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Archive for the ‘Bike People’ Category

Perennial Cycle is a bike shop that I’ve wanted to visit for many years. Back when I was living in Michigan, I’d occasionally things from them since they carried many unique items for recumbents, such as Radical Designs panniers. This past weekend, I had the opportunity to stay in Minneapolis and so I finally got to see the shop in person. Even better: on Saturday they were running one of a series of Pastry Rides to promote #30daysofbiking during April.

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Not quite knowing what to expect, my buddy Steve and I arrived at the shop at about 9 am. Quite a large crowd had already gathered.

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We borrowed bikes for the occasion. Where else in North America are you going to find a bike shop where the rentals are Bromptons? Mine was a superlight with dynamo lighting and a third party midrise bar. Quite an upgrade from my own number.

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Steve talks to a fellow Brompton rider.

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Yuba bikes was sponsoring today’s ride. This Supermarché was put to work hauling coffee from Peace Coffee. Note the Brompton shipping cartons.

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All shapes and sizes of bikes and riders were in evidence.

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Retrogrouch representation.

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Mark and Mary were riding this Vision tandem with OSS and IPS.

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Martha gets us organized just before we start.

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Our lead off rider was on a Brompton.

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Here we go.

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Stopped on Humboldt at Lake.

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Turning east on the Midtown Greenway.

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This section has a pedestrian section marked by a white line on the right.

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Here the pedestrian path is slightly separated.

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The offramp towards Nicollete.

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Going north on Nicollette Ave.

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Arriving at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.

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Group picture. There were about a hundred of us.

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And now pastries and coffee. Pastry from the Salty Tart.

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Steve and I.

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Lots of fun talking with like minded cyclists. Minnesotans are very friendly! Since I happened to be riding a Brompton, there was lots of Brompton related chat as well.

Selfie with shop owner Luke Breen, who is a good guy.

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Luke is now giving away raffle prizes. If you go on one of their rides, be sure to sign up; there were some pretty nice things being given away.

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At this point, we decided to leave a bit early. Mark and Mary were kind enough to lead us back on their tandem. Here’s glimpse of a separated bike lane on 26th.

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Here on the greenway, we pass some Department of Transportation staff who were demonstrating an Autonomous shuttle. They yelled out that we should stop to check it out, but I responded that we preferred human power which drew a chuckle.

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Back at the shop, it was time to take a look around. I really liked this mini bike rigged up to demonstrate dynamo lighting.

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The colorway on this bike is clearly meant for adults, not kids.

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Here is their rack of Bromptons. The gray ones on the bottom row are rentals.

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A good selection of Catrikes.

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Recumbents, long tails, and commuter bikes.

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Of course I couldn’t leave empty handed. Among the things that I got were a SpedDial clamp set, and a Radical carrying bag that got a rave review on their website.

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Thanks so much to Luke and his staff for their hospitality. If you want to visit a great bike shop that carries all manner of bikes that are not for the MAMIL set, you should definitely check it out.

Also thanks to the Salty Tart for their treats. Here is their stand at MSP.

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An additional shout out to Martha who apparently wants to visit this shop in Toronto that is just around the corner from where I buy most of my groceries.

#itsasmallworld #supportindependentbusiness

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Update: Perennial Cycle has posted their photo album here.

Just a few more pictures:

Just around the corner from the bike shop is a bike share station. It looks like it is run on the same platform as Toronto’s system.

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There were a variety of bike racks around town. These didn’t look that space efficient.

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This was was better.

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Scarborough Cycles is a community based program that is promoting cycling in the east end of the city. They have been running programs for three years now, including safe cycling workshops, group rides, and DIY drop in bike repair. They are currently based at Accesspoint Danforth, on Danforth just east of Victoria Park. They advertised a winter group ride, and I thought that I’d join in.

Here is our group at the start of the ride. Program manager Marvin is in blue, together with three of their youth volunteers, and Linda, who came over from midtown to join in as well.

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Here we go down Victoria Park. The pavement is in pretty bad shape, but I’ve seen potholes all over the city after this particularly cold winter.

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Downhill towards the lake.

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On the Martin Goodman Trail, just west of Balmy Beach.

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Working our way around one of the many remaining patches of black ice.

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As we approached Woodbine Beach, we took the opportunity to check out the Winter Stations. Some of them were not finished yet, as the official opening is not until this Monday. We liked this Pussy Hat. The extensions made for nicely padded seating.

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The next one had some pivoting cones on stilts. I was a bit disappointed that they weren’t designed to make noise; the cones were just hollow.

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Here’s a closeup of one of their program bikes: a nicely kitted out Simcoe city bike.

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Could have used a fat bike today.

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The next exhibit was still under construction.

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Regrettably, we didn’t have time to check the two or three remaining stations. We decided to head back up the hill, taking advantage of the Woodbine bike lane. Here we are riding through the infill neighbourhood that used to be the site of the Woodbine race track.

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Marvin in the lead.

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Here we are on Dixon Rd, which is the short east-west connector to the Woodbine bike lanes. They end one block north of Queen St.

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Some green paint has been laid down near some of the intersections. Here the green paint is “protecting” us from the cars to our left that are wanting to turn right.

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Then a quick ride east along the Danforth back to home base.

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Marvin got this shot of me riding sweep.

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The community hub has many services, including a walk in medical clinic, education workshops, settlement services, and youth activities. Here are just a few shots of the interior of the building, which is a converted warehouse.  The green roof has some gardens for produce, herbs, etc.

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This shot looking down at the first floor shows the movable walls that are used to reconfigure rooms to accommodate events of different sizes. The place was buzzing, with a Bengali language activity in one area, and a seed swap in another.

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Scarborough Cycles has big plans for 2018. Last year they provided about 1300 services, while they were running from May to December. This year they will be running all year round (hence the winter group ride), they have a second bike hub at the Birchmount Bluffs Neighbourhood Centre, and they will be opening a third bike hub. As Marvin pointed out to the audience at this year’s Reading Line, there is only one bike shop in Scarborough, and so these bike hubs provide an accessible and essential service to the community.

Thanks to Marvin for showing me around, and for organizing today’s ride.

 

 

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Good friend Tim Potter (Sustainable transportation manager for Michigan State University Bikes) dropped by this weekend, and of course he wanted to check out some of the bike infrastructure since it had been at least four years since he and I had ridden around town.

Here is my really bad picture of Tim…

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and from his much better picture, you can see that we are checking out the Bloor bike lane. (all photos with me in it are by Tim, except where noted)

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Next stop, dropping by the bike team to see what is going on. Here Tim poses by Eta Prime.

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Bruce and Calvin were working on the plug for Arbiter.

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I’m posing beside this year’s WHPSC poster.

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Tim was riding the Brompton that day.

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Overall, it was nice to ride around with someone who was appreciative of the improvements in bike infrastructure in the downtown area.

Here we are back at home, with matching N+1 shirts. Get yours here. (photo  M Koga)

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His daughter designed this shirt, which is available on Amazon.

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Note that the shirt means different things to different people:

  • from the viewpoint of a Michigander, if you are cycling on the road, more often than not drivers will yell at you to “get on the sidewalk”.
  • from my viewpoint in Toronto, is says that we shouldn’t be cycling on the sidewalk.

And then it was time for beer, this particular example from Henderson’s Brewing.

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The next day, Tim checks out Hoopdriver Bicycles (unfortunately closed on a Sunday morning).

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Since there was snow in the forecast, and I just happened to have an excellent bike mechanic as a guest….

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Tim is impressed that the Haul a Day can stand on end.

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Tim shows me his patented method of mounting tires.

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To cap the day off, I had a chance to tag along with Tim to meet Chris Phelan, Executive director of the Ride of Silence. (Photo H Potter).

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I was honoured to fill him in on some of the things that have been happening in Toronto, particularly with regards to the collaborations with organizations like Friends and Families for Safe Streets, and the united push for VRU legislation.

 

 

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After my recent acquisition of a Brompton, I started to think that perhaps I had too many folding bikes. Here are three of them, not counting the Dahon that I have stashed in Vancouver.

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So the obvious thing was to put the Tikit up for sale (and I will still do that), but in the meantime there was some chatter on FB about someone with their apartment eliminating indoor bike parking, and so needing a folding bike……and ideally one with disc brakes.  Suddenly I had an opportunity to give my PBW a good home.

Here it is, packed up and ready to be hauled downtown. A few extra parts, like the fenders, a wheel with a spare Alfine 8 spd hub, and a 24h 406 rim to match.

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Amusingly, on the way in, I catch the tail end of the Santa Claus parade. Santa actually saw me, and said “now THAT’s a bike!”.

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On a separate trip I also took in the suitcase that I used with it, bearing stickers from some of the adventures that I had with the PBW. The Illini sticker was from a trip where I was riding in past some corn fields in Hawkins IN Urbana IL, and four kids rode by on their BMX’s and said “cool bike!”.

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I’ve had some good rides with the PBW. It was custom made for me about sixteen years ago by Hugh in Chico California. He no longer builds, and is now a recumbent dealer. The long term plan was to rebuild it with the Alfine hub, but now both the bike and the rebuild project has been passed onto the new proud owner: Victor ex-Aerovelo, ex-HPVDT and all around good guy (and mad scientist).

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I’m glad I found a good home for the bike.

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Tonight was the annual Volunteer Appreciation Event for Cycle Toronto. This year they decided to make it a pot luck picnic at the beach. Given that Toronto Island just reopened to the public, the venue was changed to Hanlan’s Point Beach.

Here we gather for the line up to the ferry.

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Lots of bikes on the ferry.

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Peaceful riding on the island.

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Joan arrives in style.

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More than enough food, and beverages were provided.

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We were on the clothing required part of the beach.

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Calvin worked hard to get this bonfire going.

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Chris, the recumbent guy, was one of two brave enough to go for a dip.

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Obligatory sunset pic.

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Mark, Kevin and Joan thank the volunteers for all their hard work this past year.

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Group shot for instagram.

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It’s getting darker now, and some of us start packing up to make the 9:00 pm ferry.

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Thanks to Cycle Toronto for what turned out to be a pretty idyllic evening among friends.

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This past weekend, I was able to make a return visit to G&O Family Cyclery, Seattle’s specialist cargo bike and family bike dealer. Since my visit two years ago. the shop burned to the ground, and was finally back up in a new place about a block north of the old location.

The new store is significantly more spacious than the prior location.

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In the front window, I could see the newly updated model of the Xtracycle Edgerunner, and a Reise and Muller cargobike that I didn’t recognize.

Once again, stepping inside, I’m in cargo bike heaven, with lots to gawk at. The red Bullitt with the custom wood box was being picked up by an excited customer.

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Here is a customer’s Family Tandem, just like ours, but with lots of nice additions, like a BionX motor, rear moose rack for a Burley Piccolo, double legged kickstand, a sprung Brooks saddle, and grip king pedals.

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A tern folder with the integrated Bosch e-assist, in front of a variety of Reise and Muller e-bikes.

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The latest version of the Yuba Spicy Curry, which I was told had a much better  e-assist than earlier versions.

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The frame mount for a front basket on the new Xtracycle Swoop.

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A Yuba stride bike with a front basket and very cute colour scheme.

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Carsick Design sling bags with a custom logo.

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The pièce de résistance: a Butcher and Bicycles tilting trike. I absolutely had to try it.

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Co-owner Davey Oil was very gracious and explained a couple of things about it before I took it for a test ride. This pictures shows the only time during my visit where he didn’t have a smile on his face.

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Riding the tilting trike was fascinating. I was advised that at low speed, it steers like a normal trike, where the tilting feature is almost irrelevant, but above about 15 miles an hour is where it makes a transition to the feel of a two wheeler. In truth, with my unfamiliarity with the combination of the tilting, the Bosch e-assist, and the NuVinci transmission, riding it was like ten minutes of full sensory overload. While I never got a chance to be fully comfortable with the starting, on a short downhill stretch I got the feel of the tilting, where it steered just as stably as a (two wheeled) bakfiets. Davey said that aside from its superior high speed stability, it was a bike particularly suited to parents with children with developmental difficulties, where the ease of loading passengers with the opening front panel was a big factor in its favour.

Davey was very kind letting me pick his brain about the cargo bike scene in Seattle. I noted the fact that e-assist seemed to be a much bigger part of their inventory, and he emphasized that for Seattle, not only was e-assist very helpful, but high speed stability was equally important for all the downhills. I neglected to take pictures of the one lonely Haul a Day on the shop floor, but he pointed out that it was the model with the heavy duty frame (“Haula Abdul”), and that they had a custom component spec that was much more suited to local conditions. Much of the feedback to Bike Friday in developing the heavy duty model came from G&O.

He also pointed out some of the features of the new Xtracycle Swoop, in particular the thru axle front fork that makes it much more stiff, as well as eliminating the possibility of front wheel ejection while using the disk brake.

The other bike that he spent some time discussing was the Reise and Muller Load which is the darker blue bike in the first picture. He said that the combination of the stiff frame and dual suspension was a revelation, and that the resulting high speed stability made it an ideal bike for Seattle’s hills, despite its somewhat limited cargo capacity.

Once again, I’d say that Seattleites are very fortunate to have a shop like G&O that not only has a comprehensive selection of cargo bikes, but even more importantly has the expertise to advise customers on the very best bike/trike for their needs.

Side note: on my way to and from the shop, I was able to check out the newly painted 92nd St bike lane, and I liked the fact that it had green paint at every cross street.

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Cycle Toronto organized a “Yonge Loves Bikes” ride on a gloriously sunny Saturday. The ride started at Heath and Yonge, just a little north of St. Clair so that we could all look forward to riding down the big hill. This is in contrast to last year, when we had to bike up the hill.

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It’s always interesting to see some of the fine machines that show up. This is TBN member Roy’s Air Friday, to which he has added e-assist.

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He also locked out the flexing of the Ti beam with this bracket.

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Sam with one of his bikes. He says he has been trimming down the size of his fleet.

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It turns out that this big orange Bullitt with a trailer belongs to Cycle Toronto.

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The combination of horizontal dropouts, disc brakes, hub gear and tight fender line is going to make repairing a flat on the rear a real pleasure. (I hope I didn’t jinx things by pointing this out). Note the Shimano e-assist and and electronic shifting.

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Sam et al tell us how the ride is going to be organized.

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We line up behind some police bikes.

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And off we go, turning south on Yonge.

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Regroup after the steepest part of the hill.

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Is that “V” for victory, or a peace sign?

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At Davenport.

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Approaching Bloor St.

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South of Bloor now.

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Here comes that Imperial Star Destroyer the Cycle Toronto portable mothership.

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Sorry this one is blurry.

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Yonge/Dundas. At this point, the police escort peeled off.

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At Shuter.

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Turning at the foot of Yonge St.

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Along the MG trail.

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Turning into the southernmost part of Sherbourne Commons.

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Group picture, without the lake in the background.

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Thanks to Cycle Toronto for organizing, and all the rides who rode with us.

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Once again this year, there will not be a Bells on Bloor ride as that volunteer group is focusing on the Bloor bike lane pilot campaign. There will be a Bells on Danforth ride on June 24, but regrettably, I’ll be out of town that day.

and of course today there were other rides going on, such as the Ride to Conquer Cancer, and the world naked bike ride, which just happened to go by my office while I was composing this blog entry.

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