Rubbermaid Bike Trailer

Rubbermaid Bike TrailerOn Friday I put together my newest bike cargo trailer. Actually, the only new part of it is the big blue Rubbermaid box. The trailer frame, wheels, and hitch are all part of the Bike Friday / BicycleR Evolution trailer that I got with my folding bike.

Since I bought the Rubbermaid bin at Zellers out in the boonies of Mississauga (near work), I had to get it home. So on Friday I just brought the trailer pieces and a drill to work inside a pannier. After work, I drilled some holes in the bin, and then put everything together outside at the bike rack. Voila! Now I could ride home with my new trailer.

I really like the BicycleR Evolution trailer system, for quite a number of reasons: 1) The hitch is made from high-pressure hose connectors, so it's strong and very easy to quickly connect/disconnect. 2) The frame and wheels can be broken down into a very small size for transporting elsewhere. 3) No tools are required for putting the trailer together or attaching it to a bike. 4) You can buy extra hitches to make the trailer useable with almost any bike. 5) You can use the basic frame for many different purposes. I now have the Bike Friday suitcase trailer, and my Rubbermaid trailer, but I can also turn it into a flatbed trailer simply by attaching a board, or attaching various other sizes of boxes, depending on my needs.

I'm looking forward to using this trailer frequently, especially when I want to haul things that wouldn't fit easily in my panniers.

More photos here.

Ice Bike '07

Ice RacerOn Saturday Night Jen and I went down to Dufferin Grove Park (West end, Toronto) for the annual Ice Bike races on the outdoor arenas (poster). We were there mainly as spectators to watch and cheer on the racers with their home-made studded tires flying around the track. I joined in on the final "rubber class" race at the end, where lots of people piled onto the ice and did laps while trying not to fall and crash into each other (without much success!).

Some people from the Georgian Bents recumbent group came down for the races with their flashy recumbent trikes/sleds to add some more spice to it all.

What a fun night. I can't believe I missed the races last year....definitely looking forward to next year already!

Quite a few people took photos and videos of this event. Here's what I've found so far:

Another Darlington Mini-Tour

Vic on the Streetmachine near Rouge RiverRepeating a short weekend bike tour I did in June, Jen and I took off east of Toronto for the weekend. With our bikes loaded with camping gear, we hopped a Friday evening GO Train to Oshawa and then rode to Darlington Provincial Park.

We camped at the park Friday and Saturday night. On Saturday we did a day trip to Port Hope, about 50km away, and then rode back to Toronto on Sunday. I had a great time doing this little tour again, and Jen seemed to enjoy it too!

We were thinking that next summer, preferably in June when we have the most daylight, it would be fun to get a whole bunch of cyclists to do this trip together. The Saturday ride loop can be shortened or lengthened to accomodate different riding preferences, and when riding back to Toronto on Sunday people can bail out at the Pickering GO station, or a TTC station once we get back to the city. I will probably start planning this next spring!

Plenty of photos and ramblings about this trip can be found, starting here.

Vancouver Critical Mass Ride, August 2006

Bike Lift on Burrard BridgeI was in Vancouver for a couple of weeks recently. The last Friday of my visit was also the last Friday of the month, which is the monthly Critical Mass bike ride. Vancouver's rides are quite large: there were easily several hundred people attending this ride, which apparently wasn't even close to being as huge as June's ride which attracted thousands of riders.

Anyway, Jen and I met up at this ride, then followed the crowds through the streets of Vancouver. The highlight of the ride was when the mass crossed the Granville Bridge which is normally pretty hostile to cyclists.

Plenty of cyclists having fun....and tons of interesting and silly bikes along the way too. Recumbents, tall-bikes, choppers, tandems, folders, etc. Neat neat neat. Go see the photos to get an idea of what it was like.

I will have plenty of photos and stories to tell about the rest of my trip out there, especially the week-long tour, coming soon.

Another Ride to Hamilton

Lake Ontario, OakvilleMy August Long Weekend started off with a bang: I worked late on Friday and spent all day Saturday just puttering around at home and cleaning. Very exciting. But it got much better on Sunday and Monday when I rode my bike to Hamilton visit my parents.

I've done this ride quite a few times since moving to Toronto last year. I've taken three different bikes, and even combined my trips with the GO train when I was feeling a bit lazy. You'd think I might get bored of doing this ride....nope! It's always fun. I enjoy riding along Lakeshore Rd., and stopping at various scenic and tasty places along the way. This time I changed my routes a little bit too, just for some variety and to explore some new places I haven't ridden through before.

On the way to Hamilton, I decided to go the "long" way across the Beach Strip and then back across the east-end of Hamilton. The Burlington-Hamilton Beach Strip is a great place to ride, with some excellent scenery too. I'll have to take this route more often. Riding through the industrial north-east end of Hamilton isn't very appealing though.

On the way back to Toronto, I explored the Chedoke Rail Trail in West Hamilton. I also decided to cut away from Lakeshore for a little bit through Bronte and Oakville, and treated myself to some slower and more scenic trails right along the lake.

It was a perfect weekend for cycling. Great weather, a fun route, and of course it's always nice to visit my family in Hamilton too.

More details about my rides are in my photo galleries for Sunday and Monday.

Kensington Market Pedestrian Sunday

Pedestrian SundayKensington Market's Pedestrian Sundays (note: website rarely seems to work for me) are an event where several streets in Toronto's Kensington Market are opened up to pedestrians. Automobile traffic is blocked off, and people are free to roam the streets. Not only is it a chance for people to enjoy all the extra space without the (slowly) moving and parked cars, but it's an opportunity do other fun stuff in the streets: play music, skateboard, dance, and even something as wild as walking down the middle of the street.

I forgot about this week's PS Kensington event. I just happened to stumble across it after shopping at the Urbane Cyclist and going for some pho on Spadina Ave. I was glad I found it, as I had never been to a PS Kensington event before.

As I wandered through the market, I stopped to watch a punk band play some "oldies" for a while, followed by an electric sitar and didjeridoo duo that really rocked. I watched kids skateboaring. People were learning to tango in the street. Cargo was being moved through the market on bicycles and carts. Kids were running around playing. Stilt-walkers towered above us.

Another interesting feature was the More Parks, Less Parking! petition. Basically, this was a car that was completely painted white, where people could sign their names asking for more appropriate use of public space. The car / petition was delivered to City Hall on Monday.

I had a great time there. Bumped into a few people I knew, and spent way more time downtown than I had originally planned. I'll have to rmember to check out more of these events in the future.

I had my camera with me, so of course I took a ton of photos.

Hacker Bike Ride

Hacker Bike RideI was up in Ottawa for about a week recently. I went there to attend the Ottawa Linux Symposium, do some work at the Ottawa office, hang out with my brother's family, and catch up with some of my Ottawa friends.

Of course, no Linux Symposium is complete without the annual Hacker Bike Ride. This ride has been happening for several years on the Sunday after the Symposium. Basically, a whole bunch of Linux geeks gather up some bicycles and take a ride around the city. It's an excellent social event, and the locals love to show off Ottawa's fantastic cycling and scenery to all the visitors from out of town.

This year's ride started from the usual Col By Dr. meeting place, and went straight up Sussex Dr. towards the Ottawa River. We followed Sussex Dr. past the Prime Minister's and Governor General's residences, and further east along the Rockliffe parkway. We looped back down the Aviation Parkway and along Hemlock to the Rideau River. Then we followed the Rideau River multi-use trail all the way up to Vincent Massey Park (near Hog's Back and Carleton University) for the annual "Linux in the Wild" BBQ hosted by the Ottawa Canada Linux Users Group.

After hanging out in the park for a while, eating lots of BBQ food, etc., the hacker Bike Ride continued over Hog's Back Falls to the Rideau Canal, and back downtown to where we started.

The evening continued with more bike geek goodness. Of course, it was the usual weekly HPVOoO gathering at the Vietnam Noodle House, followed by some bike swapping and a gelato run on Elgin St. There was a huge turnout, especially with a few of the OLS people that came by as well.

It's always fun to spend a day riding my bike around Ottawa. I'm also very happy with the Bike Friday folding bike I bought earlier this year. I love being able to take it with me whenever I travel.

Here are my photos from Sunday.

Lightning Storm

LightningWow, that was a heck of a wind and lightning storm tonight. Suddenly out of nowhere the wind picked up to an intensity that I've never seen since living in this apartment. It blew one of my bikes over, flung things around the apartment, slammed doors, etc. I could barely even get into the bike room to close the window because the wind was so strong.

Then the lightning started. I decided to watch the show from my balcony, while trying to take some lightning photos. I had never taken any lightning photos before, but tonight I managed to capture three strikes.

There was surprisingly little rain with this storm, and it blew by rather quickly. But that sure was fun while it lasted. Here are my photos of the lightning strikes.

Toronto Critical Mass Ride, June 2006

Critical MassAnother fun Critical Mass ride through the streets of Downtown Toronto. Perfect weather, hundreds of cyclists, and a route that seemed to go forever into the long! Of course, I took many, many pictures.

Weekend Bike Tour to Darlington Provincial Park

Vic and the Streetmachine on a bridgeThis past weekend I decided to get away from the city and go on a short 3-day bike tour to Darlington Provincial Park, just east of Oshawa. On Friday after work I rode down to the Port Credit GO train station to catch a train to Oshawa. From there, I rode to Darlington Provincial Park, about 13km away. On Saturday I did a day trip by heading east along the Waterfront trail past Bond Head and out to Port Hope. And on Sunday I rode all the way back from Darlington to Etobicoke, mostly along the Waterfront Trail.

It was a fantastic weekend. Getting a head-start on the GO Train to get out of the city on Friday Night is a great way to start the weekend. I think I'll have to use this method more often.

Riding along the Waterfront Trail east of Oshawa is spectacular too. The trail is a mix of on-road and off-road riding that sort of zig-zags all over the place, so it's not the best place to ride with a loaded touring bike. However, it's great for doing a day ride through the countryside. The roads are mostly empty, the views of the fields and Lake Ontario are excellent.... For me it was a much needed perfect weekend getaway. I will definitely have to do it again.

Of course, I have plenty of photos and more commentary about this weekend. You can see more of it by starting here.

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