Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Cargobikes’ Category

It’s been two years and four months since I got my Bike Friday Haul a Day. In that time, it has been my second most used bike, with just over 5000 km logged in just over 800 separate rides. It was time to tweak things a bit since two things were starting to annoy me.

First, the rubber feet that I put on the kickstand were worn out. I had put some Tygon tubing on the kickstand a while back (any 5/8″ ID tubing will do) and it lasted a surprisingly long time.

IMG_6084

I replaced it with thicker wall tubing with some kind of woven reinforcement. Thick rubber tubing would have been even better, but I’m stuck with what I can find at the local hardware.

IMG_6086

Note that it is better to leave a bit of the tubing extending past the kickstand feet. The tubing has less of a tendency to slide up the leg that way. In any case, any kind of tubing lasts way longer than any of the rubber end caps that I’ve tried.

The second more serious issue is that with the front rack and basket combination, over time there has been some stress on the brake cables by having the rear part of the basket pushing on them, and they have been bent just where they exit the lever. This hasn’t been a problem functionally, but it could lead to a problem in the long run.

IMG_6085

Here is the front brake cable housing.

IMG_6089

I decided to use V brake noodles to have the brake cables make a clean 90° bend just after the lever. Note that I figured out that it was better to reverse the way the cable goes through the noodle (this entails reversing the internal plastic sleeve).

IMG_6090

Front lever done.

IMG_6087

Now both done. The basket now puts much less pressure on the rear brake cable, and the front cable misses it entirely.

IMG_6092

Note that I bought new cable housing and a tandem length brake cable from the LBS to do this, but it turns out that since I was shortening the cable housing by the length of the noodles, I ended up using both the original housings and the cables as well.

I’ll post an update if I see any downside to this new setup.

 

Read Full Post »

Tonight was the second in a series of evening concerts put on by the Bicycle Music Festival, leading up to their main event on September 10. Cycle Toronto organized a ride from downtown to Taylor Creek Park.

Here we are in Asquith Green Park, just a block north of Bloor and Church.  Sam gets us organized.

DSC01832

Here we go down Rosedale Valley Rd.

DSC01834

Now north on Bayview Ave. It’s nice to have that solid guard rail between us and traffic.

DSC01837

Tunnel of trees.

DSC01838

Waiting for the Go Train to pass.

DSC01840

A brief water break at “the elephants”.

DSC01843

Caitlin of the Bicycle Music Festival provided the tunes during our ride.

DSC01844

Keagan just after she called in to say that we were going to arrive a little late.

DSC01845

and we’re here. Volunteers from Arts in the Parks show us where to turn.

DSC01847

Tonight’s band was Yuka, who laid down smooth Motown style grooves. I really wished that we had been able to provide a bigger crowd, but my guess is that a lot of people were scared off by the weather forecast of possible afternoon thundershowers.

DSC01849

DSC01851

DSC01856

Power for the sound system provided by bike, naturally. Note that the Yuba Mundo ridden by Caitlin is being put to work.

DSC01850

Riders had to keep the generated voltage within a certain range, as shown by the small meter.

DSC01857

DSC01869

A big thanks to YUKA, the Bicycle Music Festival, Cycle Toronto, and Arts in the Parks.

The next Sunset Series bike ride / concert is on August 15, with another following on August 29. All the infomation is at the Bicycle Music Festival website.

 

Read Full Post »

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.

DSC01349

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.

DSC01346

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.

DSC01347

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

DSC01348

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

DSC01350

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

DSC01351

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

DSC01352

Carsick Design sling bags with a custom logo.

DSC01353

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

DSC01356

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.

DSC01355

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.

DSC01357

 

Read Full Post »

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.

DSC00667

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.

DSC00674

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

DSC00676

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

DSC00673

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

DSC00671

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.

DSC00670

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

DSC00680

We line up behind some police bikes.

DSC00682

And off we go, turning south on Yonge.

DSC00685

DSC00686

DSC00690

Regroup after the steepest part of the hill.

DSC00692

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

DSC00695

At Davenport.

DSC00697

DSC00698

DSC00699

Approaching Bloor St.

DSC00702

DSC00703

South of Bloor now.

DSC00706

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

DSC00708

Sorry this one is blurry.

DSC00709

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

DSC00710

At Shuter.

DSC00714

Turning at the foot of Yonge St.

DSC00716

Along the MG trail.

DSC00717

Turning into the southernmost part of Sherbourne Commons.

DSC00718

Group picture, without the lake in the background.

DSC00721

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

DSC00715

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.

DSC00726

 

 

Read Full Post »

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.

IMG_5561

Riding by the memorial for.Xavier Morgan.

IMG_5562

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.

IMG_5564

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.

IMG_5569

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

IMG_5572

Bad picture of a tandem Bikeshare bike.

IMG_5574

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.

IMG_5575

Homemade rain cover on this Yuba.

IMG_5578

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.

IMG_5579

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.

IMG_5580

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.

IMG_5581

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

IMG_5582

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.

IMG_5583

Made it to the top.  Mostly downhill from here.

IMG_5586

Totally uncrowded DVP.

IMG_5588

This trike rider broke the quick link on his chain.

IMG_5589

One last hill.

IMG_5591

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

IMG_5594

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

IMG_5596

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.

IMG_5598

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

IMG_5599

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

Read Full Post »

Today was the annual Group Commute that kicks off Bike Month in Toronto. As per usual, I started at High Park, bright and early under overcast skies, with a bit of rain threatening.

DSC00510

Numbers were down from previous years, perhaps because of the weather.

DSC00511

Are we’re off!

DSC00513

At Keele.

DSC00515

DSC00516

DSC00518

Bakfiets plus umbrella and dog.

DSC00519

Regroup at Christie.

DSC00523

Councillor Layton joins us!

DSC00526

At Bay.

DSC00528

This tower at Bloor and Yonge is more complete this year.

DSC00530

The merged group at Charles is pretty big.

IMG_5539

DSC00532

Here we go down Yonge St.

DSC00535

DSC00537

DSC00539

DSC00541

DSC00542

In a reversal of the usual situation, here is one lone SUV hemmed in on all sides by bike traffic.

DSC00544

Approaching City Hall.

DSC00546

That’s Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon right in front of me.

DSC00547

The Bakfiets family is all smiles.

DSC00549

Time for breakfast.

DSC00551

Nice to have real maple syrup!

DSC00550

Sitting under the arcade as the rain comes down, with a custard tart for breakfast. Could be worse….

DSC00553

People were taking any available shelter.

DSC00554

Cycle Toronto booth was busy selling shirts and memberships.

DSC00555

This year’s T shirt is a nice bright purple, and if you look carefully, it features a cargobike.

IMG_5544

Numbers were down from last year, although I will resist the side to side photo comparison (as per the US inauguration).

DSC00557

Wayne Scott interacting with some of Toronto’s finest.

DSC00558

He and I had the only “Bike Lanes on Bloor” shirts in evidence.

IMG_5541

Mayor Tory addressing the crowd.

DSC00563

The sun started peeking out, and more of the crowd came out from under shelter.

DSC00564

Andy taking Elise to school.

DSC00565

A press scrum around the mayor.

DSC00567

All these kids (and some teachers) joined the ride, and also committed to biking to school during Bike Month.

DSC00568

Thanks to the City of Toronto, Cycle Toronto, and all of the participating sponsors.

During my short ride the rest of the way to work, a charming couple behind me on McCaul reacted to my “Bike Lanes on Bloor” shirt by yelling that if you “wanted bike lanes on Bloor, you should f**king using them, you maniac!” which shows me that we still need a wider attitude adjustment in this city before people take cycling seriously as a mode of transport.

Ride on, and ride safe everyone!

 

Read Full Post »

This time of year, every slightly warm weekend feels like it could be the last one of the year. We took the occasion to fit in a family bike ride down to the lake.

dsc09918

Heading down Runnymede. I’m the only one looking psyched at this point.

dsc09919

K at the turnaround point. This is her new bike; she has outgrown the Rambler by a fairly wide margin.

dsc09925

Heading back across Mimico Creek on the Calatrava style bridge.

dsc09926

These signs on the section of the path by all the tall condos are new. Pity they didn’t hire an artist that could draw a bike properly.

dsc09927

Lucy complains if we’re not in the lead.

dsc09929

Obligatory family picture.

dsc09931

K insisted on taking a funny picture as well.

dsc09932

Can you guess who is the clown in the family?

dsc09935

Hope you all get a chance to get some riding in before the snow descends!

Update: I dug up a picture from Nov 2006 taken at more or less the same spot.2006-2016

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »