City TV just did a short piece on clearing snow from bike lanes.

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For my portion, I was interviewed for about 10 minutes on all manner of subjects related to winter biking, including what to wear (just regular winter clothes are enough), what bike equipment to have (fenders are good, and lights. They took close ups of my studded tires, but I tried to make the point that 90% of the winter, roads are clear of snow and ice.) etc. I didn’t really grok to the fact that they were focusing on what the city could do better. When they asked that question, I talked about the need for more infra, and to make a connected bike network.

At least they included my plug for the Bloor bike lanes. Oh, and I had the foresight to remove my helmet mirror so that I only looked 90% Fred.

Update: I posted some pictures of good and bad bike lane snow clearance at Dandyhorse.

Mid January update

Over the holiday break, the team finished the plug for Arbiter


(picture source)

Next step: laying up the fibreglass mold. The team decided to split the mold horizontally this year, in contrast to the vertically split mold for Tempest, and the four piece mold for Vortex. Here you can see an mdf flange, and the team is getting a coat of gelcoat to dry on the upper half of the plug (which had release coat underneath).


Listening for leaks during the vacuum bagging for the lay up on the upper half.


Here is the plug with the lower half the mold already removed.


Here is the lower half.


Yesterday they were working on removing the upper half.


With both halves removed, we can compare the shape and size of Arbiter to Vortex. You can see that it is significantly longer.


Front view.


Next steps: laying up the main shell, and making molds for the wheel fairings, etc. The team is intent on getting wheels on the ground by the end of February. You can compare where we are to last February, when the plug for Tempest was still not done.

In the meantime, we are testing the k-drive.


and here are some pictures of a secret project that I’m not allowed to talk about.

and I added one more patch to my briefcase.


So we’ve been dealing with unseasonably cold weather for the past couple of weeks, just like most of North America. This has been an opportunity for me to reevaluate some of my clothing choices for bike commuting, when the nominal temps have been between -15°C and -20°C. My commute is about 9 km, meaning about 30 minutes in normal weather, and 40 minutes when it is colder.

Last week, I used ski goggles while biking for the first time ever, even though it was only about -20°C.


The googles were definitely overkill in the morning (at -20°C), but they were great the same evening, when I was biking into a bitterly cold headwind. Another plus was that they reduced the amount of fogging that I typically get when I have the balaclava covering my mouth. However, I didn’t like the tinted lenses reducing my night vision. I’ll probably only be using them when it is very cold and windy.

My more typical headgear for winter riding is this, without the goggles:


Wool balaclava.

My favourite is now the one by Trew, which is constructed so that it is easy to pull down the lower half when I don’t want my face covered. It also is made of what they call Nuyarn, which has a synthetic core covered by wool, and I think that it is holding up to washing better than my pure wool balaclavas.


They look a bit puffy right now because I am actually using them to stretch over a pair of Cat ears.


the velcro taps on the helmet are for a velcro mounted visor.

In terms of clothing, I’ve been wearing the following:


wool T shirt, then a specialized thermal jersey, and my Proviz jersey.IMG_7672


Either my Makers and Riders winter pants, or my new Swvre blue pants. I think that the M&R pants are marginally warmer, probably because they seem to block the wind better. Note that the M&R pants would be way too warm if it is -10°C or above.


thick wool socks and light winter boots on flat pedals.


Here is where it seems like my past winning combination of ski gloves and pogies just isn’t hacking it this year. Perhaps this is because the insulation in the gloves has gone downhill after about six years of use. Perhaps it is because I’m getting old.

Inspired by someone on the Toronto Cycling FB page, I broke down and got a pair of snowmobile mitts from Canadian Tire.IMG_7678 $33 after tax. Nothing fancy, but the kept my hands toasty warm for about 40 minutes of riding. At the end of my ride, the tips of my thumbs were a bit cold, but my fingers were fine. No problems braking or shifting. I could see my hands getting very sweaty in these above -10°C.

One last thing: the shock cord that holds up the kickstand on my Haul a Day is sagging in the cold, and I’ve had to effectively shorten it by moving the actor hook. This picture will only make sense to HaD owners.


Note to self: must clean up all the salt off this bike in the spring.

Now that I’m all set for the bitter cold, of course it’s going to warm up this week.

My year on bikes 2017

What is probably going to be my last bike ride of the year started with a beer run, before picking up some groceries. It was also the 1000th ride on my Haul a Day, which I’ve had for a little over 3.5 years now.


According to Cyclemeter, my mileage is a bit down from last year, but the number of rides is way up. The decrease in total distance is probably due to fewer longer rides, as I was not training for an event like STP this year.


Here are some month by month highlights:


Coldest day of the year ride.


Meeting Doug Ford on a bike



HPVDT competes at ASME HPVC East, in Cookeville TN.

The bike got through safety and the sprints, but our landing gear failed during the endurance race.



Bike for Mike, a charity ride in Hamilton


Toronto Ride of Silence 2017


As a side note, I had the honour of meeting Chris Phelan, founder of the Ride of Silence, this past December.


A ride from Burlington to Niagara Falls with TBN, which turned out to be the longest ride I did this year.


The annual Group Commute to City Hall, which kicks off Bike Month.



Memorial Ride for Xavier Morgan


Ride for Heart 2017. Once again providing ride support with TBN, this time in the rain.


Yonge Loves Bikes 2017


Ward 13 Audit Ride: keeping up the pressure for improvements to the intersections between Lakeshore, Windermere, Ellis and Colbourne Lodge.


HPV Racing at Waterford



Checking out the Arbutus Greenway in Vancouver.


A repeat visit to G&O Family Cyclery in Seattle, one of the best cargo bike dealers around.


A family bike ride in Banff.


Vigil with Friends and Families for Safe Streets. One of the best developments in advocacy was the cooperation between different organizations promoting safety for cyclists and pedestrians.



A second look at Hamilton Bike Share


At the beach with Cycle Toronto


Memorial ride for Emily Sharon Shields. Going a bit further afield to Oshawa, via GO train.


Books and Bikes along the Don River: another ride brought to you by the Reading Line.


One lap of Pelee Island by bike.



Opening of the Woodbine bike lanes


WHPSC 2017

Highlights included Delft/Amsterdam going just 1.4 kph shy of the women’s record, and Calvin going 127.6 kph, just 0.7 mph shy of 80 mph, good enough to win the mens’ title this year.


September also saw a significant ramp up in advocacy for the Bloor bike lanes, in advance of the votes at PWIC and City Council.

How cyclists are using the Bloor bike lanes?



Bloor bike lanes at PWIC: they pass with a 6-4 vote.


Memorial Ride for David Delos Santos.  We heard about his death while we were at the PWIC meeting.



Bloor bike lanes are approved at City Council Decades of advocacy by the likes of Albert and Hamish, along with a concerted push by Cycle Toronto pays off.


Candlelight walk and vigil for victims of road violence


I join the cult of Brompton


Culling the herd: goodbye to the PBW folder.



Showing Michigan bike advocate Tim Potter some of the downtown bike infra.


An update on the ASME vehicle build


Memorial Ride for Daryl Craig: the fourth cyclist killed this year within Metro Toronto.


Wishing you all safe riding and tailwinds for 2018!








Being a fan of domestically produced clothing, and wool as well, I recently bought a pair of Swvre pants in a “Blue Ink” colour that were put on sale. I’ve bought Swvre pants before, and their black label line is still sewn in LA.


I was hoping these would be a backup pair for the Swvre three season pants that I really like for colder weather. As a bonus, the new fabric had 25% wool content.

What was a surprise upon unwrapping them is that the fabric is quite heavy.

The weights of the long pants that I use for cycling (all 31/32 or 30/32) are in ascending order:

  • Swvre downtown pants: 374 g    (prone to shrinkage)
  • Outlier Slim Dungarees: 413 g    (my default pair of long pants; I have two pair)
  • Swvre 3 season pants: 432 g        (no longer made?)
  • Makers and Riders winter pants: 558 g (a thick Polartec fabric pant)
  • Swvre blue pants: 709 g

Accordingly, since it was -20°C this morning, it was a good opportunity to try a ride with the blue pants. They are the flash of blue in the lower right corner of this photo.


The fit is the same as the 3 season pants, which is what I was hoping for.



At the same time, the look is sleeker than the Makers and Riders winter pant.


It looks like I’ll be reserving the new pants for colder weather. I’ll update when I figure out just how warm they are.

As a side note, here is a picture of some wear on my Outlier SD’s, which have had heavy use over five years. I see that I put more weight on my right hand side bone for some reason. Still a long way from wearing through.


Update: The blue pants were washing (permanent press cycle) and then hung to dry (even though the care tag suggests tumble dry low) and there was no detectable shrinkage.

Memorial ride for Daryl Craig

This morning we had a ride in memory of Daryl Craig who died on December 20, after being struck by a cube van on College St, near Ossington. Cyclists started gathering at Spadina and Bloor before 10 am.


Some of the usual suspects are looking a bit cold (Patrick, Albert, Hamish)


A couple of pictures of Sam’s nicely detailed winter bike.


David arrives with the banner. We knew that someone had already placed a ghost bike at the crash site.


Joey makes a few announcements to start things off.


I count 31 cyclists, just before we set off.


and we’re off, headed south on Spadina.


Turning west on Harbord.


South on Shaw.


At College and Shaw.


Taking the lane on College.

This section is narrow and has streetcar tracks and lots of on street parking, all of which could have contributed to the tragic collision.


Joey leads the way


At the crash site.


The ghost bike, already provided by family and friends.


Not much road width to display the banner.



This is what passes for bike infra along this section.


RIP Daryl R. Craig. Deepest condolences to his family and friends.


Thanks to all who rode with us to remember a fellow cyclist.

Wayne Scott’s pictures are here.

Video by Michael Whitla

Update: Metronews coverage.

Arbiter update

We’re into the tail end of exams, and so things have slowed down at the bike shop, but I thought I’d post a few pictures of the progress on our vehicle for ASME HPVC 2018. CM1-1

The fairing is well underway. The first thing was to do the aeromodelling on the design,

image 3

and then to check for rider fit.

Sharp eyed readers might notice that the pedal stroke looks odd, but this is something that we are testing. Pay attention to the path traced by the end of the secondary cranks.

Once the shell design is locked down, we start working on a plug. The first step is to carve foam sheets in sections on our CNC router table.


The complete plug glued together.


The other side has been sanded.


Then a couple of layers of fibreglass. Here is the first side done.


and the second.


In the meantime, here is the BB assembly for the K drive


Now putting durabond on the plug.


Next steps will be to sand the plug, and then to lay up a fibreglass female mold from it.  If you compare where we are to last year, you’ll see that we are doing well. You can see a preview of some of the next steps by looking at this sequence of photos from the construction of last year’s bike.

Update (January 5): the team has posted some pictures of the finished plug.