Fun on the track with TBN

Today, TBN organized a group session at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre. In short, it was a blast.

Here are some of us getting fitted to the rental track bikes.


The “before” picture, provided by Ian Rankin from the TBN FB page.


We were split into two groups. Our instructor was Roy.


We are all paying close attention.


With all the shoulder checking that we’re supposed to do, I should have brought two helmet mirrors ­čśë


Some blurry action photos with my phone.




In the interest of survival, I didn’t do my usual trick of taking phone pictures while riding.

Thanks to TBN for organizing this experience. I just wish the track was a bit closer to town.

A cyclist was killed this past Monday by a streetcar on Queen St. East. This was one of three recent, serious collisions involving streetcars and vulnerable road user, and has prompted an investigation by the TTC. This was the sixth cyclist death this year for the city of Toronto.

Today was his memorial ride. It started at Bloor and Spadina as per usual, and went along Bloor, down Sherbourne then east on Queen to the crash site.


Joey gets us organized.


Lining up and preparing to leave.


Along Bloor.


Down Sherbourne.


Doug and Honey are faithful attendees.



At the crash site.


Geoffrey with the ghost bike.



A moment of silence.


A few decorations for the bike. A name plate will be added in due course.


According to police accounts, Clint (age 61) was riding eastbound, lost control of his bike and hit a parked car, and then fell into the path of a streetcar. You can see how little room there is between the parked cars and the tracks.


Clint was remembered by friends in this news clip


May he rest in peace.


Update: CTV news clip

So much Fred in this picture


Due to unseasonably warm weather, I decided to ride into work with shorts, and to commemorate the event, I took this selfie. Upon reflection, I’m posting it here since there is so much Fred in the picture.

… in other words, pretty much everything you see in the picture.

Some might argue that riding a folding bike to begin with is the epitome of Fred as well, but I won’t do that as it might get me in trouble with Brompton fans.

Update: I see that I posted more or less the same thing five years ago.


Today was the most rain free day of a three day weekend, and so I planned to ride the holiday tourist ride out to Streetsville with TBN. However, it turns out that I was the only one that showed up. Many riders that might have shown up were probably on the Niagara ride that was rescheduled for today. Ride leader Joey was good enough to come out to the start, but he has been having issues with his knee, and so was unable to ride. I decided to ride it solo as it was a route that I had done a couple of times. Going solo allowed me some time to take pictures at my leisure.

The ghost bike at Colborne Lodge and Lakeshore for Jonas Mitchell has been extensively decorated.


I’ve never noticed this mural at Islington and Lakeshore before.


Shout out to Peter Wen: this is first time I’ve used the telehex on a ride: tightening up a loose bottle cage.


On Mississauga Rd, a bike lane starts just before the underpass crossing the QEW. Just north of this point these wayfinding signs are new.


Unfortuately, on this section just short of the connection to N. Service Rd, the sign is set back so far from the road that it is hard to read. These signs petered out north of UTM.

Just shy of UTM, a display of fall colours. They will be even better next weekend. Here’s hoping for sunny weather.


On the north side of the intersection with Dundas, I see this unusual treatment of the bike lane. It seemed to work OK, but there wasn’t much traffic today.


Downtown Streetsville. Never too cold for a little ice cream.


Heading back east on Bristol Rd, I see that much of it has a bike lane along its length, for which they appear to have removed the on street parking on the north side. While this is much appreciated, I wish that the bike lane didn’t devolve to sharrows at major intersections like this one at Huronontario.


The TBN route had me going south on Orbitor Dr into Centennial Park, but I elected to turn east on this new bi directional bike lane / multiuse trail on the north side of Eglinton. There are no markings at all on it, but it is plenty wide.


OK there are a few markings near intersections.


The path ends at Rathburn, but the intersection markings indicate that I should cross to the south side.


Here I’m on the south east corner, looking east, and I see the familiar section of bike trail that goes under the 427.


My impression is that the bike infra is getting a bit better in Mississauga, but there are still many gaps in the network, and also bike lanes starting and stopping at ward boundaries as well.

Overall, a nice ride that might just offset some of the calories that were consumed yesterday.




As we head into a rainy fall, one discussion that came up recently on the BOB list was the question of bike bells not working very well in the rain. I recently bought a Crane Suzu bell, which was reported to work pretty well in the rain. Since I also had a Spurcycle bell on the Brompton, it was time to do another comparison of the different bells I had. An earlier comparison looked at just the Knog Oi, an Incredibell, and a Cateye bell.

This video tells the tale:

When all the bells are dry, it is clear that the Spurcycle is the loudest and most resonant.

Once the bells are soaked, all are somewhat muffled, but the Crane is the loudest when wet, the Spurcycle still OK, and the other three are too quiet to be much use. The question as to why the Crane Suzu does the best in the rain is an interesting one, and probably has to do with the fact that it is relatively large and heavy, implying that it is not as affected by the damping effect of water droplets on the bell surface. However, the Crane Suzu is rather large, and takes up considerably more handlebar real estate than the others. Note that the Crane I tested was not one of their aluminum models, which I think would not do as well in the rain.

As a follow up, here is a video of the Crane and Cateye bells, taken while riding in the rain.


In praise of half clips

It’s been a while since I wrote about foot retention, and way back then I guess I liked Powergrips. ┬áSince 90% of my cycling is for commuting, errands, and shopping, you could argue that I’d be best off with just flat pedals. However, in practice, three out of the four bikes that I ride the most use half clips. They are ideal for the city since they are easy to get in and out of, and they provide a little bit of support for correct foot placement on the pedals.

A little while ago, I found a pair of steel half clips in my bow of assorted parts, and I put them on the Brompton.


However, I was finding that they were a little hard to get into, and also they were scuffing up a new pair of Blundstones that I got around the same time. So off I went to my favourite LBS: Hoopdriver Bicycles. Martin always has a good stock of higher end accessories for the kind of bikes that I ride (i.e. not carbon fibre wonder bikes). I scored a pair of MKS deep half clips with leather wrapping. I’ll review the Crane bell when I get around to it.



Here is a side by side comparison of the old and new half clips. You can see that the deep version fits quite a bit thicker shoe. The standard ones seem best suited to cycling shoes, or similarly low profile shoes.


A bottom view.


If you’re considering a pair of these for a city bike, make sure you get the “Deep” version. You can also get it without the leather.

A much cheaper alternative is the plastic half clip, which you can see has a similar profile. They should be available at any non-racer type bike shop.IMG_9721

The plastic ones break in the long run, but in practice, I only have to replace them every two years or so. However, since the new ones were going on the Brompton, I figured there was no harm in having something a little fancier and shiny.

Here is the new half clip mounted on the Brompton.


Here is an action shot showing how happy my dressy shoes are not being scuffed up.


BTW the pedals I’m using on the Brompton and several other bikes are removable, and have the MKS EZ Superior system. This way it is EZ to swap pedals around. If you are going to go this route, make sure you are getting the Superior pedals, and not the regular EZ ones (that have little yellow plastic retention clips that are really EZ to lose).


Counterclockwise from top left: a clipless pedal that I used on the Brompton for STP, platform pedals with half clips, the flat Lambda pedals that are raved about by retrogrouchs that shun foot retention, and a sure sign of autumn. Switching from the Lambda’s to the platform pedals shaved a little weight off the Brompton; not something I really care about, but every little bit counts when you are suitcasing the bike and keeping the total package under 50 pounds.





Today’s TBN Urban Roller ride started at the Rouge Hill GO station, and went out to Whitby along the Waterfront Trail. I wanted to do this as it would link up two earlier rides that I did: one from Rouge Hill to downtown, and the other a ghost bike ride in Oshawa. My plan was to ride out with the main group, and then to go just a little further east to Oshawa, backtracking in time to meet up again with the main group at their lunch spot in Whitby.

Here we are at the Rouge Hill GO station; a pretty big crowd.


Adam showing off his newly acquired ride. Oh no, he will be even faster now.


Patsy is our ride leader today.


and we’re off. A beautiful day for riding with plenty of sun, cool temps, and little or no wind.


The pedestrian bridge crossing the Rouge River.


Approaching the Pickering nuclear power plant.


On the road that skirts the plant.



The first rest stop was in Rotary Park in Ajax. From this point I decided to ride on ahead as I was planning to go a little further east than the main group.


There was also a charity walk along this section of trail.


This section of the trail looked newly installed, crossing Lynde Creek.


After making a round trip to the Oshawa GO station, I linked up again with the main group at the lunch stop.


I decided to ride on to the Ajax GO station to catch a train back as I had an afternoon appointment downtown, Ajax called itself a bike friendly community, but I saw little evidence of that, riding along Victoria St. W.

Waiting for the train…. a perfect day for a wool jersey.


Now the places that I’ve marked on Veloviewer are linked up all the way out to Oshawa.

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Thanks to TBN for organizing the ride. The sections of the Waterfront trail that we rode along were very scenic on a day like today. Nice way to kick start the fall.