Toronto Sakura April 2017

One of the highlights of spring in Toronto is the blooming of sakura, most famously in High Park. Signs over the past several weeks indicated that the bloom would be earlier than usual. Sure enough, various media outlets predicted peak bloom for this weekend past, and pointed out that the blossoms might not be as good next weekend because of rain in the forecast before then.

Whatever is the reason (perhaps a pent up demand due to the lack of sakura last year), but the crowds have been crazy this year.

Checking out High Park around 10 am this morning, I saw quite a few people for a Monday morning.

Carrying on along Bloor, I see that the “Bloor on the Park” BIA has made more legible signs than last year.


Swinging by Robarts, I see the smaller stand of sakura in fuller bloom than in High Park.



Lucy wants to go for a bike ride.


We decided to bike out to High Park after dinner to check out the sakura as a family. Crazy traffic for a Monday.


It was pretty crowded, and getting too dark for decent pictures. If it was this crowded today, it must have been insane yesterday!

If you’re anywhere near downtown, you’d be better off checking out Robarts near the intersection of Huron and Harbord.. At High Park, the blooms weren’t nearly so full, and a lot of the lower branches of trees had a somewhat bedraggled appearance from people pulling them down to get a better picture.


ASME HPVC 2017: Day 3

Day 3 is the endurance race: 2.5 hours of wheel to wheel racing, and this year in the pouring rain.

This Rose Hulman alum is going to be the signalling official for the quick turn hazard.


Last minute prep on the bike. This year, one of the special tasks is to lock the bike in such a way that it takes up to 3 minutes to “steal” it. We are embedding a U lock around the roll cage.



Akron is going to run without a fairing. You can see MS&T’s entry as well.


The top seeds lined up at the start, sorted according to fastest women’s sprint time. SDSU is the team to beat this year. We’re near the very back since we didn’t have a women’s time.


The “before” picture of the team.


The thieves’ tool set. At various times within a three minute window they get access to better equipment, such as the angle grinder at 2 minutes.


Using a drop sheet to keep the bike somewhat dry.


Calvin, Issac and Marie are going to count laps.


This bike from Liberty University has a very loooong chain line.


SDSU going fast.


Fairly early on, our right side landing gear failed, so Calvin had to push the bike back to the pits.


A broken cable stop is the culprit.


This team’s fairing was getting progressively more waterlogged, making it sag and drag, so they cut it off.


Sorting through some drivetrain gremlins. You can see the repaired chainring in this picture.


The “thief” using an angle grinder to unlock our bike. We lasted a total of 2 minutes 50 seconds.


At this point, there was still an issue with a jammed transmission, so Calvin ran a lap with the bike, and then Marie ran it around for a lap as well.


Bringing it in over the start/finish line one last time.

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Despite all the trials and tribulations, the team is still smiling at the end.


Congrats to the enduro winners: South Dakota State U.


Overall winners are still to be announced, but I’m done blogging for the weekend. Proud of how our team managed to pull together a working bike this year. We’ll try a different design approach next year. Congratulations to all the teams!

Update: congrats to our friends at Rose Hulman for finishing first overall.

Full results are here.
We finished #24!

ASME East Day 2

Today was the day for the men’s and women’s sprint event. However, the weather had other ideas, and it was pouring rain in the early morning. Here we are getting the bike from the motel to the van. Must get a 1st floor room next time.


Although we arrived and set up in time for the 8 am drivers’ meeting, the race officials were nowhere to be found. It turns out that they sent an email at 7:55 saying that they were taking a look at the weather (torrential rain) and would issue an update at 9:30.  In the meantime, the team decided to partake of the breakfast that was being provided since the ASME HPVC was associated with a larger event called “e-fest” this year. Note that several of the team members were going to write final exams tonight, so they were busy being studious.


The Puerto Rican team had another agenda.


Also we had had a running bike for a while, we had not tested the landing gear yet. Here is Calvin getting ready to do the first unassisted launch.

The weather was clearing, and so it was time for the delayed drivers’ meeting.


The race officials lay down the law. Because of the intermittently really bad rain, it was decided to go with timed runs, with only one vehicle on the course at a time (due to safety reasons.


It was ladies first, so we had Marie get some practice in the bike. In the end, the team decided that she didn’t have enough time in the bike to be able to launch from the landing gear, so the team elected to scratch from the women’s sprint.


In the meantime, all the female riders got in line.


UW Madison.


Rose Hulman is all smiles.


Akron in the men’s sprint. They were seeded #1.


It turns out that this trike from South Dakota State is not only pretty, but it is pretty fast, winning both the men’s and women’s spring.


Yes, the fairing of the bike is really made from paper Maché, which was not the best choice for rainy weather.

Tempest developed some drivetrain gremlins, and while debugging them, that fancy carbon chainring broke. However, the motto of this team is to never give up, and we cut apart the spider and then bolted a metal chainring on it so that we could run. I must say that we have been getting a lot of use out of our hacksaw this weekend.


Calvin warming up. He got in three runs. The second one placed us in 5th place. The third one might have been faster, but halfway down the course, a spectator walked out right in from of Calvin. I could hear Calvin yelling for him to get out of the way.


At this point, the weather was going south again, and Calvin was cooked, so it was time for other riders to get in some practice before tomorrow’s enduro,  Here is Evan.


Here is Alan.


The team has decided to go with just these three riders, and to take the penalties for only having three riders, and no female rider. We’ll see how we do, and if the landing gear holds up for the whole race.

One side note: the flaps covering the landing gear had a tendency to sail outwards when the bike was at speed, making it look a little like a penguin from the rear. You’ll be able to see this in the video from today.

You’ll also see that the landing gear works well, especially in comparison to last year.

Good luck to all the teams tomorrow, and fingers crossed for better weather.

ASME East 2017: Day 1

Today was the day for safety check and the design presentations.  In the past, the team has been known to arrive on this day, bleary eyed from driving all night. This time, the team arrived at a motel at about 2 am, and actually got some sleep. Here they are busily working on the final parts of the bike in order to pass safety.


I have to do at least a little riding on the Baron to keep my #30daysofbiking streak going.

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Calvin trimming the headlight lens with a hacksaw.

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Check out the upholstery on this bike seat from Oklahoma U.

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Part of the Rose Human team lined up with their slick new tilting trike, Rose Pedal.

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Last year’s winners: U of Akron.

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Madison. I guess that paint job is supposed to represent Swiss cheese.


Which shoes fit who?


It wouldn’t be an HPV event for us without a bit of sanding.


Keeping up our team’s proud tradition of painting the bike at competition,


Reassembling the bike after the paint job.


A blurry picture of our working landing gear.


That headlight looks pretty good.


Calvin rolling out for another test run.


Rolling the bike to safety.


Static inspection.


Calvin passing the 180° turn dynamic test by just missing that last cone.


After missing the official dinner, we went to Cracker Barrel.


Looks we only have a bit of detail work to do on the bikes before the sprints tomorrow. However, the weather forecast looks ghastly.

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Nevertheless, we are looking forward to seeing all the teams race tomorrow. Good luck to everyone!

ASME East 2017: Day 0

The bike team loaded up their new bike, and hit the road around noon today, on their way to this year’s ASME East Human Powered Vehicle Challenge. Here they are loading up the bike.

With the bike and team on their way to Cookeville TN, it’s an opportune time to look back on the build of this year’s entry: Tempest.

Evan getting the router ready to cut the mold for the fork.

The plug in the process of being finished.

The plug in half of the mold, and preparing to lay up the second half of the mold.

With the molds done, time to lay up the shell. You can see the foam ribs that reinforce the shell and make up elements like the roll bar.

The ribs look like the CAD model.

Bruce came in from PEY to help out.

Evan with the completed shell.

You can see the transmission test fit, along with the openings for landing gear.

Figuring out mounting points for the landing gear.

Working on the canopy.

Rear view mirrors are required.

Calvin “Jr” with the transmission structure.


Lots of carbon bits and pieces this year. Here are the molds for the cranks.

Laying up the cranks.

Carbon hubs

Bill with a carbon rim

Laying up wheel discs.

One of the completed wheels.

Landing gear.

Middrive spider.

Working on the transmission.

All done!

In the meantime, practicing masking on last year’s bike.

Cyclone, with the plug for Tempest in the background.

The seat team.

Testing the roll cage under a side load.

The bike has been ridable for a while, but there are still a few subsystems to be debugged, and that will have to happen at the meet. Wish us luck!


Good Friday TBN Ride

Yet another weekend ride with TBN, this time with limited wind and glorious sun. It was a tourist ride out of Finch station. Quite a large turnout at the start.  I saw quite a few familiar faces from the Urban Roller riders.


A few announcements at the start, and then a raise of hands to see who was going on what route. Large groups were going on the 60 and the 74 km routes, and only Joey was doing the 101K (plus his ride to and from the start, of course.)


and off we go. Check out that blue sky!


The pack gets strung out early.


Here I am at moderate pace, trying to catch up with a group slightly ahead of me.


Having to go a little faster to catch up with a faster group.  Hey these radar signs are fun!


On Leslie just before the turn off to the right on 19th Ave for the 60 km route. It turns out that only two of us turned here.


Not being encouraged by the sign indicating no bikes or pedestrians.  Fortunately, there was only a short construction zone on the bridge going over the 404, and no one was working on Good Friday.


Just part of the TBN crew at Jake’s on Main.  If you do decided to stop and eat, count on at least 45 minutes to an hour. Good food and good company.


A and I decide to early a bit early. She told me she is taking it easy today in anticipation of a much longer ride on Sunday.  I’ll be resting on Sunday 😉


Another great day of riding.

TBN Tourist Ride

Today was my first longish ride for the year, a tourist ride with TBN north out of Finch Station. Given the weather, a pretty good turnout, although a couple of riders were concerned that it might be cold.IMG_5034

Joey reminds us of safety, including showing us what overlapping wheels means (a no no).


and we’re off. Stupidly, I take off with the fast group which was tooling along at somewhat better than 25 kph.


A brief regroup at just past HWY 7.


Northward, through subdivision after subdivision.


I spot what I thought was open country, but Joey tempers my excitement by informing me that we’re looking at the Keele St. dump.


Catching up with the leaders as they wait for a GO train.


Then we turn north again on Keele, and the bike lane ends.


The 60 km ride turns left at King Vaughn


I am getting dropped by the one rider I was with. There were other riders that said they would do the 60K, but they were with a slower group. You can see that they got a lot more snow up here last week than we did in the city.


Riding solo on the way back, I treat myself to a butter tart at Coffee Culture in Maple. Also got passed by a pack of fast riders, one of whom riding a Gios Torino recognized my bike as a Tamarack.


Back at Finch.  GPS says 60.7 km in 2:45 at an average speed of 22 kph.  Total elapsed time was about 3:00, including about a 10 minute break. Cyclemeter on my phone says 61 km, but an average speed of 25 kph, which sounds too high.


In any case, not too bad for me. I’ll do the Good Friday ride, and then I should be OK for the 50 km route for Bike for Mike on Sunday, May 7.