Today was TBN’s Burlington to Niagara Falls ride of just over 100K, with the return by GO train. About 25 riders signed up. Here we are at the Burlington GO Station, on the still under construction south side.


Jimmy is our ride leader.


Off we go. It was noted that the direction of the wind out of the east indicated that we would have a stiff headwind for most of the ride.


Approaching the lift bridge.


It’s been probably more than 40 years since I’ve been on the Beach Strip. Certainly this nice multiuse trail didn’t exist then. From what I could see, the housing has been substantially upgraded from what I remember as a kid, although as we approached the Hamilton side, things looked a bit more run down.  You can get an idea of the wind from the surf.


A short video to show how windy it was.

First regroup point at the eastern boundary of Confederation Park. It was suggested that the group split into three, according to pace. I spent most of the day somewhere between the fast and the medium group.


Off we go again. That’s the medium group ahead.


New subdivision by the lake.


Second regroup at Victoria Rd. in Vineland.


I think it’s important to colour match your beverage with your bike, don’t you?


Back across the highway.


As it turns out, the regroup point picked by the fast group was just short of a planned stop at a Tim’s.


That’s a lot of bikes.


Setting off again, into a strong headwind.


Crappy picture of the schooner near Jordan Landing.


Shortly after the lunch break was another stop at Port Dalhousie for ice cream. I decided to ride on without stopping.


Crossing the Welland Canal. This laker was stopped at Lock 1.


Niagara on the Lake.


I elect to take my ice cream break here. In fairness to Picard’s I was mostly finished my cone when I took this picture. Their single scoop serving was generous.


It didn’t take long for the fast and medium group to catch up to me. Here they are at the McD’s next door.


At this right turn on Concession Road 1, the headwind finally becomes a crosswind/tailwind.


Now I’m going 26 kph while barely pedaling.


I see several large bicycling groups headed the other way, including a wedding party that looked to be doing a wine tour (not the group pictured).


The lead group taking a corner.


Approaching Queenston heights. You can see the Brock monument.


I didn’t realize that we were going to be treated to a traffic free climb of the escarpment.


Gearing down, nevertheless.


Regroup near the top of the climb.


One of the power stations.


Stopping as we approach the falls. Jimmy tells us that we need to move onto the restaurant and that there is no time for a group picture.


Selfie just to prove that I’m here. That’s mist from the American Falls in the background.


More proof that we are here.


One last climb.


Waiting for dinner at Zappi’s Pizza.


A reward for the day.


At the VIA Rail station, buying tickets.


This is a bike car.


It’s a regular double decker, with all the seats on the lower deck stripped out to make room for bike racks. Very nice!


Thanks to Jimmy for organizing the ride, and to TBN for providing good company.

Today was an unusual day, with lots of bike related stuff tucked in and around a full day at work.  First up: helping with a bike and car count on Bloor. My shift was from 8-9 am.


Here is Albert Koehl at the counting nerve centre, AKA the Coffee Time at Bloor and Spadina.


Next up: the annual Ride of Silence, which is worldwide, on the 3rd Wednesday of May, starting at 7 pm local time. My report is up on the Dandyblog, but here are some extra pictures that did not fit in the narrative.  Here is part of the gathered crowd.


This fellow showed up on a USS LWB recumbent from a company that I can never heard of: Lightning Cycles in Ohio (not to be confused with Lightning Cycle Dynamics in California). UPDATE: here is some information about the builder, who unfortunately just passed away.


Derek showed up with family at the very end of our ride with his unique ride.


He took this shot while the deceased riders’ names were being read out.

IMG_0001 (1)

After the ROS, I decided to drop by the Toronto Cruisers ride, which is every Wednesday evening in the warmer parts of the year, starting at 8:15 from Bloor and Huron. It was suggested that we head west, and so I lead our party on a route that took in the famous elephant.


It is a laid back social ride that often goes late (weather permitting), and always includes tunes from the big speakers on the back of Grant’s bike.


Thanks to Gerry, Grant and Natalie for introducing me to this ride. As a boring family man, I had to cut out before it got too dark. As far as I know, they might still be riding out there.


I am truly blessed to have these two fine fellows as friends. Tim Potter (left) is the director of the MSU bike project, long time bike advocate, and webmaster for the Ride of Silence. http://www.rideofsilence.org/main.php His brother Jeff is also a life long cyclist and blogger at http://www.outyourbackdoor.com/DSC00441

Today I had the opportunity to take a look inside the new engineering building going up on St. George St on the University of Toronto campus. It is called the Centre for Engineering Innovation and Entrepreneurship, or CEIE. It will provide office space for many institutes within engineering. Additionally, the first four floors are student centred, and are given over to interactive classrooms, design spaces, and a light fabrication facility.  The pouring of the concrete should be done by the end of May, and the building will be more or less done in January 2018. However, it will probably be next September before classes are run in most of the new spaces.

We took this construction elevator up to the sixth floor.


From there it was a climb up some stairs to get to the top (eight) floor.


Here we are on the 8th floor.


It is with the leadership and vision of Dean Cristina Amon that this building came into existence.


It’s that time of year when they fence off front campus so that by the time convocation rolls around, the grass will actually look decent.


I guess you have to be an architect or a constructor worker to really make the “safety vest and helmet” look work. The rest of us looked a bit like Michael Dukakis.


Another panorama.


They are still pouring the last of the concrete.


Temporary trusses provide the support for a concrete slab to be poured as the roof of the 8th floor. On top of this there will be a “penthouse” for ventilation equipment.


Now back down to the 6th floor.


The Hatchery is an undergraduate focused start up incubator that will be moved onto the sixth floor. Joseph, Hatchery director, is all smiles as he checks out his future home.


The design of the building had to be substantially altered to satisfy the requirement that Convocation Hall still had to be visible from Russell Ave. Here is a reverse angle view of that street. At the end, you can see Spadina Circle, where the new Architecture building is almost complete.


Back down on the ground floor, you can see the wall of a large auditorium classroom to the left.


This is a 468 seat auditorium where all of the seats will be grouped around small tables. Here, Prof. Stickel is taking a panorama. Many first year classes will be in this space.

IMG_5369 (1)

I’m most interested in this space in the basement, called the arena. It will be a shared space for all the student design teams.

IMG_5367 (1)

Celebrating with a bit of champagne and pizza. You can see the sloped underside of the tiered seating in the auditorium in the background.


Here is a cross sectional drawing of the whole building.


Can hardly wait to see the project complete.


Bike for Mike

Bike for Mike is a charity ride in Hamilton that raises money to put kids on bikes, to teach them the rules of the road, and to encourage them to ride to school. Their annual ride was today, and it turned out to be a very pleasant day for biking. I registered for the 50K ride.

Arriving for registration at Collective Arts Brewing.


Our host, Mark Chamberlain, gives us some facts and figures about their charitable work. This was the 7th annual ride, and in that time, they’ve put 2250 kids on bikes. This year, registration, announcements and some vendors were indoors, rather than outdoors at Waterfront Park as in the past. Worked like a charm: this insured that the weather would be good, despite the lousy forecast all week.  Bonus: we all got a beer ticket at registration.


I had the pleasure of meeting Mark on my ride with Cycle Hamilton last November.

Here are the 75k riders eager to start.


Unfortunately, riding under the neat looking arch meant that you were treated to a water hazard within the first 100 meters of the ride.


Having a wet bottom is not the optimal way to start the day. Note that most of this crowd did not have fenders.


These guys are going to do the 75K with their Bullitt cargo bikes. Bikeables is a Hamilton based goods (food, etc) delivery service. I was told that the fact their bikes also have Toronto listed reflects the fact that their partner coffecology is expanding to Toronto.


In honour of the Giro, I’m wearing socks in the same style as my Italian colleague and rider, Andrea Gallo.


Just before we started, this interesting bike pulled up.


The 50K crowd was about half the size of the 75K group. We were smart enough to stick to the road at the start to avoid the water hazard.


The lead group heading south towards downtown.


Roughly 50 years ago, our family used to live in this apartment building in West Hamilton, and it used to be a huge treat to be allowed to go downstairs to get a treat from the variety store.


The sign that says “Ancaster” gives no indication that we’re about to climb the escarpment.


Fortunately, it is a gradual climb with a marked bike lane on the wide shoulder. Check out that blue sky!


My parents couldn’t quite get their head around the fact that I was going to bike 50K, so they met me in Ancaster to make sure I was doing OK. We took turns taking bad pictures.



The cargo bikers also made it up the hill.


At this point, the two routes split off. I turn right.


Beautiful rolling hills with little car traffic.


2nd rest stop in Dundas, at a cafe called Grupetto. There were some families here resting at the halfway point of their 25K route.


Looking inside, I’m blown away by the cycling theme, along with the TV showing the Giro. Turns out that this is the successor to the very well knows Domestique-Café that out grew its old home.


The frame for this very pretty private label bike was made by Marinoni.


I had a nice chat with the proprietor, Chris (wearing the toque), who started talking to me when he saw my Tamarack. He certainly knew the history of this very obscure brand. When the first wave of 75K riders arrived, he seemed to know many of them.


Setting off again.


Passing through the Mac campus.


Almost finished. I really like this bump outs with bollards that look like they are for traffic calming.


Finished, and cashed in my beer ticket.


A very pleasant ride in support of a great cause. Thanks to our hosts, the Chamberlain family, all the volunteers, and the sponsors, especially Collective Arts Brewing.

Folding Ti bicycles

One of my holy grails is to have a light, high performance folding bike that is easily folded into a suitcase. The Brompton and Tikit each have their advantages and disadvantages, but they both weigh more than about 25 pounds. Last year during STP, I caught a brief glimpse of a 20″ Ti folder, and I was told that it was a prototype.


Last night I got a note that it was now available for purchase. It is called the Burke 20 folding bike, and this image from their website is very promising


The claimed weight can be as low as 18 lbs without saddle. Unfortunately, the lowest price on the bike is $5500 US.

It is interesting to compare this bike to the Helix, a Toronto based bike which is promised for production this year, but thus far has not seen the light of day, AFAIK. The Helix has 24″ wheels, a claimed 22 lb weight, and it was advertised at less than half this price point.


Toronto Sakura April 2017

One of the highlights of spring in Toronto is the blooming of sakura, most famously in High Park. Signs over the past several weeks indicated that the bloom would be earlier than usual. Sure enough, various media outlets predicted peak bloom for this weekend past, and pointed out that the blossoms might not be as good next weekend because of rain in the forecast before then.

Whatever is the reason (perhaps a pent up demand due to the lack of sakura last year), but the crowds have been crazy this year.

Checking out High Park around 10 am this morning, I saw quite a few people for a Monday morning.

Carrying on along Bloor, I see that the “Bloor on the Park” BIA has made more legible signs than last year.


Swinging by Robarts, I see the smaller stand of sakura in fuller bloom than in High Park.



Lucy wants to go for a bike ride.


We decided to bike out to High Park after dinner to check out the sakura as a family. Crazy traffic for a Monday.


It was pretty crowded, and getting too dark for decent pictures. If it was this crowded today, it must have been insane yesterday!

If you’re anywhere near downtown, you’d be better off checking out Robarts near the intersection of Huron and Harbord.. At High Park, the blooms weren’t nearly so full, and a lot of the lower branches of trees had a somewhat bedraggled appearance from people pulling them down to get a better picture.