Archive for the ‘Cargobikes’ Category

Always have a Plan B

I’m riding home on the tandem, and then I feel that the front tire is going flat. So what do do. The tandem is the only bike that I have where I don’t pack a patch kit, pump and tools. Also it’s getting dark and it’s starting to rain. So I lock it up and hop on the TTC the rest of the way home.

Now what to do.

Plan A is to go to the garage, haul out the tandem rack, put it on the van, drive out there, and the lift the tandem onto the roof (not very easy), and drive back.

Plan B is to ride out there on the cargo bike and tow it back. Simple.

All mounted up.

My Haul a Day has luggage rails with wheel holders. Regrettably these are no longer made.

Almost home.

That’s two flats in the month of February. I hope that’s not a sign of how the rest of the year is going to go.

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 »

Today was the third annual ride down Yonge St with Santa, organized by the Toronto Community Bikeways Coalition to promote cycling infrastructure along Yonge St.

We are gathered at North York Centre. Here Rudolph is interviewing Santa for the media.

The gang’s all here so we can get ready to go.

I’ll note that Santa has a new ride this year, courtesy of Happy Fiets. His trailer has a trick set up that detects when you are slowing down, and then applies the brakes on the trailer so that you are not overrun.

Off we go.

Just after the most dangerous part of the entire ride: the 401 underpass.

Rudolph leads the way up from Hogg’s Hollow.

Santa is all smiles going up the hill this year.

Up the other incline from Lawrence.

We pause at Davisville where another group is waiting at the northern end of the Yonge cycle track.

Good to see Joe and Kay.

Also we are joined by Frosty the Snowman.

Starting up again from Davisville.

Here’s another one of those bus stop platforms. I was looking for a ramp, but of course in this case, they are not necessary since there is an adjacent cycle track.

Passing by the Kartik Saini ghost bike.

Another pause at the Summerhill LCBO.

Some refreshments and hot chocolate are on offer.

Alison from CycleTO is on message.

Dave of NRBI, and Arianne.

Frosty is revealed to be one of the Richardsons.

We turn west on Bloor. Here Santa is greeting the shoppers along this stretch.

We’ve turned south at the ROM.

Santa takes the lane.

Getting ready to cross at Armoury.

Headed to City Hall past the courthouse.

Here we are at Nathan Phillips Square.

Councillor Diane Saxe reminds us that there are votes coming up in the spring having to do with the bike lanes on Yonge.

Quite the cast of characters.

Santa and Rudolph.

Finally, Santa with all his reindeer.

Thanks once again to Albert and TCBC for organizing today’s ride, to Happy Fiets for providing rides for Santa, Rudolph and Frosty, to the marshalls who helped keep everyone safe, to Councillor Saxe who rode with us.

Thanks also to everyone who showed up, especially due to the overlap with the World Cup final. Have a Happy Holiday, and here’s hoping for a safe 2023 for everyone.

And as always, Bromptoning has a wonderful video of the whole ride.

Read Full Post »

This is interesting branding.

Also, it looks like the Purolator mini hub on St George has started up.

I’ll have to take a look at the cargo bikes they use at some point in the future. I’m still partial to the Fedex cargo bikes, partially since I’ve seen them a fair amount in Bloor West, and my bike buddy Brian is one of their riders further east. Also, I’m not a bit fan of Purolator in general since many times that I’ve had a delivery at home, they’ve left a door hanger, even if I’m at home, and I end up driving out to their Kipling depot to pick things up.

Read Full Post »

Today was the Ride for Brain Health that took over the open slot vacated by the Ride for Heart (which was virtual again this year). As per previous rides, I provided mechanical support for the riders, along with many others from Toronto Bicycling Network. The organization of the TBN riders was a bit different this year. For one thing, we were told to gather at 5:30 AM so that we should be assigned to different start times. It’s been ages since I’ve been riding before sunrise.

Here is a picture of the group just before 6 AM.

Things were also a bit confused by the fact that the event announced a no bags rule, meaning that we were not allowed to have panniers. I arrived with my usual set up on my Haul a Day, gambling that I would not be turned away. As it turns out, there was no issue.

The timing being what it was, I decided to do as much of the 25 km as I could before coming back to meet some colleagues back at the start at 7:30. Here I am riding off at 6:10.

First fix of the day was just a few hundred meters down the course in the shadow of BMO field. Just needed a little air in her tires.

Riding into the sun with Jimmy.

Pretty peaceful as most of the early riders were fast and experienced.

Nice views of the Port Lands development from the Gardiner.

I looped back to meet my colleagues from the MSE department at the start.

Got a couple of pictures of the group riding together.

photo by Eli Sone

After these photos, I told everyone to go at their own pace, and of course I immediately got dropped like a wet rag.

Having been abandoned by my colleagues, it was nice for me to see several familiar faces on the ride.

Here I’m asking Becky Katz if the DVP should set a new standard for bike infrastructure, particularly with respect to the width of a bike lane.

A colleague from the Bike Brigade and one from Chemical Engineering.

I saw Jess from Friends and Families for Safe Streets several times, but I only thought to take a picture at the very end of the ride.

Here I am at the top of the ride.

A flat fix on the way back down.

They seemed to be breaking down the course very early. These trucks were headed northbound at Bayview when it was only 10 AM.

The highlight of my helping out was sagging a little girl back to the start. I saw her and her dad walking along the Gardiner and offered to give her a ride while towing her ride. She recently learned to bike and did 17 km for the day, which I thought was phenomenal.

The one big thing that made the ride less kid friendly this year was the fact that the first rest stop with water and snacks was at Bayview, and the “no bags” rule meant that the dad couldn’t bring along water or food on his bike. The other thing was that the Ride Marshalls were told to tell stranded riders that there would be a bus offering sag every 20 minutes. This did not happen. I think I saw two school buses on the route for the entire day.

It will be interesting to see which charity runs the ride again next year. I’m sure that Heart and Stroke would like to have their ride back.

Total support provided: pumped up about six bikes worth of tires, didn’t change a single flat, couldn’t help a guy with a broken chain, or another with a broken crank. Lent out Allen keys a couple of times. Also couldn’t help a guy that flatted both front and rear tubeless tires on a pothole. And of course provided some sag at the end of the ride.

I logged 84 km, which is probably the most that I’ve ridden my cargo bike in a day.

At any rate, it was ideal weather (unlike the last ride in 2019), and it was great to be out and out with colleagues and friends.

Thanks to Todd from TBN who organized all of the Marshalls, and who also waited patiently at start the whole time so that he could collect our armbands after the ride.

Read Full Post »

Today was a very short ride to deliver some packaged meals from CAMH to the Allan Gardens food bank. It was also my first group ride with the Bike Brigade. Here are my fellow riders at the pick up.

Someone said “Look, Jun has a Chad bike” …

…referring to the legendary Chad who both works behind the scenes for TBB and also does a huge number of deliveries on his Haul a Day.

And we’re off.

At this point, Lois remarked that I had been hitting every single red light. She took over the lead, and the pace quickened considerably.

A fun little ride to support the good work of the Allan Gardens Food Bank. Even better: putting our bikes to work on World Bicycle Day.

Read Full Post »

Today there was a gathering to mark the success of Shaw St, which has become one of the most heavily travelled bikeways in the entire city. Councillor Layton’s article in the Star gives lots of facts and figures, but the bottom line is that many more people travel along Shaw by bike than by car. Over 4000 trips by bike between September and November of last year is truly something to celebrate on Earth Day. People were saying that this was the first bike lane event in a while with sunny weather.

Councillor Layton gave us an overview of the history of the project, with all of the community consultation, as well some of the hurdles that had to be overcome, such as a change in the Highway Traffic Act in order to allow two way bike traffic. A revision to the street design in 2020 that blocked thru car traffic was also a game changer.

The street is now safer for all road users, and people in the neighbourhood appreciate the more peaceful nature of the street.

Becky Katz (Manager of Cycling and Pedestrian Projects) felt she had to show up, even though she was on vacation. She talked a bit about the evaluation of the design, and the fact that it was important to build this kind of infrastructure on non-arterial streets as part of a cycling network. I am in total agreement with this since the bike network in Vancouver is largely built on side streets in a similar manner.

Finally, Keegan Gartz (Executive Director, CycleTO) talked about how she lives just a block off of Shaw, and how much safer it is for her to cycle around. She said that there is a lot more to look forward to in terms of new bike infra during the next three years.

We’re getting lined up to get ready ride down Shaw St. Nice to see MPP Jessica Bell in attendance.

A few more photos before we roll.

And here we go. I love biking by this upholstery shop just south of Bloor in the summer when they have their Fiat 500 Topolinos parked out front.

A brief stop at Harbord.

Kevin is all smiles.

Group photo at the northwest corner of Trinity Bellwoods.

Thanks to Cycle Toronto for organizing the event, and to all those who enabled this project to be possible. Let’s keep building similar bikeways across the city!

Update: the City of Toronto has more facts and figures here.

Read Full Post »


There was a cargo bike meet up at Withrow Park that was organized by Robin of HappyFiets.ca, Janet Joy of TCBC, and Dave of NRBI. In addition, there was a ride to the meetup starting at High Park. For the occasion, rather than riding my Haul a Day, I had the opportunity to borrow a Riese and Müller Packster from Curbside Cycles. Getting to ride a state of the art German engineered e-assist cargo bike? Yes please.

Here we are testing it out earlier this morning.

At the meet up at High Park.

Along Bloor, here is the dangerous bit just east of Dundas W. Hopefully the construction will be done by the end of the year, and the long promised protected bike lane installed under the bridge.

You might have noticed the Paul Taylor signs on Janet Joy’s bike. While we were biking along Bloor, a car rolled down a window and someone started to talk to us. It was Paul Taylor. He drives a beat up Toyota Camry. Another reason to consider voting for him.

A brief stop at Christie Pits where we are joined by Rob Z of two wheeled politics.

Across the viaduct.

Lots of cargo bikes of all shapes and sizes at Whitrow Park.

I really like the folding basket feature of Rob’s Muli cargo bike.

The Richardson family enjoys trying out the packster.

Heather and Pier of Bromptoning were intent on trying out all the bikes.

I really liked Dave’s Riese and Muller Load. I remember Davey Oil telling me about how well built the R&M cargo bikes where, and the Load with the rod actuated steering seemed a little more intuitive than the pulley steering on the Packster. Also electric shifting on the Rohloff hub!

I also liked the steps on this Birola cargo bike that made it easier for kids to clamber into the box.

There was a very good turnout, and quite a diverse collection of cargo bikes to admire, somewhat putting my Haul a Day to shame. There have been a few other Toronto cargo bike meet ups in the past, but I hope that with the increased interest in this type of bike that a meet up like like this can be an annual event.

Thanks to the organizers, and everyone who showed up to chat.


Rob has posted his pictures in this twitter thread.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

The Errandonnee is a fun biking based activity that has been running for a couple of years. Basically you have to do 12 errands over a 12 day period, using the following categories: (from the website)


Below are the 9 Errandonnee categories in order for you to plan your Errandonnee:

  1. Discovery (See something new while you’re out and about!)
  2. Helping Hand (This can be however you define it – helping a person, helping the environment, you get the idea)
  3. History Lesson
  4. Non-Store Errand
  5. Personal Business
  6. Personal Care
  7. Public Art
  8. You carried WHAT?!
  9. Wild Card (Any trip that does not fall into any of the above categories. Surprise me!)

There are a couple of other rules. You are also encouraged to document your activities on social media, and you can also apply for a prize that will be mailed to you for a fee. There is a facebook page if you want to see what others are doing.

I decided to start yesterday. On day one, I did a loop around Etobicoke, and on the way back I realized that I was close to Sandown Market which is our go to place for Japanese groceries, so I dropped by to pick up a few items. Granted my handlebar bag didn’t fit too much more stuff so I limited what I bought. The proprietor was amused that I had arrived by bike. I put this activity in category #5: personal business.

On the way home, I also decided to drop by High Park and sure enough the cherry blossoms had been fenced off already. I counted this as #4 (non-store errand).

Today I wanted to pack a few more errands in. Here is public art (#7).

This is right across the street from Robarts, and you can see that the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.

I also did some deliveries for the Bike Brigade, so I counted that as a combination of #2 (helping hand) and #8 (you carried what?)

Finally I picked up some new glasses which I counted as #6 (personal care).

That makes a total of six errands thus far, over two days and 75 km. Ten days to go.

I’m not allowed to use any of the categories more than twice so I’ll have to do some planning over the next week.

This is a fun way to promote utility cycling. I’d encourage everyone to visit the website to find out all of the details. You can choose any 12 day period until the end of June. A heck of a lot easier than a Randonnée.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »