Toronto, a city of bike builders

From old-time fave CCM to the be­spoke qual­ity of Cervelo

Midtown Post - - News -

The first bike ar­rived in Toronto more than a cen­tury ago, and since then our sleepy little town has been wild for the spoke set.

But, we don’t just love to tool around on our city bikes sip­ping our lat­tes while shop­ping for mous­tache oil. We like to build ’em, too. In fact, we’ve been tin­ker­ing in the trade since 1895 when H. A. Lozier & Co. opened a shop in the Junc­tion neigh­bour­hood. The com­pany even­tu­ally be­came part of CCM, a name that is still slapped onto bi­cy­cle frames.

That is just the tip of the car­bon fi­bre ice­berg. Cur­rently, the city is home to nu­mer­ous bi­cy­cle com­pa­nies from the high­est of high-end road bikes to swanky city bikes to a bona fide smart bike that could com­pletely change the game in the near fu­ture.

Van­hawks is a small startup head­quar­tered near Cab­bage­town. The com­pany en­tered the mar­ket with a sonic boom when its crowd­fund­ing cam­paign set a record on Kick­starter, garner­ing $820,000 in startup fund­ing for its first model.

The Val­our is the world’s first smart com­muter bike. It fea­tures Blue­tooth con­nec­tiv­ity, built-in front and rear safety lights, sen­sor in­te­gra­tion and turn-by-turn smart­phone nav­i­ga­tion via a light­ing sys­tem in the han­dle­bars. But Van­hawks doesn’t just want a sin­gle-user sys­tem that of­fers rout­ing data and nav­i­ga­tion along with travel and nu­tri­tional met­rics. Van­hawks is evolv­ing its tech to start mov­ing the sys­tem from a sin­gle-user to a multi-nodal sys­tem, es­sen­tially, a col­lec­tive bi­cy­cle brain that will al­low it to evolve and pro­vide more and bet­ter in­for­ma­tion.

There is also Toronto’s Mari­posa Bi­cy­cles, im­mor­tal­ized by artist Greg Curnoe and a long-time favourite amongst cy­cling purists. It was founded by Mike Barry and has now been taken over by his son, for­mer pro­fes­sional bi­cy­cle racer Michael Barry.

And, of course, Cervelo. A bling bike rid­den by Tour de France champions and weekend war­riors alike with price tags that broke through the $10 K bar­rier years ago.

In ad­di­tion, Toronto’s own Sim­coe Bikes, named af­ter the city’s founder, burst on the city bik­ing scene with a stylish model de­signed specif­i­cally for com­mut­ing on our sloppy streets.

Van­hawks co-founder So­haib Zahid; a stylish Mari­posa road bike

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