With Bixi’s baby steps and an ever-increasing demand for bike lanes, it seems that bicycles have gained momentum as a primary source of transportation in Toronto streets. To kick off Toronto Bike Month, our choices for some of this summer’s slickest rides:
Its name is Earl. This steel-framed single-speed has a flip-flop rear hub, for both fixed-gear and single-speed setups. But its secret weapon is the split top tube, which can holster a U-lock or crack open a surreptitious beverage. The Earl comes in black or blue, like the officer who might have a problem with said afternoon libation.
Giant Via 3
A relaxed version of the Trek Earl with a smoother road feel, the Via 3 is a single-speed ride with a less aggressive stance than its Trek counterpart. Fitted with a chain guard and split top tube for U-lock holstering.
The Cycle Shoppe, 630A Queen St. W., 416-703-9990, cyclemotive.com, $389
Linus Dutchi 8
Light on the road and our pocket books, this California-built Dutch-style city bike comes with eight speeds (single- or three-speed options also available), solid brakes and enough hardware to save our suiting from front-gear tears.
A burnt-copper frame with yellow accents and chrome forks, the Speciale Strada is a 10-speed throwback updated to an 18-speed in chromoly steel. Canadian availability is limited, making this a true showpiece.
Bikes On Wheels, 309 Augusta Ave., 416-966-2453, bikesonwheels.ca, $1,000
The Opus Nuovella is a lightweight aluminum internally geared urban commuter in soft pastel blue. This city bikes comes complete with skirt and chain guards, a rear rack and a seven-speed internal gear system. It is the lady friend to the Opus Lugano.
Urbane Cyclist, 180 John St., 416-979-9733, ucycle.com, $840
A lightweight aluminum internal-geared urban commuter in charcoal grey, this Opus Nuovella male counterpart comes with a chain guard, full fenders, a rear rack and a seven-speed internal gear system.
Urbane Cyclist, 180 John St., 416-979-9733, ucycle.com, $840Electra Ticino 8D
A lightweight take on a timeless classic, this is roughly half the weight of a regular European touring bike, and nearly half the cost. With secure hammered fenders that won’t rattle through seven speeds, this is a great choice for kinder and gentler urban cyclists.
Classic, hand-made and fast (it comes in both single- and three-speed options), the Guv’nor is a British-built take on a 1930s design from Pashley’s back pages. Strong and durable, this gentlemanly velocipede is suited to both short and long rides. Toronto Tweed Ride, anyone?
Curbside Cycle, 412 Bloor St. W., 416-920-4933, curbside.on.ca, $1,899.99
Pashley Princess Sovereign
Five speeds, a rear rack, a Brooks saddle, generator lights and mud and skirt guards—this hand-crafted in Stratford-upon-Avon bicycle comes fully equipped. It’s designed for leisure trips in the English country, yet equally suited to the city commons.
Curbside Cycle, 412 Bloor St. W., 416-920-4933, curbside.on.ca, $1,349.99 Biria EB 7
For those who want to get off a bike without looking like they were on a bike, the Biria EB 7 is an “easy-boarding” step-through aluminum frame with seven speeds and city cruiser handlebars.
The Cycle Shoppe, 630A Queen St. W., 416-703-9990, cyclemotive.com, $699
Raleigh One Way
The One Way is actually a two-way. It’s equipped with a Torpedo hub in the back, so a rider can easily switch between single speed and fixed gear while on the fly. Ideal for those times an experienced cyclist might want to, um, take a break from the fixie business.
Urbane Cyclist, 180 John St., 416-979-9733, ucycle.com, $700; Cyclemotive, 156 Bathurst St., 416-916-5551, cyclemotive.com, $839; The Cycle Shoppe, 630A Queen St. W., 416-703-9990, cyclemotive.com, $839
Linus Roadster Classic
A city bike broken down to the bare necessities: coaster brakes, wheels and pedals. These bikes were so popular last year that shops quickly ran out—luckily, stocks abound this summer.
Here’s a limited-edition flip-flop fixie that’s white, purple, black and turquoise, catering to cyclists who demand a bit of colour from their ride. This bike is built with a geometry that is purportedly “effective for dodging cars and potholes.” It also has no brakes. Ride safe!
Broadway Cycle, 1222 Bloor St. W., 416-531-1028, bikedepot.com, $929
ABICI + Pantone Grantourismo Uomo
A sturdy steel-framed city ride made completely by hand in Italy, this green traditional commuter has hidden cables, fenders and a chain guard for pants protection. We think this could be in high demand among OCAD graduates, since the Pantone link makes it an essential for snooty designers.
Curbside Cycle, 412 Bloor St. W., 416-920-4933, curbside.on.ca, $800
Sturdy and reliable, the Viva Juliett is a flounce-friendly step-through bicycle, set with all the trimmings—front and back fenders, chain guard, internal gears and a unique skirt protector—designed to protect its rider’s clothing.
With full fenders, a chain guard and a rear rack, the Danish-designed Velo is ideal for work commutes. A seven-speed internal hub and swept-back handlebars afford comfort for longer rides with lots of turns from opening taxi cabs and out-of-the-blue streetcar tracks.
Kona Band Wagon
This chrome-finished steel-frame ride actually comes with brakes, unlike a lot of fixies, so grab a messenger bag and helmet, and know with confidence that a trip to the local organic food co-op comes with a complete stop.
Duke’s Cycle, 625 Queen St. W., 416-504-6138, dukescycle.ca, $999.99
ABICI Pantone Universe 14-0848
We like to call this the brunch bicycle. Italian ABICI has partnered with Pantone Universe to create a line of solid-coloured city bikes with sharp white accents on the chain guard. This one is called mimosa, so drink up (but walk home).
Curbside Cycle, 412 Bloor St. W., 416-920-4933, curbside.on.ca, $999.95