Archive for the ‘Bicycling life’ Category

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:

Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 6.49.27 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2018-03-24 at 6.50.14 PM

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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When life gets a little stressful, I often find it therapeutic to set aside a little time to work on bikes. This afternoon, I took advantage of a break in the cold weather to do a little cleaning of the two bikes I have been riding this winter. I’m going to be overly optimistic in calling this a “mid winter thaw”, as it was a brutally cold couple of weeks from about Xmas up to a couple of weeks ago, and it’s not quite the end of January.

I put studded tires on the Haul a Day for the first time this winter, with a little assist from buddy Tim. You can see that it’s looking a little rough now.


The chain looks especially bad, even though a quick wipe shows that it is not as rusted as it appears.


My Norco doesn’t look nearly as bad, even though it is my regular winter ride.


In particular, you can see that the stainless chain I put on it two seasons ago is doing well.


Before I put a coat of Chain L on it,


I wipe off some of the grime.


You can see the strings of oil after application, while running the chain backwards.


and here’s a video. This stuff is tenacious.


Back to the Haul a Day. Here it is after a little clean up. I also wanted to make sure that I cleaned up the rear disc brake caliper as I’ve gone through two avid units that have seized due to corrosion due to being on the rear of long tails where they are out of sight, out of mind. The rear caliper on the HaD was replaced this summer after about two years.


The other odd thing about the HaD was that in the two weeks after I put on the studded tires, I got a flat on both the front and the rear on two separate days.


The second flat was particularly bad as I was out and about, and it was bitterly cold. The picture above was the only one that I got since my hands were freezing, and my phone was almost dead from the cold.

There was a little chatter on the internet claiming that the 406 size of Schwalbe Winter Marathons can be prone to flats due to the studs coming through the inner surface of the tire. I don’t know why I got those flats. It could have been a combination of using very wide tubes, and inflating the tires to 45 psi (which is still below what I would use with the summer tires).  Just in case, I decided to install some Mr Tuffy tire liners.

Here you can see that there is no evidence of the studs coming through the casing.


Mr. Tuffy installed.


The final touch was to replace the well worn seat cover that I got from Bike Law.


I brought over the waxed canvas seat cover from the pink bike, made by Randi Jo Fabrications. It was the last of the Tarik Saleh editions.  The seat cover is great since it has a flap that protects the underside of the seat as well. (not necessary with fenders, but a nice touch nonetheless.)


All set for the rest of winter. It’s not going to snow anymore is it?


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My year on bikes 2017

What is probably going to be my last bike ride of the year started with a beer run, before picking up some groceries. It was also the 1000th ride on my Haul a Day, which I’ve had for a little over 3.5 years now.


According to Cyclemeter, my mileage is a bit down from last year, but the number of rides is way up. The decrease in total distance is probably due to fewer longer rides, as I was not training for an event like STP this year.


Here are some month by month highlights:


Coldest day of the year ride.


Meeting Doug Ford on a bike



HPVDT competes at ASME HPVC East, in Cookeville TN.

The bike got through safety and the sprints, but our landing gear failed during the endurance race.



Bike for Mike, a charity ride in Hamilton


Toronto Ride of Silence 2017


As a side note, I had the honour of meeting Chris Phelan, founder of the Ride of Silence, this past December.


A ride from Burlington to Niagara Falls with TBN, which turned out to be the longest ride I did this year.


The annual Group Commute to City Hall, which kicks off Bike Month.



Memorial Ride for Xavier Morgan


Ride for Heart 2017. Once again providing ride support with TBN, this time in the rain.


Yonge Loves Bikes 2017


Ward 13 Audit Ride: keeping up the pressure for improvements to the intersections between Lakeshore, Windermere, Ellis and Colbourne Lodge.


HPV Racing at Waterford



Checking out the Arbutus Greenway in Vancouver.


A repeat visit to G&O Family Cyclery in Seattle, one of the best cargo bike dealers around.


A family bike ride in Banff.


Vigil with Friends and Families for Safe Streets. One of the best developments in advocacy was the cooperation between different organizations promoting safety for cyclists and pedestrians.



A second look at Hamilton Bike Share


At the beach with Cycle Toronto


Memorial ride for Emily Sharon Shields. Going a bit further afield to Oshawa, via GO train.


Books and Bikes along the Don River: another ride brought to you by the Reading Line.


One lap of Pelee Island by bike.



Opening of the Woodbine bike lanes


WHPSC 2017

Highlights included Delft/Amsterdam going just 1.4 kph shy of the women’s record, and Calvin going 127.6 kph, just 0.7 mph shy of 80 mph, good enough to win the mens’ title this year.


September also saw a significant ramp up in advocacy for the Bloor bike lanes, in advance of the votes at PWIC and City Council.

How cyclists are using the Bloor bike lanes?



Bloor bike lanes at PWIC: they pass with a 6-4 vote.


Memorial Ride for David Delos Santos.  We heard about his death while we were at the PWIC meeting.



Bloor bike lanes are approved at City Council Decades of advocacy by the likes of Albert and Hamish, along with a concerted push by Cycle Toronto pays off.


Candlelight walk and vigil for victims of road violence


I join the cult of Brompton


Culling the herd: goodbye to the PBW folder.



Showing Michigan bike advocate Tim Potter some of the downtown bike infra.


An update on the ASME vehicle build


Memorial Ride for Daryl Craig: the fourth cyclist killed this year within Metro Toronto.


Wishing you all safe riding and tailwinds for 2018!








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First snow on ground 2017


A few flurries this morning. Roads are clear though.

Gear for today:

warm and toasty


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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.


Here we go down Rosedale Valley Rd.


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


Tunnel of trees.


Waiting for the Go Train to pass.


A brief water break at “the elephants”.


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


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


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


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.




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


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



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.


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