New bike(s)

Picked up my first roadie ever a few weeks ago, with the eventual goal of converting it to a fixed-gear or single speed for use mainly in the winter. But the more I ride it, the more I just want to ride it all the time. I bought it off craigslist via a pleasant exchange with a bike enthusiast in east city, and it’s dangerously fast. I only with it had 700c wheels instead of th 27inchers, which would make modifications a fair bit easier. I’m also probably going to change the handlebars.

Blue devil road bicycle

This supplements my main iron steed, a KHS urban Xpress, bought from one of the city’s better bike shops, the Urbane Cyclist. You’ll notice the front rim (Alexrim) is different from the rear (Weinmann SP-17). That’s because some scumbag stole the front one when I was at a Jays game at the SkydomeRogers Centre.

black KHS urban Xpress

Just last weekend, we came home to find the garage door wide open (not blaming anyone <ahem>downstairsneighbours) and Caitlin‘s brand new silver Kona Dew gone. After raging for a while, we went down to the Toronto Police warehouse where they’re storing all of Igor Kenk’s booty, knowing that the Kona wouldn’t be there but hoping that one of the other two bikes she’s had stolen in the last year and a half might be there. And much to our surprise, we ended up recovering her old Trek cruiser, a little beat up and in need of work, but better than nothing.

If you’ve had a bike stolen in Toronto ever, it’s could very well be worth your time to head down there.

Also, it’s definitely worth your time to register your bike. It’s online, free and takes less than five minutes.

Toronto cops bust sketchy bike shop

Various Toronto media outlets and blogs (I Bike TO and Living for the City) are reporting that infamous Queen Street West bike “shop” “owner” Igor Kenk was busted and is in custody after some plainclothes officers observed him allegedly directing another man (also in custody) to cut the lock on a bike and then go for another. Kenk has a reputation for dealing largely in illegally acquired bicycles, and it’s nice to see these well-founded rumours (apparently) confirmed.

While normally quite empathic and some might even say soft on crime, I can’t help but rejoice at this man’s misfortune. I’ve had various things stolen (including a car), but nothing boils my blood like bike theft. Bike thieves are scum. If the bicycle had been invented in the middle ages, Dante would have included a special circle of hell just for them.

Apparently you can go to Central Garage, 9 Hanna Avenue, on Saturday, July 19, 2008, and Sunday, July 20, 2008, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (see Craigslist posting) to see if your bike is among the recovered bounty. See instructions from the Sun article mentioned above:

WHERE: 9 Hanna Ave. at Toronto Police Central Traffic garage near King and Dufferin Sts. WHEN: Today and tomorrow, 10-6. HOW: Bring receipts, ID, pictures of you and your bike. You can also call the 14 Division community response unit at Exhibition Place, 416-808-1500, to describe your bike and have police look for you. Crime Stoppers will also have a booth set up at the garage where you can register your bike.

Washington DC bike rental program — not enough critical mass?

According to the New York Times, Washington DC will launch a public-private partnership initiative to provide 120 rental bikes at 10 locations across the city, available for a $40/yr membership.

Good idea, but you have to wonder about the numbers. I’m sure they’re “starting small to see how things go,” but the success of similar initiatives in Paris (which has over 400 employees running the program), Barcelona, etc. seems to be based on their sheer numbers: 10,000 bikes at 250 stations in Paris, for instance.

Hopefully DC’s experiment goes well and hopefully they scale up. And if it doesn’t go well, hopefully it won’t serve as a disincentive to other North American cities to attempt their own programs.