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Canada Day 2015

One local tradition is that our MP, Peggy Nash, hosts a Canada Day event at High Park where a number of people are sworn in as Canadian Citizens. As part of the event, there are always tables for various community groups. This morning, the Ward 13 and Ward 14 groups of Cycle Toronto were there to promote cycling, and to get some signatures for a campaign to get a pilot project for Bike Lanes on Bloor.
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The conversations with people were generally bimodal: either people cycled in the city and enjoyed it (although they thought it could be safer), or they immediately responded that it was way too dangerous to bike. Either way, all understood that Cycle Toronto is working towards better bicycle infrastructure across the entire city.

The Ward 14 group has a clever promotion where they get people to pose with a picture frame, and put out the pictures over social media. Here is Mary Jo taking a picture of a couple of experienced city cyclists.
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Here is the link to today’s rogue’s gallery (on FB).

My Haul a Day has become my go to bike for bike advocacy. At the very least, it is a great conversation starter.
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This is John. He has done a Kent Peterson, and has switched from biking to scootering. Further conversation revealed that he has more folding bikes than I do.
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At one point, there was a frisson of excitement as Thomas Mulcair dropped by to say hello, along with Peggy Nash. Peggy has been very supportive of cycling, and you can see her picture here and there in past blog posts.
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Here is the picture frame picture of the two of them, taken and posted by Rob Z of Ward 14.
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(Picture source).

Here are Thomas and Peggy with the families of a new Canadian Citizen.
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As he left, I couldn’t resist the urge to run up and get a picture. I told him that when he becomes the next Prime Minister, I wouldn’t be able to do such a thing. He was amused.
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I should note for my (very few) US readers that we have a parliamentary system of government where the leader of the party with the most seats becomes Prime Minister. Thomas Mulcair is the leader of the NDP, the most leftward of the three major parties. General dissatisfaction with the current Conservative government is so high that whoever can present a creditable alternative will win this October, but the issue has been that the political left has often been split between the NDP and the Liberal Party, with the NDP traditionally coming in a distant third. However, recent polls show that the NDP is at least running neck and neck with the other two parties, and this was reflected by the fact that there were news cameras following Tom Mulcair around. Note also the distinct lack of security around someone who in the US would be a leading presidential candidate.

At the end of my shift, I was biking home and noting the large number of families and groups biking to the park. We are still waiting on the sharrows that are supposed to go in on High Park Ave, exactly where this picture was taken.
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Our car has been out of town for a week and I had to run an errand out to the airport, so I though I’d try out the Union Pearson Express. The UP express has been running for only about three weeks now, so it is still brand shiny new. I biked out to the Bloor (at Dundas West) Station.

Here is the signage on the railpath at Bloor.
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Here is the entrance, hidden way under the rail bridges over Bloor. Eventually, this station will be tied properly to the TTC, but the easiest solution was blocked by the owner of the Crossways building complex.
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Here is a view of the stairs up from the lobby. I should have taken a wider shot which would have shown ticket vending machines to the right, and manned ticket windows to the left. I bought a Presto card here to reduce the UP fare.
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There are plenty of pictures of the interiors of these trains already posted on the internet. I’ll only note two things: firstly the seats are fixed and cannot be swiveled like on Japanese trains.
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Secondly, this map shows that the UP Express only goes to Terminal 1, and you have to board a separate tram to get to Terminal 3. The display showing delayed flights was a nice touch. Also no problems using the on board wifi.
DSC05697 The transit time from Bloor to the airport was a speedy 17 minutes.

Once at the airport, I saw that you walk through the platform for the inter-terminal tram on your way to Terminal 1.
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Another nice thing about the UP Express is that you get views you normally wouldn’t see. Here is a shot of the back of the T1 parking garage.
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You can see that there is still a lot of work being done on the Weston stop.
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The platforms for both Bloor and Weston look like there are being extended so that eventually the shelters can accommodate longer trains. For the moment, each train is only two cars.

On both my midday trips, the train had less than 10 people on it. The conductor told me that it is busier in the afternoons, and she hoped that business would pick up during PanAm. However, this report says that the service is meeting its ridership targets.

The claimed time from Union to the airport is 25 minutes, so doing a little math, it takes about 7 minutes to get from Union to Dundas West.

Here is the readout on the card reader when I touched the Presto card after disembarking from the train.
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It would be a great alternative if it was much cheaper, but I understand the strategy of positioning this train as a premium service. For us as a family of four, we’ll stick to a limo. However, for the single business traveller, it is a great option.

I was pleased with the service, but I had one remaining concern: it’s not clear to me what the hours of the ticket window is at Bloor (the only way you can get a Presto card at this station). There was someone there at 10 am on my way out, but no one there at noon upon my return.

Update: here is a snarkier review of essentially the same trip.

Today was the ghost bike ride for Adam Excell, a young man struck down last Saturday in the prime of his life. This is the third ghost bike ride in two weeks. Not much more can be said.

Riders gather.
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An interesting Sears brand folding bike.
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My former neighbour Danny and I were on Bike Fridays.
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The ghost bike arrives.
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Joey briefs everyone.
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A short ride along Bloor and then up Bedford.
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On Davenport, approaching Avenue.
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Arrival
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Installing the ghost bike.
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Friends and relatives met us at the intersection, many of them wearing shirts emblazoned with #livelikeadam.DSC05658

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After Tino wrote on the bike, many others joined in.

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By all accounts, Adam was a careful cyclist. He had a helmet and lights when he was hit at this intersection. Whatever justice is meted out to the 19 year old who hit and ran, a moment’s inattention led to one life gone, and another affected forever.

31 traffic fatalities so far this year, including 21 pedestrians and these three cyclists in the past month. Something has to be done. If 31 Torontonians were killed by guns, this is all we would be talking about. Instead, these needless deaths are treated as collateral damage by our autocentric society, with a good deal of victim blaming thrown in for good measure.

Ride (and walk) safe everyone.

Globe and Mail Obituary

CTV News

Tino’s photos

CP24

Global news.

Die in at City Hall

Cycle Toronto sent out a call for a protest at City Hall this morning. Three cyclists dead in two weeks: something had to be done. Today was the day, sandwiched between two memorial rides.

With the media present, Cycle Toronto made three specific asks:

  • adopt a strong Vision Zero policy of zero road fatalities
  • boost cycling’s budget to $20 million
  • build the Minimum Grid

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People alternated between listening and bell ringing. We were about 150 riders strong.
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Time to lie down; three minutes in memory of Roger du Toit, Zhi Yong Kang, and Adam Excell.
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My view during the lie down.
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Afterwards: no, we are not all trying to call someone; Jared is giving us Mayor Tory’s phone number so that we can call him.
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More media. Janet Joy represents.
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On a happier note, this mom was there with her girls and their Yuba.
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The kids are still on message.
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and Andy was there with this really neat child seat for his Brompton. Apparently it does not impede the fold.
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Lots of media coverage:

Peter Kang was killed while riding his bike last week. The driver was caught after a police chase. The memorial ride was this morning.

A group of riders gathered at the start. The mood was particularly somber as there was a memorial ride a little over a week ago, and everyone knew that there would be another in two days time.
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These canine friends support our cause.
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Bilenky’s hard at work.
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Dave with the banner.
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Discussing the route.
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These are classmates of the deceased. They told me that Peter studied and taught mechanics in Beijing before emigrating to Canada.
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Joey makes the announcements.
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And we’re off, headed north on Spadina. It’s going to be a long haul up to just east of Jane/Finch.
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Westbound on Davenport, the bike lane fades in and out of existence, and in any case, we are hemmed in between traffic and parked cars.
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Paying our respects with a moment of silence at Tom Samson’s ghost bike.
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Headed north again.
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On Jane
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Under Black Creek.
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Now a little east on Sheppard.
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Just before we turned north, a driver cut very close to the pack, one rider banged his fist against the car, and then the driver started driving erratically. We had hem him in so that he wouldn’t run anyone over.
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Preparing to turn west on Finch.
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At the crash site.
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On the ride home, a glimpse of the ghost bike for Adrian Dudzicki.

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It is bitterly ironic that the Toronto Transportation department tweeted this picture on May 13, 2015.
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Since then:

This past weekend was the annual HPV rally run by the Michigan Human Powered Vehicle Association, on a (auto) racing track at the Waterford Sportsmans’ Club in Clarkston MI. I got there a little late, but in time to see the last couple of events on Saturday.

Here is the U of Toronto HPVDT.
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When I got there, everyone was in line to do the combination hill climb / coastdown event. Here are Warren and Dennis chatting.
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Florian is now a 5′ 10″ tall High School junior already planning ahead for college.
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It was fun to see Genevieve hammering away inside Sharie Brick’s old Micro Moby streamliner. FB video here.
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Proud father Fran with just two of his kids that were at the track.
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Jackrabbit Jim Iwaskow.
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Sherry in Vortex.
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Jeff Hunn was riding a fully faired Greenspeed trike. He said that if there was enough interest, the American Greenspeed distributor would consider importing them.
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This is what it looks like with the lid closed.
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Garrie Hill hanging out on his monster trike.
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This fellow rode about 30 miles to the event on this fully loaded touring bike. It has a stereo system inside the handlebar fairing. The black rims on the rims are Revo lights, which I didn’t get a chance to see lit up.
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It was good to see Paul Pancella back running the Urban transportation event. Rev. Bruce is looking skeptical about how practical a Jester is.
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What is this mysterious object?
DSC01581If you guessed that it is a trailer hitch on the side of the Milan velomobile, you are correct!

Given that there was a high probability for rain on Sunday, it was decided to run the sprints before quitting time on Saturday. What follows is an image dump of many riders going through the traps.

The timing was manual since Garrie’s optical system was not behaving.
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Darryl on his trike.
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Milan velomobile. You can see the road rash that it picked up earlier that day.
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Sorry I zoomed in too far on Richard Myers. He is a very fast 79 years young.
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Evan.
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Darryl.
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Florian.
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Mattias.
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A blurry picture of the Micro Moby (she was going too fast).
DSC01623 I can’t see how she sees out of the fairing. Hopefully Fran will raise her seat before Battle Mountain this fall.

Touring bike.
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Dennis.
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Wally.
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Cruzbike.
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Another Cruzbike.
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Dan in the Vortex clone.
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Rev. Bruce.
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Dennis unfaired.
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Bill.
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Dan in the Milwaukee Flyer.
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Kettweisel.
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Two upright bikes looking a little out of place.
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Jim.
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Alan.
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The flames make this velo faster.
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Ye olde battle scarred Vortex.
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The faired Greenspeed.
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Mike.
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After the sprints, people started getting ready to camp out for the evening.

Here is that touring bike parked, and all the camping stuff deployed for the evening.
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Dennis sharing a pan of cookie/brownies.
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Bruce decorating the team’s carbon fibre longboard.
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The Grelk compound has a separate tent for the bike. Dennis says that the bike is Richard’s Mody, and that his bikes live in the trailer.
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HPVDT chowing down on some pasta that looked better than what I got at the Big Boy.
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Guess who fits inside CO2?
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There was a meeting of the MIHPVA, with some discussion of how the organizers are tired of running both the club and this event. As per usual for such discussions, it was decided that since Mike Mowett was not present at this meeting, he should take over running next year’s event.
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Unfortunately, it started raining before dawn, and around nine in the morning it didn’t look like it would let up any time soon so it was decided to scrub the rest of the event.
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The announcing of the winners of the various classes.
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Full results are available here.

HPVDT gets ready to hit the road.
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The bike touring guy rides off in the rain, stereo blaring.
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Thanks to all the organizers: Mike, Mike, Bill, Bruce, Garrie and Paul, etc. It was fun to see old friends once again. Hopefully the event will be able to continue, as it is a unique venue for HPV racing, and it is always fun, even when some of the weekend is rained out.

Next up for HPRA: a double shot of Northbrook.

Update: the HPVDT’s own blog post on the weekend.

Blast from the past

I just dug up this picture, taken at the 2009 Family Cycling Tour.
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Compare it with this picture, taken this past weekend.
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The more things are different, the more they stay the same.

In response to the comments:
the tandem they rode at FCT was much smaller, although with the same wheel size. Back then Keili wasn’t pedaling since her feet couldn’t stay on the pedals at the bottom of the stroke. In the second picture, both the tandem and the girls are bigger, so the total effect is that the wheels look smaller.

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