Bike the Creek 2021 Virtual

Bike the Creek was held virtually in June 2021.

Participants cycled at their own pace and time in the 7th annual regional signature ride through Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga! #bikethecreek21

Feedback indicated a huge pandemic success story. Stenciled BtC pavement markings are still somewhat visible, to help cyclists find the routes. Routes are still posted on the Bike the Creek page, with an option to download a google map link. Save the date for June 18, 2022 for an in-person event!

Summary Snapshot of Bike the Creek:

2021 Bike the Creek 1

2021 Bike the Creek 2

2021 Bike the Creek 3

2021 Bike the Creek 4

2021 Bike the Creek 5

2021 Bike the Creek 6

2021 Bike the Creek 7

Bike the Creek Promotional Videos:

Bramptonist Bike Month Column

Cycling Tips Videos

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Old School Road Closing

Old School Road is a popular recreational cycling route. The bad news it will be closed for the next 12 months. According to the Town of Caledon website Old School Road will be closed from September 6, 2021 to August 31, 2022. The good news is that the reconstruction should include wider paved shoulders and a smoother surface for more pleasant cycling.

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Cycling Chronicles Vol 8

What has psychology of brain function during stress have to do with cycling?

I wonder how the fight or flight instinct relates to what happens at the time of survival decision making. It has everything to do with cycling, especially cycling in an urban environment.

Whether you realize it or not, you are making many decisions per minute while cycling. Most are just related to the comfort of your ride, but some are life or death decisions. In extreme situations it comes down to making these decisions in seconds and even fractions of seconds.

One summer day in the mid 1980s, I learned something about how my brain functions under these high stress conditions.

I was returning from a pleasant afternoon ride to York University. My bike that day was a 1984 Bianchi 5. This bike was farmed out by Bianchi of Italy, to be constructed and equipped in Japan. The group set was Shimano 600, a precursor to the modern Shimano Ultegra group set. This was in the days before clipless pedals and the bike included a set of proprietary Shimano 600 pedals. The design included a back flange, to accept the slotted cleats on my cycling shoe, but were different than other pedals of the day in that the actual toe clip was integrated into the design of the pedal. Other pedals of the day were a standard rat trap design, with the aftermarket toe clip bolted on to the front flange of the pedal. My toe clips were finished off with a pair of Christophe leather toe straps, with spring release buckles. The way they worked was that you pulled up on the strap to bind your foot to the pedal. To release the tension and get your foot out, you pushed outward on the spring-loaded buckle. What I usually did was reef the right-side strap tight, since I would not usually take my foot off that pedal for the entire ride. The left side strap was not pulled as tight, as I usually took that foot out at stop lights and for any emergency stopping situations.

This will become important later in the story.

Steeles Ave traffic

I was returning from York University, heading for Brampton, west bound on Steeles Avenue, a four-lane road. It was late in the afternoon, a time defined as rush hour, with many cars on the road. Things were moving well, but I began to feel uneasy about the speed of the pack of cars I was traveling with, considering how close they were together. Most drivers in the pack that filled up the two westbound lanes were not leaving enough room to facilitate an emergency stop. Shortly after this realization I saw something that changed my uneasy feeling into a crisis preparation mode.

In those days, the average passenger car sat much lower to the ground than today. Consequently, when riding my bike, my head was situated high enough to be able to see over the top of most cars. The fact that we were still descending the gentle slope from the Highway 27 intersection, meant that I could see to the front of the pack of cars. What I saw was a car partially pulling over and stopping to let a passenger out at the bus stop.

What happened next is etched in my memory as something audible, not visual. It was the sound of skidding car tires and the multiple dull thuds of cars impacting cars. When the sound stopped, I found myself on the grass, around three feet from the curb, surprisingly to me, in an standing position. My right foot was on the ground, my left foot was still strapped into the pedal and my bike was laying on its side underneath me.

I counted three separate rear end crashes in the pack of cars, including the car that was directly beside me. There was much cursing and complaining but none of the drivers appeared to be injured, at the time. I looked down the road to see the driver who had instigated the carnage, driving away into the distance. I am sure his passenger was still standing at the bus stop. I took a quick survey of myself, and more importantly, my bike, to make sure everything was okay. I seemed to have come through this okay, much to the relief of the woman who was driving the car beside me. Examining the position of her car and its impact with the car in front of her, it appeared to me that she might have steered left, in consideration of me. Of course, that may be just wishful thinking on my part, since once the wheels were locked up in a skid, she would have had no steering control.

The rest of the ride home was not spent in any kind of shock, but a state of wonder. How did I end up out of the collision zone without knowing how I got there?

My best analysis is as follows. Once I realized that the collisions were inevitable, my brain’s focus was immediately on the escape route. This would explain why I did not actually see any of the collisions, since I was looking where I wanted to go. Logically, you would think I would steer the bike in the direction that I wanted to go. That’s not what happened. I brought the bike closely parallel to the curb, while braking, and removing my foot from the pedal (the same foot that was tightly strapped to the pedal), then used that leg to propel my body and the bike as far as I could off the road, over the curb and onto the grass.

What fascinates me about what happened is that this is not a move I had ever practiced. In fact, it never even occurred to me that move was even viable. The fact that I was able to get my foot out of the securely strapped pedal and exit the roadway, without even thinking about it convinces me that the human brain is the greatest computer ever.

So, when you are riding, or driving for that matter, always think of what could happen and think of feasible exits.

by Steve Stoller

Previous blog posts by Steve:

Cycling Chronicles Vol 7

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BikeWrx Pop-ups

BikeWrx Pop-up Events

Grab your bike and join us for a FREE Pop-up BikeWrx event for minor bike repairs, safety checks, route planning, family fun obstacle courses, group rides, and more bike fun! We will be visiting 11 locations across Brampton & Caledon, beginning at Carabram Park from July 9th – 12th. We will be hosting over 45 Pop-up events. Sign-up ahead of time and book a limited number of spots for a chance to win one of four bike prize packs as shown below. 2021 07 02 BikeWrx Pop-ups descriptions

BikeWrx pop-up prize package   BikeWrx Pop-up prize package!

BikeWrx Pop-ups

  1. Minor Bike Repair – includes things like inflating your tires, cleaning & lubricating your chain, adjusting brake pads, and anything else our team can safely accomplish in a few minutes.
  2. Safety Check – ABC quick check
  3. Route Planning & Navigating
  4. Trail Safety & Etiquette – Trail User Safety
  5. Bike Bell & Bike Light Installation

Locations, Times & Dates:

  1. Carabram Park | July 9 – 12
    1. Friday, July 9 | 5 – 7 pm
    2. Saturday, July 10 | 3 – 6 pm
    3. Sunday, July 11 | 3 – 6 pm
    4. Monday, July 12 | 5 – 7 pm
  2. Professors Lake | July 16 – 19
    1. Friday, July 16 | 5 – 7 pm
    2. Saturday, July 17 | 3 – 6 pm
    3. Sunday, July 18 | 3 – 6 pm
    4. Monday, July 19 | 5 – 7 pm
  3. Roselea Park | July 23, 25, & 26
    1. Friday, July 23rd | 5 – 7 pm
    2. Sunday, July 25th | 3 – 6 pm
    3. Monday, July 26th | 5 – 7 pm
  4. Jim Archdekin | August 6, 8, & 9
    1. Friday, August 6 | 5 – 7 pm
    2. Sunday, August 8 | 3 – 6 pm
    3. Monday, August 9 | 5 – 7 pm
  5. Creditview Park | August 13, 15, & 16th
    1. Friday, August 13 | 5 – 7 pm
    2. Sunday, August 15 | 3 – 6 pm
    3. Monday, August 16 | 5 – 7 pm
  6. Kiwanis Park | August 27 – 30
    1. Friday, August 27th | 5 – 7 pm
    2. Saturday, August 28 | 3 – 6 pm
    3. Sunday, August 29 | 3 – 6 pm
    4. Monday, August 30 | 5 – 7 pm
  7. Chris Gibson | September 3, 5, & 6
    1. Friday, September 3 | 5 – 7 pm
    2. Sunday, September 5 | 3 – 6 pm
    3. Monday, September 6 | 5 – 7 pm
  8. Gage Park
    1. TBD
  9. Chinguacousy Park September 17, 19, & 20
    1. Friday, September 17 | 5 – 7 pm
    2. Sunday, September 19 | 3 – 6 pm
    3. Monday, September 20 | 5 – 7 pm
  10. Knightsbridge Park | September 25 – 27
    1. Saturday, September 25 | 3 – 6 pm
    2. Sunday, September 26 | 3 – 6 pm
    3. Monday, September 27 | 4 – 7 pm
  11. Caledon – Exact times & locations for this fall, TBD as per Caledon’s re-opening plan

SIGN-UP HERE or follow this link: https://forms.gle/19neAakEB8CGmMG96

Pop-Up Fun Family Obstacle Course

  1. All-ages event for riders of all abilities!
  2. Explore series of bike handling obstacle courses, way-finding, and common simulated traffic situations!
  3. Learn & improve safe biking skills including helmet fitting, bike handling, braking, turning, signalling, and basic bike maintenance.
  4. Have your family’s skills assessed by a certified CAN-BIKE instructor.
  5. Helmets are strongly encouraged.

Locations, Times & Dates

  1. Roselea Park | July 24 | 3pm – 7pm
  2. Jim Archdekin | August 7 | 3pm – 7pm
  3. Creditview Park | August 14 | 3pm – 7pm
  4. Chris Gibson | September 4 | 3pm – 7pm
  5. Chinguacousy Park September 18 | 3pm – 7pm

SIGN-UP HERE or follow this link: https://forms.gle/19neAakEB8CGmMG96

Pop-Up Group Rides

Group rides are dependant on attendance and weather. Times will be selected for either the last Sunday or Monday at any BikeWrx Pop-up location. By indicating you are interested in attending group rides when signing up for our BikeWrx events, you will be added to a mailing list that announces the meet-up time, date, and locations. Alternatively, you can sign-up for location-specific dates by dropping by any of our events.

2021 BikeWrx Pop Up Workplace Safety Plan

Chinguacousy Park BikeWrx cafe

BikeWrx Pop-up, Chinguacousy Park 2020

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Cycling Chronicles Vol 7

There is one day in my life where I lived the term “foreshadow”, after being warned several times to be careful while cycling.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term foreshadow as “to be a warning or indication of future event.” Most of us will be familiar with the term from our high school literature studies.

The day was Sunday, May 3, 2020. Our community was dealing with the reality of lock down measures, as we attempted to control the effects of a global pandemic. It was one of the first weekend days of great spring-like sunny weather since the lock down had begun. People were anxious to take advantage of this weather, alone or with their families. The only problem was where to go. With stores, malls, parks, and conservation areas closed, options were limited.

Since the start of the pandemic, I had made several rides to Toronto, enjoying a marked decrease in the amount of motor vehicles on the road. On this fine weather day, I thought I would try a ride in the country, as my city rides had been less than relaxing, given the number of pedestrians and cyclists on Toronto roads. A ride in the country would be a peaceful alternative. I emailed a cycling friend, asking him to join me for the ride. Unfortunately, he had to wait for an Amazon package to be delivered to his apartment and could not go.

I headed out on my 2011 Scott Addict R1, without a particular destination or route in mind. The Scott is a professional level race bike, equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace components and Mavic Kyserium SL wheels. With the carbon fibre frame and carbon fibre parts, this 52 cm bike weighs in at 13.73 pounds, without pedals. It was from the first generation of lightweight carbon fibre bicycles.

West was the direction I picked, and I headed up to Bovaird Drive to begin my journey. I stopped off to see our goddaughter, who had very recently returned from northern Ontario. I found her sitting out in front of her mother’s house and we had a short conversation about her trip and future plans. She told me to be careful as I continued my ride.

As I headed westward on Bovaird, I paired up with another cyclist on a road bike, who had turned on Bovaird at James Potter Road. We talked about the weather, which had become punctuated by periodic strong gusts of wind, from the northwest, as we rode along to Mississauga Road. There, my fellow cyclist said he was going north and asked which way I was going. I told him I was continuing west on Bovaird, to which he said, “Be careful on that next stretch of road, a cyclist was killed there yesterday”.

As we parted ways, I thanked him for his advice and explained that was one of the reasons that I was proceeding that way, to see the scene of this tragedy. As I passed the crash site, I noticed it was just a straight section of Highway #7, near an intersecting road.

There was not much automobile traffic as I began the descent through a rock cut, into the village of Norval. What happened next was enough to bring me to a higher level of alertness. A combination of factors converged to create a scary situation. The wind gusted just as I was entering the rock cut and an SUV passed me at exactly the same time, which in combination with my speed of 52 kph and the fact that the winter sand had not been cleaned off the road yet, involuntarily moved my bike about a foot and a half to the left.

With new respect for the conditions, I continued on my ride, climbing the hill south, out of Norval on Adamson Road, and then turning west again on 10th Line Concession. This is when I realized how many people had the same idea I had on this fine day. On a normally quite rural road, I was meeting other cyclists every few minutes.

Upon reaching Highway #25, I turned south, and with a gusting northwest wind at my back, sped south, cruising at around 50 kph. Once in the town of Milton, I turned west again on Steeles Avenue, to try the challenging double switch back, climb up the escarpment. Now the roads became more crowded, with slow moving cars, cyclists, and pedestrians. People wanted to go somewhere, but there was nowhere specific to go.

I proceeded south on Old School Road to a conservation area entrance, where several people stood looking at a closed sign. Once I had taken in views at a few spots on the escarpment, I decided it was time to head eastbound, toward home. I picked a descent that I was not familiar with, on the Fourth Line. On the initial down grade, with a quarter wind behind me and no cars in sight, I shifted to a higher gear, coming to the first curve at around 40 kph, which felt a little fast, but I was able to apex the curve smoothly and came out of the curve carrying speed. The second curve, further down the hill was banked in my favour, so I was also able to carry speed through it and then the road became straight and steep off the escarpment hill. The world began whiz by as acceleration increased markedly on this section of the narrow, two lane road. At this point I briefly took my eyes off the road to look down at my cycling computer. I was surprised to see 74.3 kph. I was still accelerating.

Twenty-one minutes before I was to wake up in the back of an ambulance, I saw something that would raise the hackles on the back of my neck and slow my perception of time to a crawl. An SUV was driving up the escarpment toward me and, because of the steep slope I could see in through the windshield.  What I saw was the woman in the passenger seat pointing in the air above the escarpment, possibly at a group of circling hawks. When she did this, I saw the driver start to crane his neck to see what she was pointing at. The vehicle began gradually drifting across the centre line, into my lane.

I was in a situation that I had never been in before, in that the options were few and would most likely result in catastrophic injury or death. There was little to no shoulder on either side of the road. The ditches were deep and possibly rocky. Not a place you want to enter at almost 80 kph. The only viable options that I processed in a number of seconds, were to try and ride the broken edge of the road on my right or wait until the last possible second and steer over to the opening in the oncoming lane, as the SUV had drifted over into my lane. Hard braking at the speed I was going would most likely result in the bike going down and my body skidding along the pavement, possibly ending up under the SUV.

As the milliseconds ticked by, when I would have to commit to a course of action, suddenly the driver of the SUV stopped looking at the sky and realized he was way over the centerline and yanked the steering wheel to the right, returning to his lane, just as I whizzed by. The experience was sobering, a reminder that as a cyclist, I was not always in control of what happened on the road.

Once at the bottom of the escarpment, I spent some time watching the group of soaring, circling hawks, that had indirectly, nearly caused my demise. I then continued east through the town of Milton, leaving town on Steeles Avenue. Coming off the Highway #401 overpass, I established a comfortable cruising speed of around 35 kph, with the aid of that quarter tail wind from the northwest. Since the wind was gusty and there was still a fair amount of sand from winter road maintenance on the road, I remember riding slightly further out in the curb lane than I normally ride. I remember passing a Halton Regional Police Officer on the shoulder of the road, who was speaking to a person who was astride some kind of motorized bicycle. There was also a vehicle pulled over in front of the police cruiser, with a male driver and several kids in it. My next memory is approaching an intersection with traffic lights, which were green in my favour. I did a shoulder check as the road widened out with a dedicated right hand turn lane. This is where my memory ends.

I regained my faculties while sitting in the jump-seat in the back of an ambulance, with a paramedic sitting in the seat across from me. As I looked around, my first thoughts were that it was Sunday night, and I was in the middle of a COVID dream. I was trying to remember when I had gotten home from my bike ride and what I had eaten for supper. I was still drawing a blank on this when I noticed that the paramedic was filling out a form from a card in his hand. When he asked me my name, I realized he was reading it from the card, which I then realized was my health card.

That is when I started to take stock of my situation, I was not in pain and in fact I was very calm and peaceful. I tried to look around more but was restricted by a cervical collar. From what I could see, my left hand was covered in blood and my right arm was bandaged to my chest. My right shoulder seemed to be sticking up unnaturally. My memory of the next two hours is patchy. A sort of in and out. Later at the hospital, a doctor told me that although I was conscious at the scene of the crash, I was incoherent. I do remember, when we arrived at the hospital, which I recognized as Milton District Hospital, I was able to give the Halton Regional Police officer who met us there, a phone number to contact.

The advantage of being taken to Milton General Hospital during the pandemic, was that there was only one other patient in the emergency area, so I received immediate care. Examination, x-rays, CT scan, suturing, and clean up happened within a fairly short amount of time. My memory is patchy of these two hours, but certain things stand out, like being lifted on to the x-ray table and the CT scan machine. These two things stand out because they hurt my shoulder. The thing I remember in detail is the doctor dealing with the 5-inch gash in my head, not because it was painful, but because the doctor was complaining, “if you would have been wearing a helmet, you would still have a concussion, but I probably wouldn’t be spending all this time cleaning dirt and grit out of your head”. She was worried about being able to close this gaping gash in my head, without leaving a large trench scar. With a lot of pulling and eleven stitches, she was able to close this ravine.

Cycling Chronicles head injury

Since I had a concussion, I was assuming I would be staying the night, for observation. Apparently, I was giving them all the right answers, as I was discharged as soon as the doctor was convinced my head wound was not going start hemorrhaging again.

I was transported in a wheelchair to the sidewalk in front of the hospital, where my wife, who seemed incredibly grateful that I was alive and not crippled, was waiting with the car. She had picked up my bicycle earlier from the ambulance garage area. As we drove home every pothole and bump was felt and magnified through my injured shoulder.

As soon as we got home, I had to examine my bicycle, expecting an expensive array of shattered carbon fibre and tacoed (bent) wheels. I was completely amazed, upon initial inspection, to find the bike completely intact. The chain had skipped off but there was not even a scratch on it.

Thus started the mystery of what happened that day. Although I never regained memory of the incident, I did obtain certain information from other sources.

First, were the injuries. I sustained a concussion, caused by an impact on the right back side of my head. The impact point on my right elbow transferred the force up into my shoulder cleanly snapping my right clavicle. The impact point on my right hip caused severe bruising, but fortunately did not break my pelvis or displace the joint. The last impact point was the side of my right knee, which resulted in some skin loss. The only other marks on my body were on the back of my left hand. It was scraped along with the crystal of my watch. My cycling jersey had abrasion marks, but only on the back of the collar, indicating no prolonged skidding on asphalt.

From the injuries, I would say I was unconscious before I hit the ground.  The reason I concluded this was because the impact that snapped my collarbone was through my elbow. When a cyclist falls, instinctively they extend their arm out, to cushion the impact. This usually results in a breaking or injury to the wrist. There was no injury, or even marks on my right hand.

The question is, how did I go from riding at 35 kph to being unconscious? I could have fainted or a blow to the head could have been the cause.

My journey to find out began with the responding police officer. It turns out he was on the scene almost immediately because he was the police officer that I had passed while he was doing a traffic stop on Steeles Avenue. He did not see anything occurring himself, but he told me he would check his dashcam footage. Once he checked it, he found it was no help, as an SUV had pulled over in front of him, obscuring the view. (It turns out it was a father, with his three kids, wanting to find out where he could take his kids legally, during the pandemic lockdown.)

The police officer had provided me with the phone number of the woman who had found me beside the road. She was incredibly happy to hear that I was alive and well. She had seen me by chance, she explained, as she had missed the turn into Walmart. Upon executing a U-turn on Steeles Avenue, she saw me lying by the roadside. Her first thought, as she approached me, was that I was dead. I was lying on my back and my head was surrounded by a large pool of blood. She called out to me several times and I did not respond. She then began a CPR protocol by shaking my shoulder. At this time, to her relief, my eyes opened. She then called 911 and in a short time, aid was on the scene. She did tell me that she found my sunglasses and water bottle out in the curb lane, and she picked them up. She was very worried about my health, asking me if I had to have a blood transfusion, due to the amount of blood she thought I lost at the scene.

During my convalescence, hope that I would regain some memory of the event never did materialize. Even when I visited the site, months later, it did not look like I envisioned in my mind’s eye.

I have since resigned myself to the fact that I will never regain the memory of the event.

One of the clues of what happened was found on the back of my head. At the base of the gash on my head was a perfectly round impression, approximately two inches across. When I was there, I could not see anything that would leave an impression like that, on the shoulder of the road. Of course, I did not know the exact place where I came to rest. The fact that my bicycle had no marks or scratches on it suggests that my pedals did not release, I took the bicycle with me, and my body protected it. I also had a camera in a case, that was strapped around my waist. The camera case was resting on the small of my back and was undamaged.

The other possibility of me passing out while riding cannot be discounted. I have an opinion from an anesthesiologist from Hamilton General Hospital (whose son is a provincial level mountain bike racer) that a combination of dehydration and effort, could have resulted in me passing out, while riding at 35 kph. Although I cannot completely discount this opinion, looking at the position of my head wound, the fact that I was not really hammering hard at the time, and the fact that there were no marks on my bike to indicate that it had impacted anything, I am less likely to consider this as viable.

Given the facts that I have presented, I will leave it to the reader to form their own conclusions.

I have always considered myself lucky, as I have not really dealt with any serious health issues or injuries in my life. The fact that I came through this incident, after convalescence, with no permanent damage is not lost on me. The fact that I was knocked out cold for an indeterminate amount of time, yet did not sustain any lingering concussion issues is amazing. The fact that I received almost immediate aid may be part of the reason I came through this so well.

I returned to bicycle riding as soon as it was viable and safe to do so. As far as I can see, there have been no permanent physical problems because of this crash. Initially, I encountered minor psychological trepidation when I started riding again, which subsided with time. The fact that I have no memory of the incident, I believe helped in this regard.

At the present day, I continue to enjoy riding bicycles, as I have for over 50 years, and consider this incident another chapter in The Cycling Chronicles.

There were other stories, but they are for another time. Story by Steve Stoller.

Cycling Chronicles Vol 6

Cycling Chronicles Vol 5

Cycling Chronicles Vol 4

Cycling Chronicles Vol 3

Cycling Chronicles Vol 2

Cycling Chronicles Vol 1

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Buying a Used Bike

Buying a Used Bike

Have you had sticker shock when buying a used bike? Bike mechanic Gerald Pyjor offers these tips on getting value for your purchase.

Prices for used bikes have risen dramatically in the past year. High demand is the reason. A quick search of online marketplaces turns up several results of prices that are unrealistic to me. Here are a few tips of what to look at when you are buying a used bike.

You could be buying a bike that has been used just a few times, or something that has been ridden the equivalent of across the country.  Since you are spending your hard earned money on a bike, it would be nice to get value, and not be taken advantage of by someone trying to make a quick buck.

Let’s start at the wheels

Look at the hubs in the next two images. They should be clean. Rust-free is a bonus. If you notice dried out, discoloured grease, ie brown stains, that’s a sign that the hub and the grease inside is old. What that means is the hub needs to be overhauled, to allow it to spin freely and not cause any premature wear.

buying a used bike 1

buying a used bike 2

While you are checking out the hubs, pick up the bike and spin the wheels. They should spin freely, with no noticeable binding. The wheel should continue to spin and not stop prematurely. If the wheel is rubbing against the brakes, it will stop, and not spin freely. The wheel should also look straight, while you are spinning it. If it’s wobbling or hopping, your wheels need to be ‘trued’ (straightened). It can also be an indication that the wheel has received a good hit.  Check for broken spokes and damage to the rim. Not all wheel truing issues result from an impact. Some are just the sign of poor manufacturing or lazy assembly.

Next, let’s look at the Cables. Are they rusty?

This includes derailleur, or brake cables. They should work smoothly, without binding. Ideally, they should not be frayed. The end on this cable is frayed, but this is cosmetic and shouldn’t affect shifting. But watch out for those pointy wires… ouch!

buying a used bike 3

Cable needs a cable end to prevent a puncture wound.

Bent Chainrings

Spin the crank arms (pedals) and observe the chainrings as they spin. They should spin true. A warp could indicate damage or poor shifting practises.

Look at the condition of the drivetrain, chain, cassette, derailleurs and jockey wheels. Ideally they should be clean, rust free, and free from obvious signs of damage.  The cassette should be clean, with no build up of grease or gunk. A sign of how the bike was treated, or how much riding it has had without maintenance will reveal itself with gunk build up.

buying a used bike 4

Chainrings, and a little surface rust on the derailleur.

buying a used bike 5

Excess grease and gunk built up on the back of the derailleur. Should be clean and re-lubed

buying a used bike 6

Nice and clean brake

buying a used bike 7

Signs of old and dried out shifter grease 

Dents in the frame or cracked welds

If you see a visible crack in any weld, the frame is toast, turn and walk away. Dents are less catastrophic, unless they are significant.

Tires

Look for worn spots, flat spots, cracks in the sidewalls. This is a sign of old rubber, and eventual failure.

Take the bike for a test ride

Try shifting the gears. The bike should shift smoothly, and sound smooth. The brakes should also work well. The lever shouldn’t touch the handle bar when a brake application is made. The brakes shouldn’t pulsate or rub. While shifting, the gears shouldn’t jump or skip.

Wheel Spokes

Look for rusty spokes and nipples.  This shows the age of the bike or where and when it was ridden.  Rusty, corroded spokes can make it difficult to true the wheel. Corrosion could be a fatal flaw of the wheel, rendering it not fixable.

buying a used bike 8

These rusty spoke nipples are going it make it almost impossible to true this wheel.

buying a used bike 9

Nice and clean rear cassette and chain

So, what does this all mean?

Basically, these are clues and bargaining chips for your purchase. These clues should give you more knowledge to substantiate the seller’s claims. No guarantee, but these tips should make it easier to spot a decent bike and avoid one that will cost you more.

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Streets for People

Streets for People

Turning the pyramid on its end, Brampton proclaimed Streets for People. Brampton’s 2040 Vision stated civic sustainability emphasizes walking, then cycling, then transit, and finally vehicles.

Transportation Priority pyramid

City of Brampton’s 29.3 km of new bike facilites for 2021 has been announced with a flurry of ‘bike lane coming soon’ signs for 17 roads. Building on the 19.7 km of infrastructure from 2020, Brampton is creating a solid cycling network that will encourage more people to shift to the bicycle for their transportation choice.

Streets for People road sign

BikeBrampton shares good news with the Media

BikeBrampton Chair David Laing was interviewed for Brampton Guardian article by Clarrie Feinstein on May 14th.

Streets for People -David Laing

BikeBrampton reviews bike lanes coming to Glenvale Blvd Video

This video formed a follow-up delegation to Brampton Council on May 19th.

Streets for People Bike Lanes Delegation to Brampton Cycling Advisory Committee

2021 Streets for People Bike Lanes – BCAC

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Cycling Chronicles Vol 6

When we talk about epic struggles, like man versus mountain, we must realize that in this conflict, the mountain does not care. The mountain is just there, looming.

“There was a time in this fair land when the railroad did not run. When the wild majestic mountains stood alone against the sun” – Canadian Railroad Trilogy,  by Gordon Lightfoot

Man is just an insignificant speck with a manufactured personal challenge to scale the mountain. Whether man succeeds depends less on the mountain and more on how truthful the man is about his own abilities.

In the high mountains there is always the wild card, the unknowable, and that is the weather.

In the early September 1993, I was doing an assisted tour across the province of British Columbia. My companion was driving a rental car and we would meet at predetermined spots along the route. The beauty of this was that I could ride with the freedom of minimal gear on the bike. My bike at the time was a Miyata Ti6000. This was a blended tubing bike, with the Ti denoting titanium tubes, in the main triangle, while the 6000 denoted an aluminum alloy in the front forks and rear stays. This bike was considered light for the day. A gel infused saddle, longer wheelbase, and a slight flex in the frame, combined to make it a comfortable all-day bicycle. It had no mounts for racks or fenders, so it was definitely not designed for touring. The Shimano Ultegra gearing had standard ratios, so it was a good thing I was not hauling full touring gear over the mountains.

The challenge was to ride from Lake Louise, Alberta to Vancouver, British Columbia in as few days of riding as possible. I had taken a rest day in Kelowna and was raring to get back on the road again. The temperature on the rest day had hovered around 34 degrees Celsius, which felt like it was sapping my energy. So, I was encouraged by the slightly cooler temperatures the next morning and I knew things would be more comfortable once I headed into the mountains.

I had decided the night before, to change my original planned route, from the longer, less direct, southern route on Crowsnest Highway to the relatively new Coquihalla Highway. The ‘Coq’ had been built in the late 1980s to do specifically that, save time and distance crossing the mountains. Previously, the roads, like the railway, would use the lower passes to get across the mountain range. Consequently, the newer highway was more direct and there were fewer towns and settlements along its length. The fact that it rose high into the mountains effected the conditions in winter, to such an extent that a modern television show has been produced about the heavy wreckers who patrol the Coq called “Highway Thru Hell”.

The day started off gorgeous as I pedalled the 138 kilometres from Kelowna to Merritt, joined Route 97C leading to route 5A, high into the mountains. As the morning progressed the road began to tip up. I got used to a constant subtle grade as the day wore on. Although I got used to it physically, the psychological aspect of climbing, kilometre after kilometre, with no end in sight, was daunting.

My visual reference points were mountain peaks in the distance. Gradually, after what seemed like an eternity, I realized that instead of looking up at those mountain peaks, I was looking across at them. After over 50 kilometres of climbing, I was high in the mountains. The air had become gradually cooler over the climb and some cloud cover had developed. Then the worst scenario occurred.

Rogers Pass

Steve Stoller at the highest point, Rogers Pass

The wind picked up, a gusty head wind, and it began to sleet. At a previous rest stop, I had met my companion with the rental car and changed into the warmest cycling clothes I had – an Adidas nylon jacket and track pants. In those days, I did not have any of the high-tech cycling clothing that we take for granted today.

Things got worse, the head wind picked up more and the driving ice crystals and snow stung any exposed skin. Through squinting eyes, I could see that I was able to look across at the tops of other mountains and the climb was finally over.

However, there was still at least 10 kilometres of exposed road into Merritt. The front of my body was coated in snow and ice, my hands felt like they were frozen to the handlebars. At the next pull over spot, upon consultation with my travelling companion, I reluctantly conceded to the mountains. The bike was disassembled and put in the car, and I warmed up in the passenger seat for the remaining kilometres into the logging town of Merritt.

The next day, the early morning sunshine created a different environment in the mountains. It was still cool in the high mountains, but I was comfortable on the decent, as I headed for the next stop, 213 kilometres away, in Mission, British Columbia.

The thing about the Coquihalla Highway is that it was designed as a modern, safe, highway slicing through the wilderness. The shoulders are as wide as a car lane and the ditches are cut back to tall continuous fences that are designed to keep wildlife off the highway. There are several tunnels under the road to allow wildlife to cross underneath the highway. I shared the road with vehicles travelling at highway speeds of 120 km/hr, yet I felt comfortable.

At that time, with the highway being relatively new, the shoulder where I was riding, was as smooth as a billiard table. As I cashed in on the climbing I had done the day before, I descended long sections at up to 80 kilometres an hour for extended periods. This appeared to be the governed speed, according to how long I could hold an aerodynamic tuck, with the parachute like flapping of my clothes holding me back. The speed was easily modulated by raising my body slightly to catch wind against my chest. Since the road was mostly straight with very gradual curves, there were no periods of drama. There was little need to even touch the brakes.

Coquihalla descent

The Coquihalla descent

What I learned that day about velocity on a bicycle, is that it is all relative. With a wide, straight, smooth road and no hazards, 80 kilometres per hour does not feel excessively fast. The whole trip gave me an extreme appreciation of being among the majesty of the mountains, as well as respect for the power of nature.

The Last Spike

The Last Spike

There were other stories to come out of this cycling adventure, but they are for another time. Story by Steve Stoller.

Cycling Chronicles Vol 5

Cycling Chronicles Vol 4

Cycling Chronicles Vol 3

Cycling Chronicles Vol 2

Cycling Chronicles Vol 1

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Trail Etiquette

Cyclists and pedestrians must safely share the trail. Here are tips for user comfort.

City of Brampton has prepared these tips. “Brampton is a HEALTHY and SAFE city”.

Cyclists: 

  1. Pass to the left
  2. Keep speed low
  3. Be careful around children and groups
  4. Be courteous
  5. Ring bell or yell

Pedestrians:

  1. Do not block the path
  2. Watch for other users
  3. Stay to the right of the path
  4. Dogs must be on a leash

Cyclists Ride Safely


Ring your bell or call out

It’s the law in Ontario to have a bell or horn!

Slow down and ring the bell well in advance of pedestrians so they have time to move to the right of the path. If they don’t appear to hear, ring it again and call out “passing on your left”. You don’t want people startled or to jump out in front of the bike.

Our trails meander through ravines with ‘blind’ corners. If you can’t see around the bend, ring your bell to warn pedestrians you are coming.

If you don’t have a bell, check out Brampton Bike Hub or Caledon Bike Hub for information on our BikeWrx Pop-up Café schedule (as per COVID-19 restrictions). A limited number of FREE bells will be available, compliments of Region of Peel Walk and Roll.

Watch your Speed

Recreational Trail speeds in Brampton are 8 km/hr!

If you are an experienced cyclist, you need to ride very slowly on the trails.

If you want to cycle faster, select a road to your comfort level. Brampton has roads with lower volumes of traffic and many new bike lanes. Check your route on Google maps to select a route to your liking. Check Brampton Trail Maps and Bike Routes.

If you are a newer or less confident cyclist, consider registering for our FREE Pedalwise program.

Pedestrians have the Right of Way

You must slow down and yield to pedestrians. They are the most vulnerable trail and road users.

No Littering!

Deposit your waste in the City’s garbage cans along the trail. If your waste is recyclable, do the right thing by taking it home to your own recycling bin. Let’s keep Brampton green and clean!

Other Useful Cycling Safety Tips

BikeBrampton displays Trail User Safety

BikeBrampton members display City of Brampton’s Trail User Safety poster at BikeWrx Pop-up Café in Chinguacousy Park, 2020.

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Second Spring with COVID-19

One year later, we’re into the Second Spring with COVID-19.

Congratulations Brampton! We’ve passed the first anniversary of living with a pandemic. The oppression and monotony of last year’s lockdowns made palatable only because we were able to get outside. For exercise, for recreation or merely to get from one place to another, people started walking or biking in this City like never before.

The City responded quickly to the demand. More space was made available for pedestrians and cyclists. The existing park paths were kept open and new trails were built. The City also initiated a “Streets for People” campaign, installing new bike lanes along underutilized roads. These lanes provide comfort and convenience for cyclists. They also add much needed safety for all vulnerable road users, slowing traffic, reducing the number and severity of crashes resulting in fewer people hurt or killed. Who knew that Brampton could become a kinder and gentler place because of a pandemic?

As we approach our second COVID-19 spring, a bit of optimism is in the air mixing with the promise of warmer weather and vaccines in many arms. With the danger lessening, and the prospect of returning to some semblance of pre-pandemic times, let’s keep the increased popularity of walking and biking as part of the new normal. Brampton will be a better place for all of us if we do.

David Laing – Chair, BikeBrampton


Ready to ride a bike? Want to learn basic repair skills to maintain your bike? It’s FREE!

Check out our #BikeWrx and #Pedalwise programs at the Brampton Bike Hub and the Caledon Bike Hub.

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