Archive for the ‘scene by bike’ Category

I’m biking along the Harbord St. bike lanes, and I’m running late for an appointment when I see a group cycle up behind me while I was stopped at Spadina. There were two cameramen, and I recognized MPP Jagmeet Singh, who has been attracting some attention, not only as a sharp dresser, but also as a potential leadership candidate for the NDP. At this point, I thanked him for showing up to a memorial ride for a recent Sikh immigrant, forgetting that it was actually MP Raj Grewal who was there (deepest apologies all around!). He responded that safety was an important issue, and when the light turned, we all crossed Harbord, and then I stopped to take this souvenir shot.


At this point, the person who was riding behind Singh pulled over and introduced himself as Doug (and he might have even said Doug Ford, but my level of cognitive dissonance was so high that his last name didn’t register; although in retrospect I did recall his Chicago Bears jacket).

Jared Kolb chimed in on a facebook thread that this was part of filming for a new TVO series called “Political Blind Date”.  If I wasn’t in such a rush to get to work, I would have loved to have asked both of them some questions, but I ended up riding off and wishing them a safe ride.

You never know who you’ll meet riding a bike around town.



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I’ve been in Glasgow for a few days, and the bikeshare system has allowed me to explore a bit more of the city that I could have on foot.

First step: getting a bike. I noted that Tammy Thorne had reported some issues with the bikeshare system on the Dandyblog, so I prepared by loading the Nextbike app. Here is one of the bikeshare stations.


If you have the app, you can scan the QR code on the bike and it will let you know if it is available for rental. This seemed to work better than manually keying in the number on the phone or the keyboard on the bike. The app responds by giving you the combination to the lock.


and we’re off. Here is the bike on one of the pedestrian and bike bridges across the Clyde. It is a chunky bike with a Shimano 3 spd Nexus hub, but it strikes me as being less heavy than our bikeshare bikes in Toronto.


There are some nice paths along the north side of the river. In some sections, there are separate paths for pedestrians and cyclists. Here it is multiuse.


To get around some buildings, the path sometimes becomes a glorified sidewalk.


Approaching the Transport Museum, which was designed by the late Zaha Hadid.


The museum holds a sample of everything on wheels, plus some models of ships. I’m going to concentrate on the bikes.


Unfortunately, many of the bikes were suspended on a round track that was hung from the ceiling.



You could use a touchscreen display to get descriptions and pictures of each bike, but it wasn’t the same as being close up to them. I guess the advantage is that you can provide text in different languages, and that you could provide more text than on a static display, but it was a little disappointing none the less. Here are a Moulton and Raleigh 20 on the track.


A USS recumbent dating from the 30’s.


A display of trikes, with a Windcheetah in the foreground.


A vintage tandem trike on the same display. The front person has the option of not pedaling, and just using the footrests.


A view out the front of the building, with a huge wall of cars to the right. The same complaint applies to the cars: you can’t see them very well.


From another angle.


A special edition Raleigh chopper that was released for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. It didn’t sell very well. Perhaps the really heavy mag wheels had something to do with it.


A display of touring bikes. You could object to the fact that 2 out of five were not human powered, but one of the two motorbikes was used by Ewen McGregor, so I guess that’s OK.


This is allegedly a model of the first working bike in the world. Made in Scotland, naturally.


Finally, the thing that I really wanted to see was the replicas of Graeme Obree’s bikes.


One had the original narrow bars meant to be under the rider’s chest, and the other featured the extended superman position. Both positions were banned by the UCI.

Here is a shot of the narrow bars, with my hand barely in front of them, to get a sense of just how narrow these are.


Overall, I was underwhelmed by the Obree display as the replicas were rather crude, with no attempt to show the ultra narrow Q factor or the special cranks that the real bike had.


Nevertheless, it was a fun visit, doubly so because I got there by bike. Here I am biking back as the weather turned rainy.


These wayfinding signs were helpful, with timings given for both cyclists and pedestrians.


It was often difficult to tell if a given sidewalk was part of a bike route. It was more clear where the pavement was a special colour, such as red which seemed to indicate multiuse.


Elsewhere, blue signage was helpful.


When you return a rental bike, you just pull up to a bike station, lock the bike and then indicate the return on the app. One thing is that if you are on a roaming data plan, it would be inadvisable to keep the app running for the whole time that you have the bike. If you turn off the app after you check the bike out, it is helpful to note the combination beforehand, especially if you plan to lock up the bike during your rental period. I got into the habit on taking a screen cap as soon as I rented a bike.

When you return the bike, relaunch the app and it will figure out where you are.


Note that this screen is also providing you with the lock combination. Press return, and then you can select the actual location where you are doing the return. You will be rewarded by this screen.


The app also lets you review your rentals to make sure all your returns were successful.


On our second day in Glasgow, the weather was much better and it was great to see so many people out and about on the two main pedestrian streets downtown: Buchanan and Sauciehall.



A cool non US model Cannondale with small wheels and a kid seat.


This is Mitchell St, which runs parallel to Buchanan but one short block west. This street seemed to be used for loading into the backs of buildings that fronted on Buchanan.


The pedestrianization of a good deal of downtown has transformed these streets into a big, outdoor shopping mall. There was definitely a huge amount of foot traffic, but I’m not sure that this would be the best model for revitalization. I would hope that the second floors and above of the buildings would be given over to offices and such so that employment as well as retail activity could anchor downtown.

More Glaswegians enjoying the sun. You might wonder about the slogan posted in many places: “People Make Glasgow”.  Well I must say that everyone we’ve met in Glasgow has been very friendly!


Some flaggers in the Merchant City district, practicing for a street festival that starts tomorrow. This section of the city had pavers put down in 2011, and it gives this area a distinct character, along with all the old buildings with their impressive stonework.


and here are two Dutch bikes belonging to the owners of a very cool jewelry shop, with one of them trying to get out of the picture.


All in all, an enjoyable visit, but all too brief. I also went by a special bike shop, but I’ll write that up in a separate post.




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This past weekend, I rode Seattle to Portland (STP) with roughly 10,000 other cyclists; this was an annual ride organized by the Cascade Bicycle Club. According to their stats, most of the riders are from WA, only 248 are from out of country, roughly half are riding STP for the first time, and a fraction of the total ride the full 205 miles in one day. The rest of us do it in two days. I rode it with good friend Steve, as well as M and J.

Here we are about to leave for the start line at about 5:30 am. (thanks Peg for getting up to take the picture)


All smiles at the start line.


And we’re off. The person with the megaphone is yelling at mister 7274 for not wearing a helmet.


Still riding with the much faster M&J near the start.


We took a break at the Seward Park rest stop. Unfortunately just prior to this, Steve clashed wheels with another cyclist who braked suddenly and then someone ran into him. Fortunately, he escaped with just bruises on his wrist and thigh.


On the way to the REI rest stop at mile 24, I am overtaken by this mysterious bike. I manage to catch up briefly and the rider verified that this was indeed a Ti folding bike. She was much faster so I didn’t get any more information.


A little sleuthing turned up the name: the Burke 20, which does not appear to be on sale according to the website. No information on pricing either, but it would be an interesting thing to compare to the Helix (another Ti folding bike that has yet to see the light of day).

Unfortunately, before the REI rest stop I also lost track of Steve and when I tried to use Glympse to track him, the app gave me the impression that he was ahead of me. This turned out to be wrong, and we didn’t get back together until the overnight stop Saturday evening. For the record, Glympse didn’t seem to work very well during the whole ride, even in Portland.

The REI rest stop was a mob scene. I learned later that experienced riders avoid this stop by riding on, or by stopping at a Starbuck just before this point.


For the Washington State portion of the ride, all turns were indicated by pink road markings, although most of the time you just followed the line of cyclists ahead of you.


People working hard about 2/3rd’s of the way up “the Hill” which turned out to be not too much trouble.


Two Team Joy riders being greeted at the top of the hill.


Lunch stop was at Spanaway. With 10,000 cyclists, expect to line up for everything. This is the line for one of the banks of portapotties.


The food line was similarly long: about 15 minutes each.


Lunch the first day:

IMG_3566 I could have also grabbed an assortment of cookies or granola bars. People who are severely allergic to peanuts should note that one of the two choices for sandwiches on both days was PB&J.

The only thing for which there wasn’t a line was filling up your water bottles. I ended up having to spend about an hour here. I would have been better off finding lunch and a bathroom elsewhere. There was a Home Depot just a few blocks away, along with some other stores.

Shortly after lunch we entered Joint Base Lewis–McChord, which restricted traffic to military personnel.


It was actual wonderful riding, with next to no car traffic. I did see the occasional sign that warned of things like: “live artillery fire over roadway”.


Just past the base and on the road to Yelm, we see the first sign for Centralia.


About 14 miles of the stretch between Yelm and Centralia was along a very peaceful multi-use trail. I was enjoying this enough that I only took this one lousy picture.


This gives you a slightly better idea of what it was like.


The trail ended at Tenino where there was another mobbed rest stop which I bypassed.


Some local people were situated just a little further along, and were selling bottles of water at a county park with bathrooms. Much better!

The end of the first day at Centralia College.


Overall, my strategy of eating either a pack of energy chews or a Kind bar every hour on the hour kept me from bonking, but my legs really started running out of gas for the last 20 miles or so. When I got to Centralia, just past this gate I lay down on some grass, and I didn’t get up for about thirty minutes. I was convinced that I wasn’t going to be able to do the second day, but after about an hour, I was up and about looking for my luggage, and figuring out where my riding friends were.

Here are the number of bikes in the guarded bike corral that had kickstands, my Tikit among them


and here are the bikes that didn’t have a kickstand


including these two Bromptons.


I saw about ten or so Brommies either at Centralia, or at the very end of the ride, but I never saw any on the road. Kudos to my fellow 16″ wheel riders!

A few notes about staying at Centralia:

  • food options were varied enough, with a few vegetarian or gluten free options. There are also grocery stores in town.
  • we stayed in the gym, but the great majority of people camped. I guess they knew it was not going to rain.
  • if you stay in the gym, bear in mind that the men’s bathrooms on either side are different. One has more bathroom stalls, and the other has more shower stalls.
  • unaccountably, if you wanted to get coffee with the paid breakfast, that was a separate line outside the cafeteria.
  • they are smart enough to start serving breakfast at 4 am. We left Centralia around 6:30, and I got the sense that most had left by then.

Just south of Centralia, we get a small section of bike path just along I-5. However, the rest of the day was on roads.


Just after the first climb of the day is the small village of Napavine where apparently this woman gives out free banana bread every year. Regrettably I was not able to sample it as it had walnuts.


Rolling hills and nice country riding.


Another mobbed mini stop at Winlock which Steve and I bypassed. I guess we missed the world’s largest egg.


Miracles of miracles, we meet M&J who did stop at Winlock to check out the egg.


Lunch at Lexington was much more efficient. There was almost no line for food.


Lunch the second day included a garbanzo bean and potato salad with pesto.


A little past the lunch stop was the Lewis & Clark bridge where we crossed the Columbia River into Oregon. Here we are turning left towards the bridge.


We were directed onto an offramp to wait the canonical 15 minutes before we were allowed to cross as a solid mass of cyclists.


And off we go.

Welcome to Oregon.


Riders were warned not to use the shoulder because of expansion joints. Sure enough these were covered by large metal plates, and on the fast ride down off the bridge, about 20 feet passed one of these plates I saw many water bottles by the side of the road.


Curving onto HWY 30.


A look back at the bridge.


The next 40 miles was on HWY 30, which was the least pleasant part of the whole ride. In some sections there were two lanes of traffic in either direction but there was usually light enough traffic that the curb lane was left empty. Signs indicated to drivers that there would be cyclists on the road this particular weekend.


Road narrows to one line in each direction in the town of Rainier.


Other sections had a relatively narrow shoulder, and things would get a little dangerous if there was car traffic along with cyclists insisting on passing, as many of the pacelines would do.


There were also some sections of rumble strips on the approach to St. Helens.


One bright spot along this road: we meet up with M&J again just as we stop to take selfies at the city limits sign. Thanks to blue Colnago guy for taking this picture.


One final bridge towards downtown.



and here I am crossing the bridge, trying to look happy for the photographer.


Not surprising to see good bike infrastructure in downtown Portland.


Just before the finish, we see one of the bikeshare stations that are still in the process of being installed. Branded by Nike by the looks of them.


Here I follow Steve down the finish chute.


Another picture of Bromptons that did the ride. I was told that some of them belonged to one day riders.


Overall, it was a very well organized ride. All of the volunteers were wonderful, and my fellow riders very friendly. I enjoyed myself, although I was somewhat undertrained for the event, and I was seriously wiped out after the first day. My GPS stats showed that I spend about a total of about 10 hours on the first day, and 10.5 hours on the second, with an average riding speed of about 20 kph, which was about what I expected.

I did get of comments on my Tikit. Aside from the usual jokes about having to pedal harder, most people gave me a big thumbs up. I did see three other Fridays on the route (no other Tikits) as well as a Family Tandem and even a triple. However, nothing tops the dad of the year with the kidback tandem and trail-a-bike with a trailer behind that!

Interestingly enough, I also got a lot of nice compliments on my wool jersey.


I would certainly consider doing it again. The weather conditions were near ideal: overcast most of the time, and not hot (max of about 75°F). If it had rained or been very hot, it would have been much more difficult. My only regret was that I didn’t have any time to explore the cycling mecca that is Portland. Maybe next time.

A big thanks to my riding buddy Steve for inspiring me to do the ride, and to Peg for logistical support i.e. hosting before and the ride back to Seattle.


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I’ve been doing a bit of training this week in Vancouver, during the final lead up to STP, and as usual I’ve seen many interesting things. Here are just a few of them:

I like this Sharpie edit of this bike button. I’ve seen it more than one place around town.


At UBC you can practice putting bikes on bus racks.


One of my first rides was back and forth to the north shore. Here is the multiuse path approaching the Lion’s Gate bridge.


My first time across the Lion’s Gate bridge. It gave me the heebie jeebies, whereas both the Burrard and the 2nd Narrows bridges did not. I think it is because it is easy to see through the fence to the side while riding.


I wimped out and did not climb any further up than just past HWY 1, along Skilift Rd.


I can see the UBC campus, where my ride started.


Going back south across the Burrard St. bridge, you can see that due to construction, lanes have been blocked off. Note that there is more road width devoted to just pedestrians and southbound cyclists than the single lane for car traffic in this direction. Safe to say that this would never happen in TO.


Another ride took my around town and then back to Granville Market. Here I am working my way around False Creek.


Sign vandalism.


Preparation for the bike share system in Vancouver.


I have never heard of a Fiori kidback tandem. From this website, it seems very reasonably priced.


I can’t identify this nice bike, but from the seatstay, it looks like a DeKerf?

IMG_3490 IMG_3491

A Karate Monkey based e-bike.


Note that with the extensive bike route network here, it is easy to plot out a reasonably flat 38 km loop that is totally on signed, marked bike routes. Only a portion is on segregated bike lanes, but most of the route is on lightly travelled roads that have been traffic calmed.

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 10.16.45 AM

Here, I’m being rewarded with a stroopwafel after my first lap.


I like this decoration at the intersection of the Ridgeway bikeway and Main St.


Here at the end of my last longish training ride, which was three laps of the 38 km loop.


Here are the things that I’m been riding with in my seat bag.IMG_3454


  • A) spare tube
  • B) zip ties and tools including allen wrenches, presta adapter, multitool, patch kit, tire levers, scissors/plier tool, and 3Wrencho.
  • C) a regular seat bag to carry all the tools.
  • D) a light cable lock
  • E) Brooks seat cover*
  • F) rain cape*
  • G) vest

*if I carry these, it won’t rain, will it?

All this fits with room to spare. Less than four days to go….


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As some other websites have noted, it’s not going to be a good year for the sakura in High Park. The unusually cold spring weather seems to have steered a lot of buds to go straight to leaves rather than blossoms. Here is a tree at the top of the hill, photo taken on Thursday. At that point in time, I couldn’t see a single bloom on any of the trees, although most of them were still at the budding stage. If you go this weekend, at most you’re going to see only a few sparse blooms.


As a preview, I generally follow some cherry trees on Shanly St. that usually bloom about 10 days before High Park. Only a few blooms and mostly leaves.


Compare this with 2014:


There are more sakura at Robarts Library. The southernmost trees have the best display.


The double row is just starting to bloom, although further on, many of the trees are showing mostly leaves.

Again, compare with 2014.


The best hope is that by next weekend, some of the trees in High Park will be in bloom, but the display won’t be nearly as good as what we’ve had in the past few years.

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It is getting close to sakura season in High Park. As you enter the park from Bloor St, you will see this familiar sign.


The trees by the soccer fields often bloom a little early. You can see here that they still have a ways to go.


Similarly, the trees near the top of the hill leading through the main grove still have at least a week to go.


The “Bloor by the Park” BIA just east of the park is trying to take advantage of the anticipated crowds. However, their signs made a very unfortunate choice of font: Cheppy Blossoms, anyone?


Just as a preview of what we might see in a week, here are the sakura by Robarts Library that just started to bloom yesterday.


With the up and down variation in temperatures that we have been having, some of the buds are going directly to leaves. It is still way too early how this will affect the eventual show.


You can compare these last pictures to some from two years ago.


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It’s been unseasonably warm this December. Following on last month, I took advantage of a day with a forecast high of 12C to ride in with shorts again today.
today It actually hit a high of 14C, and although it was past sunset on the way home, it was still a balmy 11C.

It being brilliantly sunny this morning, I took some pix on the way in. Here is a serious cargo trailer riding up from under the West Toronto Railpath underpass. His left wheel needs a bit of camber adjustment.

Just around the corner, I see that they’ve started putting in the curbs for the new section of Edwin Ave that will connect with Wallace once the Wallace Walk development is complete.
This was the site of the former Glidden paint factory. It took a long time to get the ground cleaned up, and then this block was left vacant for a couple of years. At this point, it looks like most of the townhouses on the east side are nearly complete, but they’ve only started work on the west side, where a row of live/work spaces will go in and back out onto the Railpath.

Here is a view from the Wallace St. bridge, taken back in Oct 2014. oct4_14 At this point, the condos that face Wallace are occupied.

A little further on is another church to condo conversion.

Compare the picture above to this one from October 2014. oct23_14

Headed east on Wallace, I approach a rail level crossing.
DSC07112 Metrolinx plans to elevate a section of this line to eliminate a rail crossing further north in order to enable more frequent service to Barrie. The initial renderings of the project showed a three storey tall wall that would visually cut this neighbourhood into two halves. More recent renderings show an elevated span that is more open, and there are media reports that this is a done deal, but there is still significant opposition in the neighbourhood.


Certainly, no matter how you dress it up, an elevated railway would totally change the character of the area.

At Dovercourt, a block north of Bloor, the former Postal Station E is being converted to TV studios for Master Chef Canada. The exterior cladding on the second storey is almost complete.
jun11 I thought it was a bit odd to have the splashes of orange, but it turns out that this is a project by an architectural firm called Superkül, and I guess they’ve decided this is the colour of the moment.

On the site of a former gas station on Harbord St., the same firm has designed a row of townhouses, and sure enough, the orange shows up here too.

Here are a couple more photos showing how quickly this project was built.

Nov 2014 nov11

March 2015

June 2015 jun17

It is interesting to see the rendering of Harbord St with lots of bikes in the marketing materials for this site. Note the target demographic: riders without helmets riding fixies on the wrong side of the street. Still at least one unit available!

Great day for cycling. Lots of changes in the neighbourhoods. All in a day’s commute.

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