In saying goodbye to Toronto, one thing I thought I could do was a photographic "thanks" to some of the bike shops I've depended on since becoming a commuting cyclist back in about 2001. So I went for a ride on a grey Sunday morning here in Toronto today, and took photos of the main shops that I've used over the years.
The store I've depended on the most over the years is Sweet Pete's at Dufferin and Bloor. In 2000/2001, when I was new to cycling and was riding some sort of Home Hardware mountain bike thing, I kept going to them for repairs until one day the front hub kind of shredded and the guy at the shop, who'd done repair after repair for me, looked at me and said "Man, it's over for this thing." I subsequently bought the Kona Hahanna from them which I rode around town today taking these photos, and it is by far the most useful bike I've ever had, though it looks very different now than it did when I bought it (i.e. it's now a singlespeed with slick city tires). I wish I knew how many kilometres I had on the Hahanna - I think 20 000km is a safe guess, but it's probably more.
I also bought a KHS Flite 200 road bike off these guys, which a year or two later I sold through Craig's List, and a Kona Dew Deluxe, which I eventually gave to my brother.
After moving into the Regent Park area I started using the Danforth Cyclepath a bit. They stock Specialized Armadillos, which I love, but the main reason I need to thank them is for a wheel rebuild they did for me. In the summer of 2006 when I put 4000+ km on my Cannondale, riding back and forth to Oshawa, I went to them after a broken spoke to look at my rear wheel, which had been straight laced. They took it apart and relaced the spokes to cross three times, and I haven't had a broken spoke since, nor has the wheel gone out of true. I wish I knew his name, but to the mechanic at this shop, thanks dude, nice job.
I've only been in the Roncesvalles Set Me Free a couple times in my life, but I owe them a thanks for a flat tire fix they did for me once. I was going up Roncesvalles once in an autumn rain and got a flat a few blocks south of the bike shop. For some reason I wasn't carrying a tube and a pump, which is unlike me, so I walked the bike up to Set Me Free and within moments the guys in the shop had my wheel off the bike, the tire off, a new tube installed, and me on my way. It was really pretty cool - kind of like a Nascar pit stop.
The Parliament Street Cycle Solutions has been my local bike shop for about two years now. They're good guys willing to talk you through some fixes (I got advice and parts for the kona single-speed project from them) and they also carry armadillos.
And I never had much contact with Bikes on Wheels, but I wanted to get a picture of my Kona since I'm taking it up to Orillia tomorrow and it'll never roll through Toronto again, and so I thought I'd stop in Cabbagetown and take this photo. My bike is the one in the centre of the shop, leaning against the store.
And to Gino and the staff up at the North York Cyclepath, who went out of their way to find a 2006 Jamis Nova to sell me at a discount, I'm sorry, but your store was just too far north to be included on my jaunt around town today. Sorry guys, but thanks so much for the Jamis.