Archive for the ‘Folding bikes’ Category

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.


I do like the sewer grates that are cycle friendly.


A brief interlude with beer.


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


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


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


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


I arrived at Assumption Park at about 8:15.


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.


I like this integral cup holder.


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


Time to line up.


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


And off we go.


Approaching the bridge.


We get waved onto the bridge past the toll booths.


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.


Up we go.


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


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


Approaching customs.


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


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.


Off we go again.




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


Dad provides a little boost.




This direction is not as scenic.


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


Waved through customs.


Down Huron Church.


They regroup us once again before the Riverfront Trail.


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


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


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.


Off we go along the Riverfront Trail.


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


Some riders that went along Riverside Dr merge with us.



This section had a well marked bi directional bike lane.


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



This is as far north as we got.


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.


Ottawa St.



Little Italy.


This is the front of the lead group.


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.



Turning back onto Huron Church.



Arriving back at the park. Lunch is calling!


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.



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


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


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.


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.



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.


A bottom view.


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.


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


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).


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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Brompton basket

I wanted to get a Brompton basket, but I consulted the internet to see if it would fold enough so that I could suitcase it with my bike. I got a variety of responses from the facebook collective, and from that information I decided to go for it.

Here is the basket on my bike. I am very happy with it.


It was pointed out to me that unlike the previous model of the basket, it doesn’t fold flat. However, it was easy to remove the aluminum frame from the rest of the bag.


Having done that, then it was easy to tuck the bent aluminum frame in a corner of my B&W case.


Here is a picture of my entire load: the brompton (with rack), a small saddle bag, some sneakers, and my helmet. With a tool kit as well, the whole thing came to 50.0 lbs. Perfect.


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The World Human Powered Speed Challenge is an event where people come from around the world to a small town in the middle of the Nevada desert to set the land speed record for human powered vehicles. Not surprisingly,  this attracts people that are relatively broad minded in terms of the definition of a “bicycle”. Look at this collection of bikes parked outside the Super 8 in the host town of Battle Mountain.


Virtually all of the vehicles are recumbents that are inside aerodynamic shells. Here is an interesting example of a chassis designed by Mike Burrows that is being campaigned by a UK based team.


The hpv’s have a five mile run up, then they are timed over a 200m distance before having another 1.5 miles to slow down. During this event I’m usually found at the timing table. My friend Danny looks askance at a bike that has suddenly materialized on the timing table.


This is what the finish line looks like.


Having a bit of fun during a break in the action.


Having seen this, another participant said that he had a BMX bike in his van and he challenged me to a small wheeled bike race.


At any rate, if you are interested at all in what is going on this week, check out the posts on this blog this week, or go to the ihpva.org website.

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This morning, Toronto Brompton owners were invited for a social ride, starting downtown at Inukshuk Park. The ride went along the lakeshore to Marie Curtis park where there would be a BYO picnic as well as some games.

Here is the gathering crowd.


The ride was organized by Heather (in purple) as well as Klaudia (off to the right, taking a picture).


Off we go.


Taking a detour into William Davis park.


The point was to get this background for our group shot.  26!



Here we are at the western edge of Ontario Place.


Leaving the grounds.


Along the MGT. Lots activity today. We rode past a dragon boat event, as well as a fund raising walk for cancer research.


A brief stop at Sheldon Lookout to take pictures of our bikes.


Many people said this was just like a group of parents taking pictures of a school event of their kids. (aside from the fact that the subjects of the photo were quite cooperative)


Approaching Humber Bay Park.


Along the new bi directional bike lane on Lakeshore.


Curbside Brompton mechanic Eli was excused from the no spandex rule since he was colour coordinated with his bike, which BTW was a six speed that weighed only 19 lbs.


Arriving at the park.


Time for food.


Several people asked about my water bottle holder, but I noted that this bike had something similar from MEC.


Look at this Ti and carbon rack on Timm’s Barbour Edition.


This older one had a 5 spd hub.


This late arrival had an unusual handlebar. The 27th bike!


Yes, of course that is a Carradice saddlebag.


I had to leave early, and I was sorry to have missed the games, as well as the opportunity to chat with everyone, and to admire their bikes.

I had to talk to a reporter from the Villager about the lack of safe infrastructure for both pedestrians and cyclists at Ellis and Lakeshore.


After that, I wanted to catch some of the cargo bike championship that was happening downtown. You can see my pictures of that event on the Dandyhorse blog.


For however short a time, it was a pleasure to meet all my fellow Brompton owners. Thanks to Heather and Klaudia for putting the event together, and to Timm from Curbside for providing prizes.

Update: Kay Pea posted her pictures, including what look like fun games.


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This is a follow up post to an earlier one about putting wider tires on the Brompton, and so it will be irrelevant to 99% of Brompton owners. As part of that process, I replaced the stock fender with one from Planet Bike. However, with the new fender, during my first ride in the rain, it was immediately apparent that my butt was getting very wet, despite wearing a rain cape.

As it turns out, the new fender is just a few inches shorter than the original, aside from lacking the stock mudflap. If you draw a tangent line from the outside diameter of the tire to the mudflap, you’ll see that the line is more or less vertical, and this is what gives adequate coverage in the rain. The new fender falls very short.


On some of my other bikes, I’ve used Buddy Flaps, and so I ordered a pair to see if I could fit them onto the Brompton.


Initially I just zip tied the short one onto the back of my rack.


However, this being a Brompton, and wanting the solution to be a bit more aesthetic, I eventually cut up the rear one and used the existing fender hardware to fit it into place.

(side note: the tabs on my Ti H&E rack have gotten bent a bit which is why my ez wheels are not quite straight.)


You can see that the flap also does not interfere with the fold.


Next step is to figure out a long term solution for a taillight, since I swapped my 2017 saddle with the integrated mount for a Selle Anatomica.

I’ll also include a few shots that I took at Curbside on Saturday. Here is an interesting e bike with 406 wheels.


The Pure Cycles branding is very subtle.


This is their Volta model. They were recently featured in an editorial about the impact of tariffs on the e-bike market.

Here is the 9 cities model of the Brompton. The paint is even prettier in person that it appears in photos on the web.  Looking forward to seeing one in person this Saturday if the rain holds off.




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Today was a day packed with bike related activities.

First off was an early morning meet up of a few Toronto Brompton Owners. I don’t know whose idea it was to meet at 8 am on a Saturday, but here are a few of us at the foot of Spadina at Queens Quay.


Of course, with any meeting of Brompton owners, there was the opportunity to admire how we had accessorized our bikes. I was particularly struck by the friction shifters on Tom’s number.


We met up with Nathan at the foot of Yonge St, and as is the tradition, here is a picture of our machines in the kickstand position. Sorry about the crap lighting.


A picture of the five of us at Polson Pier, taken by a bystander who didn’t fully appreciate the fact that you have to include the bikes in the frame.


Obligatory repeat of picture with the bikes, taken by self timer.


And off we go toward Cherry Beach.


One very bad selfie, while everyone was distracted.


At this point, I had to peel off the group as I had to rush back to Union Station to catch my next bike related appointment.

I took the GO train out to Rouge Park.


Upon disembarking, I rode towards Rouge Beach along the Waterfront Trail. I came upon this ghost bike. If I recall correctly, this cyclist was killed by a train at a level crossing.


I was riding out to Rouge Beach to meet up with James, who was a 10 year old who was riding from Whitby to Coney Island NY to raise funds for autism treatment. My story of riding with James and his dad and other supporters was posted today on the Dandyhorse Blog.


My final activity of the day was an evening ride with the Hamilton Glowriders.


It was am immense amount of fun, and as I have a bunch of photos and video to process, I’ll reserve that ride for a separate blog post.

All in all, a fun Saturday spent on the bike.


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