Archive for the ‘Bicycling life’ Category

It’s been about a year since I got my Brompton and I’ve found that it is a great folding bike for the city. This past year I’ve ridden it over 190 times with total mileage of just over 1800 km. The most telling statistic is that this is more mileage than I did on the Tikit over five years of ownership. The compact nature of the fold makes all the difference.

Some of the adventures that I’ve had included:

Biking across the Ambassador bridge.


A trip to Battle Mountain for the WHPSC. (photo: Danny Guthrie)


A gathering of Toronto Brompton Owners


Seattle to Portland


A pie ride with the Vancouver Bicycle Club.


Riding with 10 year old James who was riding from Whitby to Coney Island to raise money for Autism treatment


and squeezing in a Brompton ride on the same day.


Unfortunately a couple of ghost bike rides as well, like this one for Colin Patrick Sztronga


I also have to throw in a fun day in Minneapolis on a borrowed Brompton. (Photo credit: Perennial Cycles)


Over the past year, I’ve also made some modifications to the bike, including:

new handlebars


Greenspeed Scorchers



  • a Ti rack and EZ wheels
  • cane creek barends
  • a water bottle bag from Randi Jo Fabrications
  • detachable pedals with the MKS EZ-Superior system
  • a Ti seatpost
  • a broken in Selle Anatomica saddle
  • the Brompton specific Cateye Volt 400 headlight
  • A Brompton front basket

On the basket:

It has worked out really well. It is the perfect size to carry the shoulder bag that I use at the office, along with a few odds and ends.


Before I got it, I had some concerns as I was told that it doesn’t fold flat, and I wanted to make sure it would fit in the same suitcase with the folded bike. As it turns out, the frame that defines the shape of the basket is easily removable.


Here you can see the basket packed with the bike.


and a close up showing the basket frame tucked along the left hand side.


Here I am off on another multi-modal adventure.


For now, when the city starts salting the roads, I’ll put the Brompton away for the winter.

I wonder what I’ll be doing to the bike, and with the bike next year…..




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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.


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This afternoon I had a little time on my hands so I took a somewhat circuitous route home, starting from the Lawrence subway station. I wouldn’t recommend this route as it had plenty of cycling along major streets with high speed arterial traffic, such as Bayview, York Mills, Wilson and Keele.

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However, if you look at my veloviewer map, you can see that this was another tile collecting run. Here is the before map on Veloviewer which shows a 6×10 rectangle.

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Afterwards, now up to 8 x 10.

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However I see that I didn’t plan my route carefully enough because there is one square not filled in on a potential ninth row.

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If I had just turned into that little Cul-de-sac, that would have done it.

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However, as a consolation, I got to see some truly fugly houses in that neck of the woods. This was my “favorite”.


I’ll have to pick up that missing square at some point, but from now on I think that I’ll let my tile collecting happen organically.

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Today was a day packed with bike related activities.

First off was an early morning meet up of a few Toronto Brompton Owners. I don’t know whose idea it was to meet at 8 am on a Saturday, but here are a few of us at the foot of Spadina at Queens Quay.


Of course, with any meeting of Brompton owners, there was the opportunity to admire how we had accessorized our bikes. I was particularly struck by the friction shifters on Tom’s number.


We met up with Nathan at the foot of Yonge St, and as is the tradition, here is a picture of our machines in the kickstand position. Sorry about the crap lighting.


A picture of the five of us at Polson Pier, taken by a bystander who didn’t fully appreciate the fact that you have to include the bikes in the frame.


Obligatory repeat of picture with the bikes, taken by self timer.


And off we go toward Cherry Beach.


One very bad selfie, while everyone was distracted.


At this point, I had to peel off the group as I had to rush back to Union Station to catch my next bike related appointment.

I took the GO train out to Rouge Park.


Upon disembarking, I rode towards Rouge Beach along the Waterfront Trail. I came upon this ghost bike. If I recall correctly, this cyclist was killed by a train at a level crossing.


I was riding out to Rouge Beach to meet up with James, who was a 10 year old who was riding from Whitby to Coney Island NY to raise funds for autism treatment. My story of riding with James and his dad and other supporters was posted today on the Dandyhorse Blog.


My final activity of the day was an evening ride with the Hamilton Glowriders.


It was am immense amount of fun, and as I have a bunch of photos and video to process, I’ll reserve that ride for a separate blog post.

All in all, a fun Saturday spent on the bike.


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One of my favourite things to do is to have a family bike ride to Toronto Island. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve done this, and we took advantage of the fact that the California branch of the family was in town to do this again. The first logistical problem that we faced was to get eight peoples’ worth of bikes downtown with one car. Here is what five bikes looks like with the six who will ride them. (you can’t see the Brompton that is tucked away in the van, and two will ride the tandem)


(In addition, two of us rode down to the lake.)

And off we go to the ferry terminal.



Just a reminder that at busy times, you should buy your ferry tickets online. Here we were in the left hand express lane, which we cleared in less than five minutes.


Biking towards Centre Island from Hanlan’s Point.

DSC02995Well at least I’m all smiles.


Compare this picture:


to this one taken three years ago, the last time the daughters were on the island.


The skyline from Algonquin Island.


Over the bridge to Centreville.


Our fleet parked at Centreville.


On a crowded ferry at the end of a busy day.


Three of us rode home through downtown. It was interesting to hear their perspective on the bike infrastructure. They were quite impressed, saying that it was much better than San Francisco. Of course, I led them through the very best of what we have downtown including sections of the Simcoe, Richmond and Bloor bike lanes.


I hope everyone gets a chance to ride this long August weekend!

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Everything’s been pushed back this spring with the lingering cold. High Park sakura are probably not due for two weeks, unlike last year.

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So I’ve been collecting some more tiles with Veloviewer and it is definitely addictive. For example, this morning, my rides looked like this:

and you can see the annoying little gap in South Etobicoke. Thus, with a little more time on hand this afternoon, I took a somewhat circuitous route home.


(normal route purple, this afternoon, blue).

Now my tiles look like this:

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and to add to the fun, I got to discover some new territory like this bridge.


I’ve added a few rides from the last couple of years to my Strava account, and now if I zoom out on my personal heat map, the tiles look like this.

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Most of my riding is downtown, and some of the rides further afield are with TBN. You can clearly see one or two rides starting from Finch station going north that are not connected to downtown. Sadly, the longer rides that come from downtown are all ghost bike rides from the past year or two.

One more note: I’ve given up on the Strava phone app. Many people were reporting problems with iPhones not recording properly from about the middle of February. I’ve switched back to tracking rides with the Cyclemeter App, and then uploading to my free Strava account, which seems to work out fine. I’ll be tracking rides with my Garmin as well when I get back to doing those longer rides.


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