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Open Streets TO

Today was the first of two days for Open Streets TO. This year, they extended the range all the way west to Dufferin St. (On Sept 18, they will also close the Bloor St. viaduct, and extend the closure to the Danforth). At the same time, a cargobike meetup was advertised on Facebook, so we set off to see how many people would show up.

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One presumes that when there is car traffic, it would be too dangerous to unicycle while playing the ukelele on Bloor.

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I see that these booths are blocking the Bloor bike lane, but I guess we’ll give them a pass.

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Nice to see many families out biking.

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Some of them were riding cargobikes.

Here is everyone that showed up for the cargobike meetup.

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These guys are test riding our Haul a Day.

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Jeremy is ready to ride!

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Doug toted Honey in a messenger bag today.

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Lucy says it’s time to ride.

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These are the faster guys.

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I like how the booths east of Spadina leave the bike lane clear.

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I had not seen an Omnium cargo bike before today.

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Let’s turn south at Yonge and Bloor.

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Headed down Yonge St.

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Meeting up with Cycle Toronto volunteers who were collecting signatures for bike lanes on Yonge.

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Lucy says it’s time to ride north.

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We meet Andy and Elise.

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Honey strikes a post at Curbside Cycles, who had a full display of Babboe cargo bikes.

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So we had lots of fun riding during Open Streets. However, the format of the cargobike meetup was less successful than the last time. In particular, we didn’t manage to get a group back to the starting point, which might have been a bit of a disappointment for Curbside, since everyone was riding at different paces, and it was difficult to predict our progress during Open Streets. Next year, perhaps we’ll go back to the format of one or two weekend kids and cargobike rides during Bike Month.

 

 

 

BM2016: 3.5 weeks to go

HPVDT has been busy with several projects running in parallel this summer. However, as the dates for  WHPSC 2016 approach, they are making final preparations for the event.

Their main effort this summer has been their submarine AXIOS. Here is a fuzzy shot of the male buck used to make the hull mold

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and here are the molds.

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Everything is being made from fiberglass that was sourced as scrap from a wind turbine factory.

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Here is the rear portion of the hull.

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Calvin holds one of the propeller blades.

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In terms of Battle Mountain, their plan is to bring Eta Prime, and either Vortex or Bluenose. Here is a picture of Eta Prime, Vortex and Cyclone.

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Here is Eta Prime with the rear part of the fairing installed.

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Eta Prime is pretty much up and running. It has been track tested up to about 50 mph. The test speed was limited by the roughness of the track causing severe vibration. If things go well, Calvin has a shot at upgrading his hat. In the meantime, he has to defend his Master’s thesis in about a week.

 

Locke St (Hamilton)

Was in Hamilton this weekend, and I noticed some changes on Locke St since our last visit to the neighbourhood. Firstly, I see that Steam Whistle Brewery bike repair stations have made it to the Hammer.
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Also, it seems that the bikeshare system is a hit, and I noticed some nice enhancements at this station. I like the fact that the advertising on the rack and sign is hyperlocal.

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Also, it looks like wayfinding has been added as part of a 100 in 1 day project. This should be done in Toronto.

 

 

Today was the late Tooker Gomberg’s birthday. Appropriately enough, it was also the day that the Bloor bike lane pilot was officially opened. I posted some pictures over on the Bells on Bloor website, so I won’t repost them here.

However, I will note that this picture (by Martin Reis) showed up in the CBC news coverage of the opening.

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The other piece of good news was the official announcement that the West Toronto Railpath will be extended south past Queen and Dufferin which could be a game changer for the west end.

Finally, just a link to an article showing that not all aspects of bike infrastructure in Vancouver are ideal.

 

The installation of the Bloor bike lanes started this Tuesday, and the work crews have been making very rapid progress. Here is a picture taken on Tuesday morning. All street parking between Shaw and Avenue has been forbidden, and the southern half of the roadway is being used for one lane of traffic in either direction.

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On the closed half of the road, you can see the markings sketching out the westbound bike lanes.

By late that afternoon, there was paint on the ground. Here is a view looking west.DSC09190

and here is the machine being used to scrub off the old lane markings, perhaps even the same truck used to remove the Jarvis bike lanes.

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By this morning (Wed) it was apparent that the basic marking had been done in the westbound direction since the traffic was now diverted to the northern part of the roadway. Here is a picture taken by Honest Ed’s looking west. Westbound cars are driving over the new markings.

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What is more exciting is that it is clear that the city has decided to go with continuous curbside bike lanes, and that any car parking is being used to buffer the bike lane. Here is a closeup of the parking spaces that you can see in the picture above

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and this is the corresponding portion of the map that the city showed at its last public consultation.

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Later Wednesday afternoon I rode the bike lane westbound from Huron St. to Shaw to verify that it was in fact continuously along the curb. Here is the view from Huron looking east, showing the eastbound bike lane markings sketched out.

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and now riding west from that point, here are some more of those parking spaces

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which appear on the map here.

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There is one more subtle point about the plan that I noticed. The original plans had parking buffered bike lanes only east of Spadina, since it was stated that you couldn’t have them on the western part because of limited roadway width. When they altered the plan, they had to find a few inches somewhere. You can see the result here looking west: on this section of bike lane that is across the street from parking, there is just a simple line with no buffer unlike what you would see on Harbord. According to the plan, the bike lane is 1.5 m in width here.

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This picture was taken just shy of the Bloor Theatre, and I’ve marked the spot where my bike was by a red arrow on this map. Note that there is no buffer here on the plan.

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There’s that lane erasing machine again, this time headed east.

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Now look at this bike lane, headed west just shy of Shaw. You can see the double line that leaves a small buffer between the bike lane and traffic. There must be slightly more road width here.

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Again a map with a red arrow showing the approximate position of my bike.

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Interestingly, the plan shows flexi posts on these narrow buffers, but there are none protecting the bike lane sections that are marked by a single line.

One more thing: if you insist on biking down Bloor during the construction, it is an uneasy mix of cars, bikes taking the lane (like me), and the usual number of bikes squeezing by on the right, which is a pretty tight squeeze under these conditions. The traffic moves slowly enough in the construction zones that I’d advise you to take the lane.

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The other thing would be to avoid riding in the coned off areas, however tempting that might be. I saw places where inconsiderate cyclists had ridden over fresh lane markings and making a mess. Things will be even worse if people ride on the green paint that is still to come.

At the current rate of progress, I’d say that the basic lane marking will be done by sometime tomorrow. The green paint and other markings and the flexipost installation will probably take the remainder of the two weeks, but things seem to be moving along very nicely.

Kudos to the work crews. Thanks also to the city staff that worked so hard on this design.

BTW if you want to see the pdf of the plans in more detail they are available from the City of Toronto website here:

West of Spadina

East of Spadina

A variation of this post was cross posted to the Bells on Bloor website.

One of my ulterior motives in coming to Glasgow was the opportunity to visit Kinetics, which is a shop specializing in folders and recumbents, and is specifically known for its custom builds of Bromptons.  A quick ride northwest from the centre of town, and here we are.

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Parked out front is an 8-freight, a Mike Burrows designed cargobike that looks like the lovechild of a longtail and a long John.

This one has e assist.

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The monoblade fork that is typical of a Burrows design.

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The rear is also one sided.

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Once you step inside, there are an overwhelming number of things to look at packed into a very small space. Up front is a fully equipped machine shop. Ben is busy working on a Rohloff equipped Brompton.

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Fitting either a Rohloff or an Alfine hub to a Brompton requires a new rear triangle with wider dropout spacing, and these are made right here. Here are three pairs of triangles and forks. Custom forks allow for the installation of a front disc brake.

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A closer look at the copper plated frame in the corner that was a special request.

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This is as close to a smile that I could get out of Ben.

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This bike has the version of the rear triangle with an integral rack. It is stronger and lighter than the original.

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This particular bike was also being built with components from the Brompton black edition.

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The back room is filled with a variety of folders and recumbents.

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On the floor, an Alleweder, and on the wall, various HP Velotechnik bikes, a Birdy, and a bright blue Brompton that is his demonstrator.

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On the opposite wall, a Moulton, and some other bikes nearer the ceiling.

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The demonstrator has a Rohloff rear hub and front and rear disc brakes. Ben is now partial to this hybrid front brake that is cable actuated, but has the hydraulic advantage of being self adjusting as the pads wear.

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The rear triangle with Rohloff, and an Avid disc brake. There is not enough space in the back for the hybrid.  On the green bike, there was a TRP mechanical disc that is better than the Avid since the pads are actuated on both sides of the disc.

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This plaque is a nice touch.

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Do I look happy riding the bike?

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Overall impression was very good. I haven’t had that much time on a regular Brompton, but compared against my Tikit, I would say that the stem is much stiffer on the Brompton, and the gearing and brakes were terrific. What I thought was the rear brake was particularly strong; I almost lifted the rear wheel the first time I used them, but upon further reflection, what I was using must have been the front brake. I forgot that the brake levers are reversed in the UK. Both brakes were much better than on my Tikit. First time on a Rohloff equipped bike, so all I can say is that the shifting was reliable. My Alfine is a bit out of adjustment after many times of folding and unfolding the bike, although nothing I can’t put up with even on a long ride. Ben explained that the indexing on the Rohloff is in the hub, so it can’t get out of adjustment due to a change in cable length.

The new rear triangle makes the folded bike about an inch wider than the regular bike, and it still ships in the regular cardboard box. It will still fit in the hardcase if a little foam is carved out.

For a more comprehensive review of the bike, see this link to Velovision.

My visit came to a close as another customer rolled up with a Nexus equipped Brompton that needed some attention.

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Thanks to Ben for all the explanations. You’ve given me much food for thought…..

 

Biking around Glasgow

I’ve been in Glasgow for a few days, and the bikeshare system has allowed me to explore a bit more of the city that I could have on foot.

First step: getting a bike. I noted that Tammy Thorne had reported some issues with the bikeshare system on the Dandyblog, so I prepared by loading the Nextbike app. Here is one of the bikeshare stations.

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If you have the app, you can scan the QR code on the bike and it will let you know if it is available for rental. This seemed to work better than manually keying in the number on the phone or the keyboard on the bike. The app responds by giving you the combination to the lock.

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and we’re off. Here is the bike on one of the pedestrian and bike bridges across the Clyde. It is a chunky bike with a Shimano 3 spd Nexus hub, but it strikes me as being less heavy than our bikeshare bikes in Toronto.

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There are some nice paths along the north side of the river. In some sections, there are separate paths for pedestrians and cyclists. Here it is multiuse.

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To get around some buildings, the path sometimes becomes a glorified sidewalk.

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Approaching the Transport Museum, which was designed by the late Zaha Hadid.

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The museum holds a sample of everything on wheels, plus some models of ships. I’m going to concentrate on the bikes.

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Unfortunately, many of the bikes were suspended on a round track that was hung from the ceiling.

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You could use a touchscreen display to get descriptions and pictures of each bike, but it wasn’t the same as being close up to them. I guess the advantage is that you can provide text in different languages, and that you could provide more text than on a static display, but it was a little disappointing none the less. Here are a Moulton and Raleigh 20 on the track.

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A USS recumbent dating from the 30’s.

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A display of trikes, with a Windcheetah in the foreground.

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A vintage tandem trike on the same display. The front person has the option of not pedaling, and just using the footrests.

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A view out the front of the building, with a huge wall of cars to the right. The same complaint applies to the cars: you can’t see them very well.

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From another angle.

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A special edition Raleigh chopper that was released for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. It didn’t sell very well. Perhaps the really heavy mag wheels had something to do with it.

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A display of touring bikes. You could object to the fact that 2 out of five were not human powered, but one of the two motorbikes was used by Ewen McGregor, so I guess that’s OK.

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This is allegedly a model of the first working bike in the world. Made in Scotland, naturally.

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Finally, the thing that I really wanted to see was the replicas of Graeme Obree’s bikes.

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One had the original narrow bars meant to be under the rider’s chest, and the other featured the extended superman position. Both positions were banned by the UCI.

Here is a shot of the narrow bars, with my hand barely in front of them, to get a sense of just how narrow these are.

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Overall, I was underwhelmed by the Obree display as the replicas were rather crude, with no attempt to show the ultra narrow Q factor or the special cranks that the real bike had.

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Nevertheless, it was a fun visit, doubly so because I got there by bike. Here I am biking back as the weather turned rainy.

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These wayfinding signs were helpful, with timings given for both cyclists and pedestrians.

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It was often difficult to tell if a given sidewalk was part of a bike route. It was more clear where the pavement was a special colour, such as red which seemed to indicate multiuse.

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Elsewhere, blue signage was helpful.

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When you return a rental bike, you just pull up to a bike station, lock the bike and then indicate the return on the app. One thing is that if you are on a roaming data plan, it would be inadvisable to keep the app running for the whole time that you have the bike. If you turn off the app after you check the bike out, it is helpful to note the combination beforehand, especially if you plan to lock up the bike during your rental period. I got into the habit on taking a screen cap as soon as I rented a bike.

When you return the bike, relaunch the app and it will figure out where you are.

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Note that this screen is also providing you with the lock combination. Press return, and then you can select the actual location where you are doing the return. You will be rewarded by this screen.

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The app also lets you review your rentals to make sure all your returns were successful.

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On our second day in Glasgow, the weather was much better and it was great to see so many people out and about on the two main pedestrian streets downtown: Buchanan and Sauciehall.

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A cool non US model Cannondale with small wheels and a kid seat.

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This is Mitchell St, which runs parallel to Buchanan but one short block west. This street seemed to be used for loading into the backs of buildings that fronted on Buchanan.

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The pedestrianization of a good deal of downtown has transformed these streets into a big, outdoor shopping mall. There was definitely a huge amount of foot traffic, but I’m not sure that this would be the best model for revitalization. I would hope that the second floors and above of the buildings would be given over to offices and such so that employment as well as retail activity could anchor downtown.

More Glaswegians enjoying the sun. You might wonder about the slogan posted in many places: “People Make Glasgow”.  Well I must say that everyone we’ve met in Glasgow has been very friendly!

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Some flaggers in the Merchant City district, practicing for a street festival that starts tomorrow. This section of the city had pavers put down in 2011, and it gives this area a distinct character, along with all the old buildings with their impressive stonework.

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and here are two Dutch bikes belonging to the owners of a very cool jewelry shop, with one of them trying to get out of the picture.

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All in all, an enjoyable visit, but all too brief. I also went by a special bike shop, but I’ll write that up in a separate post.

 

 

 

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