I realize that it is really late in the season to be doing this, but I’m parting out my former winter bike. It is a Novara hybrid with 26″ wheels, and it has Schwalbe studded tires, and Alfine 8 speed gearing. I’ve blogged about this bike in the past.

The studded tires are Schwalbe Winter Marathons. They have three winters on them, but plenty of wear left. $40 for the pair.

The wheels and tires, with the 8 speed IGH and the tires, and the Alfine chain tensioner are $100.

The complete bike is $125. The bike is in fair shape, the hub shifts fine, but the rear brake needs work. Also, I am not including the shifter for the rear hub. You will have to add a 8 spd Shimano trigger shifter. Here is a picture of the worst of the rust on the frame.

Yes that is a Chris King Headset.

Winterizing the Haul a Day

Never too late to do a little work on the Haul a Day to help it survive the winter. First item of business: addressing the fact that the bungee cord that retracts the kickstand gets a bit weak in cold weather. Solution: swap it out for a spring.

For those that are interested, here’s a picture of the specs on the spring that I used.

.53″ x 8.5″ x .054″

Next issue: dealing with a very corroded and worn chain.

I was really happy with the stainless chain that I installed on my Norco, so I searched for an equivalent item for an 8 speed derailleur. The closest thing that I could find was this chain by Wipperman.

Of course I had to check the old chain for stretch, and you can see that it is way beyond the 0.75% that is recommended as the limit. Given that the chain was the original one from April 2014, I figured this was OK.

Here’s a picture of the old and the new chain. They are lined up at the far end, and you can see just how much the old chain is stretched.

In this picture, I’ve lined up the end of the new chain, and the original chain, to show you how much additional chain I had to add. (Yes I had to buy two of the very expensive Connex 8Sx chains).

The new chain looks much better, and it shifts just fine. Fortunately, the chainring and cassette seem fine.

It was a gloriously sunny day today. Just for fun, can you spot the HaD in this picture?

The groundhog lied

Well it’s been almost two weeks since Groundhog Day, and it looks like there’s going to be a lot more winter than predicted. This past two weeks have been particularly interesting, with various predictions of horrible weather that have not always been on the mark. Yesterday, TDSB closed all their schools and yet it was a pretty peaceful ride in. Certainly less traffic than usual.

I have to admit I’m getting a little soft, and I’m wearing the balaclava a lot more this winter than in the past. The googles were on account of the high winds.

Yesterday’s prediction of freezing rain in the evening never really materialized, and it was a sloppy, slushy ride home.

As you can see, the city was a bit behind on plowing, and since the curb lane on Bloor was impassable, I took the lane. With the strong tailwind, it was no problem keeping up with traffic.

This morning, all the stuff from last night was frozen on the bike.

It was snowy going in.

A lot of slush carried into the building. Our poor custodian….

I’m going to try to see if I can beat last year’s record of 120 consecutive days of cycling. Doing well so far:

Here’s hoping that we don’t get too much more snow this winter.

Today was the annual “coldest day of the year ride”, even though it was clearly not the coldest day of the year (that would have been Wednesday or Thursday). This year’s ride was to be along Bloor/Danforth, to draw attention to the need for an extension of bike lanes in both the east and west directions. The ride started at Danforth and Logan, and a few of use decided to ride to the ride from High Park. Here are local stalwarts Janet Joy and John, along with Alex.


On our way east, we picked up Laura and José.

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The Bloor bike lane being what it can be after inadequate snow clearance, sometimes it was better to be in the traffic lane.


Now across the Prince Edward Viaduct. I think this is the first year where the city has left the flexiposts in place, which is great.

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Trying to stay out of the door zone on the Danforth.


Now we arrive at Logan to be greeted by the sight of a very large crowd.

Keegan from CycleTO gets thing started. She tells us about a contest that is being run in conjunction with special winter edition Bikeshare bikes.

special winter edition paint scheme

Next up: Jared Kolb. He reminds us of the theme of today’s ride: Groundhog Day. Last year’s ride started at the same point, and just like last year, we are still calling for the installation of a Minimum Grid of bike infrastructure across the city.

Next, Toronto Danforth MP Julie Dabrusin. She apologized for not riding with us, but she had a broken arm. She said that the federal government is fully prepared to work in partnership with the city to install what ever the city decides.

Finally, Councillor Brad Bradford. It is obvious from the way he dresses that he is a real cyclist. He called for safer streets.

Now off we go, complete with police escort.

Back across the viaduct.

That’s a lot of cyclists.

Doug and Honey
Rob Z and Janet Joy discussing bike infra.

Ironically, at the pace we were riding, and with a bike traffic jam, it was possible to pass the entire pack by using the bike lane.

I enjoyed talking with the fellow from France who was riding a truly nice 650B bike with 853 tubing, dynamo lighting, etc etc.

Approaching Dundas West, almost at the end of the ride.

The ride ended at the Wicket, just short of Indian Rd. Here is Doug and Honey again.

Another gratuitous Brompton picture.

After the ride, it was a pleasure to catch up with many of my bike friends, and to meet many more.

Quite a few people elected to use Bikeshare, and I heard that there was a trailer that was going to haul the bikes back downtown. I guess these bikes were still waiting to get picked up.

Thanks to Cycle Toronto for organizing the ride, Bikeshare for providing logistical support, and Toronto Police for the one way escort.

Both Wiarton Willie and Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring. Here’s hoping they are right.


I posted some notes on snow clearance in bike lanes over on Dandyhorse. Almost froze my fingers by repeatedly taking photos while riding around in -17°C weather. Also had to punch in my security code on the phone every time because FaceID wasn’t working for me 😉


Looking at the weather forecast, maybe we are done with the polar vortex after today.

well that was fun

So today was the start of what is supposed to be the most significant snow fall of the season thus far. On the plus side, there was a nice tailwind, and the temperatures were much warmer than this morning.

Here the Bloor bike lane has not been plowed recently, but it was still pleasant riding on the comparatively untracked snow.


On the eastbound sections with bollards, I was thankful for the separation from traffic. The windrow makes one long for a permanent concrete barrier.


Please forgive the runny nose picture.


Past the end of the bike lane at Shaw, I mixed it up with traffic as most of the curb lane was impassable. Fortunately, traffic was very slow, and there was no problem keeping up. On the downside, I was stuck in traffic like everyone else.


Most of the unplowed side streets were impassable, with the many tire tracks making traction highly variable.

According to Strava, it took me over an hour and a quarter for me to get home, which was the longest ever.

screen shot 2019-01-28 at 8.24.50 pm

Still it was fun, and the car drivers were comparatively courteous tonight. We were all in the same boat, just trying to get home safe and sound. My favourite bit was passing an e-assist fat bike on Bloor.


My winter beater is a Louis Garneau Sub Zero, which I got back in 2013. It has been a good bike, and I like the fact that it came with studded tires. I’ve been using it as a winter bike since 2013-14, but until today this winter had been mild enough that I hadn’t used it much. Yesterday I got a flat, and inevitably it was on the rear tire (since the bike had a internally geared hub). Fortunately I was near Urbane Cyclist, and so I elected to have them change the tire so that I could pick it up today. (Hey it was cold and dark, and I didn’t have the wrench to detach the rear roller brake cable).

This morning they phoned me and said that the flat was caused by one of the studs working its way through the casing.


Looking elsewhere on the tire, you can see where many of the other studs were pushing their way through the casing.


I was told that the issue with this tire is that the studs are not properly bonded it, and they can move around and even rotate in the holes where they sit. You can see some rotated studs (and some missing studs as well) in this picture.


Long story short, I elected to replace both tires with Schwalbe Winter Marathons, that I’ve had good luck with in the past.


Ironically I spend more than half the original purchase price of the bike on these tires, but I intend to get many more winter miles out of this bike.

I can’t generalize that Winter Marathons are vastly superior to the Kenda Klondikes in all cases: I’ve had no issues with the Winter Marathons I have in the 26″ size, but the 406 pair also had some issues with stud induced punctures so I had to install Mr Tuffy tire liners.