There was a brief thread on the Haul a Day owners’ Facebook group about the plastic caps coming off the ends of the HaD kickstand and getting lost. This happened to me too, but I didn’t worry about it for a long time. Finally got around to getting some 5/8″ rubber feet to fix the situation.

As installed.

I’ll let you know how long these stay on, but for the moment they are working out well. I’m not going to glue them on since they will wear out, and I don’t want to have to cut pieces of the old ones off.
DSC06367Update: it would be interesting to see which one of these from McMaster Carr would work out the best.

A bit more on Calgary

Since the weather was glorious, I decided to take this morning off to explore a bit further afield. Down to the Bow River again!


Yet another gorgeous pedestrian bridge, this one at the west end of St. Patrick’s Island.


I continued to marvel that the majority of the road bridges that I saw had segregated spans for bikes and pedestrians. In this respect, Calgary is even ahead of Vancouver!

I was travelling on the north side of the river, heading east, and past Nose Creek there was definitely a bit of a fall off in how the trail was finished, with some sections in gravel, but it was still perfectly serviceable.


After crossing to the south bank at Blackfoot Trail, I’m back on beautifully finished multi use trail.


At the Ogden Rd SE overpass, I meet Gert and Claudia from Germany who were riding fully loaded Rohloff equipped recumbents. They had flown into Calgary, and were on their way to Mexico, and then Argentina!


Being a wimp, I didn’t join them, but instead took this as a sign that I should turn back. Here is the view of downtown from this spot.


A reminder of what makes this town tick.


Even where there is a lightly travelled road along the river, the city still continues the bike trail.


At another bridge, I saw this gathering. These fine folk were retired educators, and they were going on an informal group ride.


Another bike/ped bridge across the Elbow River, at the east end of the Riverwalk.


This portion of the Riverwalk has segregated bike lanes.


I like how prairie grass is used as a divider here.


Further towards downtown, the Riverwalk is a blended bike/ped trail, with varying degrees of separation between bikes and pedestrians. The vibe was a less crowded version of Queen’s Quay without the wall o’ condos, but from the construction sites that I saw, the condos are coming!


Finally, I couldn’t resist circling back to Bikebike, and this time I had a nice chat with the owner, Sean. It was good to hear that the shop is doing well with its focus on cargobikes and commuters. He said that the city was laid out as a series of neighbourhoods with local shopping centres, making an environment suited to cargobikes. He was also a kickstarter backer for the Haul a Day, and the Less Cars more Go documentary, and he was organizing a forthcoming kids and cargobike event (on August 23), so we were on the same bike wavelength in many respects. Sorry that I didn’t get a shot of him with his eyes open.

DSC06360NIce scenery, friendly people, peaceful bike trails. A great way to cap off my trip.

I am in Calgary for a couple of days, and I have taken the opportunity to do some exploring by bike. Overall, I am very impressed. I haven’t felt unsafe at any time; this might be a combination of less traffic density than Toronto, as well as Calgary drivers being more polite than those in TO. The city is criss crossed by a network of a few bike lanes, as well as a number of roads that have been labeled as “bike friendly”. Here is a typical bike lane on a busy street (by the Brentwood Mall). DSC06261 It ends here, and there is signage indicating another bike route that may or may not have a bike lane. DSC06262 A little further north, there is this separated bike lane on Northland Dr NW that is buffered by islands. DSC06265 Just past that point, I thought that the bike lane was a full traffic lane wide, but closer inspection reveals that there are also bus stops along here for the adjacent High School. DSC06266 Heading back south, I’m liking these very clear markings to prevent a right hook. DSC06268 Here’s another look at Northland Dr, this time southbound. There is a gap between the buffer islands that leaves space for a bus stop. Here you can see a bus shelter to the right. DSC06270 Further along the same bike lane where there are no bus stops, the bike lane is marked by bollards and striping. DSC06271 Calgary is crisscrossed by major arterial roads that are often six lanes in width. Fortunately, there are occasional bridges for pedestrians, and all but one of the ones that I saw also had ramps for wheelchairs and bikes to use. This one is by McMahon Stadium. DSC06286 This one is integrated into an LRT station by the University. DSC06272 On the other side of the bridge where there is less space, the ramp is spiraled. DSC06273 Speaking of the LRT, I decided to take a quick trip out to the suburbs to check the system out. Here is the ticket machine; very easy to follow. DSC06276 At this relatively small station (Banff Trail NW) there is no car parking, and only a bit of bike parking. DSC06275 Here comes the train. DSC06277 Similar to the TTC, bikes are allowed on the trains outside of rush hour. DSC06281 One difference is that you have to push a button to get the doors to open. Perhaps this keeps the cold air out in the winter. DSC06282 At one of the outer stations there is a large commuter lot, but only a few bike racks. DSC06283 On the other side of the tracks, there are a few more racks beside the bus stops. DSC06284 I found a few more racks, and some bike lockers as well. DSC06285 Seeing all this makes me sad about what we could have had with Transit City. Today I decided to check out the downtown area. I wanted to see some of the bike trails along the Bow River, as well as some cycle tracks that went in quite recently. Here is a section of the trail along the Bow River where a multiuse trail branches into separate pedestrian and bike paths. DSC06288 However, most of what I rode on was multiuse, and on a weekday, they weren’t crowded at all. The bridge where Crowchild Trail crosses the river has a pedestrian and bike bridge underneath. DSC06289 A great path. I couldn’t tell if this was a retrofit to the original design. DSC06291 I think that this is the 10th street bridge, where a pedestrian/bike crossing is integrated into the design. DSC06292 A little further east is the very pretty and car free Peace Bridge. DSC06293 DSC06294 DSC06295 In the middle of the city, Prince’s Island Park is a peaceful oasis, connected to the city by several pedestrian bridges. DSC06301 Diving back towards downtown, this is the new bidirectional cycle track along 5th St SW. You can see a jog to accommodate a loading zone. DSC06302 A little further south, a very small stop sign for bikes. Perhaps bikes are only supposed to stop a little bit. DSC06305 Good to see concrete islands and planters. DSC06306 The cycle track abruptly ends, and true to form, there is a parked car right in front of me. DSC06307 I saw a variety of designs for the east west routes. I’m not going to be able to keep all of these straight in my head. Here is a bidirectional design. DSC06308 This one, eastbound on 8th Ave SW has both a curb and parked cars as a buffer. DSC06311 This track ends at a pedestrian mall along 8th Ave SW AKA the Stephen Ave Walk. DSC06312 This is the only spot in the downtown area where I saw a serious amount of bike parking. DSC06313 Interestingly enough, bladers and skateboarders are banned, but bikes can ride through. DSC06314 Further on, a bunch of booths, and lots of foot traffic sharing the road with bikes. Why couldn’t John St. be designed this way? DSC06315 This cycle track is along 12th Ave SW. DSC06316 This sign shows that people are still getting used to it. DSC06317 At this point in the afternoon, I decided to drop by Bikebike, which from their website looked like my kind of bike shop. DSC06329 Two dutch bikes and a trio of cargobikes outside. Always a good sign. DSC06330 Free tools, air, and political commentary. DSC06331 Inside, lots of things to look at, including city bikes, cargobikes, kids bikes, and a lot of Brooks accessories, etc. DSC06325 The Haul a Day in the window is apparently the owner’s bike. It’s a shame that he had stepped out for lunch as I would have liked to talk to him about his experiences with it. DSC06318 I see that he has retrofitted Xtracycle bags on it with some tubing polo mallet handles and zipties. DSC06319 All sorts of bike goodness in one picture: a Spicy Curry that had just come into the shop whose tires had “not yet touched asphalt”, and a window display of Bromptons in the background. DSC06326 I didn’t about this line of kid’s bikes with aluminum frames from Australia. DSC06321 Also this cool stride bike that also comes in a trike version. DSC06322 DSC06323 They have their own private label lube and chain cleaner. DSC06327 I didn’t know that the Carrera collapsing helmet was being imported into Canada. DSC06324 On the ride back from downtown, I stop by my favourite noodle shop in town (Menyatai) for a late lunch. DSC06333 Nearby, here is an example of this type of traffic calming that I’ve seen in different neighbourhoods: the end of a residential street is blocked off from a main street by a fence, with a cut through for pedestrians and bikes. DSC06334 Here is an interesting sign. DSC06336 The symbol being referred to does not have a buried induction loop, but a close look shows a video camera across the intersection. DSC06338 Finally, going up a hill, a bike lane end in sharrows, but another smaller sign suggests that I use the sidewalk while yielding to pedestrinans, DSC06339 All in all, an interesting couple of days exploring central Calgary. The city has a lot of bike infrastructure that they can be proud of. I hope that the downtown cycle tracks become a permanent feature. They are analogous to the Richmond Adelaide and Simcoe cycle tracks that crisscross downtown Toronto. I was told that bike traffic has increased significantly because of the cycle tracks. Also, apparently the tracks were being cleared (of hail?) whereas the sidewalks had not been cleared, leading to complaints to the city. As it turns out, the clearing was being done by volunteer cyclists! I was also told that some of the initial opposition to the cycle tracks was resolved by the city providing an increased amount of off street parking. Too bad we don’t the option for that in Toronto. I had heard that the Bow River Parkway paths were very nice. What I didn’t anticipate seeing was all the bridge crossings that were nicely integrated into the bike and pedestrian network. Although I didn’t explore further south, I see from the city’s cycling map that the connectivity of the bike paths along the river and other bits of parkland seem to be better than the analogous ravine based routes in Toronto. I’ll have to find some time to come back here and explore some more.

Update: no wonder the Peace Bridge is so pretty:  it’s a Calatrava.

Happy Simcoe Day!

Yesterday was a statutory holiday, and around these parts, it is known as Simcoe Day. Regardless of the name, given the nice weather, it was a prime opportunity for a family and friends ride to the lakefront.

Here we are, enjoying the freshly repainted bike lanes on Runnymede road. If you can look closely, on the other side of the street you can see the cross hatching that marks places where there is a driveway, or some other reason that you shouldn’t park.

Here’s another example of the cross hatching that is a little confusing since it marks a taxi stand.

It’s really too bad that the bike lane tapers down to sharrows before it meets Bloor, just where clearer markings would prevent a right hook. Note also the asshat parking where he shouldn’t.

A wonderful day to enjoy the Martin Goodman Trail.

Lucy wants to go into the water.

Then again, maybe not. (it was really cold).

These markings for the Pan Am trail are new. It’s not really clear to me that these markings indicate where the trail makes a right angle turn.

There is some signage as well, though I wonder if anyone stops to read these things.

The crew looks a little tired as we head back home.

Here we are waiting for the light at Ellis. This intersection desperately needs improvement. We are still waiting on the City’s response to a comprehensive proposal that we submitted to them a year ago.

Here is a dog’s eye view of a ride on our Haul a Day.

Although Lucy loves coming on our bike rides, one thing that she absolutely hates is if anyone she knows is ahead of here. Here, you can hear her complaining as we ride up Ellis. I was herding some of the kids up the hill from behind for safety’s sake, but it sounds like I’m torturing the poor dog.

At the top of the hill, we are now ahead and looking back at the peloton. No more canine complaints!

All in all, a nice way to cap off the long weekend.

It has now been about 100 days since we acquired our Haul a Day. Just like our previous longtail, it has become an indispensable part of our lives. I’ve already racked up more than 150 rides on this fine machine. In the meantime, it has been gradually tweaked to better fit our needs.

The latest additions have been a set of wider cargo rails, and a taillight mount.

The cargo rails are “Cargo/foot rails Wide-w/wheel/bike holder-set” part #18866, and are not listed on the Haul a Day accessories page. One of the issues that I had with our Big Foot footrest was that they were a bit narrower that I would have liked. Here is a comparison of the two rails:

Then I first ordered these over the phone, Robert told me that they have a wheel holder, and I didn’t get what he meant. The wheel holder is the inner loop. We’ll get to that feature it a bit….

One note on these is that they took a bit of elbow grease to fit into the frame. More so than the bigfoots. Perhaps this is because of a little distortion when the inner loop member is welded in.

In this rear shot, you can see that the new rail (left hand side) sticks out a few inches farther.

This makes it just a little hard to get to the kickstand, but this is a minor quibble.

Here is the acid test: now I can set grocery bags on the rails before buttoning them up with the straps.

All set to go!

One other thing that I will note is that the stock bags are already wearing out. Three out of the four cords with cord locks on the end flaps have already failed because the cords were not properly bartacked.

This is the last one standing.
DSC06222 I was told that G&O customers have had the same experience. I have my eye on the Carsick Cargo Slings. I saw a set at G&O and they looked a lot better. Their website was updated at the end of July, and it is now easier to order them.

About that wheel holder feature: Here is our 24″ wheel Opus Rambler under tow.

and a 20″: folder. I tested this out on a short ride, and it seemed pretty stable.

This is less of a hassle than folding the bike up, although that works too.

Now the taillight mount. My earlier solution was carried over from the Xtracycle.

If you order HaD rear light mount – 5EL part # 8589, this is a short piece of Al with a star fangled nut inside to provide a post mount.
DSC06227 I was told that they have a different bracket for dynamo taillights.

Here it is installed.

The taillight is in a position where it shouldn’t get smashed when I stand the bike up on its end.

In summary:

the wider cargo rails: two thumbs up. They are wider, they have the wheel holder feature, and the are cheaper than the bigfoot rails ($90 versus $120). They have the additional advantage that they don’t clank when the bike goes over bumps. In betweeen changing the rails, and putting a rubber bumper on the kickstand, the bike is much quieter. The one advantage of the bigfoot rails is that they are better as foot rests for smaller kids.

the taillight mount: this is a nice to have feature. One tip: don’t put these in a carry on when you fly. It will might get flagged by security as a bomb component.

the stock cargo slings: I’m afraid that I can’t recommend them. They are much cheaper than the Carsick ones, but they don’t hold up. If the straps were bartacked better, then that would be an improvement, but the material of the bags is still a bit flimsy.

BTW: it is a long shot, but if anyone in the Toronto area has or is thinking about a Haul a Day, I have a pair of Bigfeet for sale for cheap, say half the original price in $US, and I could be talked into giving up the Whoopie Deux safety rail as well.

Nothing wrong with the Whoopie Duex; it’s just that my girls have out grown it.


Happy trails everyone!

Burrard St Bridge update

For several years now, the Burrard St. bridge has had dedicated, separated bike lanes, and this has greatly increased bike traffic. In the present configuration, northbound bikes take the sidewalk which is banned to pedestrians.

In the southbound direction, one car traffic lane was given over to bikes. This bike lane is wide enough to make passing easy.

On July 22, Vancouver City Council approved a series of further upgrades, in particular removing one lane available to cars in the northbound direction to create a bike lane, and thus restore access on this side of the bridge to pedestrians. Other upgrades include anti suicide barriers, and improvements to the intersection of Pacific and Burrard to improve safety for both pedestrians and cyclists. Construction is expected to take 18 months.

Two other nice features on the bridge. One is this public piano with a killer view of English Bay.

The other is this bike counter, which is a public display of the number of bike crossings.
Today I was #3140 for the day, but a few more had crossed by the time I got my camera out.
It would be nice to have such counters in a few strategic places in Toronto. I know that the city does tally some statistics, but this is a public affirmation of the popularity of bike transport.

Here are some nice upgraded sharrows on York St.

Now that’s a bike signal.

I always enjoy the experience of biking in Vancouver.

Update: the Burrard Bridge logged one million bike crossings this year.

Fairfield Bicycle Shop

Passing through Victoria, I took the opportunity to visit Fairfield Bicycle Shop, which I had heard of over the years via various discussion groups such as the iBOB list. I had the additional pleasure of chatting with John, who aside from working here, is involved with sustainable transportation in Victoria. Our discussion was prompted by the fact that I happened to be wearing a Minimum Grid T shirt. Here is John in front of the store.

Packed with lots of things to look at, including a nice collection of vintage bikes hung from the ceiling.

I hadn’t seen this particular branding on a bike.

Look, they have cargobikes.

Also this SOMA tradesman.

Two Yuba’s, an Xtracycle Edgerunner, and just in front of the Edgerunner, one remaining Opus Rambler in white for anyone who is looking for a really great kids bike.

John told me that he has recently sold a bike to someone up from Portland. It was one of these Cycles Toussaint 650b bikes. With the exchange rate, it was apparently cheaper to buy in it Canada rather than the US. Strange times that we are living in……

At any rate, if you are generally interested in bicycles that are outside the range of carbon fiber go fast bikes, I highly recommend a visit.


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