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I started having an issue with my cargo bike where the chain would come off of the chainring when I pushed hard on the pedals. This was especially inconvenient when I would be doing something like a Toronto Bike Brigade delivery,

or hauling a 7 foot Ikea bookcase.

One thought that I had was that the chainring was getting pretty shark toothed. Time to replace the chainring. When you don’t have a pin wrench, you improvise.

Digging through my toolbox, I was pleased to find my old crank remover.

Interestingly enough, the wear on the chainring was most severe at 90° out of phase with the crank arms, i.e. pulling on the chain with the cranks in the horizontal position.

Here is where things went wrong. I had the took to prevent the chainring bolt nuts from turning

but much as I tried, I could not get 3 of the five chainring bolts undone. This is what multiple winters of salt does to a crankset.

Plan B: I happened to have a spare Alfine crankset with integral BB. Perfect since I noticed that my current BB had a bit of play.

Not having all the right tools to deal with the BB, I had master mechanic Geoffrey do the BB replacement and crankset installation.

Very nice.

As a bonus, this particular crankset has a double sided chain guard.

I can’t really complain. Today was ride #1200 on the Haul a Day, with over 12K km, so it was high time that I gave it a little TLC.

Also nice to spend some time with Geoffrey while not on a ghost bike ride.

Keep on trucking’ folks.

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Today was my first group ride with TBN since the beginning of the pandemic. The official starting point was downtown, but there was a pickup point at Queensway and Windermere. Here is the first group to arrive at the pickup point. That’s ride leader Danny on the right.

A few minutes later, most of the rest of the group arrives. We are all still getting used to chatting face to face. Note that we are all at least the required 2m apart.

and we’re off, headed to Oakville today.

Along Atwater.

Threading through a road closure just off of Mississauga Rd.

We’ve arrived at the lunch stop. A lot of cyclists had the same idea.

I elected not to stop, and to ride on. The route went to the mouth of Sixteen Mile Creek before doubling back along Lakeshore. Thanks to the anonymous person who took this photo for me on the pier.

On the way back, all of the Lakeshore Parks were crowded but it was nice to see so many families out enjoying themselves.

It was great to see familiar faces, along with meeting many new TBN members for the first time. However, it’s going to take some time for me to get used to being in a group of people again.

This evening, Lucy and I decided to join ManDem CC for another one of their Sunday night rides. Unfortunately, the city has decided that for the rest of July, the Lakeshore West closure for ActiveTO will be truncated at British Columbia Dr, meaning that it is closed basically only the length of the CNE grounds.

Lucy does not approve.

Waiting for the crowd to gather at the starting point, the Bentway.

Chris tells us that we will leave in five minutes.

Off we go.

Turning left on Lakeshore.

At a certain point, the ride broke up into several groups that were taking different routes. The one that I followed decided to continue on Lakeshore for a while which was not ideal from a safety standpoint.

Then we transitioned to Queens Quay which was very crowded.

Lucy and I started falling behind, partially because the drivetrain on the Haul a Day has issues and I can only use the lowest three gears. Here we are trailing some riders on Bayview.

Hey, we made it to the Evergreen Brickworks!

Loads of people arriving.

A great way to spend a Sunday riding with two very different groups of cyclists.

The Toronto Bicycling Network has recreational rides at all levels. Today was a Tourist ride, which is the second fastest type, with a moving average speed of 24-32 kph. For the duration of the pandemic, you must register in advance for any of the rides. TBN also has a route library which is a good resource for Toronto area cyclists.

ManDem CC has no formal structure. They announce their weekend rides on Instagram. Follow them if you want to be in the loop.

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Today was another bike ride with good friends P&T. The goal was a 45 km round trip to Port Dover, starting partway along the Delhi Rail Trail. Here they are at the start with their nice gravel and touring bikes, along with our tandem.

Off we go.

The trail ends in Simcoe about two blocks from where you can access the Norfork Rail Trail that passes through Simcoe. The trail is marked as blocked between Davis and McCaul streets, but in actual fact, the only real blockage is construction on the bridge at Queensway East.

Up to you whether you want to take the marked detour, or to take as much of the trail as possible, and just work your way past the construction which is confined to the bridge on Queensway.

T has a flat, apparently his very first on the front with this bike.

At Port Dover.

Thanks to the gentleman in the Brant Bicycling Club T shirt that took this group photo.

Back along the Delhi Rail Trail towards our start point at Nixon Rd.

Afterwards, we had a pleasant dinner at the New Limburg Brewing Company which was just 500m off the trail on Nixon Road. They had a large patio set up in the back. The beers were very good, and they had a variety of Dutch bar snacks such as bitterballen and frikandel which we ordered because they sounded like fun. They also have a full menu but we were warned that since everything was made from scratch that some items could take a while. Pizzas, beef stew and grill shrimp were all good and arrived within half an hour.

After dinner, given that we were only about 7 km away from one of the three velodromes in Ontario, I dragged our friends up to take a look.

The Win-Del velodrome has definitely seen better days. It is in need of some serious weeding, for one.

I couldn’t resist so I borrowed T’s bike to have a go.

T having a go, and going considerably faster than I.

A nice way of capping off a great day of biking with good friends.

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ManDem CC announced their third ride of season 2 on Instagram. I had ridden with them once last year, and was so impressed by the diversity of this community. I was not able to join them again, so I was determined to show up this time. The meeting place was Prince’s Gate at the east end of the CNE grounds.

There was a crowd of about a hundred riders, and as I observed last year, Chris was circulating around greeting everyone. What shocked me is that he remembered me by name, even though I only showed up once before.

He made some short announcements before we got rolling. He said that this group was not a political statement, but thought it was appropriate to give a land acknowledgement in view of the recent news about the residential schools.

And we’re off, with Chris in the lead.

At Bathurst, approaching Queen’s Quay.

It was a bit chaotic along Queen’s Quay as there were many people about. Our group ended up taking the lane, as well as using the MUP. Unfortunately this led to one rider crashing on the streetcar tracks and breaking his arm.

A planned stop at Underpass Park. There was a bit of a delay as Chris had circled back to check on the reports that a rider was down.

A very cool dog and his rider.

We’re on the move again at the foot of River St. I’m not sure about the timing of this picture, but it looks like it was just as a rider failed to unclip and then fell onto Chris’ bike.

Along the MUP on the north side of Lakeshore.

Taking advantage of the closure of Lakeshore East.

Riding along the waterfront trail in the Beach, I had to stop to chat briefly with the bike piano guy.

We arrive at our destination: the RC Harris Water Treatment Plant. It’s my first time here. It is a stunning setting.

Word filters through the crowd that Chris’ bike got a bent wheel during the incident on River St. He arrives with bike on shoulder.

Even with all that has happened this evening, Chris still radiates positivity.

Just as I bid him adieu, he insists that we get a picture. Thanks to the person who took this for me.

Riding back part of the way with Dave of @TorontoCycleChic. I’m sure he will be posting much better pictures of this ride.

It’s a lovely, peaceful night for a bike ride. This is Queen and Carlaw.

Paying my respects at the Douglas Crosbie ghost bike.

Thanks to Chris and all the other people that I met tonight for a wonderful experience. Looking forward to riding with this group again.

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Today there was a walk to honor and support former students of Residential Schools. The starting point was Parliament and Dundas, and it was to end at Nathan Phillips square. I had never seen so many orange shirts in one place.

The view from Dundas, shortly before we are to start.

Here we go.

Hey I know those people.

Orange shirt and helmet today.

A pause at Yonge and Dundas. Interesting how rhythmic clapping in a large crowd inevitably speeds up with time.

Headed down Bay.

At Nathan Phillips Square. The scent of burning sweetgrass is in the air.

Heartening to see such a massive turnout.

With the steady drip drip of the discovery of more bodies, it is a time for me to learn more about this aspect of our country’s past, and to pause and reflect on how I can do better.

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A section of the Allen expressway between Eglinton and Lawrence was closed today as part of ActiveTO. The occasion was to mark the 50th anniversary of the cancelling of the Spadina Expressway that would have extended further south past Eglinton down the Cedarvale Ravine, and would have also obliterated a large part of the Annex Neighbourhood (where Jane Jacobs lived).

The only entrance to the closure area was just east of the Allen on the south side of Lawrence. Although everything I heard was that this was a one time only event, in case they do it again, if you are approaching from the south, you should bike up Shermount from the belt line and then turn left on the last street before Lawrence. There is a pathway at the end of the street that takes you right to the entrance of the closure. Marlee Ave is not a good alternative since it had much more traffic than usual, probably due to the closure.

Heading south towards Glencairn.

Nice to see Keagan (executive director of CycleTO), Sam and their daughter.

The south end of the closure. People were taking full advantage of the shade provided by the many overpasses.

Racing the subway back north.

Approaching the north end.

CycleTO had a tent set up under the northernmost bridge.

There were also plenty of these “slow down” signs on Shermount, but signs do nothing. Shermount is a straight, wide street, and if the city wanted cars to slow down, they would actually change the configuration with traffic calming measures like features to narrow the roadway. Wait a minute: what about a protected bike lane?

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Today was the 100th consecutive day of biking for me this year. I decided to mark the day by doing some deliveries for the bike brigade.

Did I mention that the weather was gorgeous, and it was the first shorts ride of the year as well?

Chatting at the pick up point with our fearless leader, Dave Shellnutt, the biking lawyer.

Deliveries done, I dropped by Urbane Cyclist on the way home to pick up some fancy MKS half clips. I am a big fan of half clips.

The bike brigade texted me to drop by again, and they gave me this flag! Triple logos in this picture.

I also decided to drop by the Alex Amaro ghost bike. Thanks to whoever has been keeping the bike looking beautiful.

I also wanted to check out the Bloor bike lanes between Lansdowne and Dundas West since I had heard that the hydro work under one of the bridges was done. Nice to see this family taking advantage of the bike lane.

I did note that the parents directed their kids onto the sidewalk for the underpasses. This one only has a painted buffer at the moment.

The hydro work under the rail path bridge is done, but apparently Metrolinx has to do a little more work before the bike lane is installed. It is not clear if the city will lay down stripes in the meantime.

Two other brief notes, one happy, one sad.

Last night I was extremely honoured to be named “bike advocate of the year” by the Toronto Community Bikeways Coalition. I have to note that many people who are part of this group have done more than I towards bike infrastructure, but they took themselves out of the running by being part of the organization that was giving out the award. You know who you are….

Congratulations to all the award winners. I am doubly honoured to be in such good company.

Second thing: the truck driver that killed Douglas Crosbie was acquitted of all charges today.

Stay safe, and get out there and enjoy the weather.

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The fixer column in the Toronto Star recently published a column called “Toronto is finally keeping cycling lanes clear of ice and snow in winter“. This of course has not been my experience, but I will hand things over to guest editor Hamish Wilson for his commentary.


Hamish Wilson (left) with fellow bike advocate Wayne Scott

While undoubtedly there has to be cause for praising the City’s removal of snow and care for some bike lanes, it’s absolutely not the case that such clear biking is the norm in some other parts of the City. While the dedicated bike facilities do seem to be consistently plowed, that’s only a small portion of what a cyclist might travel on, including the rest of the network. On a critical piece of bikeway, a finally-long-and-linked-in-summer Bloor/Danforth route that also provides subway relief, the Viaduct area seems to be remaining spotty and dangerous, even though the City is at times removing the snowbanks. The paint-only bike lanes in particular, between Castle Frank and Parliament especially, function more as a place to put snow into, and we have bike lines beside a highway, not a bike lane. There also remains a nasty pinch point on the rightwards curve at the top of Parliament, where all faster vehicles cut in to the bike lane exactly where a ponding exists, which can become ice. Fresh – and welcome – repaving recently didn’t get this fixed, and while Notice of Hazard etc. was given, shrug, nobody killed. Heck, even the extra effort of snow removal on the same day of the article may actually leave the bike lanes far less useful than the expressed intent as the standards aren’t to get to smooth dry pavement perhaps, but instead, something that a vehicle can drive over. Pouring salt on to the area isn’t as much of a solution as the City might like either: salt is now starting to show up as efflorescence on the masonry balustrades of the Viaduct, but – like sealing the gutters of the Viaduct – the interest of the City isn’t in preserving structural integrity because that’s a reason to stick the hands out for infrastructure monies from other levels of government. So while sure, there are some excellent efforts at times and in some places, it’s still far too dangerous and uneven, though one might think Canadians would know how to plow snow.

Going eastbound South side east of Sherbourne, not as bad as all that because of buffer. Internal time/date stamp is horribly off on third hand/old camera fwiw, but these are all yesterday.
But Not so Good, though better than say, Queen, and roads with tracks….thankfully not-fast traffic
Westbound at Castle Frank – totally! useless… and it’s a Highway, no interest in putting up a show-speed sign in painted empty median at top of Parliament either vs. side streets somewhere….
BIke LANES please, not bike lines, nor snowbanks, nor bike lakes as sometimes can occur…. approaching pinch point danger….
Today, maybe all of it is cleared out – was thinking that the City might have upped its care here from previous years, but at crosswalk markings is where the worst of pinch point is.

There’s a change in buffer width right at most concentrated pinch that a bit of cheap paint could start to fix, but nope, and there’s that ponding too, which if City did remove snow previous weeks, they left a batch of snow/ice EXACTLY at the worst spot. Yet another killing spot that oh, that’s dangerous maybe, but ignore till something does happen.
Astounding how the federal level can ship TO billions without ANY hesitation or restriction on performance – as if it’s all about pouring concrete and buying votes. If there’s any seriousness about improving biking to combat climate change and in this B/Danforth corridor as subway relief/options, it really MUST become far more consistently even/safe for riding year-round.
Notice of Hazard btw; and despite a degree of attention, NO, it is not as Mr. Sferrazza claimed yesterday, and I suspect that indented parking bays on College/St. George/Spadina are pretty much unplowed again, so the cars park out in to the bike lane, because again, the City doesn’t know how to plow snow.
Or it’s given away all of it’s leverage in extra-long 7-year contracts, and is that normal???
Plus City core itself is still! badly screwed/dominated by suburbans; tiresome.

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The weekend closest to the last day of January has been the traditional time for an organized “Coldest Day of the Year” ride. Unfortunately such group rides are not possible this year. However, Saturday also offers the chance to ride with the Bike Brigade, so I decided to call today’s ride the coldest delivery of the year. It was about -11 earlier this morning, but by 1 pm, it was a balmy -5°C and sunny,

Lanrick also felt that he had massively overdressed.

I also upgraded the pogies on my cargo bike to a pair from Rock Bros. Ordinarily I would have sourced them from a domestic company (like the coldbike pogies on my other winter bike), and I tried to find a pair of safety orange pogies from Dogwood Designs but they were out of stock everywhere I looked.

The Rock Bros version work well on handlebars that are swept back.

Action shot.

They were almost too warm today. Looking forward to testing them out when it is colder. Strike that, I want it to start warming up now.

Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2019

Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2018

Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2017

Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2016

Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2015

Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2013

Coldest Day of the Year Ride 2012

Update: it was definitely colder delivering on Feb. 6.

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Yesterday Toronto lost an elder statesman of the bike community, Alan Wayne Scott, who passed away after a long battle with cancer.

He will forever be remembered for winning a court case “Food as Fuel” that gave bike messengers the right to deduct $17.50 a day as a business expense.

He was a constant presence at bike advocacy events. He was a familiar face at PWIC, here making a deputation in support of the Bloor bike lanes.

Here celebrating the initial installation of the lanes.

and here, helping to sweep up excess glass spheres that were a slippery hazard for cyclists.

He was also the keeper of the flame of the memory of Darcy Allan Sheppard, and the injustice of his killer, Michael Bryant, getting off scott free.

It was always a pleasure to see him out and about on his trike. In recent years, despite his failing health, he was unfailingly positive. He was posting on facebook up until about a week ago, giving frank updates about his cancer treatment, remembering his music, and above all expressing his love for his family and friends.

You can see many of his deputations at the HoofandCycle youtube channel.

His articles for NOW magazine are here.

This picture taken this past July at the critical mass for black lives matter, was the last time I saw him in person.

RIP Wayne, in this case “ride in peace”.

UpdateFeb 2021: an article in NOW magazine in his memory “In memoriam: Cycling advocate Wayne Scott”

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