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Archive for the ‘Cargobikes’ Category

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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Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 3.04.23 AMThe Bloor bike lane pilot project was installed last summer to some fanfare. This fall, City Council will consider whether or not to make them permanent. It has been stated from the beginning by the Mayor that the decision on whether to keep them will be data driven, and indeed there has been an unprecedented amount of study done on the bike lanes, including traffic counts, and various measures of economic impact. The first hurdle for the bike lanes is the Public Works and Infrastructure Committee (PWIC) meeting on October 18, and as that date approaches, both advocates and opponents of the bike lane are gearing up.

Yesterday’s CBC news had an article that mentioned some of the lobbying for and against. One of the issues that is always brought up is the question of how many cyclists are using the bike lane. Councillor Mammolitti was quoted as saying he wants a list of names of those riding in the lanes.

“I think that it’s the same people that just keep going in a circle just to be counted,” he said at the Sept. 19 public works meeting.

In addition, Denzil Minnan-Wong tweeted the following:

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in response to an article in the Toronto Star that said that the Bloor bike lanes are increasing the number of cyclists.  Unfortunately, both Minnan-Wong and Mammolitti are on PWIC. (Correction: D M-W is no longer on PWIC, but one can anticipate that Stephen Holiday will vote the same way that D M-W would.)

The city has cited a number of 4500 cyclists a day using the bike lanes, whereas various counts done by citizen groups such as Bells on Bloor and Cycle Toronto have come up with higher numbers.

Over the last week, 20 Bells on Bloor volunteers analyzed a video record of cyclists on Bloor at about Brunswick Ave, and for the first time, a full 24 hour count was done over five consecutive weekdays.

The results are in and the data show that over 6000 cyclists use the Bloor Bike Lanes on weekdays. A slightly deeper dive into the data shows some interesting trends. Here is a chart of the hourly variation, averaged over the five days.

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You can see that at the peak periods, there are over 600 cyclists an hour that pass by this point. Additionally during the entire daylight period, the minimum number of cyclists is over 200 an hour.

As one of the volunteers in the video analysis, I was assigned 6 am to 10 am on one of the days, and I was amused to see myself pass by during my commute. ( I was running a bit late that morning).

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The other things I noticed during the four hours:

  • I saw 12 total cargo bikes or bikes with trailers (including myself) (out of about 1400 bikes)
  • I only saw 5 sidewalk cyclists. I don’t have any data on whether this is a decrease from before the bike lanes were installed, but the number was lower than I expected.

The complete press release is here

BellsonBloor Bike Count Media Release FINAL Sept 28, 2017

and here is a sample video segment.

Metro News Coverage

Update: a great piece on iBikeTO by fellow blogger Herb.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Here is the front brake cable housing.

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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).

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Front lever done.

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

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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.

 

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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.

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Here we go down Rosedale Valley Rd.

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

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Tunnel of trees.

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Waiting for the Go Train to pass.

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A brief water break at “the elephants”.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

 

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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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