Do you have a bike? No? First of all why don’t you have a bike!? I’m kidding, but seriously you should start considering biking to work, it’s an easy way to be more green with your transportation. It’s also very reliable and consistent in terms of the time it takes to get places, you can learn more about that in one of Mike’s blogs here. Anyways, not to get side tracked but we just had our first Advanced Bicycle Maintenance Workshop on September 28, 2022. It was amazing! One instructor, Jorge, was the lecturer you could say, while the other instructor, Calvin, was doing maintenance on everyone’s bikes in the shadows.

They also had an interactive element where they passed around bike parts to help everyone get a better understanding of the components of a bicycle. It was like dissecting a bicycle to better understand it’s anatomy. Here are some of the parts:

Now I’m not going to tell you every detail of information that was given because that would take forever and frankly, its easier and more fun if you just went to a bike session yourself. Which by the way won’t be until 2023. A lot of people wanted to learn about tune ups and the great thing about the advanced workshop was that the audience was free to decide their destiny. I’ll tell you some take aways and quickly summarize some things for you.

Some take aways:

  1. You should oil your chain every 150 km, that’s approximately every 2 days. If you’re riding in mild conditions then you can stretch it to 200 km.
  2. Winter maintenance requires extra attention, you should use a wet lube as it won’t wash away as quickly. However, you’re going to need to wipe off the gunk more often.
  3. How to fix a flat tire:
    • Step 1:  Take the tire off your bike, use your tire levers if you got them to take it off. Be careful not to move it your tire forward or backwards and to note where the valve is.
    • Step 2: Pump the tire to find the hole, now find what caused the flat. Let’s say it was a thorn, rip it out making sure not to injure yourself.
    • Step 3: Then get your patch  kit and find the hole, rough up the hole and its surrounding with the sandpaper. Apply the glue then your patch while placing pressure on it. Pump it up and see if there’s no leaking of air.
    • Step 4: Put your tire back on making sure it’s not backwards (arrows on tire) not a big deal if you put it on backwards you’ll just get made fun of.

Not only do you need to keep up with your bike maintenance for your safety but you also need to light it up!! Which leads me to my next topic…

Get Lit! 2022

Banner reading "get lit!" with cycle toronto and toronto hydro logos
Click me 🙂

What is Get Lit?

Get Lit! is a campaign that ensures people biking around Toronto are doing so in a safe and confident manner. Throughout the month of October Cycle Toronto is going to set up orange tents around major intersections and hunt down and any cyclists that don’t have proper lighting on their bikes. They’ll provide a quick education session on why it’s important to get proper bike lights and even provide you with a free set for a safe ride home. Personally, if I didn’t have lights on my bike, I would just “accidentally” run into one of their tents and get me some free lights, but that’s just me though, feel free to buy them yourself since you’re so financially well off. I’ll get to why it’s important to have lights in a minute and why you shouldn’t just shrug this off.

When and Where

They will be providing lights in the evening during all of October at different locations within the city, it usually happens at dusk.

Here is the schedule for October :

  • October 4 – Toronto Hydro
  • October 6 – Toronto Hydro
  • October 8 – ?
  • October 9 – Artscape Weston Commons
  • October 11 – Toronto Hydro
  • October 13 – Toronto Hydro
  • October 18 – Toronto Hydro
  • October 20 – Toronto Hydro
  • October 25 – Toronto Hydro
  • October 27 – Toronto Hydro

It seems that October 8th is still to be determined, so check back at their site by clicking the picture above ^

Safety and the Law

I’m not sure if you knew this but it’s required by law that cyclists use their lights half an hour before dusk and until half an hour after dawn. Also, your lights need to be a specific colour as well. The front lights should be white or amber while your rear lights should be red. Make sure to point your lights downwards to ensure the road is being lit up in front of you and behind you, if you point them upwards it might be difficult for the people around you to see.

University Ave Bike Lanes

Speaking of safety, I’m sure lots of you have realized but University Ave now has built in biking infrastructure to keep you safe… BIKE LANES!! For the longest time University Ave was a free for all for cyclists, it was pretty dangerous biking down that road. But now you can enjoy your bike to work knowing you’re in your own safe little bike bubble. The construction was done 2+km from Adelaide St W to Bloor St W, this created a safe and comfortable north-south biking route in the downtown core to the hospital clusters (that’s us). This wasn’t the only street that received bike lanes, lots of streets such as Dundas, Danforth, Bayview Ave, and more got some. You can read more all about this big cycling infrastructure project here. If you want to take a look at a beautiful map of all the cycling routes then scroll down!

If this didn’t convince you to get a bike and make your commute green, I don’t know what will. You’re missing out… you should feel left out. This way you can join the Bicycle User Group (BUG) and be apart of a fun community here at UHN, just email (you can still join even if you don’t have a bike by the way).