Category: bicycle

Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School student tips

Mary Ward's front door archway, a nice piece of steel and glass.

Mary Ward's front door archway, a nice piece of steel and glass.

Mary Ward Catholic Secondary School is a high school located in North Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The school is part of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, or TCDSB. These tips are primarily from a parent’s viewpoint and will cover uniform, student attitude, working with teacher adviser (TA) and a little on courses. I hope this helps new grade 9 students.

School Uniform

Bicycling in Copenhagen looks Fantastic

Bicycling instead of driving a car is not only healthy but is great for the environment. Unfortunately here in North America, specifically in Toronto, Canada, bicycling is relegated to tree kissing environmentalists and kids. This is too bad for everyone. An excellent video by Clarence Eckerson, Jr. shows what is working in Copenhagen, and what could work here in North America.

I have lived in Beijing, China for a couple of years and the bike culture there is pretty safe. This has degraded somewhat now as more people become wealthier and can afford cars. It’s sad to see China go backward on bicycles, but such us progress in the People’s Republic of China.

Chinese Traffic Crash videos: Youku

So pathetic are the driving standards in China that there are a huge number of crashes. China is a world leader in vehicular crashes per capita. If only there were some rules that everyone followed. I propose simple ones such as drive/ride on the right side of the road and stop at traffic lights. It seems like total chaos if there are not enough police around to hand out and collect tickets. I find this video quite amusing, but should not, because people in the video get seriously hurt and cars and bikes get damaged. It is funny because sadly it does reflect what we saw on Chinese roads when we visited China.

Surviving Beijing Fengsha (Sandstorms)

Surviving Beijing fengsha: This woman has it right. Cover your whole head with a scarf.

Surviving Beijing fengsha: This woman has it right. Cover your whole head with a scarf.

Sandstorms or fengsha are common each spring in Beijing. Of the many things I learned while living there was how to survive the onslaught. The sand is so fine as to permeate every nook and cranny of your clothes, windows and food. The best thing to do is to get a fine scarf and wrap it around your head in order to protect your eyes. If you usually wear contact lenses switch to glasses. Clean and reclean everything. Try to keep your food air tight. Don’t worry, it will be over in about a month.

TTC Sheppard East LRT Construction Phases

Major transit upgrades at the Toronto Transit Commission have been rare in the last 20 years, but this is changing. First in the pipe is the Sheppard East Light Rapid Transit line, in Scarborough. At approximately $1.43B CAD it will run 15km east from Don Mills Station to Morningside Ave. The line is scheduled for completion in Fall 2013, ready for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. The project manager in me is trying to keep track of which parts of Sheppard Avenue will be chewed up when and for how long. The short term pain for residents and business owners will be severe. I hope they add bicycle lanes while they are planning.

Paying Forward

Good Samaritan quickly reverses unfortunate situation

The Mirror, North Edition
September 01, 2009 3:47 PM

On Saturday morning I went out for a bike ride. Along the way somehow my chain jumped and smashed my derailleur in to the spokes which locked the rear wheel.

I was a long way from home and had no choice but to walk home carrying my bike. At age 74 this wasn’t the kind of exercise I was looking for.

Swagman Bike Rack: Review

Swagman 3 bike rack installs 11.5" from my bumper, not a good fit

Swagman 3 bike rack installs 11.5 inches from my bumper, not a good fit

I have been meaning to get a bike rack for quite a number of years. When the kids were small this was not an issue because they could not ride far anyway, but they are growing. We don’t have a large car, so a bike rack is now a necessity. The Swagman 3 bike hitch bike rack seemed to be the strongest and lightest but well made bike rack I could find. It works very well but the experience of installing it provided some interesting surprises.

U-Haul Hitch Receiver for Nissan Altima

A bicycle rack that uses a trailer hitch keeps the bikes off your car's paint

A bicycle rack that uses a trailer hitch keeps the bikes off your car's paint

I have been wanting to add a bicycle carrier to my 1997 Nissan Altima car for the longest time. A bike carrier that goes into a trailer hitch receiver allows the bikes to not contact the car, reducing fears of scratched paint and dents. While shopping around for hitch receivers I found the U-Haul hitch receiver (#24999) for $130CAD, cheaper by $40-$50CAD than other brand names. U-Haul wanted an extra $40 for installation, which I could save if I did it myself. There would be unforeseen trade-offs which I will explain.