Archive for the ‘Bike People’ Category

Today was another adventure club ride organized by some of the staff at Urbane Cyclist. It was a moderately paced no drop ride with a mix of road and gravel. I did a very similar ride with them about four years ago, along almost the same route.

Here we are at the meetup point across the street from Robarts Library.

There are some pretty interesting bikes here. This one was built up from this frameset. Note the Swift Industries bag.

Lined up and ready to go.

Pausing before the run down Milkman’s Lane. We are just reacting to the fact that a kid carrying cargo bike just started down the hill at a fair rate of speed.

Heading towards the Brickworks.

A regroup at the top of the switchbacks.

Headed north on the old railway tracks.

Regroup at the bottom of a steep downhill from the tracks to the MTB trails at Crothers Woods.

Pausing once again before a steep uphill from Taylor Creek up to Glenwood Crescent.

Regroup after the steepest part of the climb.

and again at the top of the hill. This is the only shot I got of Pascal’s sweet vintage Cannondale Panniers. Between that and Owen’s Avocet saddle, I am reminded of some of my own bike gear from decades ago.

Beer and snacks at Muddy York Brewing.

From here, the route goes down Woodbine to the Beach, and across to the R C Harris Water Treatment Plant, which was open today as part of Doors Open. Here we head towards O’Connor.

I peeled off of the group at Woodbine and Danforth. Thanks to Owen and the others for organizing today’s ride. For those interested, there will be more rides on the first and the last Sundays of each month during the summer. You can find notices on the instagram feed, but the best place for updates is on their discord group.

Read Full Post »

I’ve been spending the past week in Tokyo, squeezing in a bit of bike content where I can. Here are some brief notes on several shops that I visited.

The first was Blue Lug, which is well known for custom builds using frames sourced in the US from vendors such as Rivendell, Crust, Velo Orange and Surly. You can see some of their builds on this page. I visited their Yoyogi Park branch a few years ago, but this time I went to the Hatagaya shop.

There was a goodly assortment of staff bikes parked outside the shop. I really like the kid seat on this surly with the special cargo carrying fork.

Indy Fab


Step inside and it pretty much takes your breath away.

Paint samples on drink cans.


Their build area.

Their web shop is a good source for Japanese components and accessories that can be hard to get in North America.

Next up: Rin Project, near Ueno Station. They are a clothing and accessory shop.

I bought a pair of their wool tweed knickers maybe 15? years ago that I pull out on special occasions. You can see them in this picture. The sales man was a bit surprised to see them, and he said that they still make them in cotton.

I bought a pair of their stretch convertible pants which I will review at some point in the future. Also a Brompton carrying handle with shoulder strap that I anticipated needing during the week.

Next up: Tokyo Bike, which is a relatively new shop catering to the crowd who wants a pretty bike over all else.

Tastefully laid out interior.

You can rent this stride bike, rather than buying it outright.

These single speed kids bikes were built around 451 sized wheels. High ten steel frame so they are not light.

I liked the chain guard.

Their main adult bike has 26″ wheels, Shimano Tourney derailleurs, and a very slack frame geometry. All yours for 86,900 yen and above.

Fairly close by was a micro brewery called Folkways Brewing. The best beer I had all trip.

If it is open, this keg is out by the curb.

Here is the small, spare interior space.

and the proprietor, Daisuke, with his nicely restored Moser.

Finally a few shots from the bike area of a department store buried in the depths of Shinjuku station. Since the last time I visited three or four years ago, it looks like e-bikes are much more common.

Most of the mamachari that I saw this time were e-assist.

It’s common to see unusual branding on very generic bikes in Japan, such as car brands like Hummer or Lamborghini. I was sad to see this folder branded Harry Quinn, who was a custom frame builder out of the UK. If you google, you can see the same branding on some Brompton clones.

I’ll report back later on what it’s like to commute across downtown Tokyo by bike.

Read Full Post »

Today was the second annual ride of the rebel pilots. A crowd of rebel pilots and other Star Wars characters gathered at Christie Pits.

This rider was a member of the reform branch of the Mandalorians, so it was OK for him to remove his helmet.

Grogu and his chauffeur.

Likewise, Wicket.

Rebel leader Natalie reads a land acknowledgment and reminds us that there is a fundraiser for Indspire associated with the ride. This is an organization that funds educational programs for indigenous peoples.

She also goes over some of the safety rules for the riders.

Off we go!

At Walmer and Bloor.

On Bloor.

Down Rosedale Valley Road.

Along Bayview.

The ride paused at Corktown Commons.

I took my leave at this point, which was exactly where I joined the ride last year. So between the two years I’ve been on the whole ride.

On the way home, picking up a little milk. I apologized to another rider for taking up most of the bike rack.

Thanks to Natalie for organizing the ride, and to all those who rode with us, especially those in costume.

…and may the force with with you……always.

Read Full Post »

MSU Bike Jamboree

I decided that I would mark Earth Day by going down to East Lansing MI to meet up with some old friends and former colleagues, and to lend a hand at the MSU Bike Jamboree.

Here’s a picture of four of us just before we were to depart for a tour of campus in light drizzle. Second from left in bright yellow is Tim Potter, a good friend, our host for the entire event, and the director of MSU Bikes.

Here is his shot of the vendor area.

Photo: Tim Potter, image source

It was great to see the folks from TCBA, the Tri-County Bicycle Association. They were promoting DALMAC, their annual tour over Labour Day weekend that goes from MSU up to the Mackinac Bridge. I was a TCBA member the whole time I lived in the area, up to about 2004.

Here is a shot of three Ride of Silence organizers.

photo: Tim Potter

Pat, in the red cap, is the volunteer coordinator for DALMAC. He also organizes the local edition of the Ride of Silence, and he is also the secret source for the local ghost bike memorials. It was great to talk to him and to catch up a bit on the goings on at TCBA, as well as remembering some of the people that I had known, such as Pat Trudgen, Ed Noonan, and Lenny Provencher.

Later on, KC took over the stand, and Alicia of the TCBA youth cycling club also arrived. Great to see younger folk involved in the club.

Also present were some folks from STS Bicycles, a custom frame builder. Their line of bikes is focused on the gravel and adventure biking market.

They are proud to be from SE Indiana, Rushville to be precise. All frames are made right there. Support domestic manufacture!

This steel fork was part of a frameset headed to Ann Arbor.

Here is a fat bike prototype.

There were some interesting vintage bikes for sale as well. Here is a tandem from Santana for only $500!

Right beside it, an early ROSS police bike with very unusual Suntour brakes.

Speaking of tandems, at one point Thomas and son rolled up on their nicely equipped Co-Motion tandem.

Thomas explained that bike licenses in East Lansing were not compulsory, but were simply to register the bike with the city in case it was stolen.

The slow bike race for kids was made extra challenging by running it on grass.

Earlier in the morning, Erin was busy working on a wall map of campus.

All done later on.

People taking shelter from the cold wind and light rain, which unfortunately kept visitor numbers down.

Despite the drizzle, four of us departed on the tour de MSU.

Here we go.

By Beale Garden.

The local cherry trees look to be a little past their peak, about a week ahead of Toronto.

A little known WWI memoral.

Tim explained that several bike repair stations around campus were funded by an alum. MSE bikes pitched in the pumps, which they also maintain.

This rack design doesn’t keep all bikes from falling down.

At Beaumont Tower.

A much better shot from Tim’s camera.

This is the oldest tree on campus.

Here is one of two bike lock ups in parking garages on campus. They are run by parking services, but there doesn’t seem to be any signage promoting the system and explaining how it works. Inside the cage, you can see the newer design of bike racks.

Riding by Lex Luthor’s house.

Headed east towards Hagedorn on one of the earliest sections of improved bike trails.

We’ve crossed Hagedorn and are looking at the west end of the new MSU-Lake Lansing trail that is under construction.

Riding through the parking lot of the Community Music School.

There’s going to be a bridge installed here this summer. Once done, this will be a hug asset for Meridian Township.

Thanks to Tim for organizing the event. It was great to see some of the features that resulted in having MSU named as a gold level bike friendly campus. It was also good to catch up a bit on the local bike scene.

Read Full Post »

It has been noted by many that although the city is very fast at clearing roads after a storm, and that sidewalk and bike lane clearance is also improving, such plowing can form piles of snow or windrows that create problems for those with mobility issues. Certainly there are high snow banks all over the city that create a barrier at most curbs.

Today, a group of volunteers was organized to clear snow around the streetcar stops on Dundas St W between River St and Bathurst. One crew started at River St working their way west, and the other at Bathurst going east. I joined the Bathurst crew.

On my way to the start point, I saw plowing had created some new obstacles on the Bloor bike lanes, like this one at Havelock.

When I arrived, the crew had already done some work at Bathurst.

All done.

One of my shovels was an early casualty.

There were places with very thick ice even on the sidewalk.

Much better now.

The ghost bike for Inus.

Working at Spadina.

Headed to the next stop.

Dundas and Huron before clearing.

After clearing a path for streetcar offloading, we’re doing some additional digging to get to a sewer grate for drainage.

In front of the AGO.

Again, much better.

At Chestnut, we meet up with the westbound group, and we all set to work on the south side snow bank.

A fellow in a wheelchair happened to pass by and he expressed his appreciation for what we were doing. He recounted many instances of being blocked from safe passage by snowbanks.

One group picture of the entire crew before we split up to continue our work.

Three of us turned back west to work on the north side. By the time we get to Beverly, a city Bobcat was doing snow clearance and we were treated to a virtuoso performance. He cleared snow from the curb, and followed that up with a quick pass to clear part of the roadway.

Thanks to Gru for organizing, and it was a pleasure to meet all of my fellow workers.

update: CTV news coverage: ‘Why isn’t the city doing this?’ Volunteers shovel snow from 30 streetcar stops in Toronto

Read Full Post »

Update: Rob’s much more detailed coverage is here.

Tonight was the first of two public consultations on the eglintonTOday complete street project that would install bike lanes and other streetscape improvements between Keele and Mt. Pleasant. It was quite well attended.

I’ll leave the detailed reporting to Rob on his blog. There were many of the usual suspects in attendance.

Most of the activity seemed to be around the map covering the intersections with Yonge and Mt. Pleasant.

I left a note requesting that the bike lanes be connected to the midtown Yonge St. bike lanes.

I do wonder if there will be pushback given that people could argue that there are already north south connectors in the vicinity.

I also left a note requesting that the bike lanes extend further west than Keele so that they would connect to the existing bike lanes along Eglinton that come as far east as just short of Weston Rd.

I had a peaceful ride home along the Winona Rd bike lanes that have a recently installed contraflow section. I also paid my respects at the Tom Samson ghost bike.

There’s a second public consultation on Saturday, as well as an online survey that is available until March 6.

Date: Saturday, February 25, 2023
Time: 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Fairbank Public School, 2335 Dufferin St., gymnasium (parking lot located north side of school with back-up parking located on south side of school)

Read Full Post »

It being glorious weather (+5°C and little wind), we got a huge turnout for the “Coldest Day of the Year Ride”, organized by Cycle Toronto. The ride start was at the Sumach-Shuter parkette, with a route planned that was almost entirely on protected bike lanes. We would ride west on Shuter, north on Sherbourne, and then east on Bloor-Danforth to East Lynn Park. It was pointed out that at the last such ride (pre pandemic) only a short section of the ride on Bloor was on protected bike lanes, so it was good to see the positive changes over the past three years.

The ride was supported by Bikeshare Toronto, and I had never seen so many of their e-bikes in one place.

More riders arriving.

The crowd is getting bigger and bigger.

I was asked to take this picture to add to the cycling Asian confusion.

Of course, no one is going to mistake Sam for anyone else.

You could say the same thing about Natalie.

Nice to see so many of the usual suspects as well.

Now we are getting ready with some announcements.

Alison from CycleTO kicks things off.

Nest, Andrew from Bike Share told us about the growth of the system from about 80 stations back in 2011 to about 680 at the present. He also mentioned that there will be more e-bikes added to the system.

Next, Councillor Diane Saxe thanked three groups for their support in making the midtown Yonge bike lanes permanent. First, city staff who worked hard on both the implementation of the pilot, as well as the design for permanent installation. Secondly, citizen engagement, including Cycle Toronto and Yonge4All. Finally, she thanked her fellow councillors who voted in favour of making the lanes permanent, over the wishes of the Mayor.

I had a chance to chat with her while we rode up Sherbourne, and I was very disappointed to hear the extent to which Tory pressured councillors to vote for deferral, while publicly supporting the bike lanes. It seems that he listens more to his constituents in Rosedale more than the many others who supported the bike lanes.

I also agreed with her that it was truly unfortunate that the Tory story distracted the news cycle away from the issue of the developers attending and donating to Doug Ford’s daughter’s wedding. These are the very same people who stand to benefit from both the trimming of the greenbelt, and the construction of the 413.

Finally, Michael starts to get us organized for the ride, and outlines some safety rules.

Here we go.

Along Bloor, just east of Sherbourne.

The lead group approaching the viaduct.

Dad provides a bit of a boost.

On the Danforth.

Gil Penalosa was with us. Suddenly he is a potential mayoral candidate.

Sorry Natalie, I didn’t get you in frame.

The crowd at East Lynn Park.

I met Anne, whom I think I met on a Coldest Day of the Year Ride many years ago. She was the one that got me interested in Dogwood Designs pogies.

I took a little spin on one of the e-bikes. Pretty responsive!

Councillor Bradford reminds of the importance for everyone to work together, particularly as City Council deals with the resignation of the Mayor just before the votes on the budget next week.

This article talks about how the right wing is getting organized for the mayoral race with an eye to make sure that there is only one centre-right candidate. What is interesting is that Bradford is one of the two names mentioned as a possibility.

I do worry that the left will not coalesce around a single left leaning candidate, thereby splitting their vote. Lots of things to think about.

Finally a group picture.

Here’s some video of a few sections of the ride (in particular the start).

Thanks to Cycle Toronto for organizing, to Bike Share Toronto for providing some loaners, and to Councillors Saxe and Bradford for riding along.

Looking forward to more sunny and warm days for riding.

Also this from Bromptoning.

Update: Cycle Toronto posted their pictures on Facebook.


Ben’s video also includes footage of the Yonge4All feeder ride. Although it was not the warmest coldest day of the year ride. That would have been 2013.

Read Full Post »

Yeah, it’s cold

Yesterday and today, we’ve been having a bit of a cold snap, with the overnight temperatures reaching about -20°C. It was cold enough that I bought out my really cold riding gear for the first time this winter.

It was about -16°C when I rode into work, and I found that I got overheated a bit. On the way back home, there was a bitter headwind so I was glad that I was dressed the way I was.

This time, I guess the seal around my nose for my North45 balaclava was not quite perfect, so there was a bit of fogging and icing on my glasses by the end of a 45 minute trip. Still much better than a standard balaclava./

For the record, my clothing was:

  • Winter pants by Makers and Riders, although this pair by Eddie Bauer is decent. (anything fleece lined and relatively wind proof will do.)
  • wool undershirt
  • wool shirt
  • Winter jacket. Mine is by Arcteryx, but I can’t recommend it as I’ve had to send it back to get the front zipper repaired, a process that took months.
  • Woolie Boolie socks
  • Boots (I use flat pedals)
  • North45 balaclava.
  • earflaps on helmet.
  • Pogies, and medium weight gloves.

On Thursday evening, I attended a winter biking workshop given by Cycle Toronto.

Our two presenters were Rick and Dave.

Here Rick is talking about the importance of regular cleaning of your bike, along with re lubing after the clean. I do the same thing roughly weekly, rinsing the salt off of the drivetrain with a garden sprayer, filled with hot water.

If you look closely, you will note the homemade mudflap on the front fender that keeps your drive train cleaner. A front mudflap also keeps your feet drier in the rain.

They had a lot of good advice. They promised a bunch of links after their talk, and when those are distributed, I will add them to this blog post.

Some of the talk was about not purchasing a lot of expensive gear for winter riding. In that spirit, I did some experimenting with a home-brew solution to fogging glasses. Here I cut part of the bottom off of an N95 mask so that breath would escape out the bottom.

Here it is combined with a balaclava. (a reminder that my favourite is this wool one from TST)

Here is a picture riding with this combination, and there is no fogging of the glasses.

BTW, CycleTO has finally announced this year’s version of the “Coldest Day of the Year Ride”. It will be Sunday February 12 at 11:30, when the forecast is for a balmy 0°C. The ride starts at Sumch-Shuter Parkette, and it looks like it will go west on Shuter, north on Sherbourne, and then east across the viaduct and along Danforth to East Lynn Park.

Hoping that the temporary ramps on Danforth will be OK, as there has been a repeated problem with one of them having the edge of the metal ramp being bent up by snow plows.

At any rate, hats off to all those who were out biking yesterday or this morning. Know that you were probably biking on the real coldest day of the year.

Also note that the International Winter Bike to Work Day is this Friday. Somewhat confusingly, there is also something planned for Saturday according to this website.

Read Full Post »

There is a tradition for a group of cyclists to ride out to the lighthouse on the Leslie St spit on New Year’s Day. The weather forecast was a balmy 3°C so I decided to give it a go. The meeting place was the corner of Queen and Logan. Our leader was Alex.

He asked how many people were here for the first time. About half raised their hands. A pretty good sized crowd. Here we go, Alex in the lead.

Turning east on Eastern.

Dave asking if I shot his good side.

Pause at the park entrance. A couple more people were waiting there.

Here we go. About half of the cyclists were fenderless roadies.

I liked seeing the wide range of different bikes that showed up.

This could be an ad for Tern.

Dodge those puddles!

Up towards the lighthouse.

It soon became apparent that there would be too many people for a photo on this side of the lighthouse. It was decided to backtrack to the flat area just north of the lighthouse.

Matthew decides to take the direct way down on his titanium cargo bike.

Gathering for the group shot.

Know your biking Brians.

Alex lines up the shot.

The group shot.

A number of people were taking video, so I’ll link to them as they are posted.

A nice way to start out the New Year! Thanks to Alex for organizing.

Great to see many of the usual suspects while not on a ghost bike ride.

Read Full Post »

Another year gone by, another 8000 km or so. A record distance over the year, just a bit beyond what I did the past two years, despite the fact that I did fewer long rides. Cyclemeter says I’m a bit over 8500 km, whereas veloviewer gives a slightly smaller total.


I took advantage of a cold snap to ride the clear ice on Grenadier Pond in the course of testing out some pants. I could hear the ice sing.

Local bike advocate Janet Joy Wilson took a new job in the Big Apple, so she invited a few of us along for a group ride to mark the occasion.

Late January was unusually cold, and so I ventured out to Toronto Island to ride on the ice in the canals, with a bit of crunchy snow on top.


Lots of local protests in support of the freedom convoy in Ottawa disrupted traffic in the downtown area on weekends. Didn’t affect biking so much.


TCBC organized a ride to show support for extending the Bloor bike lanes all the way into Mississauga. The group was small because the ride had been postponed due to weather at the last minute, but some cyclists showed up anyway. So we went ahead and rode out from Runnymede and were met with a group coming the other direction at the bridge over Etobicoke Creek.

The official ride on March 20 happened with a much larger group including Midori and I on the tandem.


I made a quick trip out to Portland for a wedding, and also checked out two cargo bike shops that I missed during my last visit, one of which was Splendid Cycles.

Cycle Toronto organized a ride to celebrate the success of the bike lanes on Shaw St. We were joined by long time supporter Councillor Mike Layton.


Bike for Mike 2002 had rainy weather, but nevertheless I had a good time, and it was for a good cause.

May the fourth was the perfect day for a Star Wars themed ride.

I explored a bit of the Uxbridge to Lindsay rail trail. Didn’t make it as far as Neverland.

The Ride of Silence was back in person for the first time in three years but I was not able to attend.

The first ghost bike ride of the year was for Joshua Okoeguale, a 16 year old who was killed in Oshawa.

The annual bike month group commute was back this year.

HPVDT had a chance to test their tandem bike at a wind tunnel at Western University.


The annual fund raising bike ride on the Gardiner and DVP was rebranded the Ride for Brain Health. I was doing ride support with TBN as per usual, but I also met up with colleagues from my department at the beginning.

A quick trip to Hamilton to see a promotion of the Keddy Access Trail.


I had a streak of continuous days of bike riding that stretched back to Boxing Day 2020, but somehow I forgot to ride on July 1, so my streak ended at 517 days.

A quick trip to Woodstock NY to go to a concert by Nexus percussion. Got in some riding by the Ashokan Reservoir. Got to see the stage where 4′ 33″ was premiered.

Got a Switch e-bike conversion. Initial impressions were positive.

A ghost bike ride in Hamilton for Brian Woods, who was killed riding to his work at Limeridge Mall.

Doing a little exploring by bike of an unimproved section of the Etobicoke Creek Trail.

Another Burlington to Niagara ride with TBN.

Mike Layton decides not to run for re-election. The cycling community in Toronto has lost one of its strongest advocates.


A number of years ago, I was on an organized ride from Seattle to Vancouver, but due to a flat tire and other issues, I ended up completing the ride but leaving a gap of about 100 km. I went back this year to fill in that gap. It was punishingly hot, but there was ice cream at the end.

Some nice gravel riding on the left coast.

A ride to promote safety on Parkside Drive, and to protest police ticketing of cyclists in High Park.

A TBN ride to Lake Simcoe.


Testing our tandem speedbike at Downsview.

The World Human Powered Speed Challenge was back this year after two years of cancellations. Unfortunately our tandem crashed and we did not set any records.

Cycle Toronto organized fund raising rides in different areas of the city. I rode with the Scarborough group.


A night time march down Yonge St to promote road safety.

A gravel ride between Belwood and Luther Marsh.

A ride with TBN during peak fall colours.

Third ghost bike ride of the year, this time near Streetsville.

Pre Halloween ride with the Neon Riders.

Hallowe’en Bike Parade.


Checking out another section of the G2G trail.

The annual ride to remember Road Traffic Victims. It was cold and windy.

A TBN ride from Hamilton to home.

Dammit, we couldn’t get through one year without a ghost bike installed in Toronto. RIP Kartik Saini.


Another ride down Yonge St with Santa.

A pair of pogies arrived from a small company in Ukraine, naturally in the colours of Ukrainian Flag.

I’ll also note in passing that an updated map of all ghost bike locations in the GTA has been posted. Thanks to Ingrid Buday for her work on this.

For some year end coverage of some of the upgrades to bike infra and associated public consultations for future projects, visit Rob Z’s blog.

Also see this year end summary from David Shellnut, the Biking Lawyer.

Wishing you all a safe year for 2023, with plenty of tailwinds!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »