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Nothing too serious, although rain is forecast for later in the day. First snow was a few days later than last year.

Snow clearance on Annette and Dupont was decent, but there was no evidence of ploughing on the Shaw contraflow.

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This despite the fact that Shaw is on the city’s list of priority snow clearance for bike lanes.

Ride safe and stay dry! At least I haven seen any patches of black ice like there was for the past few days.

 

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This weekend I took a trip to Windsor to take part in Bike the Bridge. This is an annual event where people are allowed to bike across the Ambassador Bridge. This year, the ride started and ended in Windsor.

I took VIA Rail to Windsor and took a few notes on bike infra on the ride to my hotel.

I was pleased to see some bike lanes, although you can see in this picture that they suffer the same connectivity issues as in Toronto.

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I do like the sewer grates that are cycle friendly.

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A brief interlude with beer.

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This morning, biking down to the river from the hotel, I see that the Bruce Ave. bike lane seems to disappear in October.

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No, I’m wrong, it is just moved to the other side of the street.

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Riding along the Riverfront Trail, I meet Louis and his wife. It turns out that Louis has done several rides with Tour de Afrique.

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He also kindly insisted that we stop so that he could take this shot of me with the bridge.

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I arrived at Assumption Park at about 8:15.

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Of course, with such a large number of bikes, there are always some interesting rides to check out. Here is a Pedego e-bike with really low step over.

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I like this integral cup holder.

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The sun comes out a bit to illuminate the bridge. Note the all important port a potties provided for us today.

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Time to line up.

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No wait, we are told to line up on the street.

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And off we go.

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Approaching the bridge.

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We get waved onto the bridge past the toll booths.

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Several of the people I talked to were excited by the fact that the new bridge is under construction, and that it will have a multi-use trail so that cyclists can cross at any time. I did not realize that the current bridge was slated to be torn down. You can get a sense of the deterioration of the bridge from this shot of the railing for pedestrians.

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Up we go.

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I was interested that the border was not marked on the bridge mid span, perhaps because it was privately owned.

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One of the ride marshalls reminds us to take it easy on the downhill.

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Approaching customs.

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We actually stop short of the customs booths to save us some trouble. The riders area all regrouped before recrossing the bridge.

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I take the opportunity to introduce myself to Tom, the only other Bromptonaut on today’s ride. He has a handpainted helmet that reflects the fact that he used to live in Pasadena.

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Off we go again.

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Maybe this direction is a bit steeper. Also note the traffic in the other direction.

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Dad provides a little boost.

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This direction is not as scenic.

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Thanks to these bridge workers for laying down rubber mats over the expansion joints.

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Waved through customs.

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Down Huron Church.

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They regroup us once again before the Riverfront Trail.

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I’m told this wood is a temporary measure to keep bits of the bridge from falling down.

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I’m liking this LMB logo since it includes a folding bike and a recumbent.

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I have a pleasant chat with Henry. I had admired his  vintage Centurion touring bike with chromed lugs as he flashed by me on the way down the bridge.

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Off we go along the Riverfront Trail.

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Henry and Tom.  It turns out that they know each other. Maybe everyone on this ride knows each other?

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Some riders that went along Riverside Dr merge with us.

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This section had a well marked bi directional bike lane.

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Regroup at a light where the trail ends so that we can cross to the other side of Riverside Dr.

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This is as far north as we got.

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Riding through nice residential neighbourhoods. At this point, we had a group of marshals at the front and we were allowed to pick up the pace a bit.

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Ottawa St.

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Little Italy.

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This is the front of the lead group.

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This woman asked me about how tough it was riding a folding bike up the bridge. I said that it was no more difficult that riding her single speed Schwinn Varsity. She told me that it was originally her grandmother’s bike, that it would last forever, and that she thought bikes these days seemed disposable to her.

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Turning back onto Huron Church.

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Arriving back at the park. Lunch is calling!

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The food line was very efficient. For those wondering about timing, the ride started at about 9, and the lead group was back at the park at about 10:45.

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Lunch (a BLT wrap) was very tasty, but too small!

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One last picture of another volunteer. I liked his vintage Cannondale Panniers which were in immaculate shape.

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It was a very enjoyable ride. A bit of a trek for a relatively short bike ride, but it was a unique experience, and I met lots of friendly people. Next time I’m in the area, I’m determined to ride on the Detroit side, perhaps with Slow Roll, or one of Henry’s rides on Thursday nights.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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OK there are a few markings near intersections.

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

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

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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.

 

 

 

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Today was the 5th annual book ride put on by the Reading Line. This year’s theme was centred on the Bloor Viaduct, its history, the fact that it bridges different communities, and the fact that it is tied up with the experiences of different immigrants who make up the fabric of our city. We started our day in a courtyard on the grounds of Central Tech, near Bloor and Bathurst.

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Siva Vijenthira talked to us about her current and prior work with with various organizations like Cycle Toronto and Culture Link to encourage cycling among new immigrants and school groups in the city.

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Our first author reading was by Bethelem Terrefe Gebreyohannes who read from her debut book “Firewalkers” which is an account of her family’s escape from Ethiopia.

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The next reading was by Carrianne Leung who read from “That that time I loved you”, a series of interconnected stories about youth in Scarborough, under the shadow of a tragic event that happened in the neighbourhood.

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Next, Sarah Bradley from Cycle TO reminded us of the necessity for continuing advocacy for better cycling infrastructure.

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In the mean time, lead Joey Schwartz briefs the group of volunteer bike marshalls.

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Finally, our fearless leader Janet Joy Wilson starts getting the large crowd primed for the first segment of our ride, down Bloor to the Rosedale Valley School of the Arts.

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Joey gets the crowd energized.

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Lining up to leave.

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Along Bloor.

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One of our videographers was Kutaiba, who is a Syrian refugee. Motive transport was provided by Curbside Cycle, and motive power was provided by Geoffrey Bercarich.

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Chris Brunlett of Modacity and Janet Joy.

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I first met writer Amy Lavender Harris on the 2014 edition of the Reading Line book ride.

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Here we arrive at our second stop, a peaceful glade just south of Castle Frank subway station, on the grounds of the Rosedale Valley School of the Arts.

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Many of our announcements were also interpreted into ASL.

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Amanda O’Rourke, executive director of 8-80 cities, reminded us of the importance of making it easy for all ages to travel around the city. The vision statement of 8-80 cities:

“Whether you’re 8 or 80 years old, cities should work for everyone.”

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Chris and Melissa Brunlett told us of how they came to found Modacity, where they promote the benefits of walking, cycling and public transit. Melissa then read a short excerpt from their just released book “Building the Cycling City“.

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I asked Chris what he thought of the ride over, in particular the section of Bloor between Avenue Rd and Sherbourne. Suffice it to say that he was not impressed, and he said that he would definitely not be happy having his 12 year old daughter ride that route.

Our final speaker at this site was Ramón Pérez, a graphic novel artist who talked about being an immigrant, and finding his tribe among like minded artists here in Toronto. Drawing an analogy to the X -Men (the second group), he said that his groups’ superpowers were art. He is part of the Raid Studio, a group that encourages the next generation of comic book artists.

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Our next stop would be across the Bloor Viaduct, along the Danforth to East Lynn Park.

I think that the single most hazardous part of the ride is the east end of the viaduct where there is an offramp to the DVP. Here green paint is the only protection as cyclists have to navigate their way one lane over from the curb lane.

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Riding along the Danforth.

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I really liked the colorway of this Masi with 650b tires.

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Our final stop was East Lynn Park. I arrived a bit ahead of the main group and had the pleasure of listening to the tail end of a practice session by Wilson and the Castaways.

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There were many activities planned for the final stop, and some of this was made possible by “the Danny” AKA the Danforth Mosaic BIA.

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Geoffrey cooling his feet after an afternoon of piloting a very heavy cargo bike.

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Marvin Macaraig talked about the good work of Scarborough Cycles. I remember his talk from the last edition of the Reading Line, and one thing that stuck with me was the fact that there is only one bike shop in all of Scarborough. They run many bike related programs out of Access Point on Danforth, include community bike rides.

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Unfortunately at this point, I had to leave, so I was not able to hear the final two readings, as well as to see the other activities planned for the rest of the day.

As always, it was a pleasure to be part of the book ride experience. The event gets richer every year. I admire both the work of the many volunteers, as well as the tremendous energy of Janet Joy Wilson, who has been the driving force behind this event.

My reports on previous book rides:

2016 was the year I missed the ride, but you can read about Books on Bathurst at Dandyhorse Magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

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Last week, Cycle TO did a demonstration of a fully protected intersection at the intersection of St. George and Bloor. However, what kept it from being an effective demonstration was the fact that it was done during open streets, and so there was no barrier to having bikes just bike leisurely through the intersection, as if they were car traffic.

Today I found myself in Vancouver with a little time on my hands, so I took the opportunity to check out the first fully protected four way intersection that was just installed at Quebec and 1st.

Today’s ride was my old Dahon Speed Uno folder. One of the advantages of such a simple machine is that you can put it away for two years and then pull it out, put air in the tires, and just ride off.

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Here I am at the intersection, looking way too happy.

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The intersection is designed so that pedestrian and bike crossings are separated, and there are concrete islands that prevent right turning cars from intruding into the space for bikes and people on foot. Here is the diagram from the twitter post linked above.

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One thing that I found amusing was that on the south east corner, there was a dealer for these very odd electric vehicles.

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Ok, I’d settle for the Porsche on the end, but I did not get close enough to it to see if it was a replica.

Here are some cyclists waiting for a light. You see that they are naturally hugging the intersection side of the crossing.

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Here is a short video of me simulating an indirect left turn.

The thing that you notice at the end is the lack of a push button for the bike crossing.

However, you can see that there is a mount on the black pole.

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I also noticed that the pedestrian buttons were not active yet.

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I talked to this workman who was in the process of wiring up some of the signals. He confirmed that there will be push buttons for both cyclists and pedestrians at all four corners.

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Action photo of some cyclists crossing.

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Word is that we will eventually get a similar intersection as a pilot project at Bloor and St. George. However it will be probably two years away.

On the way back, I took a little detour to Duffin’s Donuts, a local eatery that appeared in the movie Edge of Seventeen, and also has a very interesting history that explains why it serves both donuts and tamales. Regretfully it was a bit early for lunch, but I had a nice cinnamon donut.

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Also rode through the woods for old times sake.

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Update: talking to Chris Bruntlett on the book ride, he said that it took three years of fighting to get this intersection built.

 

 

 

 

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Today, Lucy and I took a ride downtown. Wait a minute, something is different about Bloor today, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

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Today was the first of two Open Streets events, from 10 am to 2 pm.

A gathering of cargo bikes at Curbside, with some Bromptons hanging around for good measure.

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Councillor Kristin Wong Tam has been a champion of this event. She led an official group bike ride.  Smile, Peter, smile 😉

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This was the finest bike decorating I saw today.

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These people were going nowhere in an awfully big hurry.

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There was also a group dog walk put on by Toronto Animal Services, but Lucy said “no, I prefer to keep riding”.

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Cycle Toronto had a demonstration fully protected intersection laid out at Bloor and St. George.

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The location meant, of course, that it was within sight of the Dalia Chako ghost bike.

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Temporary markings indicated how bicycle and pedestrian traffic should flow.

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Ironically, since there was no car traffic at this crossing, most people were just strolling or riding through the intersection.  Sort of like the King St. pilot.

Hopefully the city will install one of these, even just as a trial. Of course Vancouver is way ahead of us, and they already have the real thing.

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Parks and Rec advertised a temporary grass installation at Yonge and Bloor. 5000 square feet sounds like a lot, but when you actually look at it, it looks rather small compared to the acres of concrete and asphalt everywhere else.

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Lucy and Yonge St. This time there wasn’t a selfie station in the centre of the intersection, which was too bad.

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On the way home, we passed bike buddy Doug who was riding his new Wike Salamander cargo bike. Most in the bike community have met Honey the dachshund, but now Chelsea can also attend bike events as well.

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There is going to be one more Open Streets event on Sunday, September 16. Mark your calendars!

 

 

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The Hamilton Glowriders is a group that rides around downtown once a month during the summer after darkness falls. Everyone shows up with bikes decorated for the occasion. I’ve been reading about this group for a while and decided to hit the QEW to check out their August ride.

The ride starts at Durand park, and the route takes full advantage of the scenery around Cootes Paradise and the harbour front.

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This picture gives you an idea of the age range of the riders. In actual fact, the great majority of the riders looked to be in their twenties or early thirties. I can’t remember the last time I was in a group ride where I was decades older than the average. When many bike clubs bemoan the aging demographics of their membership, these people seem to have done something right.

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The other thing that I didn’t expect was to see was the diversity of interesting bikes. Two small examples. Firstly a Hase Pino that the owners got used, and they also added a Rohloff hub to the back. This is the centre stand with lowrider pannier mounts.

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Another fellow had an immaculately detailed 650B gravel bike, and this was his girlfriend’s bike: a vintage Nishiki mixte with interesting Nitto bars that he had ordered from Blue Lug.

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Meet up time was 8 pm, but we didn’t really get rolling for about an hour. As darkness fell, more and more riders showed up. Here is Don, one of the ride leaders, taking pictures of people.

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More lights.

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I was told these fiber optic lights were from Dollarama.

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In total, there were probably two or three hundred riders at the start.

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Lining up to get ready to roll.

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On King St, crossing the QEW. Note that a full lane of traffic has been given over to bikes. This is the main westbound thoroughfare in the city. Imagine the Bloor viaduct having one full lane reserved for bikes.

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This couple was asked what they would do to top these costumes at Hallowe’en. Yes, that is a cat skeleton.

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The leaders did a great job of having enough regroups to give this very large group together. There was no corking at traffic lights, but at these pauses in the ride, everyone was able to get back into one large group.

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Skirting the harbour front.

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Now riding through downtown on James St. Lots of supportive calling out from pedestrians.

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The ride leaders. That’s Tyler in the captain’s hat.

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Another surprise was the large number of riders on Sobi bike share bikes. The Sobi system seems to be doing very well.

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Turning the last corner onto Augusta.

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Captain Tyler thanks everyone for coming, and suggests we all have a beer. Unfortunately, given that it was past my bedtime and the fact that I had a drive ahead, I was not able to stick around.

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At any rate, it was a spectacularly fun evening for me. I got to geek out on bike hardware, met lots of friendly people, and soaked in the laid back vibe of downtown Hamilton on a summer Saturday night with several hundred new friends. Thanks to Tyler, Don et al for a great event.

You might get a better impression of the ride from this video, minus the occasional whiff of cannabis.

The final glow ride of the year will be on September 22, and you should watch their facebook page for details. I heard that the start time will be moved earlier as we would be at the equinox.

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