes, and yet this week of racing can’t be called a disappointment.

If the wind had been more cooperative during the last heat on Saturday, we would have had two more world records.

group photo


  • Gareth Hanks beating Ben Goodall setting a new trike record.
  • local hero Teagan Patterson learning how to ride a recumbent, a shelled streamliner, and earning a 50 mph hat, all in one week.
  • adding a third person, Rik Houwers, to the 80 mph club, which is still very exclusive.
  • Numerous people setting personal bests.
  • Having several people ride the fastest they have done in a couple of years, such as Damjan Zabovnik, who appears to have bounced back from a terrible week last year.
  • Seeing all the new bikes, including Cygnus Chronos and Eta.
  • Seeing a new seeding system for starts work to general satisfaction.
  • Seeing that Ming Garden was open after all, after several people reporting that it was closed.


  • Potentially losing the use of the Civic Center to work on bikes and to hold our meetings.

Here’s a few notes on each team, in order of top speed:

Human Power Team Delft / Amsterdam
hptAs per usual, this team had a very technically sophisticated bike, two strong riders, and lots of hands to help out. They go home a little disappointed in not having reset their own men’s world record, but that is a pretty high bar to reach. Both Rik and Christien have great potential, and if they can be enticed back, this team will have two experienced riders. 

Team Eivie
eivieDamjan went faster than he did in the last four years on Saturday morning, after running and dropping a chain the previous evening. He went even faster Saturday night; he is oh so close to 80 mph, but in conversation with him it is clear that he only cares about the world record. Good luck to him. He is an exemplar of the dedicated solo builder/racer who is also a bit of a mad scientist. He also showed his strength as a rider by going steadily faster on Friday night, Saturday morning and Saturday evening runs.

aeroveloThis team came in with a lot of self generated hype about having a very fast bike and rider, with the expectation of resetting the record. It probably didn’t help that they had a video crew trailing around who were there on the assumption that Todd would win the event and set a new record. Unfortunately, although the bike was beautiful, and Todd did set a new personal best this week, the bike had not been tested before the meet, and it showed. Breaking four spokes during the week speaks of a poor design choice. Also, the configuration of the frame and fairing made it time consuming to load the rider. (Velox4 also had this issue to some extent).  They didn’t get any new hats, but they also set the bar pretty high last year with their performance on Saturday morning 2013. They should be back next year, and Eta would then be fully sorted. Their account of the week is here.

Team Cygnus
cygnus This team was so focused on the goal of getting Jan Marcel to 80 mph that they built a new, smaller bike around him. They got very close, but Jan Marcel had a series of back luck including several dropped chains, and a slowly leaking front tire that still got him through the traps at over 76 mph. He managed to remount a chain twice during one run, and he says that he has worked out a way to patch a tire while riding, but he still can’t get his head around how to reinflate it.

Team Varna
It was great to see them back at Battle Mountain as they have the longest association with the event of any of the teams in attendance. It is always an absolute pleasure to geek out about bikes with Georgi and Steve. Barbara went faster than last year, and she went faster than her own record, but the winds were too high (and were a headwind/crosswind). She said she had a feeling that the wind was too high from seeing the banners at the traps. Ironically, the wind was dead still at both start and catch.

Team Trisled
ben&johnThis team comes in and executes perfectly, resetting the trike record. Gareth went incredibly fast on Saturday night, but it didn’t count because of the wind. Hope to see them back, and to see their compatriot Ben Goodall as well.

Team Elan
ellenHans and Ellen were back with last year’s bike, and they went faster than last year, with Ellen getting a new personal best of a little more above 70 mph. Rumor has it that they will be back next year with a new rider for their bike, and Ellen will ride a trike.

Greg Thomas
gregetalIt was good to see Greg racing again, after he went over 70 mph in the Varna Mephisto a couple of years back. This time, he was back with the (now second) fastest trike in the world, and he just barely missed going 70. His fellow racer, Peter, got 60 at age 60, and went home happy.

russiansandalanThe Russians were back, this time with two young riders that were still a little slower than Sergey. Maybe with a little more seasoning, they will be able to catch up with him.

 Team Ascension
teaganThis was one of the nicest stories this year. Eric Ware told me that this team arose from a conversation at last year’s awards banquet, where it came out that a local woman raced bikes and was interested in racing a streamliner. Her crew came together from all over, drawn from the usual suspects. Larry built the bike, and Eric Ware and John Jackstone provided crew and support. Teagan got steadily faster as the week went on, and she should wear her 50 mph hat with pride.

Orin Peters
okpetersThis is what happens when an HPV enthuasiast attends the WHPSC just for fun, and ends up racing, just to see what he can do. He went 40 mph, which has made him somewhat of a hero to the coroplast velomobile community. It was clear from his infectious laughter that he was having the time of his life.

Team Slippery Slug
slugThis is another story of people coming together to campaign a bike at Battle Mountain. Alan grace built this bike, completing it with not much time to spare, and the drawing on the UK HPV community for support. Longtime attendee Jonathan crewed, along with two young lads from Liverpool who will be bringing their streamliner to town next year. Alan was pleased to have gone 35 mph, but he sees that he needs to get a better bike to go faster.

Adam Ince
adamAdam has been attending for many years, and taking really excellent pictures of the bikes. This year he finally translated his dreams into a bike. He didn’t make it down the course, but he should feel good about riding down the course in a bike that he made. Many, many people don’t even make it to the starting line.

All in all, it was a good week, with a final evening that would have been incredible if the wind had cooperated. Although only one record was reset, many people set new personal bests, and we have a bunch of riders knocking on the door of the 80 mph club. In addition, there were several teams attending that had bikes in the works for next year.

I’ll sign off this year with a picture of sunset on Saturday. Thanks for reading, everyone!

BM2014: Awards Banquet

The end of WHPSC is marked by an awards banquet at the Owl Club. One last chance to chat with everyone at the event, and to swap stories. Another tradition is to have the law show up to announce traffic violations.

First, speeding tickets for everyone that exceeded the 70 mph limit.




Check out Jan Marcel’s shirt.



All the speeders.

Next up: all the people who crashed off the course, being cited for “failure to maintain lane”.






The Russians wonder what kind of justice system America has.

All the violators.

Next, fun with door prizes.

Bas, always at work.

Three amigos.

I get more stroopwafels!

All the riders (including drag racers) are recognized.

Then, awarding of the new hats.

Next, Garrie Hill’s awards for the three fastest flying females.

Finally, the top three in each category. First, multitrack.

Then women.

Then men.
men Note that these placements were awarded not taking into account the fact that Damjan’s run was not wind legal. Counting wind legal runs, Todd was second, and Jan Marcel third. Sorry about that folks!

Al and Alice sign off by thanking everyone for coming, and hoping that we will all be back next year. They get a well deserved round of applause.

There were a lot of fast runs, but none with legal wind, which was a tragedy because otherwise we would have had two new world records.

Results as follows:
Screen Shot 2014-09-13 at 11.48.42 PM

Pictures and coverage of the banquet to follow at a future date.

Everyone starts lining up for the group photo just after the Saturday lunch meeting.

Bas de Meijer, our very patient PROFESSIONAL photographer.

The group shot, but not by him.
group photo

Aerovelo waiting around.

Rik signs the slug.

Orin shows the Russians his velo.

Gareth shows John his vision system.

Sherry tries the Varna trike.

Checking out the Cygnus steering.

Calvin shows how he can lift the bike one handed.

An Aerovelo Cygnus joint picture.

The Russians with Alan.

The wind forecast for tonight doesn’t look good. One last chance at glory.

BM2014: Saturday AM results

Another desert sunrise at Battle Mountain.

My core timing crew for the week. From left to right, Brad, who has run 200 m (the start of the traps) for three of the past four years, and Paul Gracey, who was on radio and wind today.

Earlier in the week, we had my buddy Danny

and Annette Wielemaker. Here she is with Deb (Brad’s wife) fixing our flags.deb and annette

We had a full slate of four heats scheduled. People have started to game the seeding system, and they’ve also taken the morning runs more seriously. There ended up being a lot of scratches since many of the people that went really fast last night were still recovering.

In the first heat, Damjan set a new personal best of 78.60 mph, but with too much wind. Then Christien went 69.82 mph.

In the next heat, Rik, Todd and Ellen all went slower than last night. I could hear a broken spoke when Todd went through the traps at 75.67 mph. Eta had to be scratched from their other runs, and it appears that the team is done for this year. Next year: we’ll bring a spare set of bombproof disc wheels.

Alexei and Teagan took advantage of the scratches in the heat and ran in on deck positions. They both went slower than yesterday. Here is Teagan through the traps.

In the next heat, HPT ran Christien again, after less than an hour and a half rest. Predictably, she went slower. If she comes back next year with enough seat time in the bike, she will be fast. Runs by Vadim and Alan closed out what turned out to be the final heat for the morning. Alan cracked the 35 mph barrier, but the wind was too high.

Here are the full results.


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