Mini mini pumps review

Seeing that the  (non commuting) cycling season is about to start, I wanted to replace an old Serfas mini pump with something a bit more compact. As it turns out, I ended up buying two new pumps, with the main criterion that they had to be as short as possible to make them easy to stow. Left to right we have the Lezyne Sport Drive HP, my older Serfas, and the Topeak Micro Rocket AL.  Why did I buy two new pumps?  Well I got the Micro Rocket first, but I did not realize when ordering it that it was presta only.IMG_7986

The Lezyne pump is going to accompany my regular commuter (which is Schrader).


It comes with a hose that accommodates both types of valves.


I was concerned that it would be a pain to use since you have to screw the hose onto the pump, and then to rotate both pump and hose to screw it onto the valve. However in practice this didn’t seem to be too much of a pain.


Weight stats with and without mounting clip

What is more important to me is that it is short (a bit under 7.5″) so that it fits into a seat bag. This way I don’t have to store it in the bottom of my commuting pannier like the Serfas.



Next up: the Topeak mini pump. This thing is both short and light.

It has a pretty sturdy almost all metal construction and seems to work pretty well. I can tell that it is going to take a bajillion pumps to inflate a tire from flat, but I’m not a believer in CO2 cartridge inflators.


Here it is mounted on the Tamarack.


Just for reference: my old Serfas. Nothing really wrong with it. It has a flip release chuck and it does work on both types of valves. However, it was forever getting lost in the bottom of my pannier, so now it is a spare that I’ll carry around on one of the other bikes.


Lakeshore Cycle Track

Cycling along the lakefront is a very popular pastime. Towards the west end of the Martin Goodman Trail, a separated pathway extends beyond the bridge at the Humber River, through Mimico, ending at Norris Ave. From that point, cyclists are expected to use a 1.4 km stretch of Lakeshore Blvd until First Ave, at which point the waterfront trail continues through residential streets. This has been a sore point for cyclists in South Etobicoke, and the city finally started planning a protected cycle track to bridge this gap. The construction process has been very slow, but it appears at this point that the cycle track is more or less done, needing just a bit more signage and some sweeping before it can be officially opened.

Here is the west end of the track, at First Ave, near where Susan Trainor died.


Here you can see the concrete barriers separating the bidirectional cycle track from car traffic. There are many gaps in the barrier at cross streets, and also at every single driveway along the south side.


The fact that one of the bike symbols is not inverted bothers me.

Also, a more serious issue: it looks like the directions for the bike lanes are reversed. As far as the actual bike lane markings go, the lane closest to the car traffic should be westbound, which is downwards on this sign that is visible from the eastbound direction. Not that it really matters since this sign is clearly meant for car drivers. Still there is the potential for some confusion.


Riding east, here is the first of three raised bus stops at Royal York. The fact that they are relatively far apart makes them much less annoying than the ones along Roncesvalles.


Here is the east end of the track at Norris Cres.


From here you can join onto the lakefront trail. Note the Brompton rider riding no hands.



ASME 2018 T minus 35 days

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with the HPVC and their build of this year’s human powered vehicle. At the earlier update, the team was determined to try to get wheels on the ground as soon as possible. The team is still far ahead of last year, but deadlines have slipped a bit. They still are determined to get wheels on the ground before the end of this month. Here are a few pictures of the build in progress:

Laying up the lower half of the shell.


Bill tests out the Bionx system on his upright.


We’re done with the mold for the moment.


If you look carefully, someone is working inside the shell.


Working on wheel fairings.


Laying up the seat.


Cleaning up the shell.


UTAT is using the central room for storage while they clean up their room.


Calvin getting Celero up on two wheels, just for fun.


Bonding in the side pod supports.


The finished seat, and some other parts.


Bruce and Bill with the rear fork.


From this picture you can get an idea of the stance of the vehicle.


and here are some pictures during the build by Jack:





The seat is a three part mold, with different centre sections so that we can make seats with varying lengths.



Many of the internal components have been fabricated, and the team is concentration on system integration. Hopefully by the time of the next update, we’ll have a rideable vehicle.

Goodbye to Honest Ed’s

One of the landmarks on my commute in to work every day has been Honest Ed’s, a Toronto institution that has been in the process of being demolished. Back in December, I started taking a series of pictures, mostly from Bloor and Markham, where I would pull over briefly, just off the bike lane.

Here is the first picture from December 3, 2017, where most of the building south of the Bloor St. Facade was already gone.


Dec 8


Dec 12


Dec 27


January 4


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Jan 13


Jan 30


January 30, from Bloor and Bathurst


February 5


At this point, I had to go out of town for a few days, and I didn’t manage to get the last pictures of the corner, but you can see an Instagram video here:

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Feb 9: just as last bits of the corner entrance are demolished.



Feb12: From this panorama, you can see that all that’s left of the ground floor is a little section off Bathurst.


Feb 15


Feb 27. Even some of the hoarding along Bathurst has come down, and now you can see across to some of the properties on Markham St. that have yet to come down.


Feb 28: Oh yes, there is a small block of stores on Bathurst that refused to sell, and so they have been left alone.


There is also a second block of stores at the corner just south of here. According to this rendering, these buildings area part of the final design.

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(image source)




Just posted some pictures from the Toronto International bike show over at Dandyhorse. My two favourite bikes at the show were the Tern GSD, and this Cherubim gravel bike commissioned by Blacksmith Cycle.

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Ridiculously small fender clearance….and yes I’m wondering why the fender is crooked as well.

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Even the derailleur pulleys were personalized.DSC02088

Quite different than the last Cherubim I saw.

The Tern GSD is a compact long tail based on 406 wheels, that looks like an evolved and e-powered version of my Haul a Day.

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It stands on end, just like my Haul a Day.

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The side bags fold in nicely when empty.

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From the local dealer, it retails for $6500 CAD.

The other thing I’ll mention is this smart helmet: the Cyclevision Edge. It has front and rear 160° HD video cameras. You can check out all the features at their kickstarter page.


It will eventually retail for $660 AUS (versus $500 AUS on kickstarter). I couldn’t help comparing this to the Classon helmet, a kickstarter campaign for a similar helmet that was funded back in July 2016, with a promised delivery of April 2017, but appears to still be nowhere near production.

The big story this year seems to be e-bikes, and the prices are slowly coming down in the segment, with the cheapest bikes being of the order of $1800. Still with the recent news that local vendor BionX has just gone under, there is still a lot of shaking out that will happen before things settle down.

Head on over to Dandyhorse for many more pictures and words.





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(image source: Toronto Star article)

Speeding driver acquitted in death of teenage cyclist

A Toronto judge cited a “lack of evidence” when he found driver Johan Vaz not guilty of various driving-related criminal offences.

story in the Toronto Star. 

A Toronto police collision reconstruction expert testified the BMW driver was travelling 130 kilometres per hour, and Vaz just under 99 km/h, far exceeding the speed limit of 60, Nakatsuru said, summarizing the evidence.

Vaz’s act of speeding was “not acceptable but does not depart in a marked way from a standard of care expected in this situation,” Nakatsuru said. “The Crown therefore failed to prove the essential element of fault to the offence of dangerous driving beyond a reasonable doubt.”


Absolutely sickening.

Link to our memorial ride in August 2104.

Renewed sympathy to family and friends.

Update: it was pointed out that the driver that was acquitted was the Honda driver who was allegedly racing with the BMW that actually killed Immanuel. The BMW driver was sentenced a year ago.



With the weather forecast looking pretty good, it was time to switch back to the pink bike.

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However, sadly it had a flat, so I took the opportunity to swap out the rear tire as well. It had plenty of cuts, and the tread wear was a bit asymmetric.


The new tire; takeoffs from a couple of years ago when I bought my Norco winter beater.


The other thing was to replace the saddle cover, which I had put onto the Haul a Day. Just like the other one, it was waxed canvas, and made in the US by Randi Jo fabrications. When you order from them, things are wrapped in a eco friendly way.


The unique feature of these saddle cover is that it has a flap to protect the underside as well. The one that I’ve been using for a year or so doesn’t show appreciable wear.  These covers are much much better quality than the covers I’ve used from Brooks, Carradice, or Planet Bike.



Here you can see the openings for saddle loops. This cover is specifically tailored for the Selle Anatomica saddle.


Looking forward to riding in without studded tires, at least for a while.

Update: note how nicely the saddle cover conforms after a ride or two.