Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bike Bags, Brit-style

Carradice bags have arrived at Urbane! Have a bike that can't fit a rack but want to actually carry a little something with you? Maybe want to do a little light touring, or perhaps a lengthy day trip? A classic British saddlebag might be the answer. Carradice of Nelson have been handcrafting saddlebags at their workshop in Lancashire for almost 80 years. The bags are made of tough and waterproof waxed cotton duck. As the bag ages it is possible to reproof the cotton to make it waterproof again. It is not unusual to get decades of use out of your Carradice.

To see the bags in action check out these neat vintage videos of old-school touring, UK-style.

The Cyclists' Special - 1955 - Part 1 and Part 2

I'm A Kind Of Mechanised Tramp - 1971 - Part 1 and Part 2

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bike Traveling

Good article about traveling with your bicycle from the New York Times.

Read it here.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


Tragedy. Whenever someone dies on the street, whether it be a motorist, pedestrian or cyclist it's a tragedy. Too many times has this happened and is forgotten by the next day. Perhaps not this time. Not when the former Attorney General of Ontario is at the centre of it all. We'll wait and see.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Vive le Tour!

At Urbane, we've done the best job we can to help people get to and from where they need to go, for the most part on basic commuter-friendly city bikes fitted out with racks, fenders, bells and lights. A very different machine than the ultra light weight, speedy racing bikes pro racers use.

Plenty of us who work here are also huge fans of this beautiful sport. Bike racing is one of the oldest organized sports in the world and also one of the most beloved. This year there were over 500,000 people cheering on the slopes of Mount Ventoux! Crazy. And hard. A race like the Tour is well over 3000km long, takes 3 weeks to complete, goes up and down AND THEN back up mountains. The result is often 20% of the starting field drops out due to crashes, disease, fatigue and sometimes even death. It requires a special athlete to even complete this event, let alone win it.

For anyone who saw it, the 2009 Tour was a very exciting race, with lots of drama and suspense. Lance Armstrong, at 37 years old made his return to the event he dominated for 7 straight years. This year he came in 3rd, a position he had to defend by countering numerous attacks from riders itching to get on the most prestigious podium in the sport. In the end it was the wiry Spanish climber, Alberto Contador, who proved he is the top stage-racing cyclist in the world. Can't wait to see what happens next year.

Since cycling is only on TV once a year in Canada, we'll have to wait until July 2010 to watch the story unfold again. I highly recommend following it. Even if you're not into racing bicycles, give it a chance, and watch a stage or two. You might even think about these guys the next time you ride your bike to work.

2009 PODIUM: Andy Schleck (2nd), Alberto Contador (1st) and Lance Armstrong (3rd)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Bicycle Family

Can a mini-van even fit 8 family members inside? This family stopped by the shop and showed us how it's done. What we've got here is 2 adult tandems connected together with metal tubes (essentially a quadricycle), which is pulling a children's tandem trail-a-bike, which is itself pulling a 2 seat Chariot kid's trailer.
Now for the details: The left side tandem has a Bionx electric assist generator hub and on the top of the kids trailer is a set of solar panels which is powering a small fan inside the trailer, helping keep the little passengers inside a bit cooler.

I wonder if Mom and Dad up front would notice if someone stopped pedaling. I guess that's when the electric motor comes in handy.

Off they go!

Watch out Mr. Hipster!

All aboard!

Final check

Friday, May 22, 2009


The Toronto Association for Democracy in China & The Federation for a Democratic China in co-operation with Majorie Chan and UNITE-HERE Local 75 present Madness in the Square.

On Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 12PM at Nathan Phillips Square ride your bike, wear white and participate in a die-in to help commemorate students and workers massacred in Beijing's Tiananmen Square on June 4, 1989.

- With musicians and artists Amchok Gompo Dhondup, Sheng Xue, Spiritwind and an excerpt from Majorie Chan's play The Madness in the Square

- The bike-in will start with a breakfast here at Urbane Cyclist (180 John St, Toronto, Ontario) at 10:30am

- Group bicycle ride to Nathan Phillips Square at 11:30am

- For more information or to volunteer, e-mail

Monday, February 23, 2009


Unless you live close enough to be able to walk to work, or the grocery store for example, everyone needs to budget money to get around. There are different ways of getting around over the course of 12 months. You can drive, take public transit, ride a bicycle or combine a few of these methods. In this post, we're gonna break down some of the costs for each method.

Maintenance & Repairs = $1200
Insurance = $1500
Gas = $2500
Parking = $3000
TOTAL = $7900


$109 monthly pass x 12 months = $1308


Bicycle = $600 (entry level is about $300, so lets get you a nicer one!)
Helmet = $50
Lights = $25
Fenders = $50
Lock = $70
Yearly maintenance = $100
TOTAL = $895

As you can see, the bicycle clearly wins. And remember this is based on a brand new bike EVERY year. Clearly you do not need a new bike every year so your costs for year 2, 3, 4, etc will only be a couple hundred dollars per year in maintenance and parts. Also too, if you are someone who spends money on the gym or other fitness activities, bike commuting will take care of your daily exercise - just by getting yourself to work!

So, there you go: A car is a way, transit is the better way, but the best way is and always will be the bicycle.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Eugene Yao, 1946-2008

It's been a year already and we still dearly miss our founder, Eugene. His hard work, honesty, and willingness to help all was an inspiration to us. If you would like to share any stories or memories, please do so.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Let's Go Dutch!

If you're not familiar with Spacing magazine you should make it a habit to check out their blog. They have great coverage of urban issues and a real passion for our city, and cities in general. A couple of weeks ago they had a great post about cycling infrastructure in the Netherlands. Inspiring stuff.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Gil Penalosa from Walk & Bike For Life purchased a Bike Friday Tikit through us earlier this month. Gil is also well known for developing Bogota's new bicycle infrastructure plan.


After a brief stop back home in Toronto, the gang headed out to Las Vegas for Interbike 2008.

Notice the handles on the cabinet doors. These guys are recycling quick release levers as door handles. At our shop we try to do the same. Whether it's using old tubes as straps in our stock room to used cables to hang displays on the floor to making bike art with old parts.

It's a tent! It's a trailer! It's both and a new twist on bike touring.

What the?

If the car wasn't invented this could have been the future for commuting. Imagine how fit our society would be if everyone was getting around in one of these babies.

Folding Dahon fixie!

Momentum's fashion show.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


After Germany, our trio of Urbanite's went directly to Montreal for the Canadian bicycle show and took a few pictures of some new stuff coming to our shores in 2009.

The new KHS Flite 100. This has been one of our best selling fixie's over the years and we're sure it will continue... and we love the white.

Oooohhhh! Nice fixie.

Who says anyone needs an SUV to transport bikes around.

Monday, January 19, 2009


In September 2008, Nancy, Carey and Reba embarked on a world wide tour to find out what's new in the wonderful world of the bicycle (and other things). Here are just some of their pictures from the first stop on the trip, Germany.

This is great! In Europe they encourage the use of public transit and bikes. Maybe one day...

At this train station in Germany they're are hundreds of bikes locked up (and I bet some of them are not even locked up).

There are a lot of cargo bikes over there, carrying out the jobs many of us wouldn't even think to use a bike for. It's not just more bike lanes we need, but also a change in the way we think and the way we live our lives.

There were a lot of restrictions at this child's playground.

Kind of a home made locking system. Not the strongest but they probably don't worry about it as much as we do.

This person just left their expensive helmet unlocked on their moped. Once again, a different attitude. I'm not saying nothing gets stolen over there but they just do things with a bit less paranoia.

Viva bikes. These guys made such a good impression on us we decided to carry them in our shop in 2009.



Another Viva.

The last Viva.

Euro police bikes have a built in electric motor. I still think I could drop them.

Not really bike related but it's also not everyday you see a blimp.

Like A Bike had their own booth. Another great product we carry in our store.

The travelers: Carey, Reba and Nancy.
Urbane stayed in a trailer parked right outside the hangar which housed EuroBike. It sure beats tenting!

Side by side recumbent trike pulling a trailer.

After a few pints at the airport. Notice the rosy cheeks and smiles!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Welcome to the Urbane Cyclist's blog where you can find out about all the fun stuff the people who power themselves are doing. Stay tuned for more exciting news from Toronto's #1 bike shop!