Archive for the ‘Bike People’ Category

One of my ulterior motives in coming to Glasgow was the opportunity to visit Kinetics, which is a shop specializing in folders and recumbents, and is specifically known for its custom builds of Bromptons.  A quick ride northwest from the centre of town, and here we are.


Parked out front is an 8-freight, a Mike Burrows designed cargobike that looks like the lovechild of a longtail and a long John.

This one has e assist.


The monoblade fork that is typical of a Burrows design.


The rear is also one sided.


Once you step inside, there are an overwhelming number of things to look at packed into a very small space. Up front is a fully equipped machine shop. Ben is busy working on a Rohloff equipped Brompton.


Fitting either a Rohloff or an Alfine hub to a Brompton requires a new rear triangle with wider dropout spacing, and these are made right here. Here are three pairs of triangles and forks. Custom forks allow for the installation of a front disc brake.


A closer look at the copper plated frame in the corner that was a special request.


This is as close to a smile that I could get out of Ben.


This bike has the version of the rear triangle with an integral rack. It is stronger and lighter than the original.


This particular bike was also being built with components from the Brompton black edition.


The back room is filled with a variety of folders and recumbents.


On the floor, an Alleweder, and on the wall, various HP Velotechnik bikes, a Birdy, and a bright blue Brompton that is his demonstrator.


On the opposite wall, a Moulton, and some other bikes nearer the ceiling.


The demonstrator has a Rohloff rear hub and front and rear disc brakes. Ben is now partial to this hybrid front brake that is cable actuated, but has the hydraulic advantage of being self adjusting as the pads wear.


The rear triangle with Rohloff, and an Avid disc brake. There is not enough space in the back for the hybrid.  On the green bike, there was a TRP mechanical disc that is better than the Avid since the pads are actuated on both sides of the disc.


This plaque is a nice touch.


Do I look happy riding the bike?


Overall impression was very good. I haven’t had that much time on a regular Brompton, but compared against my Tikit, I would say that the stem is much stiffer on the Brompton, and the gearing and brakes were terrific. What I thought was the rear brake was particularly strong; I almost lifted the rear wheel the first time I used them, but upon further reflection, what I was using must have been the front brake. I forgot that the brake levers are reversed in the UK. Both brakes were much better than on my Tikit. First time on a Rohloff equipped bike, so all I can say is that the shifting was reliable. My Alfine is a bit out of adjustment after many times of folding and unfolding the bike, although nothing I can’t put up with even on a long ride. Ben explained that the indexing on the Rohloff is in the hub, so it can’t get out of adjustment due to a change in cable length.

The new rear triangle makes the folded bike about an inch wider than the regular bike, and it still ships in the regular cardboard box. It will still fit in the hardcase if a little foam is carved out.

For a more comprehensive review of the bike, see this link to Velovision.

My visit came to a close as another customer rolled up with a Nexus equipped Brompton that needed some attention.


Thanks to Ben for all the explanations. You’ve given me much food for thought…..


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There were plenty of bike related things going on this sunny, summer-like Saturday. I’ve posted elsewhere about the Yonge Loves Bikes ride. This post covers what I did before and after. On the way to downtown, I stopped by the “bikefest” at Henderson Brewery, co-sponsored by Sweet Pete’s.


What I saw at midday was some obstacles laid out in the parking lot, a few displays, and a few kids biking around the parking lot. Oh and one food truck. The brewery itself was crowded and the beer of the month, Ride on Radler, seemed pretty popular. I was told that the procedure was to get food at the truck, and then to come in and have a beer.


The lack of food trucks, plural, was compensated by the fact that the food was good. Tacos served on paratha, rather than tortillas by Feed the Six.


Note that two tacos and a beer seems to be recurring theme on this blog.


BionX had this repainted Yuba Mondo with e assist for people to try.


Rob Z. checks out their fat bike. Note that the larger diameter D-series motor puts out a lot more torque, and I was also told that the regenerative braking works better as well.


Next up, the ride downtown to join Yonge loves bikes. Along Dundas, we come up behind this gal, and it took a couple of seconds to realize that she had a canine buddy in her backpack.

The Yonge loves bikes ride was great, but one thing didn’t go as planned. Originally, this was to be a meetup of three of the four Bike Friday Haul a Day’s in Toronto. However, the other two were nowhere to be seen at Nathan Phillips Square.

However, Stuart materialized during the ride with his red HaD (#2 in Toronto), and told me that Boris had a mechanical and was going to catch up with us later on.


Boris joined us at the end of the ride with his very spiffy British Racing Green e-assist Haul a Day. Here are some close up shots. The mid-drive:


You can tell better in this shot that he had the accessories on the rear colour matched to the rest of the bike.


Locking tool box on the front.


I see that the newer version of the bags has elastic flaps, rather than the toggles and drawcords that failed on mine.


Hydraulic discs, and a dynamo hub.


All three lined up.




The last shot, this time with owners.


Stuart (to the right) is going to start distributing HaD’s in Canada. He will also be carrying other cargobikes, and I know that he won’t sell any model of bike that he hasn’t personally used for at least a couple of months. He will be setting up a website at bikefriday.ca  When I have more details, I will update this post.

Coda: the full zip “Bikes and Beer” jersey that I picked up at Henderson’s yesterday sure came in handy on today’s very warm ride out in the country.



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It was a perfect Friday evening for a leisurely ride out to the Leslie St. spit with TBN. Here we are at the start. Dave is talking about safety while Chris is taking pictures. We had a few new riders and non members with us.


and we’re off. First we cross the river and take some stairs down to the Lower Don trail.


First regrouping point.


Dave says “turn left”.


We are trapped on this island with several cyclists from other groups. Something really needs to be done to make this intersection (Lakeshore and Cherry St.) more pedestrian and bike friendly.


Heading out on the Leslie St. spit. Most of these people don’t know me so they are amused that I try to take pictures on the move.


nice shadows from the evening sun.


DSC08519Sometimes biking feels like flying.


(sometimes biking really is flying)

My trusty pink bike.


Only three of us bother to bike up to the lighthouse to get the best view of the day.


Obligatory group shot.


Another regroup as we leave the peace and quiet of the park to reenter the city streets.


Thanks to Dave and Chris for organizing the ride!

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Today was the annual “Bike to Work Day” group commute for the City of Toronto. Our group started from the entrance to High Park, where Cycle Toronto was selling T shirts and memberships.


Now we line up to get ready to go.


and off we go down Bloor, straight into the sun.



Stephanie is the hard working Cycle Toronto volunteer who towed all the shirts out to the start point, and was towing about half of them back to City Hall.


Janet Joy and Jacqueline in the lead.


Some families taking a detour on the way to school.



More pics on Bloor.




This van was blocking the curb lane.


Approaching Yonge St.


Now waiting in line with all the other groups.



Here we go down Yonge St.


I get a thumbs up.


Turning down Queen St.


Breakfast courtesy of St. Lawrence Market. I always thought they just had pancakes, but they had tarts!


Extra blood sugar helps to get the week started.


Bike advocates Wayne and Herb.


Mary Jo, Maxine and Hyedie from Wards 14 and 18.


Andy and Elise came well prepared and were camped out in one of the few patches of shade.


This is a Bike to School group organized by the TDSB.


Yvonne and her relatively new Brompton.


Nice Workbike.


This cargobike is used to redistribute bike share bikes.


and this is just half a bike, apparently a Kickstarter project from Bulgaria. It has a tilting rear triangle.

Mayor John Tory talks about having realistic plans for bike infrastructure that actually get built. His other talking points:

  • the data collected in conjunction with the Bloor bike lane pilot will be very important.
  • he emphasizes a balanced approach with consultation from all stakeholders.
  • there is a proposal going forward to City Council to double the amount of spending on bike infrastructure (to $16M over I don’t remember how many years)
  • he has put filling in the gaps in the bike network as his first priority, while avoiding the phrase “minimum grid”.
  • he acknowledges the important role of Cycle Toronto in providing input and justification for bike infrastructure that is backed up with data and stakeholder support.

Here he has handed Jared Kolb the plaque with the declaration that Bike Month is open in Toronto.


Nice to see that the needle on political support for bicyclists appears to have moved at least a little bit.

Numbers seemed down about a third from previous years. Perhaps this is because the shirts weren’t free this year?


Video from this morning:

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I spent a very pleasant chunk of my holiday Monday on a 100K ride out in the country with TBN. This is the first time that I’ve ventured further afield with the club. The ride started at Finch Station, where I see that they’ve installed this tool stand right by some bike lockers.


A very good turnout today.


and we’re off.


Headed north.


When I used to live in a suburb of Lansing, MI,  a ten minute bike ride from home would get me out into the country. Here, it took a 45 minute subway ride, and then at least an hour riding north before I felt that I had left the city behind.  This picture is about 30 km in, just as I’m being dropped by the fast people. If you look carefully, you can see a red jersey in the middle of the picture.


Unionville has a very charming downtown, and it was packed today.


The 100K riders were late arrivals at Jake’s on Main, so a number of us elected just to ride on to the finish. Also, this is what you get when you ask Joey to smile 😉


I decided to take it easy on myself and take the subway home.


The ride itself took about 4:20. Compare that to just under 7 hours for the 100K Growling Beaver, and you can see just how difficult that ride was.  This included two brief stops. The moving average speed was just under 25 kph. I think I went out a little too hot by trying to keep up with the fast people, and I really ran out of gas for the last 10K.

If I extrapolate today’s pace, that would be a 7 hour century, which would be the fastest ever for me, so it doesn’t seem very realistic at this point.

I’m still trying to figure out where I stand in terms of the various types of rides that TBN runs. Right now it seems like I’m right between “Urban Roller” and “Tourist”.

Note to self: it is possible for it to be too warm for a wool jersey.



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This year I’ll be spending some time riding with the Toronto Bicycling Network. Today was their annual spring kickoff event at Etienne Brule Park. Here we are being sorted into groups for the various rides that are about to start.


Here is the “tourist” group, about to take off for a 60 km ride to Streetsville.


and we’re off along the lakefront on a beautiful morning.


Ice cream stop at Streetsville.


Bye bye, Streetsville.


How many riders does it take to change a flat tire?


A very pleasant ride with good company. I’m going to have to start ramping up my weekend mileage because I’ll be riding in Seattle to Portland in July, and I’d prefer not to suffer too much.

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Hoopdriver Bicycles is one of the most distinctive bike shops in the city. They sell a variety of city and road bikes, but with an emphasis on more classic designs based on steel frames. They have also carved out a niche in providing bike builds and accessories for the randonneuring enthusiast.  This past winter, they moved to a new location in Ward 13. My wallet is going to be taking a hit until I get used to the fact that this shop is only a five minute bike ride from my house.


They are located at 668 Annette St., just west of Windermere. Ironically, they are right beside the former location of Windergarden, which was the shop that lead the local opposition to the Annette St. bike lanes years ago.

With spring approaching, I wanted to have a front rack installed on the Tamarack, with the hope that mounting a handlebar bag lower would improve the handling. Here I just finished towing the bike to the shop.


When you enter the shop, the first impression is of an overwhelming number of goodies that catch the eye.


Period art and steel frames from Soma, Surly, etc hanging from the ceiling.


Of course, lots of Brooks saddles.


Lots of nice detail on many of the bikes, like this colour matched handlebar tape weave on this Velo Orange Campeur bike.


They carry bikes from Marinoni, Bianchi, Pashley, Surly and Simcoe, as well as build ups from frames from Surly, Soma, and Velo Orange. The emphasis is on bikes for city riding, touring and longer distance riding, with an almost exclusive focus on steel framed bikes.  However, Martin did make an exception for this sweet Al framed, belt drive kid’s bike.


Also when I went to pick up my bike, I did see this titanium Marinoni with a carbon fork and brifters in the back. Heresy!


Many bike shops carry Brooks saddles, but this shop has more hard to find items and specialized accessories such as  Velo Orange racks, all the latest dynamo lighting from B&M and others, plastic and metal fenders from many vendors, and even Compass Pass tires.

Here is the VO Pass Hunter rack installed on my bike. (the second time I’ve had Hoopdriver mount a front rack on one of my bikes).



If you are in the market for a distinctive city or road bike, Martin and company will take good care of you.



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