We love all kinds of cyclists at Luvelo: fixie, roadie, mountain, everyday or unicycle and we want you ALL to be safe. Our friends at Campbell Burton & McMullan have put together “An Essential Cyclist Safety Guide for Riders and Motorists” so everyone can understand the rules of the road. Bike smart and read this!
City and urban cycling is growing in Canada. Everything I’ve read and seen in the bike lane points to this. I wanted to get some numbers so I went to Statistics Canada to look at their cycling data from the last census in 2011. I also found this great report, Cycle Cities by the Pembina Institute, in 2015. While the numbers in these studies vary the trends are clear.
- Montreal, Toronto and then Vancouver are Canada’s biggest cycling cities. Victoria is also big by mode share. 5.9% of Victorians choose to bike to work. I’m sure their great weather is a contributing factor.
- Statistics Canada bike commuter numbers seem small. There are a number of reasons why these numbers might not jive with the growth you are seeing on the street. Statistics Canada only looks at how people get to work and only includes people over 15. This excludes people who bike to shop, to get around in their neighborhood, who bike on weekends for transportation and students. That is a lot of people who are unaccounted for. Plus this data is 5 years old now.
- In 2015 the daily bicycle trips number is more than triple that of the 2011 daily commuter statistics. To compare in 2011 Montreal had 29,000 commuters who bike to work versus 115,100 daily bicycle trips counted in 2015. The Pembina Institute looked at daily bicycle trips in five major cities. This is a better indicator of how many people are cycling because the calculations are based on real cycling counts done by each city. These counts are usually done over the course of a week at specific intersections and bike lanes in the city centre where they watch and count cyclists.
- While cities are always touting the great lengths of their bike lanes in reality the number of on street bike lanes is a very small percentage of the total infrastructure. In Toronto only 128km of the 640km of bike paths are on the street. Montreal 234 out of 648. Vancouver 62 out 289. Calgary 43 out of 1032. Ottawa 54 out of 221. And not all on street lanes are protected. They can be painted or just divided by a line.
- The percentage of women cycling is an important indicator for city cycling progress. The average of the 5 Canadian cities shown here is 33%. In Denmark, Netherlands and Germany the percentage is 50%+ women cycling. Once cities implement safe infrastructure the percentage of women cycling increases. Canada has a ways to go.
- Why is ___ city missing from the map. Well I only had so much time and I looked at cities with over 2000 daily commuters.
- If you want to open a bike shop the city with the most daily bicycle trips, Montreal, is also the same city with the fewest bike shops per capita. There might be an opportunity there but you have to look at the impact of bike share programs as well.
- Bike shares are also starting to play an important role in urban cycling and are being recognized a part of an integrated public transit system. In Montreal there are 5200 Bixi bikes and 460 stations. In Toronto there are 800 Bike Share bikes and 80 Stations. Vancouver is investing in a bike share program that is planned to start in 2016.
- The next Canadian Census is being held in 2016 so it will be interesting to see how the numbers have changed in the past five years. Again the only cycling data will be that of commuter cyclists, which is a vary narrow view.
As the holidays approach I’m always conflicted about what the right amount of gifting is appropriate. I see children who have everything and want to make sure that giving is the focus of the season. I often make donations as part of my gift. It creates a moment to discuss the good work that is being done in so many arenas and a reminder of how fortunate we are to enjoy the things we have. In that spirit I’ve complied a list of a Canadian cycling focused charities to make it easier to give this year.
Local Not-for-Profit Bike Repair and Building
These not-for-profit bike storefronts are an invaluable part of their community. They teach people how to repair or even build their own bike. They provide programs to youth on bicycle repair and safety and often provide bikes to people who may otherwise not have the opportunity to discover the joy of riding. Promote cycling culture and support the next generation of cyclists!
You can donate online, write a cheque or arrange to drop off much needed bike frames and parts. If your city is not listed search for bike not for profit or charity in your area.
City Cycling Advocates
These organizations make our cities more cycling friendly by relentlessly advocating for new and improved bike infrastructure, they promote cycling safety and help new cyclists navigate the road. Donating to them ultimately makes our cities safer for everyone!
International Bike Donations
Local chapters of Bicycles for Humanity collect bikes and help get them shipped to Uganda, Angola, South Africa, and Colombia, where they can make a world of difference in the day to day lives of people. Go to your local chapter website for ways to donate your bike or provide financial assistance. http://bicycles-for-humanity.org/chapters/
This list does not cover all organizations but gives you a glimpse of the many ways you can participate and give this holiday season.
Do you have a favorite bike related charity? Let us know in the comments below.
Our round up of beautiful and cool city cycling gifts for the holidays this year.
The Sporty Chic Cyclist
Fast, confident and bright spirited cyclists will love these thoughtful and gorgeous gifts.
The Busy Urban Cyclist
For him or her these practical biking gifts will be a hit with the cyclist on the go. They are simply the best.
The Laid Back Cruiser
Not in the fast lane. This laid back cyclist is a casual commuter who loves living in their community and spreading good vibes.
1. Ten Speed Hero Resort Cloud Socks 2. Luvelo Swallow Tattoo Dutch Bird Bell 3. Cleverhood Reflective Electric Houndstooth Raincape 4. Polaroid Cube Camera 5. Klean Kanteen Water Bottle 6. Luvelo Red X-Crate Basket
Rain or shine this cyclist likes to pack it all up and go exploring by bike. Give them the tools and accessories to make it a great ride.
The Classy Commuter
She arrives by bike and in style. Gifts for you favorite bike to work woman who is polished and bright.
The Thoughtful Dutch Bike Rider
Gifts for the bicyclist who likes to be smart and safe on the road.
The Chic Bohemian
1. Luvelo Rose Tattoo Bicycle Bell 2. Tattly Be Happy Gold Temporary Tattoo 3. Nantucket Lightship Front Bike Basket at PUBLIC 4. Linus Dutchi 4. Swedish Hasbeens Covered High 5. Mme Velo Flower Bike Bag at Bike Pretty
The best bike gifts for a beautiful breezy bike date.
The Savvy Mom
This yummy mommy arrives happily by bike with baby in tow. Make her ride a breeze.
Ladies if you’re in the market for a new city bike this summer I suggest
you test ride these step through, vintage-inspired bikes. All of them
are available in Toronto right now.
The things I like to consider are:
1- Back position. I like to have a straight back and be able to see clearly in front of me – This is so important for riding in the city and keeping your eyes on the road..
2- Frame. I like the quick and easy access of a step through frame. It allows you to hop on the side walk and dismount in one quick movement. The angle of the frame and the distance of the handlebars are also key in making you feel in control and comfortable.
3- Speeds. Most of the bikes I’ve listed here are 3 or 7 speed. I personally like the options of having 7speeds but if you’re a single speed woman go for it!
3- Cushy seat. This can always be changed but it is a plus if your new seat has springs or a bit of padding. Remember to adjust the seat height correctly before test riding any bike. It makes the world of difference in the comfort of your ride.
4- Weight. Aluminum frames are lighter. You may also want to consider the weight of the accessories you add and where and how you may need to carry your bike. If you live in a 3 story walk up and like to keep your bike in your apartment then weight will be of utmost importance.
5 -How you will carry your things. I prefer a rear rack that you can attach a bike basket to. Front baskets really throw off the balance of the bike unless they are attached to the headtube. A rear rack also gives you the option of using a basket, pannier, crate or simply a bungee cord.
6- Color of course. You’re going to have this bike for a while so choose a color that makes you happy!
7- After you decide to get your dream bike don’t forget to invest in the best lock possible. Abus and Kryptonite are my suggestions. Some locks offer limited insurance so remember to register for it.
Whatever your preference it is always best to test ride a few bikes before buying your baby. As your ride you’ll learn what works for you and what doesn’t.
The X-Crate is a welcome new design to the bicycle basket and crate category for city and commuter cyclists. The design takes it cues from the heavy wooden bicycle crates and jerry-rigged milk crates you see attached to the back of so many bicycles. Designed by Luvelo the X-Crate is made of light-weight aluminum and has a strong riveted construction.
The X-Crate took a year and a half of design, prototyping and testing before coming to market. It was designed specifically with the stylish cyclist in mind. The pierced base allows for easy attachment to any rear bike rack and doubles as drainage. The X-Crate comes in coated black, light gray and red to compliment almost every bicycle. It’s tapered design allows for stacking on bike store shelves and reduces wasted space during shipping.
You can find more information about the x-crate here.
We hope you love it as much as we do!
We recently took a trip down to Buenos Aires to escape the winter and to take in the city, culture and sunshine. Buenos Aires is a beautiful city with many unique neighborhoods to explore by bike. The government has spent the past few years increasing cycling infrastructure and implementing the free Mejor en Bici bicycle share program. You can spot the bright yellow bikes being used in the downtown streets and along the 70+km of bike lanes throughout Buenos Aires. The system was initially set up for locals but now tourists can easily sign up to get a free bike on an hourly basis.
How to Use the Buenos Aires Bike share program Mejor en Bici (Better By Bike)
You will see Mejor en Bici bicycle share stations around the city including tourist destinations – they are grey mesh containers with yellow & green signs saying Ciudad Verde. Usually the horde of yellow bikes outside is another good indication you’re at the right place. We chose to borrow bikes at the Pacifico Palermo station (Avenida Santa Fe & Avenida Int. Bullrich) because of its proximity to a network of separated bike paths and parks. A great resource is the real-time map of stations that tracks how many bikes are available at each station.
To register all you need is your passport, a photocopy of your passport, your address in Buenos Aires and a valid phone number. It takes about 20 minutes to register. They will take your photo, request a password, and have you sign a waiver. I’ve heard they issue you an ID but were just given a number and told to use our password. Unfortunately our Spanish is limited so I didn’t get more information on if/when a proper ID card would be issued.
As we registered the 2 bikes available were taken by other riders but we only had to wait about 5 minutes for more 2 more bikes to show up. The station employees adjusted my seat and pumped up my tires. Unfortunately the bike wasn’t the best fit, but since there weren’t any other bikes to choose from I took what was available. The station did not provide helmets or locks and the bikes were only available in adult sizes. The bikes do have front baskets which are good for holding a lightweight bag or water.
Once you take the bike you have one hour to use it but you can take it to any Mejor en Bici station to add another hour when your time is up. When you are done you can drop it off at any open station. There are penalties for being late and because the system is computerized excuses don’t cut it.
We rode up the bike path (bicisendas) to Avenida Liberator and along the hipodrome, past the parks and up to the MALBA where we looped back. We were impressed with the smooth, well-marked and painted bike lanes. The bike paths are always two-way and quite narrow compared to North America bike lanes but work just fine. Pedestrians seemed to respect the path and other cyclist were courteous. Other areas I would suggest borrowing a bike include Puerto Madero and the parks around Recoleta (especially to get up close to the Floraris Generica). These areas look small on a map but when you get there you realize how spread out they are and a bike would be fantastic for exploring greater distances.
You can find up-to-date tourist information on biking in Buenos Aires at EcoBici. Currently the hours for the Public Bike Share are Monday through Friday 8 AM to 8 PM and on Saturdays from 9 AM to 3 PM.
If you’re interested in using a bike for more than an hour at at time there are plenty of bike rental locations in Palermo which is a great neighborhood for cycling. This would give you the added benefit of finding a bike that is properly fitted and having the option of a lock and helmet. Many businesses in Palermo are also making their sign boards into bicycle racks which makes finding a place to lock up quite easy.
After a year of planning, designing and developing product we are happy to announce Luvelo Bike Accessories has officially launched. Our distributor Fourth Floor has been busy getting our products into stores across Canada and the USA and we are looking forward to seeing them on your bike this coming spring.
We were excited to see two of Luvelo’s products featured in Now Magazine’s Bike Gear Guide – the Rose Tattoo striker bell and black X-Crate. It is so nice to see our work sit next to Simcoe’s beautiful red step-through bicycle as well as products from respected Canadian brands like Beacon and Louis Garneau.
This is just the beginning! We are in the process of developing more products that will help you enjoy your ride.
We were thrilled to see that 8-80 Cities has banded together a group of progressive-minded people to propose Open Street TO (Toronto). Much like NYC’s Summer Streets or Bogota’s Ciclovia the group wants to open up Bloor Street to pedestrians, joggers, cyclists, roller bladders and anyone who wants to enjoy the street sans cars. The group has suggested the route go from High Park to Greenwood along Bloor for 4 Sunday mornings this coming summer. We could not be more supportive.
Having ridden Park Avenue from 14th Street to Central Park a number of times during NYC Summer Streets I can say that there is no better way to experience the place you live. People, places, buildings and communities take on a different light and you gain a whole new appreciation for your city.
According to NYC Summer Streets 3 million people took advantage of the 3 Sunday mornings in 2013 they were given to enjoy the 11km stretch of Park Avenue without cars. We can do the same Toronto. I dare you!
Hear what The New York Times Bill Cunningham has to say about NYC Summer Streets.
Have a look at Grandpa Carl’s short and sweet video on how to teach your kid to ride a bike. His stick method skips the training wheels and is an easy way to teach a kid about balance. Having gone straight from a tricycle to a BMX I would have to agree that training wheels are not always necessary.
Thanks Apartment therapy!