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Archive for the ‘Folding bikes’ Category

In a couple of days, I’ll be flying out to the left coast again in order to join the Ride from Seattle to Vancouver plus Party (RSVP), which is put on by the Cascade Bike Club. Last year, I did their Seattle to Portland (STP) ride, and this time, Steve and I decided to mix things up a bit and do their other large ride along the coast.

Got my bib number!

As per my previous STP, I’ll be using the Brompton, and so it was time to make sure it was ready.

First order of business: replacing the Ti rack with a half rack. The hope is that it will make the fold a bit more compact, given that I’ll never use the full size rack. I got a very inexpensive half rack from eBay.

It is aluminum, rather than titanium, but given the fact that it is basically a mounting point for two EZ wheels, and the fender, it doesn’t have to be very strong. Here is a comparison of the two racks. You can see that the half rack is much shorter.

I managed to switch racks without removing the rear wheel, which was a clear win. The only tricky bit was drilling a new hole in the fender without puncturing the tire.

You can see that the new rack is not nicely triangulated like the Ti rack. We’ll see how it holds up.

One other concern that I had was that the fender protrudes much farther to the rear than the rack, but it turns out that this isn’t an issue while folding the bike.

The other thing that I did was to replace one of my aftermarket EZ wheels with a new pair from NOV designs.

Also, hydration. For a while I had misplaced my Randi Jo Fab bartender bag, so I pulled out a monkii cage that I had bought a while ago. This version has a Brompton specific mount that fits well on the stem.

The bottle cage clips into the mount, and when you want a drink, you remove the bottle while it is still attached to the cage.

I used this for a couple of training rides, and while it worked well, I found that I preferred the older setup with the soft bag. Happily I found my bartender bag yesterday, and so that is what I’ll be using on RSVP. BTW if anyone wants the monkii cage for cheap, let me know.

I noticed that Sam had a similar beverage bag on his bike when we met at the DAS ghost bike refurbishment. His is made in Montréal by Atwater Atelier.

I’ll be flying into Vancouver with the Brompton in its usual hard case. I’ll be taking a bus down to Seattle, and so for that leg of the trip, I’ll use a soft case. My bag of choice is the one by Radical Designs. It has a shoulder strap that will be handy.

Here is the bag folded up.

The storage bag has saddle bag loops and is designed to be carried on the bike, although in actuality, it will be in my backpack which will be hauled to the midpoint (Bellingham) and to the finish in Vancouver).

So, Seattle to Vancouver, about 302 km, over two days with 1940 m of climbing. This on insufficient training. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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Today was the first Open Streets TO event of the year, and the Toronto Brompton Owners group used the occasion for a group ride. Here we are by Bloor and Spadina.

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Actually shortly before we took off, I had a chance to catch up with Angela, who is now also a Brompton owner. However, I was admiring her new helmet with lights, by Rock Bros.

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Here’s a rear view with the control panel. It has lights on the side and rear as well as the front. She said that it was both cheaper and lighter than the Lumos.

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If I didn’t already have two other helmets on the way via Kickstarter and Indiegogo, I’d be tempted.

She also had this sweet sticker that she had made in memory of her husband, Gary.

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Here we go down Yonge St. The pavement has gotten pretty bad.

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We stop to chat with Andy and Elise who are Bromptonless today, but had their new dog Teddy with them.

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Pier showing off a bit. He was blasting some disco music from a speaker at his hip that we figured out was released the year before he was born.

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Riding back up Yonge.

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Where should we go next?

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We decide to wrap up the ride at home base for Bromptons in Toronto: Curbside Cycle.

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BTW didn’t know that Curbside now rents Bromptons.

and here we are at Curbside with a few more members.

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Thanks to everyone who came out today, and thanks also to Heather who got us organized on Facebook.

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Today was the 30th annual City of Toronto Group Commute. Here we gather at the High Park start point on a brilliantly sunny morning.

Albert recruited a few of us to cycle in turtle costumes, in reference to the agonizingly slow pace of bike infrastructure construction across the city.

This year’s shirts are red/pink.

The TPS explains corking just before we take off.

Revved up and ready to go.

And we’re off. That’s Meri from Gord Perks’ office in the lead.

Turtles use hand signals too!
straight into the sun as usual

This bike dad was riding a nicely accessorized Costco cargo bike.

Climb, John, climb.

Corking, TPS style.

The lead group.

We were handed off to a bike based unit at Dufferin.

Bromptons well represented today.

This fellow was not on delivery yet.

Alberto always shows up with an interesting art bike.

He has a show of his work that opens on June 1 at 7 pm and runs for the month. Most of the artwork will be fish related. @the mezz, 1546 Queen St. W.

Turning south at Yonge.

Running into old friend Mikey of WHPSC fame. He didn’t have to ask about the turtle costume as he knows how slow I am.

Off we go.

This is an interesting low step over bike.

Arriving at NPS.

Friends with Bromptons. Rumor is that there is going to be a Brompton Ride during the August 18 Open Streets TO event.

Perhaps the youngest Brompton owner in town.

Picture time with Mary Margaret.

Albert and Joe Cressy after having a few words.

Nice to see Geoffrey working on a bike that is not painted white.

Turtles listening to updates about the Bike Plan.

Inevitably, they are somewhat disappointed.

Turtle video linked below.

Some of us wanted to remind people that cyclists are still dying on the streets.

photo: Geoffrey Bercarich

Bike Law continues to push for Vulnerable Road User legislation.

I was told that the legislature is voting on amendments to Bill 107 today, to bring in more in line with Bill 62, which was Jessica Bell’s private member’s bill (now tabled). Figures crossed.

Nice to see so many people out, but we still await the day when people feel safe commuting by bike without the benefit of police escort.

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Today’s Ride of Silence took place under highly variable weather conditions. Riding to the start point, it was sunny and warm to begin with, but in the next half hour, I experienced thunder and lightning, rain, and hail. A bit like this strip:

At the starting point, there were a few hardy souls gathered, shown here taking some shelter in an alcove. Look closely: those white streaks are hail stones!

What a day to be without rain gear, and wearing a T shirt.

As the appointed time approached, the rain let up a bit, and a few more people rode up. Here is Ben with his highly modified Brompton.

Fork and rear triangle made of Russian titanium, a Rohloff hub, and Hope disc brakes.

Joey lines us up to go.

Riding by the Dalia Chako ghost bike.

Approaching Bay, it is raining in earnest again. Hamish has joined us.

Surprise: Bill has appeared with our ASME winning bike.

What a day to be caught without my usual rain cape.

At Dundas and Yonge.

Getting ready to turn onto Queen.

Arriving at the peace garden. You can tell there’s water on my lens by now.

A few more people rode up at the Peace Garden, just as the sun came out again.

Here I’m reading out the names of the deceased. (Photo: Hamish Wilson)

Every year, the list of names of cyclists killed in the past ten years gets longer. This was the 17th annual Ride of Silence internationally. I’m not sure when these rides started in Toronto, but the first one I attend was 2010, so this was at least the 19th local ride.

Today was also the one year anniversary of the when Jonas Mitchell was struck and thrown ten meters through the air at Lakeshore and Colborne lodge. We heard about it the day before last year’s ride.

Thanks to everyone who helped us remember all the cyclists whose lives were tragically cut short while riding bikes on the mean streets of our fair city.

Update: Joey Schwartz’s video of the ride.

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A while back I installed a non standard fender on the rear of the Brompton in order to accommodate wider tires. However, I soon found that the mudflap was too long, and tended to get caught on the pavement whenever I folded the bike. As a result, it got bent, and started to look rather unattractive .

So I decided to see if I could install an SKS mudflap. The one I used was ordered from Thorusa, and it was the narrow version.

Widthwise it fit the Planet Bike fender perfectly, but it look a bit of hacking to get the fender mount to fit with the new setup. Fortunately, the tabs on the Ti rack were easily bendable.

However, the new mudflap extended quite far out, and thus was in danger of having the same problem as the previous one.

I trimmed it back so that it barely touched the ground when the tire and rear ez wheels were on the ground.

Here’s the finished installation.

Also note that the mounting tabs for the rear EZ wheels turned out to be easily bent, and as a result the bike was no longer rolling straight when folded. I straightened out the tabs, and remounted the wheels on the rack inboard of the mounting tabs. We’ll see if they hold up a little better.

All things considered, I can’t completely recommend the H&E Ti rear rack because of the issue of the EZ wheel mounts being easily bent. If I had to do it over, I would have gone with an aluminum half rack, such as these on eBay.

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This weekend I took a trip to Windsor to take part in Bike the Bridge. This is an annual event where people are allowed to bike across the Ambassador Bridge. This year, the ride started and ended in Windsor.

I took VIA Rail to Windsor and took a few notes on bike infra on the ride to my hotel.

I was pleased to see some bike lanes, although you can see in this picture that they suffer the same connectivity issues as in Toronto.

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I do like the sewer grates that are cycle friendly.

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A brief interlude with beer.

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This morning, biking down to the river from the hotel, I see that the Bruce Ave. bike lane seems to disappear in October.

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No, I’m wrong, it is just moved to the other side of the street.

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Riding along the Riverfront Trail, I meet Louis and his wife. It turns out that Louis has done several rides with Tour de Afrique.

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He also kindly insisted that we stop so that he could take this shot of me with the bridge.

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I arrived at Assumption Park at about 8:15.

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Of course, with such a large number of bikes, there are always some interesting rides to check out. Here is a Pedego e-bike with really low step over.

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I like this integral cup holder.

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The sun comes out a bit to illuminate the bridge. Note the all important port a potties provided for us today.

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Time to line up.

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No wait, we are told to line up on the street.

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And off we go.

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Approaching the bridge.

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We get waved onto the bridge past the toll booths.

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Several of the people I talked to were excited by the fact that the new bridge is under construction, and that it will have a multi-use trail so that cyclists can cross at any time. I did not realize that the current bridge was slated to be torn down. You can get a sense of the deterioration of the bridge from this shot of the railing for pedestrians.

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Up we go.

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I was interested that the border was not marked on the bridge mid span, perhaps because it was privately owned.

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One of the ride marshalls reminds us to take it easy on the downhill.

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Approaching customs.

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We actually stop short of the customs booths to save us some trouble. The riders area all regrouped before recrossing the bridge.

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I take the opportunity to introduce myself to Tom, the only other Bromptonaut on today’s ride. He has a handpainted helmet that reflects the fact that he used to live in Pasadena.

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Off we go again.

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Maybe this direction is a bit steeper. Also note the traffic in the other direction.

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Dad provides a little boost.

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This direction is not as scenic.

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Thanks to these bridge workers for laying down rubber mats over the expansion joints.

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Waved through customs.

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Down Huron Church.

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They regroup us once again before the Riverfront Trail.

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I’m told this wood is a temporary measure to keep bits of the bridge from falling down.

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I’m liking this LMB logo since it includes a folding bike and a recumbent.

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I have a pleasant chat with Henry. I had admired his  vintage Centurion touring bike with chromed lugs as he flashed by me on the way down the bridge.

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Off we go along the Riverfront Trail.

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Henry and Tom.  It turns out that they know each other. Maybe everyone on this ride knows each other?

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Some riders that went along Riverside Dr merge with us.

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This section had a well marked bi directional bike lane.

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Regroup at a light where the trail ends so that we can cross to the other side of Riverside Dr.

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This is as far north as we got.

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Riding through nice residential neighbourhoods. At this point, we had a group of marshals at the front and we were allowed to pick up the pace a bit.

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Ottawa St.

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Little Italy.

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This is the front of the lead group.

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This woman asked me about how tough it was riding a folding bike up the bridge. I said that it was no more difficult that riding her single speed Schwinn Varsity. She told me that it was originally her grandmother’s bike, that it would last forever, and that she thought bikes these days seemed disposable to her.

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Turning back onto Huron Church.

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Arriving back at the park. Lunch is calling!

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The food line was very efficient. For those wondering about timing, the ride started at about 9, and the lead group was back at the park at about 10:45.

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Lunch (a BLT wrap) was very tasty, but too small!

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One last picture of another volunteer. I liked his vintage Cannondale Panniers which were in immaculate shape.

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It was a very enjoyable ride. A bit of a trek for a relatively short bike ride, but it was a unique experience, and I met lots of friendly people. Next time I’m in the area, I’m determined to ride on the Detroit side, perhaps with Slow Roll, or one of Henry’s rides on Thursday nights.

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It’s been a while since I wrote about foot retention, and way back then I guess I liked Powergrips.  Since 90% of my cycling is for commuting, errands, and shopping, you could argue that I’d be best off with just flat pedals. However, in practice, three out of the four bikes that I ride the most use half clips. They are ideal for the city since they are easy to get in and out of, and they provide a little bit of support for correct foot placement on the pedals.

A little while ago, I found a pair of steel half clips in my bow of assorted parts, and I put them on the Brompton.

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However, I was finding that they were a little hard to get into, and also they were scuffing up a new pair of Blundstones that I got around the same time. So off I went to my favourite LBS: Hoopdriver Bicycles. Martin always has a good stock of higher end accessories for the kind of bikes that I ride (i.e. not carbon fibre wonder bikes). I scored a pair of MKS deep half clips with leather wrapping. I’ll review the Crane bell when I get around to it.

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Here is a side by side comparison of the old and new half clips. You can see that the deep version fits quite a bit thicker shoe. The standard ones seem best suited to cycling shoes, or similarly low profile shoes.

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A bottom view.

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If you’re considering a pair of these for a city bike, make sure you get the “Deep” version. You can also get it without the leather.

A much cheaper alternative is the plastic half clip, which you can see has a similar profile. They should be available at any non-racer type bike shop.IMG_9721

The plastic ones break in the long run, but in practice, I only have to replace them every two years or so. However, since the new ones were going on the Brompton, I figured there was no harm in having something a little fancier and shiny.

Here is the new half clip mounted on the Brompton.

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Here is an action shot showing how happy my dressy shoes are not being scuffed up.

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BTW the pedals I’m using on the Brompton and several other bikes are removable, and have the MKS EZ Superior system. This way it is EZ to swap pedals around. If you are going to go this route, make sure you are getting the Superior pedals, and not the regular EZ ones (that have little yellow plastic retention clips that are really EZ to lose).

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Counterclockwise from top left: a clipless pedal that I used on the Brompton for STP, platform pedals with half clips, the flat Lambda pedals that are raved about by retrogrouchs that shun foot retention, and a sure sign of autumn. Switching from the Lambda’s to the platform pedals shaved a little weight off the Brompton; not something I really care about, but every little bit counts when you are suitcasing the bike and keeping the total package under 50 pounds.

 

 

 

 

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