BikeWrx 2021 Successes

Brampton Bike Hub and Caledon Bike Hub exceeded their program goals with 46 BikeWrx pop-up events.

120 hours were provided to 2,348 residents across 17 locations over 4 months.

BikeBrampton and PCHS have delivered Year Three of Region of Peel’s Community Cycling Program. In March 2021, we welcomed full time Program Manager, Sonia Maset, to take up the mantle of designing and implementing this ambitious program. Sonia excelled at hiring summer students and acquiring eager volunteers to support the pop-ups.

Check out the impressive 2021 11 12 Year Three Interim Report – Final which covers activities from March through October 2021.

BikeWrx pop-up Bramalea Secondary

Bramalea Secondary School BikeWrx Pop-up, Principal Fraser Kidd, Vice-Principal Stafford Lowe, Sept 24th

Venues for the program’s activities have been generously provided by PCHS, City of Brampton, Town of Caledon, Heart Lake Baptist Church, and Bramalea Secondary School.

Services at these events included free Region of Peel bike bell and light installation, ABC Quick checks, basic repairs, bike and helmet fittings, route planning, trail etiquette, 8 group rides, 7 obstacle courses, and one-on-one rider education.

Continuing to offer these services in 2021 not only allowed us to significantly enhance visibility, but to also reach residents who otherwise would have remained unaware of the community cycling services available within the Brampton and Caledon communities. Over the course of the season, we estimate to have installed over a thousand bells/lights and provided mechanical evaluation and tune-ups to over 1,852 bikes.

A tremendous amount of time and energy was devoted to making these events a success. As of August 30th, 103 volunteers and staff contributed over 1,080 hours to the delivery of pop-ups alone. 59 of these volunteers were recruited through the Volunteer Resources Team from the Region of Peel, with 9 returning multiple times. Having Region of Peel Volunteers also provided a unique opportunity to train and educate additional residents on basic bike mechanics as well as more in-depth practical cycling education over the two-to-threehour Pop-Up sessions. The core team delivering pop-ups grew from 11 at the beginning of the summer to 29 near the end. Many of these new volunteers are high-school aged and eager to develop their mechanical and practical riding skills.

BikeWrx pop-up Mayor Brown

Mayor Patrick Brown, Councillor Charmaine Williams, their families, Grupo Bimbo volunteers, BikeBrampton volunteers at Brampton Bike Hub BikeWrx pop-up, Chinguacousy Park, Sep 18th.

The goal for the season was also to deliver all equipment for events in Brampton by bicycle.

WIKE bike cargo trailer

Thanks to a generous donation from Grupo Bimbo (Canada Bread), the program acquired and customized 2 bike cargo trailers from local Guelph manufacturing company, WIKE.

Thank you to our part-time Summer Students Avani, Anandi, Joshua, and Owen who hauled 60-75kg of equipment rain or shine and showed us how capable bicycles truly are!

At the start of the season, students participated in a brief 2-hour on-road training courtesy of mentors Lisa and Steve to prepare them for the long hauls ahead. Equipment for these events was graciously stored in the garages, sheds, and backyards of Dennis, Lucie, Indra, Steve, Alina, Heidi, and Yvon, as well as at the bike cage in 50 Sunny Meadow Blvd.

With many new volunteers living close to Professors Lake and Carabram Parks, riding to and from these events provided a unique opportunity to overlap mentorship program to some of the volunteers helping at events. With many returning volunteers, group rides were arranged both to events as well as the “haul houses” where equipment was being stored. Great work to Sanjana, Morgan, Avani, Anandi, Tejvinder, Vasanth, Krishna, Kapil, Tahmoor, and Yash who accompanied us on over 20 rides throughout the season!

Caledon Bike Hub BikeWrx pop-up

Caledon Bike Hub Inglewood BikeWrx pop-up, Oct 8th

Youtube Videos on Cycling Safety:

Be HeardBe AwareBe PredictableBe SeenBe CourteousBe ComfortableABC Quick CheckKids talk about Biking Video

BikeWrx Group Ride, Main St

BikeWrx Group Ride — Lisa, David and Dayle guided participants on group ride down the Main Street bike lane, Sept 6th.

BikeWrx Obstacle Course

BikeWrx Obstacle Course & Grupo Bimbo sponsored WIKE cargo bike trailer, Chris Gibson, Sept 4th

BikeWrx Obstacle Course instruction

BikeWrx Obstacle Course instruction by staff summer student, Chris Gibson, Sept 4th

Bike Library

44 bikes were borrowed and 27 junior size bikes were donated to Massey Street Public School for their Bike Swap program in June. Another 23 adult bikes were donated in October for Massey’s collaborative Fix-a-thon event next spring.

Brampton Bike Hub cage

Program Manager Sonia Maset at Brampton Bike Hub bike cage with loaded cargo bike trailer and City of Brampton Trail User Safety poster

This is a brief summary of the 2021 activities. Read the full 2021 11 12 Year Three Interim Report – Final

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Cycling Chronicles Vol 10

Variations in speed are felt to a much greater degree on a bicycle than any other form of transportation.

When you have the “hammer down”, using human power to propel yourself faster than a horse and rider, and even some of the early automobiles, you feel at one with your bicycle and the road.

At higher speeds on a bicycle, you end up making small inputs to the handlebars to pilot yourself on the smoothest portions of asphalt, all in an effort to maintain your speed with the least amount of resistance and interruption of pedal cadence. On a modern racing bike, with 700 – 23 mm tires pumped up to 120 pounds per square inch, your connection with the road is limited to two contact patches, each roughly the size of your thumb print. This, combined with the quick handling of a racing bike means you can track the smoothest line on the road, if you are relaxed, but concentrating.

If speed is your goal on a bicycle, you must realize that being in a group of like-minded cyclists will result in a higher average speed over a longer distance. The simple aerodynamics of drafting is the reason. As one of the most energy efficient machines ever invented, once rolling resistance is overcome with high pressure tires and high-quality wheel bearings, it is basically you versus wind resistance. Of course, climbing a hill places gravity into the equation.

A lesson in how much faster a group can be over a single rider was illustrated to me in the mid 1990’s when I entered a bicycle race. Although I had raced before, competitive bicycle racing was not something that drew me to the sport. I was more of a cyclist who loved the freedom of exploring by bike. Consequently, at this time, I had no measure of how fast I was compared to other cyclists.

The organization where I worked with was eligible to send competitors to a national championship. This championship location would rotate every few years, and this particular year it was being held in the nation’s capital. Since I had never competed in these games before, I had no idea what to expect. I made our hotel reservations and set about establishing a training routine.  Besides some longer rides to Toronto, this routine consisted mainly of repetitious circuits around roads in the industrial areas of Brampton. I would interject four minutes of high effort into each lap. I was worried about a lack of hill training in my repertoire but, as it turned out, it did not matter.

At the time I was riding the Shimano Ultegra equipped Miyata Ti6000. This bike was unique, in that the frame was not welded, but glued together using pressurized adhesive. The cast aluminium lugs were bonded to the tubing. It consisted of titanium tubes in the main triangle and 6000 series aluminium tubes for the rear triangle and the front forks. This combined to create a light but compliant frame. The package was rounded out by a set of Wolber TX Profil aero rims, and a gel infused saddle. By this time brake mounted shifters had been on the scene for a few years, however this bike still had down tube mounted indexed shifters.

The night before the race did not prove a restful one for me at the host hotel. A combination of nerves over the unknown competition I would be facing, and the partying antics of athletes from other sports, resulted in a fitful sleep.

The day of the competition dawned as a gray day, with a low cloud ceiling. My companion and I headed to the meeting spot, south of the Ottawa airport. The race was to be run as four laps around two rural concession blocks. The distance, according to organizers, measured 52 kilometres. The only other instructions were that a van would be used as a lead vehicle, and to be careful on the corners, because although they had been swept in preparation, there could still be loose gravel on them.

Fourteen riders assembled at the start line and an official’s arm was dropped to start the race. Almost on cue, a drizzle started, which changed to light rain, and then heavy rain. Eventually, it was raining so hard that I could see raindrops bouncing back up off the pavement. We were off, in the pouring rain.

I hung back going into the first ninety-degree corner. The wet conditions, combined with the fact that I was racing with cyclists of differing abilities and experience, was the reason for my trepidation. It turned out to be an unwise move, as, coming out of the turn, the first four riders pushed the pace and opened a gap immediately. I gave it all I had to get through the group and catch up to the breakaway, as I realized this was crucial.

As I caught up to the four lead riders and tried to shelter amongst them to take a short rest, something happened that still plays in my memory as a slow-motion video. As I sheltered in the draft and concentrated on catching my breath, the lead rider faded out a little to the right, in order to take a drink from his water bottle. As he pulled the water bottle from the cage on his down tube, the cage came with the bottle, snapping off from the frame mounts. The cage dislodged from the bottle and arced through the air, making a metallic ringing, as it hit the asphalt between us. The laws of physics dictated that the water bottle cage was going slightly slower than us as it danced along the pavement toward me. I immediately realized what the danger was, although I could do nothing to change the outcome. At the speed we were going, if the metal bottle cage snagged into the spokes of my front or back wheel, my race would have a painful end, not to mention the one or two riders I would end up taking down with me. Miraculously, I watched as the cage bounced across the road right under my bottom bracket, eventually landing on the gravel shoulder, to my left.

The breakaway succeeded, as our group of five was pulling away from the other riders. After about a kilometre, one of the riders fell off the extreme pace. That left four of us in the breakaway pack. We settled into a tight unit, working closely together, taking turns pulling at the front.

It was far from pleasant. The effort was hard. The everyone’s wheels sent up large rooster tails of water, making close drafting impossible due to obscuring of the following rider’s vision. I settled on a technique of drafting about eight inches to the right of the rider ahead of me. This resulted in most of the spray hitting my right shoulder. It was uncomfortable, but at least I had some forward vision. It was raining so hard and so much spray was being kicked up that, at times I had to look for the red taillights of the lead vehicle to maintain a reference point. Within a short time, I was as wet as if I had jumped in a swimming pool, my handlebars were so wet that my hands were sliding around on them. Tired of spending so much energy getting back up to race pace, after slowing down for the ninety-degree corners, I thought I would try carrying more speed into the corner. This was a mistake, as I felt my back tire begin to slide out from underneath me. With a slight steering correction, I maintained my balance, but learned my lesson about how much water was on the road.

Just before we crossed the start/ finish line to begin the last circuit, one of our group of four made a move to breakaway. I glanced at the other two riders, who both seemed unwilling to respond. I had seen the rider who was breaking away, talking to one of the riders in our group before the race. This conjured up the idea in my mind that this was their strategy and perhaps they were in cahoots. I had no choice, I had to pursue the break away rider by myself. Again, I was forced to put in a hard effort, but I eventually I caught up with him. To my surprise, shortly after I got on his back wheel, he sat up in the saddle as a sign of defeat and exhaustion. He began to soft pedal and immediately fell off the pace.

We were still around twelve kilometres from the finish. I knew I would blow up trying to maintain that speed, riding on my own, so I slackened the pace a little, until the other two caught up. Now it was a tactical race with two other opponents. I learned after the race, that they were Dennis, a provincial class triathlete from Hamilton and Manny, a former category two bicycle racer from Waterloo.

We continued with an elevated race pace, frequently changing the lead to keep the pace high, riding extremely close together, as the conditions would allow. We were still working closely together as we came down to the last three kilometres. Since I had never considered myself a sprinter, I did not think my chances were good if all three of us came to the finish line together. My opportunity came while I was pulling at the front. From the drop handlebar position, I looked under my arm and saw Dennis looking at Manny, behind him. I hammered the pedals going down a slight dip in the road and brought my speed up. To my surprise, when I looked down at my bike computer, it was reading 52 kph. I had never ridden that fast on a flat road.

Unfortunately, my strategy did not work, Dennis had been alert, and made the effort to get back on my wheel, with Manny, struggling a bit to stay on Dennis’s wheel. I stayed at the front, thinking this was going to come down to the line, however, Dennis surprised both Manny and me by turning wide on the last right-hand turn, riding a line by the edge of the pavement on the left-hand side of the road. Dennis had the hammer down and I would have to ride across the road while accelerating, to get on his back wheel. As I was trying to accelerate, I realized the slight grade of the road combined with the fatigue in my legs, meant that I could not spin up the gear I was in. The logical move would have been to downshift, however, the fact that I was already bogging down a little and my bike had down tube mounted shifters, meant that that opportunity was irrelevant. I ended up picking up the pace enough to follow Dennis over the finish line by about three bike lengths. Manny had been unable to match the pace coming out of the last corner and pedaled in about 200 metres behind us.

I glided down the road, after the finish line, feeling the exhaustion of the effort. As I turned around and headed back to the small crowd at the finish line, I passed Manny coming the other way. Contrary to what I expected, because he wasn’t there to vie at the finish line, Manny was smiling and laughing, pointing to his bike computer. What he was looking at was the fruits of our effort together. We had ridden 57 kilometres, in the pouring rain, at an average speed of 43 kph. Pretty good for a bunch of amateur bicycle racers. This made me feel quite elated and see the humour in the fact that my legs were like rubber and could hardly hold me up once I got off the bike.

Later, as we got changed at a recreation centre washroom, before the medal presentation, we laughed at the conditions we had just raced in. My socks felt like they weighed a pound apiece, my jersey and shorts had to be wrung out in the sink, my bicycle was mostly devoid of any lubrication. The seat was starting to come apart, after being soaked in water.

I still maintain the pride about our performance during this race, although it was dampened when the organizing body published the results in a newsletter a month later. The statistics showed the three of us finishing a 52 kilometre race in two hours and nineteen minutes. They had added an hour and reported the original distance for the race.

The bottom line is Dennis, Manny and I knew we each had one of the best races of our lives, that day in the pouring rain.

by Steve Stoller

Previous blog posts by Steve:

Cycling Chronicles Vol 9

Cycling Chronicles Vol 8

Cycling Chronicles Vol 7

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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Cycling Chronicles Vol 9

You may not think that physics has much to do with bike riding. Staying upright on a bicycle is a lesson in physics and mastering of balance points.

The amazing thing is that once these principles are learned, usually as a young child, they become ingrained and are never really forgotten. This universal truth is well recognized, and it has made its way into our general lexicon of phrases. Who has not heard the phrase “It’s just like riding a bicycle”? The inference is that once you learn to ride a bicycle, it is something you carry with you the rest of your life.

The real physics of bicycle riding is more complex than most riders realize. Maintaining a straight line while riding a bike seems almost natural and effortless. In reality, your brain is almost subconsciously sending messages to muscles in your arms and hips to make micro corrections that result in the bicycle maintaining a straight line.

This is one of the aspects of cycling that has garnered my attention, especially since, more recently, I have been involved in teaching adults to ride bicycles for the first time.

A number of years ago, through conversations I had with a number of cyclists, who rode mainly in the urban setting of Toronto, I thought I could come up with a set of general rules for cyclists, that would result in less likelihood of collisions with motor vehicles. I surmised that the safest way of thinking, for a vulnerable road user, was to apply the rules of physics to defensive riding techniques. One of the major cornerstones to my theory was that “two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time”. On a ride in Toronto, one summer afternoon, this rule was proved wrong.

On that particular day, I was riding up Yonge Street, after spending some time in the downtown core. I was riding a 2000 Giant TCR1. Its ground-breaking proprietary CU92 aluminum frame was ultra light for the time, and very responsive for urban riding. Although equipped with slightly lower level Shimano Ultegra parts, the frame was rumoured to be the same one that a successful top tier European professional team was using.

It was later in the afternoon, so the automobile traffic was dense. I was intending to take Yonge Street north and then head west on Wilson Avenue to return to Brampton. Above Lawrence Avenue, because of lack of parked cars, the curb lane opened up. I accelerated into this gap, bringing my speed up, equivalent to the traffic flow.

What happened next, can only be described as an error in judgement. Not by me but by the driver of a Cadillac Escalade. This vehicle accelerated in a right hand turn from a side street into the northbound Yonge Street curb lane. This was the same lane in which I was still accelerating. It would have been close either way, but then another factor entered the mix, that neither of us expected. Traffic came to a sudden stop. The Escalade jerked to a stop halfway through the turn.

Later in my life, I found this moment was incredibly well depicted by the director of a 2012 movie called “Premium Rush”. This movie was about the ultra competitive, pell-mell lives of New York City bike couriers. The telling depiction was the slowing down of time during moments of eminent collision. Time slows down in your mind, as you visualize and evaluate each of your options. If I braked hard, and continued straight, I would skid into the rear of the car in front of me. There was no option to the left, as the cars were too close together. The big SUV blocked any option to the right, as it was half in the curb lane and half on the side street.

The decision was made in a fraction of a second, to continue straight and turn right, at the same time. Without touching the brakes, I leaned the bike over to the left. At the same time, I leaned my body to the right, slightly turning the handlebars to the right. I was actually able to squeeze through the small gap between the front of the SUV and the back-right corner of the car in front of me. My tires tracked a line on the pavement underneath the front bumper of the Escalade, while my right shoulder brushed by the headlight. For a moment, my bike and I were occupying the same space as the Cadillac, and then I was through the small gap and off to finish my ride.

How I managed to get through this situation, without a scratch, is incredible. I also think I could not replicate that move, at that speed, without disastrous results, ever again. Yet it happened, seemingly without me pre-planning or even thinking about it. Since that day, I chalk this one up to the incredible power of the human brain and, of course, the physics of bicycle riding.

by Steve Stoller

Previous blog posts by Steve:

Cycling Chronicles Vol 8

Cycling Chronicles Vol 7

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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 15 locations across Brampton & Caledon. 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.

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. 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
  9. Knightsbridge Park | September 25 – 27
    1. Saturday, September 25 | 10:30 am – 1:30 pm
    2. Sunday, September 26 | 3 – 6 pm
    3. Monday, September 27 | 5 – 7 pm
  10. Fred Kline Park, Brampton – October 15, 17 & 18
    1. Friday, October 15, 4 – 6 pm
    2. Sunday, October 17, 3 – 6 pm
    3. Monday, October 18, 4 – 6 pm
  11. Farmers Market, Ken Whillans Square, Brampton – October 23, 8 am – 1 pm
  12. Inglewood, Caledon, Caledon Trailway – October 8, 4 – 6 pm
  13. Caledon East, Caledon Trailway, just west of Airport Rd – October 10 – 11
    1. Sunday, October 10, 3 – 6 pm
    2. Monday, October 11, 4 – 6 pm
  14. Foundry Park, Bolton – October 16, 3 – 6 pm
  15. Resilient Palgrave Eco-Fair, October 30, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

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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