I have lived the majority of my life in Kingston and have relied on my bicycle as a main means of transportation since I was old enough to ride on the road. Over the course of those 35 plus years, cycling in Kingston has really changed. Unfortunately the changes have not been for the better until recently. Increased traffic volume, motorist being increasing impatient and deteriorating road conditions have all contributed to a more hostile environment for cyclists to navigate.
Luckily change for the better started to happen a few years ago.
The past few years have seen the following changes to the cycling climate in Kingston:
In 2004 the addition of the Rack and Roll bicycle racks on City of Kingston buses. Initially this was a seasonal program but in 2013 it was extended to a year round program with the construction of a new heated indoor storage facility for Kingston Transit buses. The Rack and Roll program allows Kingston cyclists more options when it comes to using their bikes. Riding one direction of a trip and busing the other or simply cutting out a portion of a commute without a safe riding route are just some examples of how cyclists can take advantage of this program.
In 2007 the City of Kingston resurfaced the K&P Trail from Dalton Ave to Orser Rd creating a 15km stretch of gravel trail separated from traffic. In 2012 the County of Frontenac extended this resurfacing further north providing a smooth gravel bed all the way to Harrowsmith. In 2014 we saw this extended again to Verona. The long term plan is to have this trail run all the way from Kingston to Sharbot Lake. Kingston City Council is currently debating extending the trail from Dalton Ave to Division St with a long term plan of connecting it to downtown.
As a result of this new commitment to sustainability Kingston won Bike-Friendly Community Bronze recognition in 2012 from the Share the Road Cycling Coalition for investing in its cycling infrastructure.
In 2013 Share the Road paint and signs were added across the Lasalle Causeway. This is likely one of the most dangerous stretches of road for cyclists in Kingston due to the metal construction of the Causeway and how narrow it is. The added safety this has provided is so hard to measure as there is just no way to know how many close encounters and near misses were happening prior to their installation.
The brutal winter of 2013-14 turned into a blessing in disguise for Kingston's cyclists. The spring of 2014 saw the investment in some major road work resurfacing projects that helped eliminate some of the worst road surface hazards in Kingston. The potholes are not all gone but their numbers have been drastically reduced.
Bicycle lanes have been appearing on a growing list of streets. Included in the list are some major arteries such as Union St, Johnson St, Brock St, Portsmouth Ave, Queen Mary Rd, Bath Rd, and most recently Princess St with more lanes to be added this spring.
Most recently the launch of the Kingston Police Force's Bike Watch Program and the Queen's Bike Registration program for faculty and students will help reconnect Kingston's cyclists with their bikes in the event of theft.
In addition to all of these infrastructure improvements I have personally observed a change in behavior of motorists toward cyclists in our community. It is now the rare occasion when I am not treated with respect by a motorist while riding in the city or out on a training ride around Kingston. I have in fact on multiple occasions been offered the right of way at a four way stop when I was clearly not the first to arrive at that stop.
Hopefully as we continue to move toward being a cycling friendly community more residents will decide to incorporate cycling into their lifestyle in some form.
Spring of 2015 the Kingston Police Department will launch Bike Watch - Bike Registration Program.
"Bike Watch provides real engagement and raises the level of community awareness, confidence, and participation in fighting crime by registering bicycles online with the Kingston Police."
This is a long needed tool in our community and something that will surely improve the return rate for stolen bicycles. Too often when bikes are stolen they don't make it back to the original owner, often even if recovered by police. This new system should make it much easier for police to return stolen bikes when recovered, so long as local cyclists take the time to register their bikes with the program.
Kingston Police have a few tips to help increase your chance of getting your bike back after it is stolen.
- Register your bike with Kingston Police so you can be contacted if your bike is recovered
- Take a photo of your bike
- Keep original sales receipts
- Keep records of upgrades and new components
I am very excited for the local Kingston Triathlon community. 2015 will see two more opportunities for triathletes to race in the Kingston Area.
On Sunday June 28th Fort Henry will open its Walls to help host the Garrison Triathlon.
"Fort Henry National Historic Site of Canada, part of a World Heritage Site, has teamed up with the Kingston Personnel Support Programs (PSP) of CFB Kingston to present the inaugural Garrison Triathlon. With stunning views, a challenging course, professional organizers, Sprint and Olympic distances, and a one of kind finish line inside Fort Henry, this Tri should be on every triathletes race schedule. The Fort has never been conquered... are you up to the challenge?"
The Garrison Triathlon will offer Long and Short course options at 1500m/40km/10km and 750m/20km/5km respectively.
Course Details from their site are as follows "The swim courses will be an in water start and will mostly take place in the sheltered Navy Bay area, overlooked by Fort Henry and surrounded by Martello towers. Ships such as the HMS Royal George and the 112 gun Flagship HMS St Lawrence were launched in Navy Bay. The Transition Zone (T1 & T2) is located on the Royal Military College Parade Square, and is surrounded by beautiful historic military buildings. Located on Point Frederick, this area was the home of the Royal Navy Dockyards from 1788 to 1853. The bike courses will take you through the campus of the Royal Military College, out Highway 2 and back. The Sprint and Olympic distance run courses are both unique and challenging. Leaving T2 you will go around the tip of Point Frederick, past the Fort Frederick Martello Tower, up and down steep hills, and finish inside Fort Henry itself! One of the highlights of the run will be the cross country portion. CFB Kingston have graciously allowed use of their renowned Cross Country track, which are hosting the 2015 Canadian National Championships, and in 2010 hosted the FISU World University Cross Country Championships."
Sounds like a Blast to me. Hopefully you can fit it in to your summer triathlon racing schedule.
Now how could it get much better than this? Well I saved the best for last.
The Kingston Kids Triathlon is bringing Kids Triathlon racing back to Kingston on Saturday June 20th at the Kingston Memorial Center. Race distances will be available for kids aged 4-13. Distances will range from a 25m swim / 840m bike / 200m run for the littlest ones to a 175m swim / 5.2km bike / 1.68km run for the oldest group. Specific details are not currently available on their website but it looks as though registration is live at events online.
Key to the success of any triathlon are great volunteers but they are even more important at the kids races. If you don't have any plans that weekend please volunteer your time to help make sure these kids have a fantastic experience.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer. Where possible please specify if you can assist in the organization of the race and what activity you would like to assist with on June 20th.
Looking forward to another exciting season of local racing. Hope to see you all out there either racing of volunteering.
Wow! What a great start to the Argon 18 Bora partnership!
Team Bora-Argon 18 has already secured invitations to some major races this season ensuring Argon18's latest technology gets some much deserved exposure. So far the team has secured a wildcard invitation to the Tour de France as well as invites to Tirreno-Adriatico and the classics Milan-San Remo and Il Lombardia.
After a successful training camp on the Balearic Islands in Spain the team has come out swinging. Sam Bennett as already secured the teams first win of the season by taking the final stage of the Tour or Qatar and Patrick Konrad currently leads the "young rider classification" of the Tour of Oman.
I am really looking forward to seeing Argon 18 continue to excel on the international stage over the coming season.
This project was part of a Shiv custom assembly for a customer at the beginning of this season.
After looking at all the hack/mod options we decided to go with this setup as it didn’t involve any wiring work thus reducing the chance of failure in the future.
By removing the unwanted parts from a Shimano Di2 Brake Shift Lever set you are left with two fully intact sets of Shimano shifter buttons and wiring allowing you to stick with the E-Tube plug and play system. Another advantage to this is that the stock cable is long enough to make it to the junction box eliminating the need for additional B-Junction boxes.
The time needed will very greatly depending on your ability to hold the shifter body safely while removing the excess material with either a hacksaw or a dremel. If you can find a way to clamp the shifter body once you have removed the brake lever you can cut away almost all the unwanted material with a hack saw leaving very little clean up work with the dremel. With the first shifter I mostly used the dremel to determine just how much to cut and where. Once I had the end product figured out I found a more efficient way to cut away the unwanted material with a hacksaw. The second method using the hack saw is what is documented.
With the shift lever now an independent unit there was one more small modification I wanted to do. I was a little concerned about what ever I was going to use to bound the shifter to the brake lever getting inside through the hole in the back of the shifters and affecting the shifter buttons. A trip to the hardware store next to the shop provided me with an almost ideal solution. Only drawback was the material was white when dry not black. I found a product called Tech Plastic that worked perfectly to fill the hole and keep the adhesive from getting into the shifter.
Now that the shifter is ready for installation you will need to determine the best way to route the E-Tube wire and hydraulic line through your base bar. With the Shiv it is necessary to route the E-Tube wire first as the cable exit hole in the base bar is not very large. On the particular Shiv in this project we ran into a little difficulty on one side of the base bar as there was quite a bit of leftover bladder material inside the base bar that made it difficult to pull the E-Tube wire through. Removing this leftover plastic added more than an extra hour to the assembly time.
Once the path through the base bar is clear I would suggest fishing a regular piece of cable housing through a couple times to make sure your e-tube and hydraulic line will pull through smoothly. Determining the best way to guide both the e-tube and hydraulic line through was a bit of a trial and error process. There was no guide channel in the base bar on this build so the hydraulic line could not be fed through on its own. When I tried to slip it through without a guide it would bottom out on the extension bolt hole and get stuck. After some experimentation I found a way to guide the hydraulic through without spilling any hydraulic fluid. I fashioned a guide line using a piece of brake cable end with a small section of a spoke threaded into one end. The spoke could then be slipped inside the end of the hydraulic line as it was pushed through and act as the guide. After installing the brakes and trimming the hydraulic lines all that was left to do was attach the shifters to the brakes. I have used used epoxy in the past to bound some seat collars onto some frames so was pretty confident this would work to bound the shifter and brake lever. After roughing up the brake surface to be bounded I mixed up the epoxy and covered the bounding surface of the brake lever. This became another learning process like cutting the shifter off the brake lever. The epoxy package says sets up in 5 min but the reality is it takes more like 10-15mins before the shifter isn't going to slide on the vertical surface of the brake lever. When I was ready to attach the second shifter I waited 5 mins after mixing the epoxy before applying it which result in a lot fewer readjustments of the shifter as the epoxy set up.
In the end we were very happy with the finished product.
BORA – Argon 18 sets its eyes on the Tour de France 2015
The only German professional cycling team, BORA – Argon 18, is heading into the new season with confidence. At today’s briefing with representatives from the German media at the team’s home base, team manager Ralph Denk formulated the objectives for the coming year. In the presence of Christian Prudhomme, the director of the Tour de France who was visiting BORA – Argon 18 in its Bavarian home, the team stated that its top priority for the season is to return to the world’s most important cycling race.
“We want to be back at the Tour de France next year. We are trying very hard to get a wild card and are quite candid about our goal. It is thus a great honor to have Christian Prudhomme visiting our team in Bavaria today. The mere fact that he has made the effort underscores the Tour’s interest in Germany. And our team makes a small contribution to this,” Ralph Denk, team manager of BORA – Argon 18, said.
“We are the only ProConti team that was allowed to ride all three Grand Tours over the past three years. We reached the podium in all of these tours, surprised a lot of people with our performance and proved that we deserved to be invited. Now with Dominik Nerz we have signed one of Germany’s best tour riders to our team. He has the potential to develop into a top 10 rider in the overall rankings,” Denk continued.
Keep up to date on the team here.
The upcoming 2014 edition of the K-Town Tri will bring a new chapter to one of the longest running sporting events in Kingston. In 2012 a decision was made to find a private body to take over the organization and running of the K-Town Tri. In the winter of 2012-13 a final decision was made welcoming Multisport Canada to Kingston!
Multipsort Canada was founded by John Salt and Mike Buck in 2001 "with the goal of developing a triathlon series that would bring more quality triathlon and duathlon events to Ontario and attract new people to a sport that is filled with camaraderie and fun." In acquiring the K-Town Tri, Multisport Canada now produces 12 races with over 10,000 athlete participants.
Having been involved in various capacities with the K-Town Tri over the years I have witnessed it become one of the premier races of its size in North America. The positive feedback over the years has been incredible. This race and its contribution to developing the sport of Triathlon have impacted numerous lives in a positive manner over the years. I have witnessed it change the lifestyle habits of entire families with its influence. This race has also served as a breeding ground of sorts for athletes looking to pursue this sport at a higher level and at one time even provided the winners with entry to the Hawaii Ironman. Here are just a few names of athletes who have made an impact over the years and who at one point or another have crossed the finish line at the K-Town Tri: Simon Whitfield, Mike Neill, Tony O'Keefe, Marie Danais, Julie Curwin, Rick Hellard, Tereza Macel, Nigel Gray, Sean Betchel, Alexander and Dorelle Hinton, Lauren Groves, Sharon Donnelly, Adam Campbell, Lynne Bermel, Joanne King, Caroline Chouinard, Mark Bates, Jeff Beech, Richard Brown Kevin MacKinnon, Graham Fraser, Carolina Heins and these are just the elites. The race has also hosted some of the best age group athletes over the years.
With 30 incredible years of history behind it the potential for this race is amazing. I look forward to seeing what John and his crew do to grow this fabulous event in the future.
This is not the kind of Tour your used to. This tour is a celebration of the return of chickens to our urban landscape. A variety of coops housing breeds like Plymouth Barred Rocks, Ameraucanas, Rhode Island Reds and Buff Orpingtons are participating in the tour this year. So, grab your bike, ride coop to coop and meet the owners and their hens!
It’s free. Bring the whole family but please leave your dogs at home. They can make some hens nervous.
Come joins us and other members of the Kingston Cycling community this Sunday, June 1st, between 11am-3pm for the Kingston Family Cycling Festival at the K-Rock Centre. This is the second running of this event and will help kick off Cycling Week 2014 in Kingston. Similar to last year we have helped provide two Opus kids bikes to be raffled off so stop by on Sunday for your chance to win.