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.

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Nuit Blanche Bike Spotting: How do bikes and art intersect in your life?

We take to the dark, art-filled streets of Toronto during Nuit Blanche for our latest Bike Spotting. All Bike Spotters received free MEC turtle lights to help them light up the night!

How do bikes and art intersect in your life? How do bikes and art intersect in your life?
How do bikes and art intersect in your life? How do bikes and art intersect in your life?

Find out how art and bicycles intersect in our latest Bike Spotting!

FREE MEC turtle lights for the first 100 guests at the dandyhorse Food Issue launch party! October 3, 2011 at Parts & Labour. Your free light could light the way home on one of two Linus bikes!

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Finding the Right Commuter City Bicycle

By Colleen Kirley
Photos by Tammy Thorne, Colleen Kirley and Miranda Newman

Since working with dandyhorse, cycling has become my sole source of transportation ~ almost.

You see, my roommate and good friend, Lindsay, isn't a cyclist – which means whenever we go anywhere, we're walking.

So I’ve declared it's time to find Lindsay a bike. Over the past week, I tested out three different bikes from three bike shops across the city keeping in mind that Lindsay is a first-time city commuter, a “starving” student on a budget, doesn't want anything heavy and isn't necessarily interested in speed (yet).

First up: The Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) Skyway.

MEC Skyway. Photo by Colleen Kirley

The new MEC Skyway is a road bike with no chain -- instead, it has a thick plastic belt (like the ones used in some motorcycles). This makes maintenance really easy -- no lubricating the chain and it's a lot harder to snap.

Grease-free belt drive and toe clips come stock on the MEC Skyway. Photos by Colleen Kirley.

The Skyway is a single speed, which seems odd for a road bike. Especially, since this one was set at a pretty low gear, so climbing hills was easy enough, but it wasn't very fast. Of course, after you buy the bike, you can change the cog to suit your preference, whether you want slow and easy or fast and a little more challenging.

This bike was a really nice ride. Initially, the seat was much too low for me, and was really uncomfortable. Thankfully, I was able to barter the assistance of a helpful courier lent with a multi-tool at the corner of Queen and University in exchange for the newest issue of dandyhorse, which features one of his two-wheeled compatriots courier Kevin Barnhorst. (He said he knew Kevin when I asked. Later, I when I returned the bike to MEC, bought my own multi-tool.)

Colleen hits the streets on the MEC Skyway. Photo by Miranda Newman.

Once the seat was at the right height, the ride was extremely comfortable.

COST: $925 at Mountain Equipment Co-op

PROS: Looks really nice. Got a lot of stares on this bike. The belt drive is a cool feature and may reduce the need for tune-ups. The brakes are nice and the saddle was comfortable.

CONS: The single speed is limiting. Need to get used to using the metal pedal straps.

IS IT RIGHT FOR LINDSAY? If Lindsay would ride a road bike, this would be the one for her. It's low maintenance and light and not as intimidating as some of the skinny-framed "urban commuter" bikes can be. But, I don't feel she's ready for a road bike.

So, let’s look at an “upright” ride…

Next up: The TREK Atwood

Getting "upright" on the TREK Atwood. Photo by Colleen Kirley.

From a road bike to a cruiser -- The Atwood, by TREK, was a really smooth ride. Coming from the perspective of a new cyclist like Lindsay, the wider tires seem a lot safer -- especially when you’ve been regaled with tales of wet streetcar track wipe-outs and are already timid to ride in traffic.

Like a certain Canadian author who shares the name of this beautiful bike, the Atwood was graceful and sturdy. I felt a lot more ladylike riding this cruiser in a skirt than I do on my current Miele road bike. Sitting upright, I felt prim and proper coasting down Bloor street, past Christie Pits to my destination -- the fine establishment that is the Palmerston Library!

The gear shifting was ridiculously easy, and I found myself shifting them for every little increase in altitude. The handlebars were comfortable, but extremely wide. I almost tore off a side mirror. Thankfully, the driver was unfazed.

Quick and efficient Shimano shifters and sturdy steel frame. Photos by Colleen Kirley.

COST: $570.00 at Sweet Pete's

PROS: A beautiful bike, you can feel civilized while riding through the chaos of Toronto. The gears are so easy to shift and, for a heavier bike, it's not difficult to use the hardest gear.

CONS: You take up a lot of the road. I could have had a small lawsuit on my hands (with the side mirror) -- know your size.

RIGHT FOR LINDSAY? Getting closer. I can definitely see her riding this bike. It may be a little on the heavier side for her.

If I could just find something that was sort of in between the road bike and the big cruiser….

Final bike: The Linus Roadster Classic

Colleen takes the Linus Classic Roadster "off-road." Photo by Tammy Thorne.

I see Linus bikes everywhere now. I always thought they were nice looking bikes, but I never really understood what all the fuss was about.

Then I rode one.

The ride is smooth and easy. It's set at a pretty low speed, but you can still ride fast if your legs have it in them. Plus, the bike is really handsome. Without brakes on the handlebars, the frame is simple and clean.

Win this bike at the Food Issue launch party! Photo by Tammy Thorne.

It was odd getting used to the coaster brakes. I had a really embarrassing moment gliding south down Crawford Street, where I was coasting over a speed bump, attempted to back pedal (which engaged the brakes) and I jolted forward. Not so graceful.

At every red light, I would stop by back pedalling my left leg, leaving my right pedal in no place to begin biking. You need to be aware and thinking so you can set your feet up for the "push-off" at every stop. Or else you end up tip toeing your bike forward until the pedal is at a good spot to push off of.

COST: around $500 at Curbside Cycle

PROS: A smooth ride -- a clean look.

CONS: A little slow for me. The coaster brakes take some getting used to.

GOOD FOR LINDSAY? Yes! Since she doesn't have experience on any bike, I think she'd be able to get used to the brakes quickly. The gear is just the right speed for her. Climbing hills was really easy, and as long as you're okay with a slower pace, the Roadster Classic was a nice ride for just cruising around the city.

All in all, these bikes were great. Each one offered something to a new cyclist. The MEC Skyway was a good introduction to a road bike for anyone who is considering the switch from a cruiser. The TREK Atwood is one of the lightest (therefore fastest) cruisers I've ever ridden, and the Linus Roadster is a great all-around city bike for a new commuter.


Don't forget -- You can win the Linus Roadster Classic (or his lady-friendly sister, the Dutchi) at our dandyhorse Food Issue launch party at Parts & Labour, Monday, October 3, 2011!

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Christopher Kaiser shoots Kevin Barnhorst for the Food issue

Christopher Kaiser
Cycle messenger Kevin Barnhorst weaves through traffic. Photographer Christopher Kaiser reveals how he got this shot below.

In our just-released special FOOD issue of dandyhorse, photographer Christopher Kaiser shot Toronto courier Kevin Barhorst for our extended centre spread "Tour vs Street" in which we put Barnhorst head-to-head with Canada's top professional rider, Ryder Hesjedal, on calorie counts in a typical day in the saddle.

The results are fascinating and the photos are incredible. We will launch our new issue on October 3 at Parts&Labour.

Here, we introduce you to our newest and dandiest photographic contributor, Christopher Kaiser:

When did you first see dandyhorse?

A few years ago, some friends working at a bike shop brought me a copy.

When did you decide you wanted to get involved?

Well, a lot of my photography seems to be bike centric since it's such a big part of my life, so I knew I'd have something to contribute sooner or later, the timing just seemed to work out recently. I ride every day.

When did you start taking photos?

Since before I remember, I had a film SLR around the house growing up and loved playing around with it. It has always been an interest, but I would say, increasingly, in the last three years I have been taking it more seriously.

Christopher Kaiser
High-speed, tight traffic and bicycle-mounted photography for dandyhorse magazine's just-released FOOD issue.

What did you think when you were asked to shoot courier Kevin Barnhorst in traffic?

I thought it was great, and immediately started thinking how I'd go about doing it. I knew I wanted to be right in it with him and most of the shots were during his working day, while he was doing calls. I have shot friends while riding; just riding no handed, which usually just ends up being back shots, but to get the head on shots I had to do something different.

How did you come up with the special rig for your camera?

I have had the idea in my head for a while, just never implemented it. So this was the perfect opportunity. It didn't take long. I just used a bike rack, and ripped apart an old tripod and used hose clamps to fasten it to the rack. I put my good tripod head on and ran the remote shutter release to my top tube, so I could easily reach down and take photos.

Christopher Kaiser
Christopher Kaiser
Resourceful and good-looking: photographic talent in action. The improvised camera mount and remote setup by Chris Kaiser.

What hazards did you come across during this shoot?

Not too many, just the usual hazards of riding in the city, plus Kevin is fast, so keeping ahead of him and shooting was a bit precarious at times, especially on the camera. Even though the rig is steady, the camera is pretty heavy so it shook around a lot, especially on the rough roads. One of my lenses actually fell apart during the shoot, though it was already on it's way out, so I wasn't surprised. I had repaired it a few times prior and it would only work when I left a few screws out. The vibrations must have shook the rest loose, and it literally slid out of itself and smashed to the ground.

Christopher Kaiser
Broken lens. A sacrifice for stellar photography.

What was the most enjoyable part of the shoot?

Almost all of it. Having an idea, implementing it and having it work out well is really rewarding. Once I realized that what I was doing was working, I started to enjoy it all. Kevin is also really easy to work with, and didn't mind me taking a few minutes to change things up when I needed to.

Can you describe some of the photos for us and what was involved in getting all those great photos?

I set the rig up the day before I was meeting up with Kevin, but it was hard to test it without a subject. I decided to ride around the city and get myself in front of cyclists and try and get some shots. I managed to get one decent shot of a guy near Dundas Square, but not much else.

The next day with Kevin I was still unsure how well it would work out. We met at Bloor and Jarvis, I set up my camera and looked in the viewfinder to see where he showed up in the frame. I set the focus point to how I wanted to frame it and told him the approximate distance he needed to be behind me, and soon after that we were off to Bloor and Avenue. On the way I constantly took shots. I could only hear the shutter click half of the time, so I wasn't sure what I was getting, I looked back to check our distance often and kept on shooting. He dropped off his package at Avenue and I watched his bike for him while looking through the shots to see how they were turning out. I made a few adjustments and we kept on riding.

At Yonge and Davisville I switched up the camera a bit more and we headed back down to St. Clair, where I decided to switch lenses. It was coming to the end of his day and we were finishing off the last of his calls, so there wasn't much time to review the shots. His last call was to Casa Loma, which was perfect for getting the monument shot the editor wanted. Kevin, Kai (Kevin's girlfriend) and I hung out for a bit on the Casa Loma steps and looked over the photos. I took note of a few that stood out, and we decided to meet the next day to get the rest. Looking through the photos at home that night I made some notes on which techniques worked and the ones that didn't.

Christopher Kaiser
On delivery at Casa Loma.

The next day we met up at Spadina and Front, and headed north. After searching for a strange address, Kevin got his delivery done, but had to rush to his next call. We decided that we'd meet up later, and he sped away.

Christopher Kaiser
Speeding north on Spadina.

This is when my lens fell apart. I decided to make my way to College and University, where we planned on meeting up. Just after crossing Spadina, as I headed down Sullivan Street, I heard the lens crash down behind me. I knew it was coming. I laughed, and headed to a camera shop to grab a replacement. I texted Kevin the news and we decided to meet at old City Hall. He was done his work day, so it gave us time to focus on getting the photos we needed. I had him ride by in front of old City Hall a couple of times and took a few shots before heading to Queen and University.

Christopher Kaiser
Passing Old City Hall.

I stood in the street as he rode up University towards me and hopped out of the way just as he and the traffic got near. An angry driver honked and yelled at Kevin saying that he was going to "run him down". It's not unusual to get that sort of a response as a cyclist in rush hour traffic, sad to say.

I was through with using the rack set up and resorted to shooting while riding no handed for the rest of the day. Kevin and I headed up to College and University to get a few shots of him riding south with Queens Park in the background. The photos weren't turning out how I had pictured and we turned back down University, lane splitting (aka "stripe-riding" or riding in between cars) in the gridlock traffic, while I kept shooting.

Christopher Kaiser
Lane splitting on University.

We turned west on Richmond and made our way to Bathurst and Front. I ride down Bathurst most mornings on my way to work and had that spot in mind, just as you cross over the train tracks, south of Front Street. I hopped off my bike and stood up on the steel barrier on the opposite side of the road as Kevin rode by, making sure to get the CN Tower and all the new construction in the shot. (Editors note: You can see this fantastic shot on page 30 of the just-released FOOD issue and at the end of October in our interview with Kevin Barnhorst about his work to help unionize bicycle messengers.) Afterwards, we cruised down to the Lakeshore and took a rest down by all the yachts, I took a few more photos and then headed to meet a few other couriers for some dinner and drinks in Kensington market. And that was that.

Christopher Kaiser
Christopher Kaiser
Kevin Barnhorst on the waterfront and a playful track stand.

What has been the high point of your photography career so far?

I'm not sure that my photography career has started yet, but I'd say my trip to Southeast Asia at the beginning of the year was a high point in my photography. Most of those photos have yet to see the light of day, though. Soon.

What do you think the city could do to make cycling safer for cyclists?

Rebuild the city. The infrastructure is just not there, there is just not enough room on most roads for it to be safe. It will take time.

Favourite shop?

Liberty Street Cyclery (Hi Mitch), La Carrera Cycles (Bye Nadir), Cycle Solutions, Bikes on Wheels, Biseagal… Don't make me pick favourites. I can't pick favourites.

Christopher Kaiser
Kevin Barnhorst squeezes by during rush hour.

Christopher Kaiser

Christopher Kaiser photography.

You can see more of Chris' work regularly on our our website and in our new FOOD issue - launching at Parts&Labour on Monday, October 3.

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La Carrera Cycles hits the road

Futura Colnago at Red Bull Academy / 381 Projects by Christopher Kaiser
Futura's Colnago at the Red Bull Academy / 381 Projects. Photo by Christopher Kaiser

By Tammy Thorne, with files from Colleen Kirley

It was in La Condesa, Mexico City, where I had my first official safety meeting with Nadir Olivet.

Olivet not only cares about the safety of his fellow cyclists, he also cares deeply about the craft of building and painting bicycles.

During our meeting he introduced me to a man named Futura from NYC.

Futura painted the Colnago bike in the photo above. Futura (or Futura 2000 as he is also known) is also one of the earliest pioneers of graffiti art.

This fact was hard for me to fully comprehend, so I just thought of him as the amazing polka dot bike painter to help keep my brains from exploding.

We were in La Condesa for an urban bicycle race (aka "alley cat") called Chill 'n Go that Olivet helped organize as a precursor to his 2010 Cycle Messenger World Championship event in Panajachel Guatemala, which would feature a specially designed figure-eight track called La Ocho. Olivet is also a fan of unusual racing tracks.

Fast forward a year-and-a-half and I'm sitting in the back of La Carrera Cycles, in its final days, discussing cyclist safety, personal well being and the future of cycling with founder, Olivet.

One of the trademark orange walls in back of the shop has been freshly painted by graffiti artist Whisper in homage to Olivet's last days in the space.

Nadir Olivet by Colleen Kirley
La Carrera graffiti mural by Colleen Kirley
Nadir Olivet and the La Carrera graffiti mural by Whisper. Photos by Colleen Kirley

Why orange? "I think it all goes back to being Guatemalan," Olivet says. "Guatemala has always been a hotbed for art and expression. Everywhere you go there is art and colour and art is an expression of who you are and who your family is. You see it in the barrios (neighbourhoods). Every family has a different colour. And I like beautiful things."

"Especially when that beautiful thing is something that represents you," he says. "And the bicycle is art. It is an expression of who you are."

Olivet has been influenced directly over the last five years by pioneers of urban expression like Fab 5 Freddy, Stash and Futura. His favourite art bike at the moment is the Cinelli painted by Keith Haring, currently on the Cinelli home page. Futura agreed to paint bicycles in exchange for a Colnago frame. "A Colnago is the ultimate expression, it's a bike with soul. It has art in every facet of its engineering. I only know of a few bikes that I've actually ridden that have soul, that have that feeling for me. It's been Colnago and Cinelli and Fondriest."

Nadir Olivet by Colleen Kirley
Nadir Olivet and Samuel Baldit Martinez
Nadir Olivet with one of his beloved Cinelli's in front of the shop and inside,  in the mechanic's pit. Photos by Colleen Kirley

Olivet launched La Carrera in 1993 and has organized and promoted many cycling and arts events since. La Carrera Cycles (the shop) was born in 2002. He moved to Harbord street in 2005.

He sold the shop last month and La Carrera Cycles will be on hiatus as of the end of September.

On October 1, the new owner, Samuel Baldit Martinez will officially take over the space at 106 Harbord. The new shop will be called Chill 'n Go. The colour has not yet been decided, but it cannot be orange.

"I don't want to sell my name because I'm not sure what my next step will be and I've invested too much time in La Carrera to sell that," he says. "It's been a big part of my life. That said, I need a break." He says he is figuring out the next thing to do professionally and spiritually.

"I'm just going to figure out what makes me happy. I definitely want to talk to bike builders like Colnago and take in as many races as I can. Then, take a look at where I want to take La Carrera next."

Nadir Olivet and Samuel Baldit Martinez by Colleen Kirley
“Meet the new boss, same as the old boss” - Nadir Olivet and Samuel Baldit. Photo by Colleen Kirley

La Carrera by Christopher Kaiser
La Carrera front window with art by Elicser on the wall. Photo by Christopher Kaiser

The closing of La Carrera bike shop is a shock for fans of finer bicycles and is especially sad for that neighbourhood's many serious cycling enthusiasts in particular, but Olivet - as always - has big plans in store. Next up is a trip to Japan where legendary bicycle maker Nagasawa has handcrafted a bicycle for him, dedicated to his mother (the person who most inspires Olivet) and painted orange.

On receiving the bike Olivet will be invited to a night of drinking with Nagasawa. This is an unusually difficult task for Olivet who is not a drinker, but who instead shared a smoke with the revered bike builder as he somehow convinced him to build him a bike. Perhaps it was Olivet's pragmatic philosophy that won him over.

"It has to be a bike you like - with bikes you develop them because not every person is the same. The difference could be of height or because of injuries or lack of mobility and so on, so you actually have to find something that fits you and suits you and that is how it starts to develop. It becomes an extension of who you are by those factors. Then it goes into an expression of who you are by colour and the look and style," he says. "You learn a lot about people from working on their bike."

Olivet learns a lot about people wherever he goes. He's travelled to over 20 cities around the world and worked in almost as many. He left Toronto in the late 90s after suffering a non-cycling-related injury: a broken heart. He says, "I didn't want to be here and that was all I could do: ride my bike. So I got work riding my bike."

He took work as a bicycle messenger in NYC, D.C., Germany, Holland and more, making him one of the first "international messengers." Which brings us back to his brainchild, La Ocho, the figure-eight track and the Cycle Messenger World Championships - aka "the worlds" - in Panajachel, Guatemala.

When torrential rains caused flooding that wiped out hundreds of homes the international courier community came to the aid of locals who had lost everything. Olivet led messengers to collect and distribute supplies to help the victims of the tropical storm. He received the Marcus Cook Award last year from the International Federation of Bike Messenger Associations for organizing the event. The award recognizes those who inspire and empower the wider messenger community and put themselves before others. (You can read more here about Olivet winning the award.)

The track, La Ocho, was designed with the help of Dieter Janssen, a Toronto architect that enlisted a mathematician and a team of students to help figure out the geometry of the track. "They used topographic maps of the area to lay out the track," Olivet says. "Without even having to go to Guatemala, they were able to make the track fit the area perfectly."

La Ocho CMWC 14
La Ocho CMWC 02
La Ocho CMWC 06
La Ocho CMWC designs by Dieter Janssen

Based on the Human Powered Roller Coaster (HPR)‚ designed by Toronto architect John Consolati and used for alley cat races promoted by John "Jet Fuel" Englar in the 90s‚ the track would have steep banked turns and a bridge that crossed over the middle. But before a single race could be held, La Ocho was washed away in the floods that devastated the region.

"It was disappointing because we had almost realized it, but it's never been ridden," Janssen says. But he wants to see it in use, and is eager to work with someone to put the plans in motion. He said that the track can be made anywhere and that everyone is ready to start the project up again. "I think the team that we have was also excited to see this thing come together, and a lot of us would love still see it happen."

No one got to race La Ocho, but those cyclists who are wild at heart can race the world's smallest velodrome in Toronto on October 8.

Olivet is also the man behind bringing one of the most unusual tracks ever built to Toronto. Red Bull's mini drome event will at Evergreen Brick Works on October 8. Registration is still open at 106 Harbord. It is free for spectators. Participants get a complimentary copy of our new Food Issue of dandyhorse. Mmmm bikes! There's also a cash prize. Check out this cool photo of the mini drome.

Olivet's advice for participants?

"Clear your mind." The spectators will likely be going crazy, so getting focussed could be a challenge.

"Think of it like being in a bubble. And run the cleanest tires you can," he says. "Wrap them in Saran wrap beforehand."

The Red Bull Mini Drome event will be Olivet's last event before going to Japan to meet Nagasawa again. Next up: he'll open a new bike shop in Mexico City's La Condesa or Roma neighbourhood.

But over the next year he plans to "just get in as many rides and as many races as I can."

"This will help me determine where cycling is going," he says. "It's hard for me to walk away, sure. But for me, now, it's going to be hanging out with the old guard and seeing how they keep motivated… How does Colnago or Masi keep motivated? I want to go by the roadside with those guys and find out how they keep motivated by what they are doing."

"I want to see where cycling is headed next."

Futura Colnago and La Carrera Cycles art photos by Christopher Kaiser
La Ocho designs by Dieter Janssen
Mexico City photos by Tammy Thorne
Mini Drome registration photos by Manny Perez
Nadir Olivet and Samuel Baldit Martinez photos by Colleen Kirley

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