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Emily Sharon Shields was struck by a car near her home in Oshawa Ontario, and died several days later of her injuries. Today was her memorial ride. Since the crash site was some distance from downtown Toronto, most of us elected to take Go transit to Oshawa. We were joined by Judy, an Oshawa resident who knew the deceased.

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Getting ready to go in the Go station parking lot.

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and off we go.

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A bike lane!

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At the crash site.

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Family and friends had already made a memorial next to the spot on the sidewalk where she died.

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After some discussion with the family, it was decided to move most of this material aside temporarily, and then to put the ghost bike on the same spot.

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After a minute of silence, Emily’s sister said a few words.

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The banner.

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Transferring decorations over to the ghost bike.

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The ghost bike.

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Someone was kind enough to take a picture of all the riders.

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Just as we prepared to depart, the skies opened up.

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A brief break in the rain while we rode along the river trail on the way back to the station.

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and then the deluge

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Warm, if not quite dry, on the Go train.

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Slightly more than the allowed number of bikes in this vestibule.

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Thanks to Joey and Geoffrey for organizing today’s ride, as well as everyone who rode. Special shout out to Dave, who at this moment is probably still riding on his way back to town.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Emily’s family and friends.

Some video from today’s ride

Joey’s pictures of the ride are here.

Tonight was the annual Volunteer Appreciation Event for Cycle Toronto. This year they decided to make it a pot luck picnic at the beach. Given that Toronto Island just reopened to the public, the venue was changed to Hanlan’s Point Beach.

Here we gather for the line up to the ferry.

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Lots of bikes on the ferry.

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Peaceful riding on the island.

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Joan arrives in style.

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More than enough food, and beverages were provided.

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We were on the clothing required part of the beach.

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Calvin worked hard to get this bonfire going.

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Chris, the recumbent guy, was one of two brave enough to go for a dip.

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Obligatory sunset pic.

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Mark, Kevin and Joan thank the volunteers for all their hard work this past year.

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Group shot for instagram.

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It’s getting darker now, and some of us start packing up to make the 9:00 pm ferry.

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Thanks to Cycle Toronto for what turned out to be a pretty idyllic evening among friends.

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On August 2, the city announced a significant expansion of the Toronto bike share network, with 70 new stations and 700 new bikes funded by a combination of federal, provincial and municipal funds. What was even more exciting was that the network would be expanded outside the downtown core. The city provided a map where the new stations were shown in green.EXPANSION-MAP

You can see from the map that there is a significant expansion in the west end with several stations in Ward 13, along with many in the neighbouring Wards 14 and 18. Particularly notable was the expansion along the lakefront, even going a short distance into Etobicoke.

The announcement was made at Ubisoft, and these new stations were promised by the end of the month. Sure enough, a bike share station was installed today on Ward St at Wallace Ave, with place for 23 bikes taking up what was three spaces of reserved car parking.

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I also heard that a new station just went in at the entrance to High Park, and sure enough, here it is on the southeast corner of High Park Ave and Bloor.

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It’s too bad that there is not another planned in the park by the Grenadier Restaurant. It would seem that this would be an ideal way to get people into the park. The closest stations will be at Keele and Bloor, and along the lakefront.  Nevertheless, it is exciting to see bike share finally come into our ward.

 

 

 

On a brief trip to Hamilton, I had a chance to try out the bike share system, which was run by Social Bicycles.  Hamilton Bike Share has several different rate plans. As a very occasional user, I am on the $4 per hour plan. I started at the Hamilton GO terminal.

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They had recently added some more bikes and stations to the system, and the new bikes in white were an upgrade from the originals, going from three to eight speeds. Naturally I picked out the white one from this rack. I had the Sobi bike sharing app on my phone, but it appeared that I still had to punch in my user number and PIN manually.

Fun fact: there was a period of time when you could pay a fee to have a custom name put on a bike. Another fun fact: you can use their website or phone app to search for a particular bike by name.

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Riding north on James St. S, I pass the former James St. Baptist church which appeared in the Handmaid’s Tale while it was in the process of being demolished. Facadism, anyone?IMG_6101

Downtown Hamilton traffic is a bit more low key than in Toronto 😉

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One of the things I wanted to check out was the bi directional bike lanes along Cannon that were put in as a three year pilot in 2014. Cannon St. is a high speed arterial in the north end of the city, with one way traffic flowing west. One lane was converted over to a bi directional bike lane. One of the best features of this bike lane is that it cuts across a significant part of the city; it is 6.3 km long, which is about the distance from Keele to Church along Bloor St.

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Riding east (against the car traffic direction), there are bike traffic lights at each major intersection.

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There are also chevrons across major intersections.

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The bike lanes themselves are protected by combination of bollards and rubber bumpers.

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Here I am at my destination.

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Why did I come to this particular station?  It was to take this picture.

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Comparing the old and new models, one major difference is that the new basket is a bit smaller, but is made up of plate with small holes, rather than the old design of tubes. As noted in this detailed blog post, this allows smaller items to be carried in the basket.

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A “be seen” headlight is integrated into the front of each basket.

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The bike named “Mika” was looking a little worse for wear since the last time I saw it, which was two years ago, but it still looked functional. You can see the U shaped lock sticking out to the right.

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This pictures show the ends of the “U”

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When you unlock a bike, you stow the “U” in the handy carrier.

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Riding back to the GO station, I note the green boxes that show where bikes are supposed to wait before crossing both lanes of bike traffic as well as Cannon St. The placement of this one seems a bit odd, but all of them are place as far as possible away from car traffic.

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At the end of the trip, the phone app shows the charge. The LCD screen showed it as well, but the display reset before I could take a photo.

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By all accounts, Hamilton Bike Share has been a raging success. Reviewing press on the Cannon St. bike lanes, I see articles both in support, and somewhat more mixed.   They were put in in the first place with significant local support. In addition to significant increases in ridership, some data shows improved car traffic flow. I’ll be watching to see if they are made permanent.

 

 

It’s been two years and four months since I got my Bike Friday Haul a Day. In that time, it has been my second most used bike, with just over 5000 km logged in just over 800 separate rides. It was time to tweak things a bit since two things were starting to annoy me.

First, the rubber feet that I put on the kickstand were worn out. I had put some Tygon tubing on the kickstand a while back (any 5/8″ ID tubing will do) and it lasted a surprisingly long time.

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I replaced it with thicker wall tubing with some kind of woven reinforcement. Thick rubber tubing would have been even better, but I’m stuck with what I can find at the local hardware.

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Note that it is better to leave a bit of the tubing extending past the kickstand feet. The tubing has less of a tendency to slide up the leg that way. In any case, any kind of tubing lasts way longer than any of the rubber end caps that I’ve tried.

The second more serious issue is that with the front rack and basket combination, over time there has been some stress on the brake cables by having the rear part of the basket pushing on them, and they have been bent just where they exit the lever. This hasn’t been a problem functionally, but it could lead to a problem in the long run.

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Here is the front brake cable housing.

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I decided to use V brake noodles to have the brake cables make a clean 90° bend just after the lever. Note that I figured out that it was better to reverse the way the cable goes through the noodle (this entails reversing the internal plastic sleeve).

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Front lever done.

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Now both done. The basket now puts much less pressure on the rear brake cable, and the front cable misses it entirely.

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Note that I bought new cable housing and a tandem length brake cable from the LBS to do this, but it turns out that since I was shortening the cable housing by the length of the noodles, I ended up using both the original housings and the cables as well.

I’ll post an update if I see any downside to this new setup.

 

Tonight was the second in a series of evening concerts put on by the Bicycle Music Festival, leading up to their main event on September 10. Cycle Toronto organized a ride from downtown to Taylor Creek Park.

Here we are in Asquith Green Park, just a block north of Bloor and Church.  Sam gets us organized.

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Here we go down Rosedale Valley Rd.

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Now north on Bayview Ave. It’s nice to have that solid guard rail between us and traffic.

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Tunnel of trees.

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Waiting for the Go Train to pass.

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A brief water break at “the elephants”.

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Caitlin of the Bicycle Music Festival provided the tunes during our ride.

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Keagan just after she called in to say that we were going to arrive a little late.

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and we’re here. Volunteers from Arts in the Parks show us where to turn.

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Tonight’s band was Yuka, who laid down smooth Motown style grooves. I really wished that we had been able to provide a bigger crowd, but my guess is that a lot of people were scared off by the weather forecast of possible afternoon thundershowers.

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Power for the sound system provided by bike, naturally. Note that the Yuba Mundo ridden by Caitlin is being put to work.

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Riders had to keep the generated voltage within a certain range, as shown by the small meter.

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A big thanks to YUKA, the Bicycle Music Festival, Cycle Toronto, and Arts in the Parks.

The next Sunset Series bike ride / concert is on August 15, with another following on August 29. All the infomation is at the Bicycle Music Festival website.

 

Today was an Urban Roller TBN ride out to Oakville. Since I had not been on the Waterfront Trail west of Marie Curtis Park, I decided to ride along.  It was a pretty good turnout at the start point, the south parking lot of Kipling station.

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Chris gives us the low down on the ride. He tells us to be especially cautious on the many sections of the ride that are along multi use trails. Apparently there was a bad accident on a TBN ride yesterday.

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and off we go

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Going south on Kipling, stopped at Queen.

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Port Credit.

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First rest stop somewhere in Mississauga.

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Here we are in beautiful “downtown Oakville”.

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Lunch stop at Tim’s.

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Now riding back. This is what passes for a bike lane in Oakville.

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At least Mississauga has these signs.

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The lead group makes a left from Meadow Wood Rd.

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I elected to pass up the last rest stop, and rode on for the rest of the ride. Most of it retraced our ride along the Waterfront Trail.  Watch out for Coyotes!

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Back in TO.

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End of the line.

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Ride summary:

  • total ride time was just under 5 hours.
  • GPS says 72 km with about 18 kph average moving speed.
  • Cyclemeter says 74 km with 22 kph average speed, which is a bit optimistic.

Thanks to Chris, and everyone else that rode today!