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Archive for the ‘Bicycling life’ Category

The Errandonnee is a fun biking based activity that has been running for a couple of years. Basically you have to do 12 errands over a 12 day period, using the following categories: (from the website)

Categories

Below are the 9 Errandonnee categories in order for you to plan your Errandonnee:

  1. Discovery (See something new while you’re out and about!)
  2. Helping Hand (This can be however you define it – helping a person, helping the environment, you get the idea)
  3. History Lesson
  4. Non-Store Errand
  5. Personal Business
  6. Personal Care
  7. Public Art
  8. You carried WHAT?!
  9. Wild Card (Any trip that does not fall into any of the above categories. Surprise me!)

There are a couple of other rules. You are also encouraged to document your activities on social media, and you can also apply for a prize that will be mailed to you for a fee. There is a facebook page if you want to see what others are doing.

I decided to start yesterday. On day one, I did a loop around Etobicoke, and on the way back I realized that I was close to Sandown Market which is our go to place for Japanese groceries, so I dropped by to pick up a few items. Granted my handlebar bag didn’t fit too much more stuff so I limited what I bought. The proprietor was amused that I had arrived by bike. I put this activity in category #5: personal business.

On the way home, I also decided to drop by High Park and sure enough the cherry blossoms had been fenced off already. I counted this as #4 (non-store errand).

Today I wanted to pack a few more errands in. Here is public art (#7).

This is right across the street from Robarts, and you can see that the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

I also did some deliveries for the Bike Brigade, so I counted that as a combination of #2 (helping hand) and #8 (you carried what?)

Finally I picked up some new glasses which I counted as #6 (personal care).

That makes a total of six errands thus far, over two days and 75 km. Ten days to go.

I’m not allowed to use any of the categories more than twice so I’ll have to do some planning over the next week.

This is a fun way to promote utility cycling. I’d encourage everyone to visit the website to find out all of the details. You can choose any 12 day period until the end of June. A heck of a lot easier than a Randonnée.

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Today was the 100th consecutive day of biking for me this year. I decided to mark the day by doing some deliveries for the bike brigade.

Did I mention that the weather was gorgeous, and it was the first shorts ride of the year as well?

Chatting at the pick up point with our fearless leader, Dave Shellnutt, the biking lawyer.

Deliveries done, I dropped by Urbane Cyclist on the way home to pick up some fancy MKS half clips. I am a big fan of half clips.

The bike brigade texted me to drop by again, and they gave me this flag! Triple logos in this picture.

I also decided to drop by the Alex Amaro ghost bike. Thanks to whoever has been keeping the bike looking beautiful.

I also wanted to check out the Bloor bike lanes between Lansdowne and Dundas West since I had heard that the hydro work under one of the bridges was done. Nice to see this family taking advantage of the bike lane.

I did note that the parents directed their kids onto the sidewalk for the underpasses. This one only has a painted buffer at the moment.

The hydro work under the rail path bridge is done, but apparently Metrolinx has to do a little more work before the bike lane is installed. It is not clear if the city will lay down stripes in the meantime.

Two other brief notes, one happy, one sad.

Last night I was extremely honoured to be named “bike advocate of the year” by the Toronto Community Bikeways Coalition. I have to note that many people who are part of this group have done more than I towards bike infrastructure, but they took themselves out of the running by being part of the organization that was giving out the award. You know who you are….

Congratulations to all the award winners. I am doubly honoured to be in such good company.

Second thing: the truck driver that killed Douglas Crosbie was acquitted of all charges today.

Stay safe, and get out there and enjoy the weather.

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fiddling with fenders

Late last year I put fenders on the Naked bike. However, the fender clearance was really tight in the back, and this would cause occasional rubbing.

With the weather turning warmer, and the road salt gone, I finally got around to fixing the issue. Here you can see evidence of the tire rubbing against the inside of the rear fender. At this point, I had already used a Dremel to cut a clearance hole for the bolt that secures the front derailleur mount.

With the hole cut, the fender can be moved probably about 5 mm closer to the seat tube.

Clearance is much better now.

The other issue that I’ve had was the rear fender mounting bolts working loose, and in fact I’ve lost two of the pretty anodized purple bolts that came with the bike.

Got some replacements from Wolf Tooth, and this time I’m using lock washers as well. Since everything they sell is made in the USA, there is no duty and cross border shipping is smooth and fast.

While I was at it, I took the winter tires off the cargo bike.

I actually store the winter tires with the tubes in place, which keeps the Mr Tuffy tire liners in place.

Still lots of good wear in these tires. I’ve had them since the winter of 2017, so that’s five winters so far.

Happy spring riding, everyone!

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Today is winter bike to work day for the northern hemisphere. Appropriately, it is genuinely cold at about -14°C this morning which is probably the coldest day of this winter in TO (although nothing like the weather that our friends in the prairies saw this past week). Even if you are zooming into work at home today, try to get out for a bit of a bike ride if you can.

According to the website, there are 70 of us signed up to ride in Toronto. Congrats to Montreal for being the top ranked Canadian city this year, narrowly beating out Hamilton at the last minute. Seven of the top ten cities are in Sweden, fair enough.

There is a thin layer of snow that can hide black ice, so if you do go out for a bike ride (or for a walk) bundle up, and stay safe everyone!

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My year on bikes 2020

Needless to say, it has been a strange year, a year that I hope does not presage the rest of the decade. I had expected that the pandemic would severely crimp my total mileage for the year since most of my biking is typically commuting, but I ended up with a total of more than 8000 km, a new personal best. Much of that had to do with the fact that I got a new, really nice bike and thus did more long rides that I would have done in the past.

Here you can see my riding split between different bikes. The big changes have to do with two new additions to the fleet, my Naked gravel bike, and a Fiori Tandem on which Midori and I have started commuting this fall. Mileage on my shopping bike (Haul a Day) held its own, which meant that the mileage on the pink bike was way down.

The other notable thing is that since the beginning of the pandemic, traffic on my blog started ticking up because many more people were sitting at home surfing the internet working remotely. This compensated for the fact that I was missing the annual spike in traffic in September due to Battle Mountain.

Sadly, a lot of the traffic was driven by posts having to do with cyclist fatalities, particularly late in the year.

Month by month highlights:

January

Public consultation for the westward extension of the Bloor bike lanes. Sitting here in December with the bike lanes almost complete, it is hard to remember that the bike lanes west of Shaw were still lines on paper at this point.

February

Bike Pirates moves back to Bloor St, this time a little west of Dundas St W.

March

March 2020 Ward 4 bike meeting. At this meeting we had a detailed discussion about the coming improvements to the College Dundas intersection. I understand that they are complete, but I haven’t had the chance to bike down there to take pictures.

Calling for vulnerable road use legislation. Sadly, this would be a recurring theme this year.

Life under covid begins.

I gave a talk at Bike Minds about the World Human Powered Speed Challenge. Unfortunately a few weeks after I told everyone how exciting the 2020 event was going to be, it was cancelled.

April

Bike signals at Ellis and Lakeshore. After many years of lobbying, a northbound cyclist crossing was installed at this intersection.

As a relatively early adopter of the new Continental Brompton tire, my post describing them in more detail ended up being one of the most popular of the year.

May

I discover that running tubeless is not for me.

Ghost bike installation for Colin Fisher

This was out in Brampton, and Kevin Montgomery was good enough to carry the ghost bike out to the crash site.

Lakeshore Blvd closure during Active TO. The city closed sections of both Lakeshore and Bayview so that people could get out and about without overcrowding paths like the Martin Goodman Trail. This program was a huge success and we hope that it will be brought back again this coming summer.

Ride of Silence 2020. We had to do a physically distanced event this year, where people were asked to ride out to a ghost bike and post a photo. Thanks to everyone who participated.

June

I finally get around to posting about my new gravel bike from Naked Bicycles.

Mr. LeBlanc was killed back in 2014 by a driver who ran a red light. His ghost bike was removed during the Pan Am games, but we didn’t have a chance to replace it until this year.

Ghost bike installation in Oakville for Helen Xiang.

July

I pass 10,000 km on my Bike Friday Haul a Day. This bike has been much more than a grocery getter. It has become by default bike at bike advocacy events. I’ll be at 11,000 km by the end of this year.

Ghost bike ride for Geoffrey Mitchell. This one was also a little ways out of town so we took the GO train out to Whitby.

Ghost bike ride for Robert Bragg in Mississauga.

Hacking an SPD compatible power meter pedal. With the forthcoming SPD pedal from SRM still not commercially available, this clever hack is a good alternative.

Ghost bike for Dan Bertini. The number of ghost bike rides is starting to pile up.

Critical Mass for Black Lives Matter. This event was put together by several different groups. There was some concern about staging a large event during the pandemic, but everyone behaved, and it turned out just fine. This might have been the largest organized group bike ride of the year. Props to the Toronto Bike Brigade for marshalling.

August

We did three rides with good friends Patricia and Tim, including the Niagara Parkway, and gravel rides out of Paris and Brantford.

They finally do something to block the ride turn lane at Lakeshore and Ellis. Another incremental enhancement to safety that took years of advocacy to make happen.

A day with 11 bridges. One of my longer gravel rides of the year between Cambridge and Brantford.

A ghost bike in Bolton for Pasquale Alonzi. Given the location and timing, we drove out there. However, I did to a follow up visit by bike.

Ghost bike for Ahmed Kamal. Another fatality in Mississauga at an incredibly dangerous intersection between N. Service Rd and Dixie.

A fold of Bromptons.

Elora Cataract Trail.

September

Ghost bike ride for Nicholas Ramdeyall. A third fatality in Mississauga within a few months.. Nicholas was only 16 years old.

Visiting the ghost bike for Joe Pellerito. The ghost bike was put up by friends and family at the intersection of Finch and HWY 400. The first cyclist fatality in Toronto this year. Unfortunately there were more to come.

Commuting by tandem is a way that we can avoid riding the TTC during the pandemic. It has been an unexpected pleasure. We ended up riding into work about two days a week this fall.

Ward 4 and 9 audit ride. We reviewed some of the recently installed bike lanes in both wards, along with some other problem areas where things still need to be improved.

East meets West: an advocacy ride where we explored the bike infrastructure along Bloor, Scarlett Rd, Eglinton, and Six Points.

I’ve been doing some food deliveries with the bike brigade on behalf of FoodShareTO.

October

Ghost bike ride for Inus. Fatality #2 in Toronto, just between Kensington and Alexandra Park.

A short ride with the bike team out to Tommy Thompson.

Exploring a bit of Dundas Valley. I discovered a new trail up the escarpment, and rode back down on the rail trail.

Riding a virtual WHPSC. Those clever folks at Team Policumbent came up with a website so that anyone with a stationary bike and a power meter could “ride” down route 305, just like you would in the real event. No worries about weather or crashing though. Not quite as much fun as the real thing, but also considerably less terrifying for me personally.

November

Riding to Goodwood from Unionville, and visiting a few places featured in Schitt’s Creek along the way.

Another caper for those biking turtles. This time they were calling for bike lanes along Weston Rd in what is an underserved neighbourhood.

The resulting video is here:

Ghost bike installation for John Offutt. Here is a moving summary of his life.

December

Riding to remember the 15 cyclists who have been killed by drivers in 2020. We rode from Matt Cohen to Queen’s Park, where a list of the fifteen names were read out. Four fatalities in Toronto. Eleven ghost bikes placed by ARC this year.

Ghost bike for Alex Amaro. The ghost bike was placed quietly at the request of the family.

Riding down Yonge St with Santa. The title of the post says it all. Thanks to Janet Joy Wilson, AKA Rudolph, for putting this together.

A ride for the last ghost bike. Louis-Joseph Couturier is riding across Canada this winter to raise funds for a ghost bike group in Quebec, and to raise awareness of the cyclings who die every year on our roads. He dropped by and was not impressed with what he saw of our bike infrastructure.

That’s a wrap for this year.

My blog turned 10 this year. 109 posts for 2020. My hope for next year is fewer posts about ghost bikes and more about bike infrastructure and gravel riding.

I wish everyone health, happiness and safe riding in the New Year.

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It snowed quite a bit overnight.

However, it was a bit above freezing this morning, and so by midday when I was biking in to work most of the snow had melted off the roads.

Bloor bike lanes were totally clear.

Technically there was snow on the ground, so I guess this is the first snowy commute of the year, but not really. The first snowy commute last year was November 11.

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Trek Century Challenge

Back in July, Trek sponsored a cycling challenge to encourage people to get out on their bikes. If you managed to log 100, 500 or 1000 miles that month, you would get a mug and a coloured stem cap. I managed to log 531 miles = 855 km, which put me in the top 20% of all entries.

TREK used a dog named Daisy to prod us to pick up our swag this month.

So I thought it would be appropriate to bring Lucy along to the pick up at Sweet Pete’s. She didn’t look too impressed.

Here is my stuff.

Now I’ve installed the stem cap onto our tandem as a nice bit of brightwork.

Thanks to Trek and Sweet Pete’s.

BTW I’ve owned Trek’s in the past, but all of mine were steel with quill stems, if that gives you an idea of their vintage.

As we move into the fall, every warm sunny day is precious, and I hope that you have the chance to get out there and ride!

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It’s Tuesday evening, and what better thing to do before the first Presidential debate than to deliver some food boxes. Here is David, Majordomo of the Bike Brigade beside my payload for the evening.

Nice to see Derek Chadbourne. I should have asked him to pose with eyes open.

On my way.

One of the things that I like about doing these deliveries is that I get to discover parts of downtown that I’ve never seen before. Tonight I went to some social housing tucked in close to Queen’s Quay, as well as a condo with a concierge. The last deliveries gave me a bit of a taste of what it is like to try to maintain social distancing in a high rise with a microscopic foyer.

It’ll be interesting to see how much longer the Bike Brigade will continue this season. With the shorter days, my ride home was in the dark. On the other hand, it is always peaceful to ride the city at night.

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Commute by tandem

As the campus slowly comes alive, we find ourselves having to come into work during the week on occasion. A golden opportunity for cycle commuting. Today was our first commute in tandem on a tandem.

All smiles at the pick up at the end of the day.

photo Pei Chen Chen.

We’ll be doing this a couple of times a week while the weather is fine. A nice alternative to the TTC, as well as a chance to get some mileage on the westward extension of the Bloor bike lanes.

Enjoy fall riding folks!

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This weekend is an online version of the Brompton World Championships. To mark the occasion, we had a socially distanced group ride this morning. Here we all are at Inukshuk Park.

Here we are without masks while maintaining social distancing.

Off we go.

At the turnaround point.

This time with Michael.

Trying to get everyone to ride abreast.

Here we back at the starting point.

Someone insisted that my outfit be documented.

Riding back towards Ellis with Christine and Janet Joy.

Thanks to everyone who came out. Enjoy the remainder of the summer, everyone!

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