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June 2017

Canada’s 150 Adds Up To A Lot Of Cycling

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“wishin’ you were here…..”

Happy Canada Day!  150 years young! The staff at The Brantford Cyclepath want to wish everybody a happy and safe Canada Day.  In celebration, Julian researched and wrote this celebration blog about Cycling in Canada!  Read on……..

Oh Canada. One hundred and fifty candles on your birthday cake. As far as countries go, you aren’t exactly an old gal yet. There’s still plenty of time for us to explore all of your highways and by ways from the saddles of our bicycles. And what a country to pedal through! From the rugged west coast, over the Rockies, across the endless prairies, and through the east to the Maritimes, she’s a big country with inspiring vistas. She also has a sizeable connection to the sport of cycling. If you look to the world stage when considering this activity of ours you’ll find that Canada has contributed plenty to it.

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Steve Bauer at the ’84 Worlds

So much so that this particular blog entry could become a fairly lengthy book if left to it’s own devices. There’s that much good stuff that can be covered. The question is, what might we write about when it comes to bicycles and Canada?

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Tory Nyhaug on his way to a gold for Canada in the Pan Am games.

We could definitely list all of the great cyclists that Canada has produced. There are so many that it would take some doing to list them all. Some of the names, like Clara Hughes (Olympic medal winning cyclist and speed skater with medals in both the summer and winter Olympics), are household words. Others, like Tory Nyhaug (two time member of Canadas Olympic BMX team, BMX Worlds silver medalist and gold medalist at the 2015 Pan Am games), are a little less familiar. Let’s introduce you to a few from each discipline.

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Andrew Faris doing what he does.

On the BMX scene, there’s the previously mentioned Tory Nyhaug. Samantha Cools (thirteen time Canadian National BMX champion and five time world junior champion). Jay Miron (legendary nine time X-Games medalist with the first ever gold in dirt competition. Invented a large majority of the sports tricks). Andrew Faris (legendary Canadian flatland rider. Two time Flatland World Champion).

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Catherine Pendrel at the Rio Olympics

On the mountain bike front we have, among many, many notable Canadian riders, Catherine Pendrel (Canadian National Team member. Two time World XC champion, 2007 Pan Am Games champion, reigning Commonwealth Games champion, 2010 and 2016 World Cup champion, 2012 UCI champion). Cindy Devine (first official World Downhill champion, numerous World Championship medals, three time Kamikaze Downhill titlist, five time Canadian National Downhill champion. Rode across both Canada and Europe at a young age). Alison Sydor (three time World Champion, multiple medal finishes in mountain and also one in road, Mountain Bike Hall Of Fame inductee, Canadian Sports Hall Of fame inductee). Geoff Kabush (charismatic Canadian mountain bike racer, competed in several Summer Olympics). This is all very impressive when you consider that mountain biking itself is a relatively young sport!

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Clara Hughes in time trial mode.

Canada has produced a very large roster of talented road cyclists. Athletes such as Linda Jackson (six national championship titles, medals in the ’96 Road Worlds and ’94 and ’98 Commonwealth Games, won the ’97 Tour de l’Aude Feminin and ’98 Womens Challenge, two second place finishes in the Giro d’Italia Femminile and a third in the Tour de France Feminin). Christian Meier (many solid performances, winner of the 2007 National Under 23 Road Race Championships and 2008 National Road Race Championships). Steve Bauer (won Canadas first Olympic road cycling medal, competed in eleven Tour de Frances, finished fourth in the ’98 Tour, winner of five Canadian Championships). Alex Stieda (first North American to lead the Tour de France by winning the yellow, polka dot, multicolored, red and the white jerseys on the second day of the ’86 Tour).

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Curt Harnett on the boards with his Gardin track bike

Once you start looking into our cycling heritage, one thing becomes clear. We’re well known for velodrome track cycling. Just a few of the great names include Gord Singleton (an incredible number of titles, including first Canadian to win a world championship and the only rider in history to hold world records in all three sprint distances at the same time). Jocelyn Lovell (Canadian Sports Hall Of Fame, numerous victories in road and track cycling, gold medal winner in both the Commonwealth Games, with three golds, and Pan Am Games, silver medalist in the ’78 world championships). Tanya Dubnicoff (four time gold medal winner at the Pan Am Games, represented Canada at three Summer Olympics). Curt Harnett (triple medal winner in both the Commonwealth Games and Pan Am Games, held the world record for the 200 meter time trial for eleven years, Canada Sports Hall Of Fame inductee). Lori-Ann Muenzer (winner of Canadas first ever Olympic gold medal in track cycling)

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Guiseppi Marinoni, after setting the hour record… at 75 years old!

Canada has most certainly produced its share of bicycles over the years. There have been just as many obscure brands as have been more well known ones. Massey Harris once manufactured bicycles. Brantford was home to the Goold Bicycle Co Ltd. They eventually went on to become a component of Canada Cycle & Motor Co. Ltd. (CCM). How many people have ridden bikes with branding such as Norco, Rocky Mountain, Steve Bauer, Miele, Velo Sport, Cervelo, BRC, Argon, Guru, Raleigh, Supercycle, DeVinci, Louis Garneau, or Sekine? How about our Canadian custom frame builders? Bicycles such as Marinoni, Mariposa, True North, Cyclops, DeKerf, Gardin, Thin Blue Line, Proctor (Proctor-Townsend), Legge, Edwins, Moulden, Giro, Bailey, Brodie, Cove, Cycles Bertrand, Runout, Steelwood, Talbot and Cycles Golem. Rest assured that there are others. What a fantastic collection you would have if you owned one of each!

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A gorgeous Mariposa randonneur bike made by Mike Barry

Over the years there have been many reasons to pedal a bicycle in Canada. In times gone by you could have joined the Montreal Bicycle Club, which was our first club, formed in 1876. Incidentally, that’s the same year that the first bicycle showed up in Canada. The Canadian Wheelmen’s Association of 1882 was formed to promote cycling and advocate for cyclists rights. They later became the Canadian Cycling Association. For competitive cyclists there were many events to be entered. The Dunlop Trophy Race, six day races and cycling championships both Canadian and World took place during the early years. During the later years, Canadian cyclists competed successfully for medals in events such as the Commonwealth Games, National and World Championships and the Olympics.

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The late Jim Walsh hosted The Jim Walsh Bike Ride For Kids With Cancer

A growing number of Canadians have also signed up to participate in various charity cycling events. The list of available rides grows by a large number each and every year. Some popular ones have been the Ride For Sight, The MS Bike Tour and The Ride To Conquer Cancer. Whether it be a small local event or a large national one, each one does it’s part to unite cyclists for a worthy cause. The reasons that we ride might change, but the fact that Canadians love to ride their bikes remains a constant.

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A gorgeous day for cycling in our nation’s capitol

On July 1st, why not celebrate Canada’s cycling heritage from the saddle of a bicycle? Set out on an all day ride or an afternoon pedal to feed the ducks at the park. Whichever route you choose, it’s a fantastic way to become connected to this wonderful country of ours. Happy birthday, Canada!

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Pig In A Poke

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Maybe he’s waving goodbye to your hard earned cash?

Here at the Brantford Cyclepath, we quite often get asked whether or not we sell used bikes. As consumers ourselves, we get it. There aren’t very many people that don’t like the idea of paying the lowest price for a given item. When it comes to buying previously owned things, you’re usually fairly safe when it comes to stuff like furniture or swing sets. Once you start looking at products that have a mechanical component to them, such as appliances, cars and bikes, then the entire venture becomes a pretty good example of buyer beware.

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“It’s in great shape! I didn’t ride it much!”

Of course, there are some good bargains to be had by buying a used bike, but it seems that as of late the instances of people discovering that their used purchase was not quite “as advertised” is on the increase. This might begin when a customer brings in a new-to-them purchase for a minor adjustment or two. Our radar usually goes off the moment we hear the words “The guy hardly rode it and so I got it for a really good deal….”. Let’s face it. Bicycles get ridden. Even the most casual of recreational cyclists will eventually wear out drive train components, tires and brake shoes. Which all leads to why our Spidey sense starts tingling….

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Yep, she’s got a few kilometres on her.

Here’s how it often goes with the events leading up to the transaction. The previous owner rides the bike on a regular basis. Normal wear takes place on components such as the chain, freewheel, tires, cables and brake pads. The bike is taken to a shop to be tuned up. The repair bill is usually more than the owner wants to spend, taking into account the number of parts that now need replacing. A new bike is not that far off of the repair price, they were toying with the idea anyways, and so the decision is made to put the old bike up for sale.

This is where you come in.

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Blue skies, fresh air and Kijiji.com…..

You find a great used bike and arrange to buy it. While out on your first few rides you decide that the bike seems to need a few adjustments here and there and so into the local bike shop it goes. This is where you discover that it needs a list of replacement parts in order to get it into shape again. The news that the original owner was given has now been passed on to you.

Don’t get me wrong. Used bikes need to go somewhere. I’d much rather see them enjoyed or put to a new purpose instead of taking up space in a landfill or quietly rusting away in the corner of some garage. Just be aware that in most cases a used bike will need a new chain and rear freewheel along with one or two cables, at the very least. It would be conservative to factor in another $150 to $300 on top of what you are paying for the bike. For this reason, it might be wise to find out whether you could take the bike in to your local shop for an assessment before committing to the deal.

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There’s a reason that shop mechanics exist….

There are a couple of other things to bear in mind when buying a used bicycle. When it comes time for any adjustments on your bike, you pay for the work since any shop service plan is usually not transferable from owner to owner. The same thing holds true for any warranty on the bike. Factory warranties are never transferable. This is an important thing to consider. Manufacturers require more and more documented proof of original ownership when handling warranties concerning frame failures. We’ve seen several instances where someone has been left with the proposition of buying a new bike due to a denied warranty claim on a used purchase.

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“You pays your monies and you takes your chances”

If you know what you’re buying, the price is reasonable for the amount of wear on the bike and the owner is being up front about the history, then it might be safe to proceed. If not, then a new bike purchase could possibly be the least expensive route in the long run. As was previously stated, in the end it all comes down to buyer beware.

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