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Archive for the ‘Bike People’ Category

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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Today was the annual Ride for Heart, a fundraiser for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Once again, I volunteered with TBN to provide rider assistance. Since the forecast was for rain for the entire morning at the very least, I decided to go with full on rain gear. Although during my commutes, my rain gear of choice is a rain cape, since I’d be out in the rain for hours and there would be a lot of getting on and off the bike, I wore a rain jacket and pants, and a helmet cover for good measure.

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Riding by the memorial for.Xavier Morgan.

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There was a bit of confusion since the TBN booth was in a totally different location than was advertised on their website.  Indoors this time, right by the Ricoh Coliseum.

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Apparently an email went out but I didn’t; get it. Although I was on the EX grounds a little before 7:30, it was past 8:00 before I got rolling.

Frank and I dealt with our first flat even before the starting line.

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Once I’m on the Gardiner, all the aggravation of getting up early and dealing with rain slips away.

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Bad picture of a tandem Bikeshare bike.

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Because of the late start, we were mainly mixed in with the 25K riders, which accounted for the very large number of kids on the road.

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Homemade rain cover on this Yuba.

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First stop: just a person low on air. Once you stop and people see you have a floor pump, several of them stop as well. This happened a couple of times.

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John and Bob (and water on the lens).

20,000 participants might have disagreed, but given the choice, I’m glad we had sunny weather yesterday rather than today.

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A woman went over her bars on this downhill, and we talked her into walking back up the hill to a school bus to take a breather.  Sean is talking to her group on the other side of the roadway.

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This gal had a pinch flat, and then punctured her new tube during installation. Fortunately, Sean had a skinny enough tube to fit.

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After the turnoff for the 25K rider, rider numbers went way down. At this point, it looked like we would be dealing with 50K stragglers.

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Made it to the top.  Mostly downhill from here.

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Totally uncrowded DVP.

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This trike rider broke the quick link on his chain.

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One last hill.

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Toronto skyline once again. Every year, there are more condos going up.

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At this late stage, I see walkers and runners in the other lanes.

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Ran into Frank again just past the exit for the 50k riders. Just like last year, I was taking the opportunity to ride home on the Gardiner.

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You don’t get to see this view of the Dowling Ave Bridge every day.

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Didn’t get as many clients as last year, and the weather was worse. Nevertheless, a fulfilling morning spent helping fellow riders.

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Today was an unusual day, with lots of bike related stuff tucked in and around a full day at work.  First up: helping with a bike and car count on Bloor. My shift was from 8-9 am.

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Here is Albert Koehl at the counting nerve centre, AKA the Coffee Time at Bloor and Spadina.

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Next up: the annual Ride of Silence, which is worldwide, on the 3rd Wednesday of May, starting at 7 pm local time. My report is up on the Dandyblog, but here are some extra pictures that did not fit in the narrative.  Here is part of the gathered crowd.

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This fellow showed up on a USS LWB recumbent from a company that I can never heard of: Lightning Cycles in Ohio (not to be confused with Lightning Cycle Dynamics in California). UPDATE: here is some information about the builder, who unfortunately just passed away.

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Derek showed up with family at the very end of our ride with his unique ride.

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He took this shot while the deceased riders’ names were being read out.

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After the ROS, I decided to drop by the Toronto Cruisers ride, which is every Wednesday evening in the warmer parts of the year, starting at 8:15 from Bloor and Huron. It was suggested that we head west, and so I lead our party on a route that took in the famous elephant.

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It is a laid back social ride that often goes late (weather permitting), and always includes tunes from the big speakers on the back of Grant’s bike.

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Thanks to Gerry, Grant and Natalie for introducing me to this ride. As a boring family man, I had to cut out before it got too dark. As far as I know, they might still be riding out there.

 

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