“I try and head to places that will offer a rewarding bike ride” – Rich Terfry (aka Buck 65)

Richard Terfry aka Buck 65 via buck65.com

From PostedToronto My Toronto: Buck 65:

Bike 65 I get around town by bike, so I try and head to places that will offer a rewarding bike ride, like the Roncesvalles neighbourhood, or the area around Bloor and Bathurst, where I have a bunch of friends and favourite spots. The Bloor Cinema [506 Bloor St. W.] is one, and there’s a pretty great bike shop there, too [Curbside Cycle, 412 Bloor St. W.] where I bought both my bike and my wife’s bike. It’s a semi-regular stop if we need repairs or accessories or anything like that.

Read the rest of the article here.
Photo via Buck65.com

Cycling; a 100-Year Tradition in Toronto

Opening of Bloor Viaduct

Check out the guy above, riding the “Devil’s Strip” on the former streetcar tracks that once ran across the Prince Edward Viaduct.

From the City of Toronto Archives, here’s a collection of photos from the early days of biking in Toronto:

Via 311 Toronto

Covet: Linus Bikes

Linus Roadster Classic via linusbike.com

Linus Dutchie 1 via linusbike.com

I really love simple things. Sure, gears and crazy graphics look nice on some bikes, but if you’re riding that bike every day it means that you’ve got a few more parts to worry about and every ding to the paint probably breaks your heart.

Now, not only are Linus bikes simple, but they’re also affordable. Both of the models pictured above, the Roadster Classic and Dutchie 1 are priced at just $500 at Bikes on Wheels in Kensington Market.

Learn more about Linus bikes here.

City Wants You To Create Art We Can Lock Our Bikes To

Kensington I

In the latest issue of Cyclometer (#167 July 2010) the city has announced a call for “Artistic Bike Parking” to be installed along the new multi-use paths currently being installed in Toronto. Here’s what they are asking for:

Call to Artists for Artistic Bike Parking

The City of Toronto is developing new multi-use off-road trail projects in hydro and former rail corridors.  Street furniture such as benches, bike parking and pedestrian scale lighting will be installed to help transform these corridors from industrial spaces, into spaces for public transportation and recreation.

Based on the City of Toronto’s 1% policy for public art on capital projects, a contest is being established for the design and fabrication of artistic bike parking as part of these projects.

Details on how local and national artists or artist teams may submit resumes and proposals to the Toronto Culture office are also available online.   Submissions must be received by Friday, 13 August 2010 at 4:00 p.m.

The city is no stranger to bike parking design contests. In collaboration with Ryerson University, a call for bicycle rack designs to be installed in Mount Pleasant Cemetery resulted in this unique winning submission:

More photos of the winning design and the runners up can be found here.

And another design competition was held at OCAD in 2009, yielding this winning concept:

Submission by Justin Rosete (second-year Industrial Design) and Erica Mach (second-year Drawing & Painting).

You can see the rest of the submissions that made up the top 10 designs here.

Lead photo of the Kensington bike rack via BikingToronto Flickr Pool

In Review: Modrobes Euca Tee for Men and Women

Women's Scoop Neck Euca Tee from Modrobes.comMens Crew Neck Euca Tee from Modrobes.com

Cycling fashion designers have a knack for over-complicating seemingly simple things.

Take, for example, any clothing item created by Outlier. Each garment, while beautiful and functional, is also accompanied by a short novel, or novella, describing the epic journey each article of clothing takes from being just a spark in the brain of a designer to becoming a $144 shirt.

As someone who rides a bike, but doesn’t want to be easily identified as the guy who showed up on a bike, I prefer simple clothes that I can wear for a ride around town or to work in or to simply sit down on a patio in.

Certainly, I could just throw on any of the cotton t-shirts I’ve accumulated simply from being a guy (it’s a well-known fact that not only do guys purchase a lot of t-shirts, or get them free with beer, but we also develop strong bonds to these shirts as they fade and decay). Yet, if you’ve stepped outside recently, like I did this morning in 26 C heat with 100% humidity, then you’ve probably experienced the way cotton absorbs sweat, holds on to it for dear life and weighs you down more than a bullet-proof vest. Heck, even the hardest of hard-core rappers opt for lighter upper torso vestments in this weather.

Strangely unhappy with using natural fibres for the creation of clothing, we’ve also turned our attention to the limited resources of our planet in order to create supposedly “high-tech” fabrics that we adorn with countless pockets, zippers and reflective embellishments. In order to be certain these fabrics are suitably “high-tech” we also douse them in scary-sounding chemicals in order to repel the natural processes our bodies undertake to cool us down when Mother Nature decides to turn up the thermostat. Yet still, all of the science in the world has a hard time keeping plastic clothing from smelling worse than a TTC streetcar on the first really hot day of summer.

After systematically eliminating both cotton and polyester from my list of ideal fabrics for summer cycling and living I was left with nothing to wear except for the piece of paper I had made this short list on.

That’s when I discovered Modrobes and their recently released Euca Tee.

You see, this is no ordinary t-shirt. The Euca Tee is made from 100% eucalyptus trees, a plant indigenous to Australia and the preferred snack of cute and cuddly koala bears, an animal introduced to “the West” in Jackie Chan’s Criterion contribution First Strike.

Other clothing manufacturers, like Patagonia, have been using Tencel, a branded eucalyptus lyocell fibre in outdoor athletic gear for some time now. The claims made by the manufacturers are quite bold and should instantly perk the ears of anyone who hates wrinkly clothes, detests carrying their sweat with them and abhors bacteria responsible for the terrible stink some people associate with “avid cyclists.”

Since the above describes me almost to a “t,” I decided to purchase a Modrobes Euca Tee and put their claims to the test. In fact, let’s take a look at those claims firsthand:

“Like wool for summer weather the Euca tee is great for keeping you comfortable in hot or humid weather.”-SSD

The Euca tee does everything a performance garment should but naturally and without actually being a performance garment…it’s just better than cotton and polyester at working with your body’s natural comfort.

The Euca tee is made from 100% eucalyptus trees and is certified as an environmentally clean fabric by numerous auditors.

The fabric absorbs moisture away from the body into the fibres and releases it depending on the climate conditions which keeps your skin dry and stops bacteria from forming. Unlike all polyester technical fabric eucalyptus does this naturally and without any added chemicals.

Highlights:

*no smell
*quick dry
*wrinkle free
*super soft
*biodegradable

My girlfriend, also described to a “t” above the above, received a Euca Tee, too, because I am just that great of a boyfriend. Over the past week we put these t-shirts through the paces, with those “paces” being the wearing of a t-shirt as you would normally and doing so while occasionally on our bicycles.

Referring to the above list of claims, or “highlights,” our first impression of the t-shirts was that they were, in fact, super soft. On a softness scale I’d rank these t-shirts between a box full of kittens and an even larger box full of koosh balls. The fabric is also thinner than I’m used to. In fact, these t-shirts nearly give you the feeling of being topless yet will allow you to still order fast food indoors. Basically a win-win situation in the summer heat.

After riding our bicycles around town my girlfriend and I both managed to work up a good sweat. Living up to the next “highlight,” these t-shirts did in fact dry quickly, although they did not dry faster than we were able to create more sweat, but once off our backs, the shirts dried within minutes.

Since the preferred method of t-shirt storage in our apartment is “balled up” we were also able to test whether these shirts could be wrinkle free. Now, unballing the t-shirt did reveal wrinkles, but after doning the shirt and heating them up a little in the great outdoors we did find the wrinkles quickly released. Once again, the t-shirt lives up to the claims.

By now you must be curious about stink. Two able-bodied individuals braving the summer heat in a bi-pedal manner must be sweating and within that sweat there must be feeding bacteria whose feces contribute to what is commonly referred to as “body odour.” Yes, we did sweat. Yes, we even thoroughly drenched our t-shirts. And no, they did not stink. In fact, I remained smelling like the man your man can smell like and my girlfriend retained her gentle fragrance of lilacs and other flowers I fail to bring home and decorate our apartment with.

Understandably, I cannot test whether or not these t-shirts are actually biodegradable, however, if they do begin to biodegrade while in use, I will be sure to inform you once I find a replacement shirt because I never blog shirtless.

Ok, so the shirts live up to the claims I am capable of unprofessionally testing (no labs nor lab coats were used and therefore any and all tests completed by me are as amateur as it gets). But how do they fit?

The mens crew neck Euca Tee fits long in the body thus keeping my lower back/upper butt from exposure to the elements. The thin fabric hangs nicely and I found no strange bunching or tight spots when in “cycling position.” My girlfriend also likes the longer length and the scoop neck is comfortable and appropriate for her work.

For the more daring, there are v-neck styles for both men and women. This neck style may be great for allowing even more moisture to be released from your upper torso, although I prefer to keep my chest out of view of spectators as some parts of my body should remain in sacred seclusion.

In conclusion, the Modrobes Euca Tee is a versatile t-shirt made of a fabric that wears well and has a few added performance features that can benefit cyclists in the summer months.

The Euca Tee for men and women is available at Modrobes, 620 Queen Street West in Toronto for $35.
Photos via Modrobes.com

A Bike Corral on Spadina!

Bike Corral on Spadina by joshstuart

Photo of a new bike corral just south of 215 Spadina Avenue by joshstuart

Really hope to start seeing more bike corrals like this in Toronto. What’s one less car parking space when you can fit a dozen or more bicycles?

Here’s a short video of how these work in Portland:

Summer Swimmer Bikes by Cleo Kendall

Illustration by Cleo Kendall

Really dig this illustration by Cleo Kendall

Found on TheStyleNotebook

TorontoVerve; Street Style and Cycle Chic

The BikingToronto Photo of the Day blog regularly features stylish Torontonian’s riding their bikes and it’s pretty clear that we’re no strangers to “cycle chic” in this city. So you just know that a street style photographer is going to find a lot of fashionable subjects on their bikes. Take for example these photos from TorontoVerve:

More photos at TorontoVerve

These Are the People In Your Neighbourhood; Frank de Jong’s Ward 18 Bicycle Tour

Ward 18 Map via Toronto.caOn a very rainy Saturday, I joined Toronto City Council Ward 18 candidate Frank de Jong and several others on a bike tour through a few neighbourhoods.

Ward 18 is a diverse and growing collection of neighbourhoods. Bloorcourt, “Blansdowne,” the Junction Triangle and even part of West Queen West make a ward where people live and work and many ride bicycles.

Our tour started at The Common on College Street and from there we headed north to Dufferin Grove park.

Jutta Mason at Dufferin Grove park

Here we met with Jutta Mason, who gave us a quick rundown her involvement with the many initiatives that have created the fantastic community space that is Dufferin Grove Park.

Wayne Scott

Wayne Scott, an exceptional green transportation activist, spoke to us about his involvement in getting the government to recognize that food is fuel for bicycle couriers.

Bruce Ward on the West Toronto Railpath

Dougal Bichan at West Toronto Railpath Park

As the rain started to fall a little harder we met with Bruce Ward (in jeans) and Dougal Bichan (second photo in shorts) who spoke of the land classifications, ones that mean developments must offer employment. They also told us about the upcoming New Bloor Street Festival.

Sally Hewson in Ward 18

Further down the railpath we stopped in for shelter on Sally Hewson‘s front porch. A graphic designer who works from her home, she spoke of the efforts to preserve indigenous vegetation along the railpath and future plans for abandoned factories in the area, including a potential game design campus.

Industrial past and open future of Ward 18

As the clouds continued to empty upon us we made our way south to West Queen West and sought refuge in the welcoming space of The Gladstone Hotel. Here we listened to Steve Heuchert of Active 18 whose stories of dealing with developers, and ensuring that designs include the community they are built in, left us inspired in the ability to become involved in the ward you live in.

Over a few hours we were able to see, meet and speak with the people who are helping shape where residents live and work in Ward 18. Have you explored your ward lately?

Rainy Day Slideshow from the BikingToronto Flickr Pool

See more photos of biking in Toronto in the BikingToronto Flickr Pool