Relive the glory: Red Bull mini drome in pictures

Photo by Christopher Kaiser

In the heart of Evergreen Brick Works, next to the kilns that fired the bricks that built Toronto, 85 skilled and daring riders took on a steep and shrunken velodrome. With speeds reaching 35 km/h, on a track that appeared no larger than a suburban garage, the challenge was not only to set the best time but do so without slamming to the ground.

Johnny "Jet Fuel" Englar, made an appearance (racing a front rack-equipped single speed) as did many other legendary local riders from the days of the Human Powered Rollercoaster. But the big competition was Addison Zawada from Jacksonville, Florida who was also the Montreal mini drome champion.

Focus and determination on the face of Sour Fever BMX rider and rookie courier Ian Christensen. Photo Chris Kaiser

Jake Williams goes high and then gets low. Photos by Chris Kaiser

Sana Vallani (see her in dandyhorse Issue #3 "Hot Wheels") gave it a whirl. Photos by Tammy Thorne

One of the more dramatic exits. Photo Tammy Thorne

A snapped carbon seat post created new challenges for one local competitor, Terroni's Chef Maurizio. Photo Chris Kaiser

dandy photographer Christopher Kaiser and his post-race road rash. Photo Tammy Thorne

Kaiser on his wipe out:

"The whole thing took me by surprise. It was on my eighth lap and I think I got too ahead of myself. In the turn you want to be looking at where you want to be at the end of it, but I was looking too far ahead and before I knew it my front wheel was off the side and I slammed down. I thought I was going to fly out of the track for sure, but somehow stayed in and got to finish my last two qualifying laps.

(CHECK OUT the Red Bull video for more great wipes outs and our slideshow below!)

Dennis demonstrates that speed and style can go hand-in-hand on the mini drome. Photo Chris Kaiser.

We are looking forward to Harry's helmet cam footage on his new website "Blood and Waybills." Photo Tammy Thorne

Dangerous curves of the mini drome. Photo by Tammy Thorne

The crowd's unending enthusiasm fueled riders for a long day of racing. Photo Chris Kaiser

The women's winner, Eva Hoekstra, with new wheels. Photo Tammy Thorne

Final race with Addison Zawada of Jacksonville, FL (Orlando and Montreal winner) and Toronto's own Justin Soares. Photo Chris Kaiser

Addison takes the top prize, a custom-painted Cervelo frame. Photo Chris Kaiser

In first: Addison Zawada, Second: Justin Soares, and Third: Brad Brownie of Toronto. Photo Chris Kaiser

Justin Soares jumps into the crowd to celebrate. Photo Chris Kaiser

dandyhorse friend and MC for the awesome event: Nadir Olivet did a great job keeping the crowd and the racers going all day long! Photo by Chris Kaiser.

We hope the Red Bull Mini Drome will return to Toronto for 2012!

Faces of Determination. Photos by Jennifer Rong

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Relive the glory: Red Bull mini drome in pictures

Bike to the Brick Works: Mini Drome event Saturday

Colleen Kirley wonders why this sign has been painted silver.

By Tammy Thorne
Photos by Jennifer Rong

dandyhorse was pretty darn excited when Nadir Olivet told us about the world's smallest velodrome coming to town.

The Red Bull Mini Drome will be at the Evergreen Brick Works this Saturday, October 8, 2011.

The event starts at 2 pm and the main race for the grand prize ~ a custom-painted T1 Cervélo track bike frame ~ is scheduled to start at 7 pm. YNOT bags and some beauty trophies are also up for grabs.

The sprawling grounds will be littered with cyclists and fun lovers from far and wide. The winner from the Montreal event will be competing along with about 70 other riders. You  can find more information here and on the Facebook event page.

In anticipation for the event, three top dandizettes and I went on an exploratory ride into the Don Valley to try and discover the best bike route to the Brick Works. Jennifer Rong (who took most of these photos), Colleen Kirley, Amanda Beattie and I headed into the wilds of the Don. Our only goal: avoid Bayview, if possible.

As we were all coming from different parts of town and as no one was actually east of the Don River, we decided the best, most central, meeting spot would be Bloor and Sherbourne.

Colleen and Jennifer check our preferred route from Sherbourne and Bloor through Rosedale into the Don Valley.

City of Toronto Cycling Map detail. The plan: Route 39 (Sherbourne bike lane) to route 41 (Elm) to the minor multi-use trail (via Milkman's Lane) to Evergreen Brick Works.

We took the advice of our pals and decided we wanted to try taking the minor multi-use trail (marked by a thin purple line on the bike map above) via the scenic Milkman’s Lane. Although unnamed on the bike map, this minor multi-use trail leads directly to the Evergreen Brick Works.

You can see it on the Evergreen Brick Works bike map here.

Anthony Westenberg, cyclist and director of Public Relations at Evergreen Brick Works told us, "The route I always take from the west is through Rosedale and then dipping into the ravine at Milkman's lane, right at the bottom of that, follow it through and then right at the next fork which takes you to the south west corner of the parking lot by the dog run. The top of Milkman’s is a bit bumpy from being washed out somewhat, but I took it with my cargo bike this morning with no troubles."

He added that when coming from the east, while Pottery Road is closed to cars, you can access the valley from there by bike and on foot from Broadview Avenue.

We decided to go straight up the Sherbourne bike lane to Elm Street and then in through Craigleigh Gardens Park.

We went a little too far on Elm. It may have been my fault. I was distracted by all the beautiful houses and may have possibly distracted the rest of the gang with my ridiculous joking. I told the girls to stay alert for potential lawyer/doctor/diplomat husbands, as I yelled out “hot girl bike parade coming through!"

So we then took some direction from a helpful and well-dressed neighbour.

He also suggested we go through the park.

So we turned back and went to Craigleigh Gardens.

At the top of Milkman's Lane. A popular route for dog walkers.

The friendly dandy stranger reappeared in his Volvo and gave us even more specific instructions about having to walk our bikes for a bit until we got to the intersection at the bottom of the lane and then we had to go right… or was it left… uphill anyway…

And so, we descended.

Heavy rains have left a long rut in the middle of Milkman's Lane and rocks and other debris scattered all over. While you could ride this route with fatter tires, we chose to walk.

Hard to image you're still in the city here. It was pretty.

At the bottom of the hill at the intersection there was a sign about trail repairs with an information box. Unfortunately, the information inside was not very helpful for our trip.

The Evergreen Brick Works signage had been painted over and was solid silver confusing us only further (as can be seen in the top photo).

Which way should we go? Did the friendly stranger tell us to go left or was it right?

An information box without directions and a ghostly silver sign.

We decided to go to the left, as it was more uphill and because we felt the Evergreen Brick Works sign must have been painted over for a reason.

Unsure if we were going the right way we just enjoyed the view along a tree-lined path.

As we were told, this route was taking us uphill. Yet, with a rocky path and each of us on bikes with skinny tires, there was still a lot of walking.

In fact, too much walking. We were all beginning to suspect we had gone the wrong way. As we walked our bikes uphill we emerged from the path at Mount Pleasant and Roxborough!

Realizing we were now further away from Evergreen Brick Works than we'd started, it was time for another map consultation.

After a brief safety meeting, we decided it was time to just blast down (or up, as it were) Roxborough into the direction we knew the valley was and take our chances, hoping that we'd be able to connect to a trail that would lead us back in the right direction, rather than walk our bikes back the way we came, as the gravel had been rough for much of the path (which we later learned was Park Drive Reservation.) We all agreed that a new route was in order.

At the end of Roxborough, we filled up our water bottles at a fountain and regrouped before we headed into another adorable park in yet another tony part of town. Nearby we spotted a set of cute stone stairs that appeared to take us into the valley. Or so we thought….

But, moments later we found out why this route wasn’t marked on our bike map.


There were about 100 rickety wooden stairs here. Deciding we had come too far to turn back we carried our bikes down the stairs.

We all declared we would definitely "take the right way home" and "only use paved paths" after this.

Once at the bottom, Jennifer, now covered in burrs, I scouted ahead down a narrow dirt path and heard some running water. We had made it!

We went through a thick bush and the narrow dirt path emerged the wider, ride-able path. We were back on the trail. (EDs note: Our travellers have arrived on the Moore Park Ravine minor multi-use path. To the north this route connects to Moore Avenue as well as the Mount Pleasant Cemetery.)

But which way to go now?

Right. We were all pretty sure we needed to turn right here.

Low and behold, after only a few pedal strokes we were there!

And what greeted us as we arrived? A "cyclists please dismount" sign, after we had been walking our bikes for most of our wild ride. We all laughed as we walked our bikes down the hill into the beautiful Evergreen Brick Works!

It was time for a short break.

The Red Bull Mini Drome is also brought to you by Steam Whistle, Cervélo and dandyhorse.

Then back on the trail!

This time we were sure we would get it right.

Alas, with our new rule of taking only paved paths and seeing what appeared to be a loop back and a cyclist on Bayview, we thought we were again going the wrong way.

We asked a young family if we could get back downtown on the hard dirt path but they suggested we had to go along Bayview Avenue. (EDs note: Had our dandizettes continued on this path they would have reached Milkman's Lane and could have retraced their steps to Sherbourne and Bloor.)

So we doubled back to Evergreen Brick Works so we could cross at the lights.

Once across Bayview we rode for a bit on a nice smooth path with lush greenery. The path allows cyclists to bypass the unfriendly cloverleaf exit here and took us under the Prince Edward Viaduct. Smooth sailing, or so we thought, until we were plopped out unceremoniously onto Bayview. Amanda scouted ahead and then we all agreed to ride in single file on the shoulder against traffic.

We soon made it to a light crossing, where the wide shoulder ended.

We crossed, finding ourselves at Rosedale Valley Drive, and took the "major" multi-use path back up towards Bloor and Park.

Overall we would all agree: Do NOT go this way!

EDs note: The Don Trail along Bayview is still under construction. Once completed, jersey barriers will protect cyclists from rushing traffic on Bayview. The widened shoulder will become a bi-directional multi-use path connecting Rosedale Valley Drive to Pottery Road via Bayview.

While there are several ways to get into the Don Valley from the west, we recommend our original route down Milkman's Lane, though be sure to make a RIGHT at the bottom of the hill to reach Evergreen Brick Works.

This Saturday will be a beautiful day for biking and hiking!

There's going to be a crazy race too.

dandyhorse will be on hand and rooting for our photographic contributor, Christopher Kaiser, who will be competing in and shooting the event.

dandyhorse is the official local media sponsor of this event and our new Food Issue (as well as back issues and T-shirts) will be for sale at the dandy merch table.

See you there!



From the west: In Rosedale the entrace to Milkman's Lane is off of South Drive. You can access South Drive from Elm Ave.

From the east: Pottery Road is currently closed to cars and trucks but is accessible to both pedestrians and cyclists. Follow Pottery Road west to Bayview Avenue. At the intersection wait for the light and make a left turn, riding on the paved shoulder to the entrance to Evergreen Brick Works.

Evergreen Brick Works "Getting Here By Bike" Map Detail. Full map: PDF

Do you have route suggestions to help people arrive safely at Evergreen Brick Works by bike or on foot? Share your tips in the comments below.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

The Food Issue – Volume 4, Issue 2 – Available Now!

Now available! Get dandyhorse here. Subscribe today!

The Food Issue is guest edited by Bob Blumer of the Food Network, a guy that bikes 1,000 km in 10 days and calls it a vacation.

Also in this issue:

* dandyhorse pits Canadian pro rider Ryder Hesjedal against Toronto courier Kevin Barnhorst
* Two of Toronto's best chefs concoct energy bars that actually taste good
* Bikes that feed the world
* Cyclists' tribute to Jack Layton
* Artwork by Jason van Horne and Dave Murray
* Stunning photos by John Lee and Molly Crealock
* Bike Spotting with more cargo bikes than you can shake a tire lever at
* And much, much more

Get the Food Issue delivered to your door, subscribe today!

Cover by John Lee - Model Dani Barker

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Comments Off on The Food Issue – Volume 4, Issue 2 – Available Now!

dandySHOPS: The Big Carrot Natural Food Market

By Laura Warner
Photos courtesy of The Big Carrot Natural Food Market

The Big Carrot Natural Food Market has been a landmark on the Danforth for almost thirty years. It is the neighbourhood's "go-to shop" for fresh, organic groceries, breads, produce, dairy, meats, and coffees. They also offer a quick-serve area for salads and hot meals. The grocery store is the "anchor store" next to the Carrot Commons, which also includes a vegetarian café. The Big Carrot is so much more than a natural food market, but a pioneer in co-operative business, organic eating and healthy living.

It all began in the early 1980s, The Big Carrot's Patrick Conner explains, when seven people who had been involved in natural food markets had a vision of opening their own store. An unproven idea at the time, the banks did not jump to provide funding for the idea, so the dreamers raised their own capitol and eventually convinced a credit union to front the rest of the cash. Conducting a business study they saw that the Danforth, as a "neighbourhood in transition," was the place to set up shop. As older homeowners were migrating out, young families were rejuvenating the area, promising the perfect neighbourhood dynamic for a natural food venture. Hence, in 1983, The Big Carrot opened their doors at the 355 Danforth Avenue address, where the Second Cup sits now.

The business grew rapidly. Expanding through the 1980s they found they needed more room and began taking over other buildings along the same stretch. Working with developer David Walsh, the shop took over an old car lot and constructed the Carrot Common in 1987. Today the store’s staff has multiplied to 65 owners and 125 employees. All employees are given the opportunity to become owners after one year of service. The seven member board of directors, which includes voted-in worker owners, uphold The Big Carrots' philosophy of providing healthy, sustainable food principles and sharing these with the community.

With the recent explosion of "food movements," when asked what sets the Big Carrot apart from the plentiful organic competitors, Patrick stressed The Big Carrot’s steadfast dedication to food standards. "We, as a membership, research, debate and vote upon all items that are sold in the store." They have been leaders in organic inspection and advocacy. To "maintain integrity of organic label" the food in the kitchen, bakery and deli are all inspected and certified.

In fact, they were one of Canada's first retailers to be certified according to Canadian Organics Standards (COS). This is especially refreshing, since there has been a lot of buzz in the media about large companies playing fast and loose with the term "organic," slapping a seal of approval on items that are not quite up to snuff.

They are also leaders in the movement against genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Patrick explains how in 1999 The Big Carrot board members voted against allowing GMOs inside their store with an allowance of 1%. They continue in-store audits to uphold this policy. This October, non-GMO month, The Big Carrot will be communicating tips to its customers on how to be vigilant against products containing GMOs, helping Torontonians make healthy and ethical lifestyle choices.

Speaking of choices that impact an individuals health, naturally, one wonders how cycling fits into The Big Carrot's philosophy. Patrick says it's an interesting dilemma for them; trying to maintain a bicycle friendly business on a very busy thoroughfare. He acknowledges the positive effect having bike lanes installed nearby has been. "On the viaduct (over the Don Valley Parkway) there was so much rage, and so many near misses […] after they installed the bike lanes, this rage, and the near misses, went down significantly." While many merchants may fear the installment of bike lanes will cause them to lose business, as this sometimes involves the loss of on-street parking spaces, Patrick puts a more optimistic spin on the change, "It gives the business an opportunity to be creative." Finding ways to accommodate all modes of transportation can lead to happier customers and when cycling, walking and transit are included, an overall smaller carbon footprint.

The Big Carrot

348 Danforth Ave. (at Chester)
Toronto, Ontario
M4K 1N8
(416) 466-2129


As a sponsor shop, dandyhorse is available free to customers of The Big Carrot (while quantities last). The Food Issue, featuring guest editor Bob Blumer, is now available at The Big Carrot and sponsor and retail shops.

Get dandy delivered to your door, subscribe today!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on dandySHOPS: The Big Carrot Natural Food Market

Food Issue Celebration a Success

Yvonne Bambrick poses with dandyhorse editor-in-chief Tammy Thorne and her new Linus bike courtesy of Curbside Cycle.

The rain couldn't keep the revellers away from the Food Issue launch party at Parts & Labour. Friends, contributors and dandies alike all came together to celebrate our 7th fantastic issue. Guest editor Bob Blumer shared tales of biking in Toronto, Los Angeles and beyond. DJ Isosceles kept the tunes spinning all night and two lucky partiers went home with brand new Linus bikes courtesy of Curbside Cycle and Trelock locks courtesy of The Bicycle Commons. The first 100 guests went home with bright and blinkie MEC turtle lights.

Thank you to everyone who came out to party with us!

The Food Issue is now available. Get it here.

Subscribe today and get dandy delivered to your door!

Resourceful photographer Chris Kaiser with dandy centrespread subject, courier Kevin Barnhorst.

Guest editor Bob Blumer with dandy senior editor Dana Lacey and top dandy Tammy Thorne.

Sarah B. Hood introduces you to bicycle food delivery from around the world in our Food Issue.

Molly Crealock captures a bike-friendly family picnic and Heels on Wheels interviewee Ivy Knight in the Food Issue.

Ever so dandy Colleen Kirley and Amanda Beattie

Photos by Manny Perez.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Food Issue Celebration a Success