Archive for the ‘shop local’ Category

Since it was such a sunny afternoon, I though that I’d head a little ways north to check out the new location of Junction Craft Brewing. They had their grand opening this weekend.

A quick look at Google Maps shows that a nice cluster of craft breweries has sprung up north of St. Clair in the the Stockyards area, with three breweries having opened up in the past year on Symes Rd. At the same time, it looks like the old location for Junction Craft is being taken over by People’s Pint, and High Park Brewery has also announced a forthcoming brewpub in the area.

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Headed up Runnymede, just north of St. Clair, this is a former asian grocery that is going to be the location of High Park Brewery.


Wanting to avoid biking along St. Clair, I worked my way north to Terry Rd. I was hoping that I didn’t have to bike all the way down the big hill that leads to Alliance Ave, but it but it seem that I ended up at least halfway down by turning onto Terry. Headed east, you can see a wide sidewalk on the north side that appears to be a multiuse trail just by the hydro corridor.


At the end, you intersect Symes Rd. and you can see the short climb up to the right.


Junction Craft Brewing is at the top of the hill in a beautifully restored historical building that used to be a trash incinerator. It was opened in 1934 by R.C. Harris.


Here is the Symes Rd facade, with Art Deco detailing.


A couple of interior shots.


A closer look at the bar.


I think that the street map was a feature at their old location.  You can see the bottle shop to the left.


First beer of the day. Note the “destructor” coaster. Only a half pint as it was the middle of the afternoon. A very nice amber ale.


Sadly, the only bike rack in front is a wheel bender.


Next stop, Shacklands Brewing, which is just next door.



My host Dave was very friendly, and advised me on the best bike routes to his destination. This was a much smaller place with a homey feel to it.


Second beer of the afternoon.


There was another brewery in the same building: Rainhard Brewing, but alas I was running out of time.  Will have to return. You can see some pictures here.

These buildings are all clustered in a former industrial area, sandwiched between the Stockyards Mall and a car storage parking lot. Fortunately, there is a cut though so that you can get to the St.Clair/Symes Rd intersection easily on foot or by bike.


I’ll have to come up here again in the spring. Perhaps we can organize a group ride / brewery tour.

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There have been some cycling friendly improvements to the intersection of Sterling Rd and Dundas St W, where Jenna Morrison died by being right hooked by a truck. Back in 2012, there was a community meeting about this intersection. Then in 2014, a more bike friendly crossing of Dundas St W was installed. Today I noticed that a bike sensor had been installed on the north side of the intersection for southbound cyclists on Sterling wanting to turn left on Dundas.


Seen from across the intersection, you can see that the bike crossing is meant to be bidirectional, and that the bike crossing lights have been updated to the new design.

Kudos to the city for continuous improvements, although it would be nice to put a splash of green paint for bikes on Sterling Rd who are either waiting for the crossing, or wanting to turn left.  We also hope that the city plans to completely fix the intersection of College/Dundas/Lansdowne for cyclists will eventually happen.

On another note, whenever I am in this neck of the woods, I am irresistably drawn to Henderson’s Brewing, where today I note that Henderson’s best is now available in cans.


Also a pleasure to discover spontaneous art along the Railpath.


Heading home, I note that the stairway reconfiguration of the east end of the Wallace Street Bridge is slowly progressing.


Now if we can just get that underground pedestrian connection to Dundas and Bloor done, that would be cool.





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To mark Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I paid a brief visit to an undisclosed location where most of the Bike Friday Haul a Day cargobikes in Toronto were gathered. That’s mine in the front, followed by several others, some of which were still in the process of final assembly.

In all seriousness, if you already know about the Bike Friday Haul a Day, and you are interested in buying one in the Toronto area, you can go to this website:

(I didn’t know that there was a .bike domain either)



In the near future, these fine folks will also be carrying several other lines of cargobikes that have not been widely distributed in the US or Canada.

Join us and join the revolution.

Sidenote: an article about the cargobike scene in Vancouver notes the relative lack of local cargobike dealers, something that I also noticed.

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Was in Hamilton this weekend, and I noticed some changes on Locke St since our last visit to the neighbourhood. Firstly, I see that Steam Whistle Brewery bike repair stations have made it to the Hammer.

Also, it seems that the bikeshare system is a hit, and I noticed some nice enhancements at this station. I like the fact that the advertising on the rack and sign is hyperlocal.


Also, it looks like wayfinding has been added as part of a 100 in 1 day project. This should be done in Toronto.



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With the growing popularity of cargobikes, I expected that there would be several cargobike dealers to visit while here in Vancouver. I had visited one dealer several years ago when I checked out an early Yuba Mundo, but they had gone under after about a year. A cursory Google search turned up several other dealers that were also out of business. There was one dealer selling Bullitts that I didn’t want to contact as it looked like they were selling by special order out of their home. A little more digging yielded a few options.

One was the Bike Doctor, on Broadway across from the MEC mothership. I’ve visited them before when I was looking for raincapes.


Here you can see a Wike box bike and a Yuba Boda Boda out front.


Inside, you can see that they also carry the Babboe box bike.


They also have a good selection of family biking things.


In my brief visits with them, I’ve found them friendly, and their service and parts department was very helpful.

Another interesting shop was the Tandem Bike Cafe, at 16th and Heather. It is a coffee shop that also does bike repair. When I rode by, I had to stop since there was both a CETMA and a Metrofiets bike out front. I had not seen either in the flesh before. I was told that they could special order either of them.


Here you see the flanges that allow the CETMA frame to be broken down for shipping.


Some very clean TIG welding on the Metrofiets, and it also looks like the rear dropout is splittable for the installation of a belt drive.

Last but not least, a local contact pointed me towards Grin Technologies, so I went down there to check them out today.

On my way, I meet this fellow doing a technical check on one of the new bikes for the bikeshare system on the Hornby bike lane.


I asked about the helmet law, and he showed me a cable integrated into the handlebar that could be used to secure a helmet, but since he was from the bike vendor, he didn’t know about the details of any helmet sharing system.

The Google map directions to Grin were a bit unclear as their postal address is on Powell St, but their actual access is off a parking lot accessed from E Cordova St.


Once inside, an overwhelming number of things to look at.


A wide selection of unicycles.


Their main business is selling kits and components for e-bike conversions. They do, however, sell this one type of ready to ride electrically assisted cargobike, the eZee Expedir.


More interesting to me was the row of bikes behind the two Expedirs.

Firstly, an e-assist Brompton.


Beside it was an Xtracycle Edgerunner in the process of being built up, and then a Yuba Mundo with a complete middrive that was somewhat reminiscent of the Stokemonkey.


However, Ben told me that their system was built in house and was considerably more refined. For one thing, this set up drives the chain, and a special crankset allows the rider to freewheel, whereas the Stokemonkey drives the crankset directly, requiring the rider to always be pedalling. There is also a clever arrangement that senses pedalling effort so that the controller can provide a proportional amount of assist.


One of their visions is to have this system made as universal as possible so that it can be installed on a wide variety of longtail cargobikes.

Here is the staff parking; quite the interesting collection of bikes.


Of course I immediately focused on the Haul a Day in the same orange colour as my own.


It had a hub motor drive installed, but they were planning to install a middrive. The owner told me that hers was a prototype HaD, and so it didn’t have a diagonal frame brace that later models had, like mine. Compare the above picture to mine:


Next to it was a longtail based on the Xtracycle Leap extension.


I was told that one of the hazards of working there was that when you showed up with a new bike, there was the possibility that it would be turned over to prototype a new configuration of electric drive. There were a few non-assisted bikes in the rack. I was amused to hear them referred to as “acoustic bikes”.

In the back was a vintage Xtracycle FreeRadical with an original Stokemonkey drive.

I could have easily spent another hour looking at all the things on display, but regrettably I had to move on. Thanks to Ben for showing me around.

I applaud their efforts in promoting electric assist with made in Canada solutions. After a week of biking around Vancouver, I can see the need for e-assist to make cargobikes more generally appealing.

A little further on, I had to stop by Bomber Brewing, since I had ridden by it three times during a previous training ride.


I tasted a couple of beers, but left with just a six pack of their Park Life Passion Fruit Ale that I had just yesterday at a restaurant. It tasted like a Radler, but I was told that it only had 7% of Passion Fruit Puree that was fermented with the rest of the beef. A nice, light summertime drink. Regrettably, they were out of their Bike Route Best Bitter, named for the fact that they were situated at the intersection of two bike routes.


That’ll wrap up my reporting from Vancouver this year. We’ll see what shape I’m in when I reach Portland.

Update: here is an article from ModaCity about the cargobike scene in Vancouver. It is optimistic, but it also mentions the lack of dealerships. Note the picture of the Bullitt cargobike with a beer keg from Bomber Brewing.

Update #2: Spokesmama has a much more extensive list of cargobike dealers in Vancouver.

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There were plenty of bike related things going on this sunny, summer-like Saturday. I’ve posted elsewhere about the Yonge Loves Bikes ride. This post covers what I did before and after. On the way to downtown, I stopped by the “bikefest” at Henderson Brewery, co-sponsored by Sweet Pete’s.


What I saw at midday was some obstacles laid out in the parking lot, a few displays, and a few kids biking around the parking lot. Oh and one food truck. The brewery itself was crowded and the beer of the month, Ride on Radler, seemed pretty popular. I was told that the procedure was to get food at the truck, and then to come in and have a beer.


The lack of food trucks, plural, was compensated by the fact that the food was good. Tacos served on paratha, rather than tortillas by Feed the Six.


Note that two tacos and a beer seems to be recurring theme on this blog.


BionX had this repainted Yuba Mondo with e assist for people to try.


Rob Z. checks out their fat bike. Note that the larger diameter D-series motor puts out a lot more torque, and I was also told that the regenerative braking works better as well.


Next up, the ride downtown to join Yonge loves bikes. Along Dundas, we come up behind this gal, and it took a couple of seconds to realize that she had a canine buddy in her backpack.

The Yonge loves bikes ride was great, but one thing didn’t go as planned. Originally, this was to be a meetup of three of the four Bike Friday Haul a Day’s in Toronto. However, the other two were nowhere to be seen at Nathan Phillips Square.

However, Stuart materialized during the ride with his red HaD (#2 in Toronto), and told me that Boris had a mechanical and was going to catch up with us later on.


Boris joined us at the end of the ride with his very spiffy British Racing Green e-assist Haul a Day. Here are some close up shots. The mid-drive:


You can tell better in this shot that he had the accessories on the rear colour matched to the rest of the bike.


Locking tool box on the front.


I see that the newer version of the bags has elastic flaps, rather than the toggles and drawcords that failed on mine.


Hydraulic discs, and a dynamo hub.


All three lined up.




The last shot, this time with owners.


Stuart (to the right) is going to start distributing HaD’s in Canada. He will also be carrying other cargobikes, and I know that he won’t sell any model of bike that he hasn’t personally used for at least a couple of months. He will be setting up a website at bikefriday.ca  When I have more details, I will update this post.

Coda: the full zip “Bikes and Beer” jersey that I picked up at Henderson’s yesterday sure came in handy on today’s very warm ride out in the country.



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Beer and bikes

Over the last couple of years, quite a few microbreweries have opened up all across Toronto. In the west end, it’s to the point where a number of us have been talking about having a beer and bikes tour. In the Junction, both the Junction Craft Brewing and Indie Ale House have been around for a while.

On my commute home early this spring, I was drawn to this doorway on Pauline Ave, just north of Bloor (two blocks west of Dufferin), and I was delighted to discover Burdock was selling beer.


Since then, I’ve been happy to drop by on a weekly basis to see what they have to offer.


My favourites thus far have been two of the earliest varieties that I tried: the Brown Ale, and the Bloor Lager. Sadly, these haven’t been sold for at least a couple of months, but I was told that the Bloor Lager will be coming back later this month.

I’ve also dropped in on Folly Brewpub on College near Dovercourt.


Nice, the only problem is that their bottles are a bit too tall to easily fit in my fridge.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I notice that Halo Brewing opened up on Wallace, again on my ride home.

I look forward to when they have a variety of beers in bottles.

Finally, just this past week, Hendersons Brewing Company opened on Sterling Ave, just north of the Nestlé factory. I couldn’t resist their beer from the Ides of May: “Dear Toronto, You Suck, Love Vancouver”. Notice that the Vancouver Lookout Tower is giving us the finger. Science World also seems to be in the wrong place.


It turns out to be a smooth, lightly hopped “IPA”. Very nice for summer.


The brewery was hopping at 5 pm this afternoon, and the bottle shop was nearly sold out. Looks like they will do well.

If there was just a way to cut back to the Railpath before riding to Bloor, this place would be even better.

Got to get working on that Beer and Bikes tour idea!

Update: Henderson Brewing is having a bikefest on June 18 in their parking lot, in collaboration with Sweet Petes.

Update #2: it turns out that there is an official rear entrance to Henderson’s from the Railpath! IMG_3324

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