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Archive for the ‘Bicycling life’ Category

In honour of May the fourth, a group was organized to do some crafting of X wing pilot costumes, and today was the day to show them off on a bike ride. I did my bit my decorating a spare helmet.

I also dressed up my bike with some election sign material, pool noodles and zip ties.

The ride started at Christie Pits, but I arrived late, and I didn’t see anyone, so I took off along the posted route to try to catch the group. Here you can see by the shadow that my S-Foils are locked in attack position while I rode down Rosedale Valley Rd. I also noticed that the cars were giving me a wider berth than usual.

I got all the way down to Corktown Commons where I met Chris, but still no rebel pilots.

As it turned out, they left Christie Pits around this time, and I ended up doing another circuit from Bloor and St. George, and down to Corktown Commons once again before I finally caught up with the group. Here are some familiar faces from the bike team.

Thanks to Bill for taking this picture of me and my X-Wing.

Off we go.

David Pecault Square

Along Wellington.

Event organizer and Red Leader Natalie.

Across Garrison Crossing.

Thanks to Natalie, Gerry and everyone else for the fun evening. I imagine that much of the same crew will be riding again tomorrow for the Neon Rider kickoff.

Kevin’s video of the event.

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A few shots of the bike related stuff at the end of the day. Firstly going by the bike shop to help out a bit with reassembling TITAN in preparation for some testing.

Basically together, with more prep to be done.

Dropping by a bar where we are wishing our fourth year MSE students well after the second last day of classes.

Then a quick ride home in the rain.

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The good people at Toronto Community Bikeways Coalition organized a ride that was to start today at Runnymede Station, and to go along Bloor to Etobicoke Creek where we would be met by a group riding the other direction from Celebration Park.

The intent of the ride is to show support for Mississauga cyclists who are pushing back against a group that are opposed to bike lanes because they would violate their charter rights.

There is a online public consultation on March 9 from 6:30-8 about the bike lane project. You can register for the meeting at this link.

Unfortunately with the high winds forecast for today, the ride was postponed until March 20. However, I rode down to the start to see if anyone didn’t get the news about the cancellation.

I’m glad that I did, because here was a group of diehard cyclists who were prepared to ride west into a gale force headwind.

Zach was rocking a bike with a Buddy Rider.

He was kind enough to take this photo so that I could join in.

Angela, ever the activist, led us in a chant. Note the wind noise 😉

For those who want to join us for the March 20 ride, here is the information:

Join us this Sunday, March 20, 2022 for a ride in support of bike lanes on Bloor.

Starting points:

Mississauga: 12:45 PM at Celebration Square
Toronto: 1:00 PM at Neil McLellan Park (across from Runnymede Station) 

We will rendezvous at the Mississauga-Toronto border — on the bridge crossing Etobicoke Creek.

Note: given the lack of road safety on Bloor, this ride is not recommended for children.

Purpose:

1. To support a proposed bike lane on Bloor between Central Parkway East and the Mississauga border.
2. To support the westward extension of the Bloor bike lane from Runnymede
to the city border with Mississauga (at Etobicoke Creek). Torontoʼs 2022-24 Bike
Plan only includes bike lanes to Kipling but not beyond.
3. To improve dangerous streetscapes into healthy, enjoyable routes for the benefit of residents, visitors, and local businesses; and to provide a continuous east-west cycling route from Mississauga to Scarborough.

Email us at community.bikeways.toronto@gmail.com for more information. You can also check out our campaign at https://www.communitybikewaysto.ca/we-belong-on-bloor

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So we got a bit of snow overnight into this morning. TDSB called for a snow day, delaying what was supposed to be the first day back in person. There were reports all over the city of stuck vehicles, and the TTC was a mess. Still, major arterials were plowed, and traffic was very light.

This is Runnymede.

Also Bloor. Because of the lack of cars it was easy to take the lane.

Snowbank on Bloor built up from the repeated passes of plowing.

Of course the side streets were impassable, even those that were advertised as having been plowed within the past four hours.

You can check things out on the city plowing map here.

We’ll see how things are by tomorrow. In the meantime, stay safe everyone!

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Another year of life and biking under COVID. My major goal was to do a ride every day, just so that I would never have to keep such a streak going again. Here is the summary of the year as rendered by veloviewer.

January:

The year started off with a new craze about monoliths popping up around the world. I took advantage of low lake levels to visit the 2nd monolith that appeared in Toronto. You can see that my ride went out onto the breakwater.

Sadly, long time cycling advocate Wayne Scott passed away after a long battle with cancer. It is due to his efforts that bike messengers are able to write off a portion of their food costs on their taxes.

February:

This review of a mask by Oakley has become one of my all time most popular posts. At least for me, it did not solve the problem of fogging up my glasses during winter riding.

World winter bike to work day is always around the middle of February. Toronto didn’t rank too well this year.

March:

Ports Toronto decided that the single track trails on the Leslie St spit that had been built up over a period of ten years were dangerous and announced that they would be bulldozed at the end of the month. I headed out there to take one last ride.

This post shows what the trails looked like post destruction.

April:

I got a new handlebar bag from a kickstarter by Routewerks. I have been very happy with it.

Several of my rides this month involved doing errands as part of an Errandonee. This is my explanation of the event. Day #4 of my events involved visiting several ghost bikes.

April weather being unpredictable, this year we got the combination of sakura and snow.

There was a rally on wheels held in support of Laurentian University which was forced into a form of bankruptcy that was more appropriate for a corporation. An uneasy combination of cars and bikes circled Queen’s Park. I helped marshall the cyclists.

May:

I tried out a new loop route around the city that went through Downsview Park.

First ghost bike installation of the year for Rayyan Ali, a five year old boy killed in Mississauga.

My initial review of the Lumos Ultra helmet that I got from a kickstarter. This is now my default wintertime helmet.

ActiveTO road closures happened again this year, but unfortunately the most popular route, Lakeshore West, was only closed for a few weekends out of the whole summer.

Toronto Ride of Silence had to be virtual again this year. Thanks to all those who sent in pictures of their inidividual visits to ghost bikes.

One of my longer rides of the year up to Kleinburg by way of the Boyd Conservation Area and the William Granger Greenway.

June:

Public consultation on bridging the gap in the Humber River Trail just north of Lawrence Ave. It is particularly complicated since there is a rail line and also a patchwork of land ownership, including a private golf course. The preferred option would infringe on the golf course on the West Bank.

A short section of the Allen Expressway was opened for one day as part of ActiveTO. Good to see some of the usual suspects there.

I got up early one morning to take bad pictures of a partial annular solar eclipse.

Two ghost bike installations this month, one in Markham, and the other in Brampton.

Putting a Buddy Rider on the tandem for Lucy.

July:

A July 4th ride with ManDem CC.

A gravel ride to Port Dover with good friends.

Ghost bike installation for Darren Williams. He was killed up in Muskoka, but the family wanted the ghost bike installed near where he ran the first indigenous owned bike courier company.

A protest against banks funding fossil fuels.

August:

Riding from Hamilton to Caledonia

Riding to Coffee outside Vancouver to hang out with the cool kids. Hazy skies from wildfire smoke.

A ride with Toronto Bike Rave. Good vibes.

A ride with the Toronto Brompton Owners‘ group.

Ghost bike ride for Nikita Victoria Belykh, just 10 years old.

A gathering of cargo bikes in Toronto.

A ride in memory of Wayne Scott who passed away in January.

A busy Sunday with a ghost bike installation, and a tandem ride with ManDem CC.

October:

Growling Beaver 2021. Still had to walk up a portion of Sideroad 7B. I’m pictured below with Evan Siddall, founder of the event that raises money for Parkinsons Canada.

Ghost bike installation for Ignacio Viana, a 81 yr old cyclist who passed away while out on a ride.

A brief visit to Portland. Their bike share system is entirely electric.

A protest for safe streets, particularly along Parkside Drive.

Hallowe’en with the Neon Riders, another Toronto group that organizes fun night rides.

November:

A gravel ride from Guelph to Fergus. This is the shop just by the Montrose covered bridge. Great butter tarts. Closed on Sundays.

Opening of the Esplanade and Mill St cycle tracks

Promoting vulnerable road user legislation. It has passed second reading and is now with committee.

World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims 2021. This year’s walk was along Avenue Rd, passing by the ghost bikes for Adam Excell and MJ Escanan. The sidewalk was ridiculously narrow in spots.

December:

Riding down Yonge St with Santa. This time we had bike lanes part of the way.

Closing out December with one last ride on behalf of FoodshareTO and the Bike Brigade. That’s 19 for the year, which is nothing compared to what fellow Haul a Day owner Chad did.

Total mileage was more or less in line with last year, but with fewer long rides. The only ride above 100 km this year was the Growling Beaver. I’m determined to get out for more gravel riding next year.

Eight ghost bike installations for the year, although only two of them in the city of Toronto. This shows that safe biking infrastructure is needed across the GTA.

Sept 17   Ignacio Viana   Lower Base Line West and 6th Line, Milton

Sept 11   Male cyclist       Eglinton and Leslie

Sept 1    Nikita Victoria Belykh  Thornhill

Aug 19   Miguel Joshua Escanan  Avenue Rd and Bloor    

June 17  Male cyclist    Queen St E and HWY 50 (Brampton)

June 10  Boy  HWY 407 and Warden, Markham

May 20  Darren Williams Muskoka

May 4    Rayyan Ali  Hurontario and Evans, Mississauga

On the plus side, the Active TO bike lanes on the following streets were voted to be made permanent:

  • Bayview Avenue (Rosedale Valley Road to River Street)
  • Bloor Street E
  • Danforth Avenue
  • Dundas Street E
  • Huntingwood Drive
  • University Avenue / Queen’s Park Crescent
  • Wilmington Avenue

Plus there are plans to expand the cycling network significantly over the next three years. Notably, an extension of the Bloor bike lanes westward to Kipling is on the table. You can read about the details on Cycle Toronto’s site, or on Rob Z’s blog.

Hoping for a better 2022 for everyone. Ride on and ride safe!

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Apparently we are going to get about 5 cm of snow tomorrow, so it was time to prep the bikes that I ride during the winter. Ironically, the one that needed the most work was my winter beater.

Over the years, the linkage to the rear roller brake got corroded quite severely. Finally this year I found that if I used the rear brake, it wouldn’t release anymore

The chain wasn’t looking too good either.

I managed to source a compatible roller brake with the hardware on eBay.

Rather than tackling this job myself, I decided to take the bike to my trusty mechanic Geoffrey.

Usually I bag and drag, but given the studded tires, I elected to keep the front wheel outside of the saddlebags. I’m really glad that I have the special lower rails that have a slot for a wheel. I don’t think that they are made anymore.

Here’s the bike all ready to go back home. Thanks Geoffrey!

Look, a bike is following me home!

The final touch was to replace the rear fender, since the fender mount finally rusted out.

While removing the mounting bolt just to the rear of the bottom bracket, the whole brazed on mount broke off!

I got an Axiom fender than came with plenty of mounting hardware, so it was no problem to mount the new fender. Yes, I know that this is not the prettiest fender line, but I will have plenty of clearance. Also, the new chain is stainless from KMC.

While I was at it, it was time to put the studded tires onto the tandem and the cargo bike.

All three bikes ready for winter!

One final point: experienced winter cyclists know that keeping your hands and feet warm is an issue. Here are three sets of ponies that I have on hand. Left to right: Rock Bros, Metal Tiger, and a cheap pair from Amazon.

One issue that I have with standard pogies is that all my bikes have swept back bars, and most pogies are designed to give coverage for straight bars. The Odier pogies were not roomy enough to clear the shifter, brake lever and bell that I have on the tandem, but they will keep my stoker’s hands warm.

Someday I’ll get serious and get a pair from Dogwood Designs.

Sunday update: the snow arrived as forecast.

Brief update: I was riding the tandem alone, and one of the odier pogies fell off the bike, and so I really can’t recommend them. I’ve upgraded the stoker position to the metal tiger pogies that are more securely fastened to the handlebars.

and here’s a picture of us on the tandem, just for fun.

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Birthday ride

I have a friend in the Human Powered Vehicle community named Richard Myers who bikes his age in miles every year on his birthday. I’m inspired to do the same. Note: he turned 85 this year.

However, since I have never been the athlete that he was, and the fact that my birthday is in late November and not August, I’m making the following adjustments. The biggest one is that I’ll use kilometres as the unit of measurement. I’m also going to allow myself to bike within a week of my birthday, or potentially the entire month of November, since one never knows when the snows will descend.

At any rate, this past Sunday had decent weather and so I went out for my birthday ride. I did most of it by going out to Tommy Thompson Park and exploring a few parts of the park that I had not explored. Hat tip to Sam for alerting people about this new piece of artwork very close to the lighthouse.

Note that the single track path to the lighthouse is much more passable now with a clear path through the coarse gravel portion.

Haven’t been to this corner before.

To get up to the required mileage, I had to pad my ride a bit by going a little further west than home.

Seen on the way back: who the heck parks a Ford GT and a McLaren in their driveway? Also note the Punisher hood decal. 😦

I had to do math while riding to make the mileage work out.

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Capped off the evening and the month by joining in with the Neon Riders as they rode through our neighbourhood. It being Hallowe’en, we were greeted with cheers everywhere we went.

Pausing at select houses with elaborate decorations.

Gerry consulting with the leaders on the route. He said that there were about 75 riders tonight.

Pausing at Runnymede.

Crossing Runnymede.

Those in the Toronto Brompton Riders will recognize this bike.

Faline and friends.

Striking a pose.

Our fearless leader.

Thanks to the organizers, as well as Gerry, Keenan and the other ride Marshalls.

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Last night was Toronto Bike Rave 2021. Just a few pictures taken on the fly to give you a taste of the evening.

The crowd gathers at Ramsden Park on Yonge St. The meet up time was 7:30 but I figured if I got there by 8 it would be fine, and I was correct.

Syncing up the music track.

Getting set to go.

and we’re off.

Headed to Rosedale Valley Rd.

Gerry is herding bikes at the junction with Bayview.

Another regroup at the foot of River St.

Up River St.

Natalie had bubbles going full blast.

Dundas St. E.

Our leader “Mr. Anonymous”.

Our first stop at Greenwood Park.

Dancing, and some serious hula hoop skills.

And we are off again.

Queen St. E.

Alley way.

Headed west on Lakeshore.

Taking over Villers St. This was a highlight: just peaceful riding along with my fellow cyclists.

Next stop: Aiken Place Park under the Sturgeon Moon.

At this point I took my leave. I see from their twitter feed that they continued west to the Canoe, Garrison Crossing and the CNE.

Thanks to all for a fun evening.

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Today was my first group ride with TBN since the beginning of the pandemic. The official starting point was downtown, but there was a pickup point at Queensway and Windermere. Here is the first group to arrive at the pickup point. That’s ride leader Danny on the right.

A few minutes later, most of the rest of the group arrives. We are all still getting used to chatting face to face. Note that we are all at least the required 2m apart.

and we’re off, headed to Oakville today.

Along Atwater.

Threading through a road closure just off of Mississauga Rd.

We’ve arrived at the lunch stop. A lot of cyclists had the same idea.

I elected not to stop, and to ride on. The route went to the mouth of Sixteen Mile Creek before doubling back along Lakeshore. Thanks to the anonymous person who took this photo for me on the pier.

On the way back, all of the Lakeshore Parks were crowded but it was nice to see so many families out enjoying themselves.

It was great to see familiar faces, along with meeting many new TBN members for the first time. However, it’s going to take some time for me to get used to being in a group of people again.

This evening, Lucy and I decided to join ManDem CC for another one of their Sunday night rides. Unfortunately, the city has decided that for the rest of July, the Lakeshore West closure for ActiveTO will be truncated at British Columbia Dr, meaning that it is closed basically only the length of the CNE grounds.

Lucy does not approve.

Waiting for the crowd to gather at the starting point, the Bentway.

Chris tells us that we will leave in five minutes.

Off we go.

Turning left on Lakeshore.

At a certain point, the ride broke up into several groups that were taking different routes. The one that I followed decided to continue on Lakeshore for a while which was not ideal from a safety standpoint.

Then we transitioned to Queens Quay which was very crowded.

Lucy and I started falling behind, partially because the drivetrain on the Haul a Day has issues and I can only use the lowest three gears. Here we are trailing some riders on Bayview.

Hey, we made it to the Evergreen Brickworks!

Loads of people arriving.

A great way to spend a Sunday riding with two very different groups of cyclists.

The Toronto Bicycling Network has recreational rides at all levels. Today was a Tourist ride, which is the second fastest type, with a moving average speed of 24-32 kph. For the duration of the pandemic, you must register in advance for any of the rides. TBN also has a route library which is a good resource for Toronto area cyclists.

ManDem CC has no formal structure. They announce their weekend rides on Instagram. Follow them if you want to be in the loop.

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