Family Day Bike Ride

I can’t think of a better way to mark Family Day than with a bike ride. Fortunately, it is unseasonably warm, and all the ice on the roads has melted back over the preceding weekend. Lucy is patiently waiting while I get the bikes ready.



Here we are just about to start.

Here we go. K is enjoying her new, adult sized bike.


As we expected, the park was packed, but there wasn’t a problem getting bike parking.


Lucy had fun getting a little muddy.


On the way home, you can see the continuous line of cars circulating in search of a parking spot.


Looking back, our first family ride of the year was about a week earlier than last year. Looking forward, it looks like we still have some chance for snow in the forecast, but I’m glad we got out and about today.

I’m biking along the Harbord St. bike lanes, and I’m running late for an appointment when I see a group cycle up behind me while I was stopped at Spadina. There were two cameramen, and I recognized MPP Jagmeet Singh, who has been attracting some attention, not only as a sharp dresser, but also as a potential leadership candidate for the NDP. At this point, I thanked him for showing up to a memorial ride for a recent Sikh immigrant, forgetting that it was actually MP Raj Grewal who was there (deepest apologies all around!). He responded that safety was an important issue, and when the light turned, we all crossed Harbord, and then I stopped to take this souvenir shot.


At this point, the person who was riding behind Singh pulled over and introduced himself as Doug (and he might have even said Doug Ford, but my level of cognitive dissonance was so high that his last name didn’t register; although in retrospect I did recall his Chicago Bears jacket).

Jared Kolb chimed in on a facebook thread that this was part of filming for a new TVO series called “Political Blind Date”.  If I wasn’t in such a rush to get to work, I would have loved to have asked both of them some questions, but I ended up riding off and wishing them a safe ride.

You never know who you’ll meet riding a bike around town.



Every year, one the main projects of the HPVDT is to build a bike for the ASME Human Powered Vehicle Challenge. The team is hard at work finishing the design for this year’s bike, and fabrication has started.

Here, several team members are working on their designs.


Meanwhile, in an adjacent room, the seismic design team is building a balsa wood tower for a competition in April.


Bill working on a component mold.


Evan poses with the halves of the plug for the body.


Here is the plug glued together. You can get a sense of the shape of the bike.


Alert readers will see the similarity to Vortex, which was the second ASME bike built by the team. It won the overall title at the 2011 ASME HPVC East competition. You can see glimpses of it in its raw carbon state in this ASME video.



Here is Vortex sitting in a back storeroom.


After winning at ASME, Vortex went on to be raced at numerous races in the US Midwest, and was run every year at the WHPSC in Battle Mountain. The number on the side commemorates the fact that last September, Vortex made its 100th run at WHPSC, which was the most of any vehicle at that competition.


After Vortex, the team went on to try a variety of designs for ASME, including a streamliner

bluenose with tufts

a faired trike


a leaning trike


and an unfaired lowracer. (Note that Sherry’s feet are not on the pedals in this pic)


Last year’s design, Cyclone, was based on Vortex, but it was not completed in time to run at the competition.


Tempest is another Vortex based bike, but with a refined shape. We plan to have it ready, running, and tested before ASME East which is at the end of the third week in April.

Today was the annual coldest day of the year ride. Several of us started a little early by riding in from High Park.


Quite a good turnout, despite it being actually somewhat cold (-7°C). Here the crowd gathers on Harbord at Art Eggleton Park.


Never a problem parallel parking the Haul a Day.


Captain Sam organizes the Cycle Toronto volunteer marshalls.


A few of Toronto’s finest are along to escort us.


Jared Kolb and Councillor Mike Layton warm up the crowd.

About half the crowd is what I could get into a single picture. By my count, almost two hundred cyclists.


Getting ready to depart.


Bloor at Montrose.


Along Bloor.




Down Sherbourne.


Near the end of the ride on Gerrard, with Rick and a bike dad.


a few sights and sounds from the day in this video.

Thanks, to Cycle Toronto, Toronto Police services, and Bikeshare Toronto!

Keep riding, and keep warm everyone!


One of my items on my 2015 list of favourite gear was my Swvre pants. I found them to be warm, and ideal for winter riding. I bought them during a visit to Calgary. When I went to the Swvre website a couple of months ago, I saw that they had midweight regular fit downtown pants and I figured that if they were the same as the first pair, but a little more dressy, that would be a warmer alternative to my three season pants, my Outlier SD’s.

It should be noted that Swvre now produces the bulk of their stuff offshore, although their black label line is still sewn in LA. For these pants, there is about a $40 difference between the domestic and imported versions. Furthermore, the imported versions have waist sizes in 1″ increments, whereas black label only comes in even sizes.

Here are a few pictures that I shot when I got the new pants.


The downtown pants are the black pair to the left. You can see a zipper on one pocket, and the lack of reflective belt loops.


the little dart on the knee of my other pants is missing for a cleaner look.


There are slash pockets that look dressier, as well as a small coin pocket.

So far, so good. However, before I ordered them I tried to get some info from Swvre to verify that they were in fact the same fabric as my other pants, but I got no response. The new ones seemed much lighter than the old. Sure enough, when I put them on a scale I got: (left to right) Swvre downtown: 337g (31W, 32L), Outlier SD’s: 412 g, and older Swvres: 438 g. So clearly then are not the same pant as my older pair. To be precise, I’m not sure what the model of the older pair was.; they could have been a “three season pant”, but they are clearly lighter than their current winter weight pant.

Riding with the new pants, I got the impression that they were colder than the older pair, but slight more wind and water resistant than the SD’s.  So far so good.

However, after cold water wash and hang to dry, the new pants shrunk in both length and width. The length was particularly bad. Below is a picture of the old and the new pants, after the new pants have been washed twice. You can see that the new pair has shrunk in inseam length about 3.5 cm.


In summary, I’m afraid that I can’t recommend the Swevre midweight downtown pant. It has all the good features such as 4 way stretch fabric and a gusseted crotch that is ideal for biking. However, the shrinkage is not satisfactory. I’ll stick with the older pair of Swvres, and my SD’s for warmer weather.

There have been some cycling friendly improvements to the intersection of Sterling Rd and Dundas St W, where Jenna Morrison died by being right hooked by a truck. Back in 2012, there was a community meeting about this intersection. Then in 2014, a more bike friendly crossing of Dundas St W was installed. Today I noticed that a bike sensor had been installed on the north side of the intersection for southbound cyclists on Sterling wanting to turn left on Dundas.


Seen from across the intersection, you can see that the bike crossing is meant to be bidirectional, and that the bike crossing lights have been updated to the new design.

Kudos to the city for continuous improvements, although it would be nice to put a splash of green paint for bikes on Sterling Rd who are either waiting for the crossing, or wanting to turn left.  We also hope that the city plans to completely fix the intersection of College/Dundas/Lansdowne for cyclists will eventually happen.

On another note, whenever I am in this neck of the woods, I am irresistably drawn to Henderson’s Brewing, where today I note that Henderson’s best is now available in cans.


Also a pleasure to discover spontaneous art along the Railpath.


Heading home, I note that the stairway reconfiguration of the east end of the Wallace Street Bridge is slowly progressing.


Now if we can just get that underground pedestrian connection to Dundas and Bloor done, that would be cool.





Today, the woman who killed cyclist Zhi Yong Kang was sentenced to 7 years in prison, as well as a ten year driving ban. In June 2015, she hit Mr. Kang while he was crossing Finch Ave, fled, and was apprehended after a brief police chase. This story in the Star provides some background on the woman who had previous convictions for drunk driving and was driving with a suspended license at the time. Here are some images from one of her social media accounts before the event.


From the Star story it appears that the woman is now a model prisoner, and appears to be trying to mend her ways.

Seven years (less time served) is longer than sentences that have been imposed in other recent cases of cyclist deaths with hit and runs, but there were numerous aggravating factors in this case, so it is not clear if this indicates a trend to harsher sentencing.

In any case, we continue the call for vulnerable road user legislation. Cyclists stand united with pedestrians to call for all possible measures to reduce deaths on our streets from automobiles.

Friends and Families for Safe Streets is a new advocacy group that is pushing all levels of government to make measures to make our streets safer for everyone. One of the founding members is Yu Li, a friend of Peter Kang’s, who was also on the memorial ride.


We await judgment (if not justice) in many other cases from the past few years, such as: