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The Middle of Winter – Time for a Historic Cycling Event in Toronto

This Friday, February 4, at 10:30 am, Team Spidertech powered by C10 holds a press event at the Hockey Hall of Fame to officially launch its 2011 season.

Why is that so historic? In the off-season, Team Spidertech powered by C10 became the first Canadian cycling team to earn a Professional Continental license from the Union Cycliste International (UCI), the sport’s governing body.

The UCI Continental circuits are international bicycle racing’s Tier 2 events.

What’s Tier 1? The UCI World Tour: the Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, the Vuelta a España. In other words, Team SpiderTech is now one step away from competing at bicycle racing’s highest level – and the plan is to do so within the next few years.

01 Toronto Criterium 2010 - Photo by Cycling50Plus

Toronto Criterium 2010

How Canadian is Team SpiderTech? The red and white starts at the top. The team’s manager and driving force is Steve Bauer, the only Canadian to wear the yellow jersey on more than one occasion, doing so a remarkable 14 times in 11 Tours de France.

16 of the 19 SpiderTech riders are Canadian and all the riders are from North America.

Even the bikes are Canadian, custom made for the team by Argon 18 of Montreal.

All the team’s major sponsors are Canadian, including RIM, Saputo, Nucap Medical (SpiderTech), PineTree Capital and Planet Energy.

How good is Team SpiderTech? A top 10 finish in the Tour of California – against Lance and many other Tour de France riders – capped the team’s very successful 2010 season.

Locally, they placed six riders in the top 10 of the Toronto Criterium, including first to fourth places, and four riders in the top 10 of the Queen’s Park Grand Prix.

Individually, many team members produced personal best performances and Guillame Boivin of Longueuil, Que., placed third at the U23 World Championships in Australia.

02 Toronto Criterium 2010 - Photo by Cycling50Plus

Toronto Criterium 2010

But the team has added even more pedal-power since the end of the season, including:

- Will Routly – Canadian Road Race Champion
- Hugo Houle – Canadian U23 Road Race Champion
- Zach Bell – 2009 and 2011 silver medalist at the UCI Track Cycling World Championship

Most recently, Team SpiderTech signed their highest profile rider, Svein Tuft, of Langley, BC. A 2008 World Championship silver medalist and stage winner on the UCI World Tour, Svein brings two years of World Tour experience to the team.

Along with another recent signing, Pat McCarty, and 2010 team member Lucas Euser,  Tuft gives Team SpiderTech three riders with experience on the World Tour.

A Canadian team playing on cycling’s world stage is not just a source of national pride. If anything will give cycling a stronger voice in Canada, stifle the Toronto naysayers and garner the attention that cycling deserves, it will be success at the highest level. It will be when the members of Team SpiderTech ride along the Champs Elysee, champagne in their hands and the maple leaf on their backs. It will be historic.

And to that I say – GO TEAM SPIDERTECH GO!!

Read More:

CBC Sports
The Globe & Mail
The Toronto Sun
Pedal Magazine



Posted: February 1st, 2011
Author:
Filed under: Cycling Events, Cycling News
Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Night Rider

Last week’s clock rewind is yet another dead giveaway that winter approaches. And it’s turned many bike commuters into night riders

The basic trick to night riding is to see and be seen. Even on well-lit streets, darkness not only makes it more difficult to see, but also judge distances and direction, which means slower reaction times – for both drivers and riders.

Reflective helmet & clothing, rear light under seat, reflector and reflective tape on fender, reflective strips on pannier

Got Your Back?

In addition to the lights needed by law, a few simple additions to your bike will help drivers travelling in your direction spot and react to you a mile away:

Standard reflector – Many fenderless bikes don’t have rear reflectors, but try attaching one to your seat or bike frame.
Reflective Tape – Good old Canadian Tire or your local bike shop will have reflective tape for your bike and helmet
Reflective Strips – On clothing, panniers, helmets – anything. When buying any bike accessory that might be seen on the road, try to find one with reflective strips.
Armband – Armbands, visible from the back and front, help make your hand signals more visible
Safety Vest – Too cumbersome for many, the ultimate in nighttime visibility for others

Be Seen All around

Try to improve your visibility from all angles to help motorists approaching from the opposite direction or from other streets. Bright clothing is a good start.

Headlight, reflective tape on forks, reflector on rearview mirror

From the Front

Sometimes your headlight is all an oncoming drivers can see of you – and you’re competing with the headlights on the cars travelling in your direction.   Be seen and let ‘em know you’re coming down the road:

White front reflector – If you don’t have one, they’re usually reasonably priced packed together with a rear reflector.

Reflective tape – A couple bits, placed in the right spots, make a big difference.

Gloves – Day-glo or reflective gloves help you be seen and help drivers see your hand signals – read more on gloves for visibility at Duncan’s City Ride

From the Side

At night, especially during rush hour, many drivers approach intersections and simply scan each direction for headlights – not expecting to see a bicycle. Improving your visibility from the side will help you be seen by all cars in an intersection.

Wheel reflector, reflective tape on forks, headlight, reflective strips on panniers

Wheel reflectors – Made to be seen from the side, the motion of your wheels also helps wheel reflectors get noticed
Reflective tape – Yes, I know this is the third time I mentioned it – but it works really well all around your bike
Lights – You must have front and back lights anyway, choose ones that are visible from the side too

Remember, the darkness reduces your reaction times too. You’ll need to keep a closer watch for bumps and debris in the road. Quick glances over your shoulder are not as quick, the images in your rearview mirror not as easily identified.

Night riding takes a bit of adjustment, but it’s as much fun as riding at any other time of day.

Does anyone else have any tips on being seen at night?

(via fwd, photo via securiteroutiere)



Posted: November 17th, 2010
Author:
Filed under: Commuting
Tags: , , | 4 Comments »

Sharrow Hal

Either something’s happening, or it isn’t, but it’s been a heady couple weeks for Toronto’s one step forward, two steps back approach to becoming a more people-friendly city.

Witness the sharrow lanes on College Street, new pedestrian friendly zones, City Council’s approval of the BIXI public bicycle system, public toilets at Harbourfront and the tabling of the 3-foot bicycle passing law.

Photo by chewie2008~, from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Photo by chewie2008~, from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.

Imagine if boneheadedness hadn’t scrapped the University Ave. bike lane trial.

But, is it just me or does it seem like we are hodge-podging our way through some cool initiatives without really committing to them.  Lots of good ideas, but not enough of any.  It’s like we’ve gone to the shopping mall of nifty urban planning ideas and picked up a few things.

- One public toilet
- 1,000 public bikes (Montreal started with 3,000)
- Sharrows on one street
- Two pedestrian friendly zones

List done, let’s get sushi.

Is it just the way we do things in Toronto?  Rarely bold, never leading, cautious in every step.

Or maybe it’s like what Lock wrote in a comment on BikingToronto’s Pedestrian Friendly Zones blog post, it’s baby steps. It’s better to have a seemingly unfocused, spread-shot approach to making the city more people friendly than to have none.

Except for the University bike lanes embarrassment, the recent news is all very good.

But doesn’t it feel like we’re being teased?



Posted: May 20th, 2010
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Filed under: Uncategorized
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