2009/12/11

Cool bikes I saw in Montreal two years ago

Montreal Passenger Bike by you.
This one has a little seat instead of a luggage rack.

Montreal Delivery Bike by you.
This was in front of a dep, used for deliveries of groceries

2009/11/11

Bike ambigram


An ambigram of the word "Bike," or "BikE" in this case.

2009/10/26

Know your foe, joe / flo.

The real danger on the roads is automotive, regardless of the fact that most drivers are safe an courteous folks.

Many active transportation folks eschew all aspects of car culture. I do. However, it could prove important to be able to identify details about a vehicle that was used as a weapon, for example in a hit-and-run.

All too often the police seem to be willing to do a poor investigation when cars are involved. Not being able to accurately identify vehicles only aids the police to this end. It's not right that this happens, so people in the general public should be able to make more positive identifications. For example, where an automobilophile might be able to make a split-second identification like '97 slate grey Taurus,' someone who didn't know much about cars might only come up with 'dark grey or blue sedan.' It wouldn't carry as much weight.

It's not the most pressing concern in the world, but it's a skill that could prove useful.

2009/10/21

Right Hooks Aren't Good For You


View Cathartic Mapping in a larger map

I had an encounter with an overly aggressive cyclist on my commute in to work today, which is recounted on the map above.

2009/10/02

Whoa. I know Lock-Fu!

Keanu lock-fu

Spurred on by a discussion over at IBikeTO about bicycle locking style, I was inspired to post about my own locking style, which I graciously call Lock Fu.

  1. As always, start by reading Sheldon Brown's take. The important thing to take away from this is that your back wheel is expensive, so you want to lock it well.

  2. Deception: Muss your bike a little. Put on stickers and such. The uglier your bike is, the less likely someone is to steal it.

    My bike is covered in environmental and vegetarian stickers. Vegetarianism is not something that someone as unrefined as a bike thief would aspire to; having a vegetarian sticker makes them less likely to steal your bike. Having stickers on a bike also makes it easier to identify.

  3. Personalize: If you have a bike with non-standard parts, it will be easier to identify if it is stolen. You should have a low spoke count wheel, or a fancy hub, or a saddle with glitters.

    I am taller than about 90% of the population, so I set my seat high enough that 90% of the population couldn't ride off with it.

  4. Find a peacock: They say that no lock is unbreakable, and therefore no bike is unstealable. You have to make your bike a less appealing target than the next guy's. Try to find a fancy bike or a bike using an easy-to-break lock, and park near it.

    I often lock up a beater in front of a nice bike; this requires two bikes, but it beats having your nice bike stolen.

  5. The three Ls: Preferably you should park your bike somewhere that you can keep an eye on it, or if you can't see it you should try to be close enough that you could hear tools being used on it.

  6. Find a suitably immovable object: Post and rings can be broken by a 2 by 4, so try for a sign post or alternate locking location.

  7. The double tap: One lock is not enough. I always carry an expensive U-lock to do my back wheel frame, and a smaller bendy lock to do the front wheel. Using different kinds of locks is a good idea because it means a thief needs multiple tools. I also leave a secondary U-lock at work, and a thick chain lock at home.

  8. Bring it in: If it's ever possible, bring your lock inside with you, especially if you'll be inside for a few hours.

  9. Stay vigilant: Always keep an eye out for new locking and theft tactics. Think about new ways to lock up and stay safe. If parking in a tough neighbourhood, walk away from your bike with a swagger so that people will know you're not somebody they want to mess with.
If you follow these 9 simple rules every time that you lock your bike, the chances of theft should be greatly reduced. You too can learn to be a Lock Fu master.

2009/10/01

Colder days are here again


Colder days thin out the herd. Those left over are the faster, healthier cyclists. Between now and the first snowfall, get out your faster bikes for the commute, because the average speed will increase until people are riding their beaters again.

2009/09/27

Darcy Allen Sheppard Fundraiser


The fundraiser appears to have gone well. It was a full house, so hopefully a lot of money was raised for this worthy cause.

I won these hilarious socks as a door prize.

Interesting sights over the past few weeks


I saw this the other day on College. That's the wrong kind of seat, wheels, drivetrain, pedals and handlebars for that frame.


A ticket for bike awesomeness on Bloor.

2009/09/22

Idea: Start a bike gang

Toronto Critical Mass 2009 by you.
note: not an actual bike gang.

Riding to work along Harbord today, I noticed that I had unwittingly rolled into a critical mass of cyclists (not pictured above).

It wasn't exactly critical mass, but more like a convoy. It got me to thinking, "it would be nice to ride like this all the time, kind of like having a roving pace line that demands respect."

We wouldn't have to be a militant bike gang like you'd see in a movie. We wouldn't go around beating on anyone who crossed us, or anything like that.

We could just provide mutual support and strength in numbers. And matching jean jackets with custom patches.

And we'd be called The Bike Gooniun...



Takers?

2009/09/15

Onstreet bike parking in Thornbury, Ontario

Onstreet bike parking in Thornbury, Ontario

It's a little thing that's cheap and easy, but it's also a really nice touch. It's surprising to see the little towns with bike lanes and infrastructure up on the southern shores of Georgian Bay. It was reminiscent of the Netherlands.

Assinine comment in The Post

If anything, licensing alone is inadequate. Cyclists should be required to wear the same forms of protective clothing motorcyclists typically use to provide some measure of safety. Cycling in main arteries should be limited to age groups mature enough to deal with the dangers and uncertainties of heavy traffic.
Thankfully the comments on the article set the author straight.

2009/09/03

Hoverbike

You just have to pedal fast enough

2009/08/31

Dandyhorse Release Force

The third convening of the Dandyhorse Super Corps took place tonight at the Gladstone of Solitude.

Ms. Laser did a great job as MC.


More people with laser vision showed up too.


And rounding out the roster of superheroes, for variety I suppose, some folks with plasma vision showed up. All in all, it was quite a glowey eyed evening.

Fun was had by all.

2009/08/12

Strange Bikes

Here's a sampling of some of the weirder bikes I've seen throughout the years.

Mellow Johnny's - Wood Bike

crazy bullhorn bike

Improvised Tricycle Pedicab

Toronto Critical Mass 2009

And my own old bamboo bastard:

crazy bamboo baboon

2009/07/31

Critical Mass July '09

Toronto Critical Mass July 2009 by you.
Another month, another mass ruined by Toronto's Finest. After they crashed the party, I swiftly and unceremoniously bailed.

Memo To Members of Toronto Police Force

re: New Procedures In Effect

In light of the events of Toronto Critical
Mass on July 31st, 2009, the
Toronto Police Service is enacting new
procedures, to be undertaken by all members
of the Toronto Police Service as soon as
practicable:

1. Using your service 10 tonne industrial
jack, pry your buttocks into an unclenched
position.
2. Apply penetrating lubricant generously
to butt crack area.
3. Give the lubricant 24 hours to set in.
This will work best if the officer assumes
the inverse prone position.
4. Firmly attach a hydraulic winch to the
36+ inch oak trunk that somehow found its
way up your ass.
5. Run the winch at full power until the
blockage is dislodged.

What's better and what's worse in Austin, Texas


A warm welcome at the airport.

I've just returned from an 8-day vacation to Austin, Texas. It was a really nice place, and I'd love to go back someday. Of course, I missed Fair Toronto while I was away. Here are some comparisons between that city and Toronto.

The backside of the State Capitol Building.

The Good

Their streets there are in much better shape than ours. They don't have pervasive dug-up and filled-in patches that make cycling a much more rattling experience than need be. Nor do the roads have cracking nor are they filled with pot holes like ours are. It seems that the lack of winter makes the roads last a lot longer. Not having to replace the roads as often must be wonderful for the city's budget.

Their Transit is a lot cheaper. It's $0.7 5 for a one way trip, and $0.50 for a two-hour downtown pass. A weekly pass is only $7.

Maybe I am just used to it here, but Austin seems to exude personality much more than Toronto.

Some local colour.

The Bad

Sprawl is much worse there, and transit service is slower. Coupled with the extreme summer heat, which was near 40C for my entire stay, it's really a driver's city. This should improve when the city's light rail line starts operating this fall.

Because of the layout of the city, a much higher proportion of desirable locations are in strip malls. This isn't without its charm, but walkable communities make more sense.

Our bike network is more connected than theirs. They do have an extensive trail network.

Although beer costs under half as much, things in general are a bit pricier.

There is a casual attitude toward drinking and driving. There are no ride programs in Texas. Gas stations sell iced single beers right next to the checkout, and beer purchasers are offered a slice of lime, implying that one is expected to drink their beer while driving.

Lance Armstrong lives in Austin.

2009/07/20

Bike to Centre Wellington


So the bike to Centre Wellington is doable. I didn't manage to bike back the next day because I stayed up too late at a wedding that I went to. The ride is fun. There's very little traffic if you leave at 6 AM. The headwind and consistent uphill course is a drag though.

2009/07/13

Don't ride on the sidewalk

not on the sidewalk

Occassionally it is okay to ride on the sidewalk (i.e. you're 7, or 77, or you're in the 'burbs next to an arterial). Usually it's not okay.

Do you know what would be nice . . .

Ideally, Toronto would have an outdoor closed loop cycling track. This would complement the system of recreational trails by allowing for uninterrupted outdoor cycling for any distance.

The track should be fairly long but not too long that individual loops are daunting for riders with less ability. A track length of either 1 mile (1609 m), 2 km or 2 miles (3218 m) would be ideal. Using a round number is good because riders could count individual laps and not need a cycling computer to keep track of distance.

Such a track would need to be sufficiently wide to allow for a range of skill levels safely. A pace line of riders going 35 km/h should be able to coexist here with riders going 20 km/h. As such, the track should probably be either 3 or 4 bike lanes wide.

BikingToronto has a map up showing hydro corridors in Toronto. I haven't spent much time on these, but they have the reputation of being large swaths of unused land. If this were the case, they might make a good location for the proposed track. As an example, I've put together this map of a 2.4 km loop near pharmacy and Eglinton:


View An outdoor loop in a larger map

Note that I'm not proposing this as a location. The map is just to suggest what form such a venue might take. A study would have to be done to find a suitable location.

2009/07/07

Wooden Handlebar Spotting

Wooden Handlebars

I spotted these wooden handlebars outside of Sneaky Dee's the other day. They're quite beautiful. I'm not really into this style of handlebar (preferring drops), not that I'd be able to afford them any time soon.

I wonder why they call these track bars. Track riders always use bars that allow an aerodynamic position more easily. These should be called fixie bars. It may just be another case of people calling fixies track bikes.

I'm pretty sure that these are made right here in Toronto by Alexander Beck of Fluorescent Brown.

Ingenious dog carrier

Right next to this bike, I saw an interesting dog carrier. It's just a basket with a wire cage over the top. It's a couple of fancy bikes, likely ridden together by a real-life human couple.