Pedal Easy Light Weight Electric Commuter Bike

Pedal Easy – Affordable Electric Bikes Assembled in Canada – An Average Joe Cyclist Review

Pedal Easy Electric Bikes are Versatile, Lightweight Commuter Bikes

Ron Wensel is a Canadian engineer who has spent years testing and developing bike frames, batteries and motors, and has successfully developed a range of hand-assembled, lightweight, strong, easy-to-ride commuter electric bikes at an affordable price (around $1,500). I have been test riding one of his Pedal Easy bikes for a few months now, and believe that he has done an excellent job.

pedal easy front handlbarsRon has always been a cyclist, but a series of heart attacks almost ended his cycling days. He was warned by his doctor that he had to keep his heart rate low. Instead of giving up cycling, Ron used his decades of engineering experience to develop a range of lightweight, long-range electric bikes. He pairs these lightweight bikes with small, high-efficiency batteries and discreet but powerful motors. These are not just any old batteries and motors. Ron described to me how he put all of the components through their paces, testing and dissecting them (literally) until he was sure he had top-rate components.

Pedal Easy Electric Bikes Look Like Regular Bikes

The first thing I noticed about my test bike is that it did not look like an electric bike. The battery is concealed in a saddlebag. The rear hub motor is so small and discreet that most people simply would not realize this is an electric bike.

I saw one of my fellow bike commuters in our bike parking the first time I rode it, and he said, “Oh, you’re not on an electric bike” (because usually I do my long work commute on an electric bike). Now bear in mind that this guy is a serious cyclist, and he knows bikes. I said, “Actually it IS an electric bike,” and he was quite shocked. I pointed out the engine in the almost-normal looking rear wheel hub and the battery hidden in the saddlebag. He said, “Wow, that’s really discreet.” He was even more impressed when I told him the price. And impressed again when I invited him to lift it up and see how light it was. With battery, the bike weighs in at just 28 pounds.

I can lift this bike onto my bike rack as easily as any regular bike. The Pedal Easy bike is a cinch to lift onto our Thule bike rack (reviewed here).

The Pedal Easy Electric Bike is Versatile

The great thing about these bikes is that you can pedal them like regular bikes when you don’t need the electric assist. Ron tells me that some people have bought his bikes to use as regular bikes, because each one is a light, well-specced, extremely strong aluminium bike, well worth it’s $1,500 price sticker, even if you don’t need the engine.

pedal easy drive trainWhat it Feels like to ride a Pedal Easy Electric Bike

The basic feeling you get on a Pedal Easy bike is SPORTY. You feel like you are on a high performance bike, cycling along with the strength of an Olympian.

I used the Pedal Easy to bike to work. I have a 22 km commute, with extreme and intermediate hills for the first 4 km. I live by the river in New West, and work in downtown Vancouver. That means that I have to cycle uphill for miles just to get out of New West. Coming home again, it is a long uphill slog to Metrotown. Basically, massive hills both ways, and a lot of them.

Pedal Easy 3 speedThe bike I tested had only 3 speeds (there are other models with many more gears). Even so, the hills were pretty much a breeze. The bike weighs about 28 pounds, and I weigh about 170 pounds, for a grand total of around 200 pounds. So it’s no mean feat to get us up the steep hills of New West.

I am happy to report that getting up those hills is easy with a Pedal Easy electric bike.

Throttle on Pedal EasyThe bike works entirely on a throttle basis. The throttle turns away from you, which took me a while to get used to (I have ridden motor cycles, which have throttles that turn the other way). I have to say that I love the throttle action. It’s just so easy to pull off from a stop sign without putting pressure on my knees. And it’s so much fun to use the throttle to manoeuvre through obstacles. It’s very responsive and well calibrated, so you have a lot of manoeuvring ability. More so than on a regular bike, definitely.

The most fun part is simply zooming along without having to pedal at all. It’s a great alternative for days when my knees are hurting. It even made me think about buying a motorcycle again, but I won’t do that.

Pedal Easy Bikes Help you to Get Fit

A really good thing about the Pedal Easy is that you have to actually use the throttle for the engine to work. This is different from a Pedelec-type electric bike, where the engine kicks in as soon as you start pedalling, and is always there, matching your power output. This is good because you have to consciously engage the engine, so I find that very often I simply don’t use the engine. I pretty much use the throttle when I need it, which means that I do a lot of regular cycling on the Pedal Easy. In fact, I substantially increased my fitness level while using it. Without it, I don’t think I would have been fit enough to do the 30 kilometre MS Bike Tour recently.

I never thought I would ever be able to regularly tackle my difficult commute on a regular bike, but thanks to a couple of months of using the Pedal Easy, I have become so fit that I have now started doing this tough commute on a regular bike. I am very proud of this. It’s one heck of a commute, and I could not have done it without months of getting fitter on a Pedal Easy electric bike.

This is what I love about electric bikes. You can use them to get fitter, you can use them on days when you are exhausted, or when your knees are hurting. You can use them to get over impossible hills. They take the angst out of long commutes, and flatten out really daunting hills. And of course, you can just plain have a whole lot of fun on them.

Specs

Pedal Easy bikes are nicely specced with reasonably high end Shimano components.  They also come with good, practical wrap around fenders – essential for any bike commuter. And they look good!

The lightweight 320 W.h lithium-ion battery gets me about 35 km when I use it very heavily – basically, all the time. Charging takes a few hours. I recommend carrying a spare battery. That way, you always have a backup.

Front Hub Engine on Pedal Easy bikeThe engine is situated in the front hub. With the battery in the saddlebag, the balance of the bike is excellent.

Here are the complete specs of the 3 speed Pedal Easy Electric Bike:

  • Frame & fork material: Double butted, 6061 aluminum, heat treated to T6
  • Gearing: Shimano Nexus 3 speed
  • Shifter: Shimano Revo-shifter
  • Front/rear chain ring ratio: 48/18
  • Tires: Kenda Kwest 700 x 35c touring/commuting
  • Ergonomic handlebar grips
  • Motor: 36V, 350W output power planetary-geared front hub
  • Battery: Lithium-ion (Panasonic’s latest NCR chemistry), 320 W.h capacity
  • E-bike weight with battery16 kg (35 lbs)
  • Cycle Analyst power meter and bio-responsive control system optional
  • Styles: Standard (diamond-shaped) & step-through (sloped top bar)
  • Sizes: 54cm (standard frame), 45 cm (step-through)

Bottom Line on the Pedal Easy Electric Bike

The Pedal Easy electric bikes rate a Gold Bike Star.

goldbikestarI recommend Pedal Easy electric bikes to anyone who wants a great bike with plenty of electric assist available with just a flip of the wrist. They are excellent for commuting, and would also be an excellent choice for long bike tours. Pedal Easy also offers a range of Cycle Analyst power meters for precise display of e-bike parameter. They have some of the most cutting edge technology available in the world of electric bikes.

Ron Wensel and his son Claudio make Pedal Easy electric bikes. Check out their website if you want a quality electric bike, at an affordable price, assembled in Canada.

 

 

 

MS Bike tour cyclists

The routes for the MS Bike Ride in Vancouver

This week the routes for the MS Bike Ride were announced. Maggie and I are a little nervous, because it looks like there are a lot of loooong uphills on the route. We had imagined a comfortable ride along, say, the mainly-flat Central Valley Greenway, and then the beautifully scenic Seaside Route. Instead, the reality is as shown in the map below.

30 km route for MS Bike Tour VancouverThe 60 km route (shown below) actually looks easier, and a lot more scenic – but on the other hand, 60 km is twice as far as 30 km, so that’s not really an option!

60 km route for MS Bike Tour VancouverIn any event, we are signed up and sponsored, and our Average Joe Cyclist team is No. 7 in the fund-raising list, so there’s no backing out now! We’re hoping for rain (rather than the baking heatwave we’re experiencing now), because that will make it less gruelling.

I know that many of you who are reading this are a whole lot fitter than I am – please consider signing up for the MS Bike Tour, and perhaps enjoying the 60 km route shown above. It’s not too late!

MS Bike Ride Vancouver

Welcome to Team Average Joe Cyclist, John Folka!

John FolkaWe are happy to announce we have a new team member for the upcoming Scotiabank MS Bike Tour in Vancouver on 10th August. We are honoured to be joined by John Folka, past Chairman of the Board of Directors of the MS Society of Canada. John’s an SFU grad and works in senior management for KPMG.

MS Bike Tour

In 1999 a member of John’s family was diagnosed with MS, and since then they have been given invaluable support by the MS Society. By way of giving back, John has participated in the MS 100 Hole Golf Challenge and the MS Bike Tour. That’s him in the photo (on the left) powering up a hill while participating in the 2012 MS Bike Tour in Vancouver. In that tour he did the 60 km route AND the 30 km route. So John’s definitely a better-than-average cyclist. I look forward to seeing the back of his jersey as he leaves Maggie and me in the dust! If you want to support John’s fund-raising efforts, click here.

Welcome John! 

If you would like to join Team Average Joe Cyclist in the MS Bike Tour, please click here.

MS Bike Ride Vancouver

Raise money to fight MS while enjoying a scenic ride in beautiful Vancouver – the MS Bike Ride in Vancouver

Here’s a great way to have fun while supporting a very good cause . The MS Bike Vancouver Scenic City Tour is a family-friendly ride taking place on 10th August, with a choice of doing a 15 km, 30 km or 60 km route. Cyclists will enjoy cycling through the heritage residential neighbourhoods and scenic waterfront bikeways. Click here to find out more and register.

Or click here to join my team, Average Joe Cyclists, or to make a donation to help us reach our donation goal!

So far just Maggie and I are Team Average Joe Cyclists. We signed up today and will start training tomorrow. It’s our first ever fund-raising ride, and we have chosen the 30 km route. We’d love to have a few more people join our team!

Join the Average Joe Cyclist MS Bike Ride team

The MS Society of Canada was founded in 1948, and has been organizing these fund-raising rides all over Canada since 1989. Annually, over 10,000 cyclists participate in one- or two-day MS Bike tours between June and September.

Funds raised are used for two important things: supporting those living with MS in Canada, and funding research to find a cure. MS causes symptoms ranging from mild cognitive impairment, all the way to complete disability and death. Researchers still don’t know what causes it, or how to cure it.

It’s particularly appropriate to support the MS Society in Vancouver.

MS is the most common neurological disease affecting young adults in Canada, and its incidence is highest right here in British Columbia. It’s so common here that most of us probably know someone who has it, or whose life has been impacted by it.

I personally know a man who is the father of a young family and has MS, and it is heartbreaking to see what this disease has done to him and his family. It makes me think that those of us who CAN still ride, should get on a bike and help ride for a cure.

We can do it - bike MSYou don’t have to be an athlete to do the MS Bike ride in Vancouver – any average cyclist can do it.

If you don’t want to join my team, you might want to put together your own team of family, friends and co-workers to tour Vancouver with you. If there are any business leaders looking for a great team-building exercise this summer, I can’t think of a better one! If you’re interested in putting together a team and have any questions, contact Team MS coordinator Stephanie Mosher at 604-602-3208 or email her at stephanie.mosher@mssociety.ca.

You will have to do some fund-raising – but that’s the whole point, isn’t it? Adult entrants need to raise $300 in pledges, while youth cyclists only need to raise $75. The MS Society offers fund-raising tips on their site.

Apart from having a good time while doing something worthwhile, there are also some incentives. For every $500 you raise, you can get an entry into a draw to win a trip for two to anywhere West Jet flies. For every $300 you rise, you will get an entry for a chance to win two tickets to the September 13 Elton John concert in Vancouver.

For more information, contact Paula Duhatschek: Paula.duhatschek@mssociety.ca | (604) 602-3221

Or just click here to register!

Or click here to join my team or make a pledge!

 

Accept the MS Bike Ride Challenge

 

Welcome to the Seaside Greenway - Average Joe Cyclist

Vancouver’s Seaside Greenway – Opening Party!

Seaside Greenway Sign for Party - Average Joe CyclistHundreds of cyclists braved the rain yesterday to celebrate the completion of Vancouver’s Seaside Greenway.

The event was jointly organized by Vancouver’s HUB, the Vancouver Public Space Network, and neighbors of the area. It included music and food carts at Mill House Park.

The map below shows this new segment of Vancouver’s cycling infrastructure.

Seaside Greenway map - Average Joe Cyclist

The new Seaside Greenway

Seaside Greenway Separate Bike Lane - Average Joe CyclistThis great new route connects Vancouver’s Seawall and False Creek with Jericho Beach. The Seaside Greenway is partly bikes-only, and partly a transformed Point Grey Road, now one-way only, as well as local traffic only.

Seaside Greenway Shared Road - Average Joe CyclistI am sure this route now rates a AAA (All Ages & Abiities). A lot of children participated.

Seaside Greenway Family Cycling - Average Joe Cyclist

Safe cycling and walking for all ages

It was awesome to see very young children cycling in safety. Of course, it’s not yet common in Canada. I saw one little girl biking with her mother and looking quite confused. I heard her saying to her mother, “This is a ROAD for BIKES? Really?”

Here’s a very brief video of this family-friendly Seaside Greenway route, with the opening party in the background.

The opening party was at Mill House Park. We got some great takeout from the Nacho Average food cart .

Seaside Greenway Food trucks at Party - Average Joe CyclistThe park houses Mill House, which is the oldest house in Vancouver, and is now a museum (entry by donation).

Mill House in Vancouver - Average Joe CyclistThe numbers would no doubt have been ten times better if it had not rained the entire day. But people rallied to the occasion in true Vancouver style, with tarps on the ground and colorful umbrellas over their heads.

Seaside Greenway Umbrellas - Average Joe Cyclist

All in all, it was a great event and a great ride. I am so happy to see Vancouver’s cycling infrastructure improving so rapidly.

Thanks to Vancouver’s HUB, the Vancouver Public Space Network, and neighbors of the area for organizing this fun event!

Seaside Greenway End of Trail - Average Joe Cyclist

City of Vancouver Seaside Greenway Completion

Celebrate the completion of Vancouver’s Seaside Greenway on 5 July

Come celebrate the completion of Vancouver’s Seaside Greenway, connecting downtown’s Seawall and False Creek with Jericho Beach for cyclists, pedestrians and rollers!

Saturday 5 July, 11 AM – 3 PM – fun events for all – read all about it on Vancouver Public Space Network here. Or visit the Facebook page here. And if you click on the pic below, it gets much bigger and shows you the route!

The Seaside Greenway

Urge Endur-O-Matic Helmet Side and Front 4 - Average Joe Cyclist

Urge Endur-O-Matic Helmet – An Average Joe Cyclist Review

Urge Endur-O-Matic Helmet Front and Side - Average Joe CyclistThe Urge Endur-O-Matic Helmet is intended mainly for mountain bikers, but it is being worn by an increasing number of commuter cyclists who just plain like the look of it. I know that’s why I bought it. And it’s the only helmet I have ever had that has caused strangers on the bikeways to say to me:

“That’s a great helmet! Where did you buy it?”

Urge Endur-O-Matic Helmet side by side with Bontrager helmet - Average Joe CyclistIt sure looks very different from most other helmets, as you can see from this photo of the Urge helmet next to Maggie’s Bontrager helmet. And if you REALLY want different, Urge makes a range of really good-looking, full-face helmets for rugged downhill mountain biking activities.

On the other hand, I know that some people very definitely do NOT like the look of these helmets.

I think it’s a mark of the Urge Endur-O-Matic’s uniqueness that people either love it or hate it.

Most of the time, people don’t even notice helmets. Given that this helmet provokes such a Love it or Hate it response, I decided to do a bare-knuckles kind of Pros versus Cons review. The Urge Endur-O-Matic Helmet has a whole lot of both Pros and Cons.

Pros and Cons of the Urge Endur-O-Matic Helmet

  • It looks great! (In my opinion)
  • BUT some people think it looks awful. Judge for yourself!
  • It’s a good, super-comfortable fit, with comfy internal pads. It comes with extra pads, of different thicknesses, to help with fit. The pads are removable and washable – a major plus for keeping your helmet non-smelly. There’s a comfy pad that rests on your forehead. Urge calls it a Gangsta Pad (yes, really), and it’s meant to wick up sweat. I just find it comfy.
Urge Endur-O-Matic Helmet Inside - Average Joe Cyclist

Look Ma, no cradle!

  • Standard adjustable cradle system in Bontrager helmet - Average Joe Cyclist

    Standard adjustable cradle system in a Bontrager helmet

    BUT just because this helmet happens to fit MY head well, this does NOT mean it will fit YOUR head well. This is because it does not have the complicated cradle adjustment fitting system found in most mid- to high-level helmets (as in the Bontrager on the right). In Urge helmets, there IS NO fitting system. So it either fits you, or you shouldn’t buy it. Which means that this is not a helmet to order online – you have to try before you buy. It comes in two sizes: S/M (54/57 cm) and L/XL (58/60 cm).

  • The huge ventilation holes (eight 30-mm circles) really do keep my head cool on hot rides. Urge claims the helmet channels air using the Venturi effect. The Venturi effect is a jet effect; as with a funnel, the velocity of the fluid or air increases as the cross-sectional area decreases. This the principle used in spray guns. On your helmet, it means a lot of air comes in through a big hole, and gets channeled over the surface of your head through increasingly narrow funnels in an accelerating blast, powered by the decreasing diameter. It DOES feel like I have strong blasts of wind keeping my head cool. (Adidas claims it is using the same system to channel air over my eyes, when I am wearing my Adidas cycling glasses. All in all, I must be riding with my head ENCASED in wind channels!)Urge Endur-O-Matic Helmet Top - Average Joe Cyclist
  • BUT the giant holes mean that this helmet is really NOT FUN in pouring rain. When I get caught in the rain with it, I forget about the Venturi effect, and just think about the soaking-wet-head-with-rain-running-down-my-face effect (note the holes are on the top, as well as on the side). Due to this, this is definitely a fair-weather-only helmet for me. I think of it as my summer helmet.
  • The Urge Endur-O-Matic Helmet comes with a good-looking visor, flexible and said to be almost unbreakable.
  • Urge Endur-O-Matic Helmet Visor with Giant Hole - Average Joe CyclistBUT the visor has a stupid great hole in it. I believe it is done to make it look good, but the effect is that I get sun in my eyes, and I really can’t see the sense of it. It’s like a rain-coat with an aesthetically pleasing big hole in the front – why would anyone WANT that?
  • It weighs in at an eagle-feather-light 336 grams.
  • BUT so do a lot of other helmets in this reasonable price range (around $100).
  • Urge Endur-O-Matic Helmet Back - Average Joe CyclistIt comes down low at the back and covers more of your head, protecting more of your precious brain stem. This is because it was developed for mountain bikers, but urban cyclists need even more protection, in my opinion. After all, there are no buses, drunk drivers or F-150s on mountain bike trails.
  • BUT… no buts on this one, this extra coverage is definitely a plus.
  • The lack of a cradle adjustment fitting system makes this helmet quick and simple to put on. You just put it on, do up the strap, and go.
  • BUT I find that the clasps below the ears tend to slip down. Also, because of the lack of a fitting system, I find I have to cinch the chin strap very tight. This sometimes makes me feel claustrophobic. And with all the wind tunnels on this thing, if you don’t cinch it down tight, the Urge Endur-O-Matic Helmet will bounce around like a bucking bronco on your head when you pick up speed.
  • It’s easy to wear goggles and glasses with this helmet, thanks to good ear clearance.
  • BUT it’s pretty much impossible to wear a helmet light or helmet cam, thanks to the unusual configuration of the holes on top.
Urge Endur-O-Matic Helmet Front - Average Joe Cyclist

Is it just me or is this helmet chanelling Star Wars just a bit?

 

Bottom Line on the Urge Endur-O-Matic Helmet

You will probably either love or hate this helmet. If you love it, the approximately one hundred dollars you spend on it will be money well spent. The price is very comparable to other helmets of similar quality. Personally, this is my favorite helmet, despite all its cons. Here it is, waiting on my bike, to protect me on my (sunny) morning commute!

Urge Endur-O-Matic Helmet  on my  bike - Average Joe Cyclist

 

Winvan Paving on BC Parkway

Paving done on BC Parkway!

BC Parkway (also known as the 7-Eleven Trail) could be a great trail, but it really isn’t. It has three main problems:

  1. The paving is ruined by tree roots, making the trail so bumpy you have to be careful of doing yourself an injury.
  2. It is atrociously badly sign-posted – the first time I used it I had to follow someone, just to figure out the route. Which was unfortunate, because I think I inadvertently scared a young woman cyclist.
  3. Occasionally one is expected to fly over obstacles, such as at Nanaimo Skytrain station, where the route simply disappears on one side of the street, then picks up again on the other side of the road – with a Skytrain station, a bus stop and dozens of pedestrians in the middle.

Freshly paved BC ParkwayImagine my happy surprise this evening to find that someone is doing something about problem no. 1.  Behold this newly-paved splendour! It’s so fresh that some of the tar was melting in the afternoon sun.

This part of the BC Parkway,  parallel to Rumble Street, used to be one of the worst offenders in terms of bumpy rides. Riding along there, I thought I could empathize with an egg being egg-beaten. And the only alternative was to join fast-moving traffic on Rumble.

Part of BC ParkwayThe map shows the spot I am talking about. The route depicted (in red) is one I did last week, when the route was closed, and I was forced to bike along Rumble.

But now the green route above it is complexly repaved and a pleasure to ride on. Turns out they closed the trail in order to fix it!

Thank you whoever did this! BC Parkway could be a wonderful route. Parts of it are quite sweeping and majestic, but ruined by the bumps. I hope this is Step 1 towards turning it into the wonderful commuter route it could be.

Adidad Ty Pro L 2 Cycling Glasses

Adidas Cycling Glasses – An Average Joe Cylist Product Review

Adidas provides some of the greatest cycling glasses in the word. With my recent purchase of prescription Adidas cycling glasses, I might just have found the perfect cycling glasses.

I researched long and hard before I bought a pair of cycling glasses, because good cycling glasses are not cheap – and if you want them to be prescription as well, be prepared to dig very deep in your pockets (as in $500 or more). I tried on just about every pair of Oakleys and Ryders on the market.

I wanted something light, comfortable and with ample clearance over the eyes (because my biggest problem with cycling glasses is that my eyes water, the fluid somehow gets on the lens, and then the whole world looks like a blurry mess). I also needed something strong enough to be almost invulnerable, because I have a tendency to drop my stuff off bikes, step on them, etc. I didn’t want to spend a fortune only to have delicate glasses that would break within weeks.

I ended up choosing a pair of Adidas Tycane Pro L cycling glasses. I asked for progressive lenses (they change color according to lighting conditions) and I also asked to have my prescription put into the lenses. (Not an insert for the prescription – actually in the lenses.)

Why I chose these cycling glasses

I chose these Adidas cycling glasses for four reasons:

Adidad Ty Pro L 2 cycling glasses are water resistant

  1. They are just about invulnerable. The optometrist showed me how flexible they are: one can bend them or snap off the ear pieces, and then just fix them. If you somehow manage to break the ear pieces, you can just replace them. He told me they were tested by Californian life guards in rough beach/surf conditions. Apparently they are made of high-end SPXTM material.
  2. They are so light it’s ridiculous.
  3. My optometrist told me that these glasses have hydrophobic lenses, and are the very latest and best in terms of repelling water and preventing water streaks. As I cycle in the great rain forest we call Vancouver, that is a major plus.
  4. They have this kind of wrap-around vision effect, because I now have prescription glass even wrapping around the outer edges of my eyeballs. Maggie found it odd when she tried them on (she has almost the same prescription as I do). However, I found it awesome right from the start. I feel like I have acquired Lizard Powers!

Not all cycling glasses can be retrofitted with prescription lenses

I also chose these cycling glasses simply because I could. Not all great looking cycling glasses can be fitted with prescription lenses. For example, most of the ones that do not have a frame on the bottom of the lens cannot be fitted with prescription lenses, as they are relatively heavy and have to be held in place. Also, many cycling glasses with impressively curved lenses cannot be fitted with prescription lenses.

To my happy surprise, it turned out that these impressively curved, wraparound cycling glasses could in fact be fitted with my fairly complicated prescription. It did require sending them to Israel, because apparently an Israeli company called Shamir is the only one in the world that can do this. I had to wait three weeks, but they came back done to perfection, with a silver Shamir card that looks like a credit card, contains my complete prescription, and also serves as a warranty. Very cool.

I had also asked for glasses that double as sunglasses, and they did this too. They call it progressive lenses. It’s super subtle and very effective. They never go extremely dark – they just subtly get a little darker when I go outside, cutting out all the glare. I never notice the progression, but it happens over a period of about twenty seconds. Also, even without the progressive treatment, these glasses have a polarized lens that is supposed to eliminate uncomfortable reflected light and intensity colors.

Packaging and accessories

Adidad Ty Pro L 2 Cycling Glasses with caseMaggie and I were disappointed when we bought Oakley prescription sunglasses and they arrived in nothing but a cloth bag. These Adidas were packaged much better. They came in an attractive Adidas hard case, which can be closed to varying degrees depending on how you want them. They also had the usual cleaners with them, as well as a cloth bag.

Adidad Ty Pro L 2 Cycling GlassesFinally, these Adidas glasses come with a little strap that you can use to secure them around the back of your head (if for example you need to drop your bike and run into the surf to rescue someone.) I have not actually tried the strap because Maggie thinks they make me look like a dork.

Performance

Cutting to the chase, how do these Adidas cycling glasses perform on a bike? In a word, awesomely. I have never had such good vision on a bike. Thanks to my new Lizard Vision I feel safer on my bike. And apparently the lens is a q10 base curved polycarbonate, which provide great vision because of a UV 400 filter, a light stabilizer, a contrast booster, a color balance and a compensation prism. Of course, I cannot vouch for any of that, but the vision does seem crystal clear, inside the house or on my bike.

I have worn these twice in light rain. Unlike other cycling glasses I have worn, I did not have to stop to take these off. The rain drops beaded, rather than running down the glasses, so I could still see. Obviously, I could not see as well as when there were no beads of water on the lenses. I have not yet used them in heavy rain, but I suspect I would have to take them off.

I have worn them about 50 times and only had a problem once with tear-smearing on the lens. This was when my allergies were acting up, forcing me to go back to my Bolle Tactical goggles (reviewed here) for a brief time. Usually, I don’t have a tear-smearing problem with these glasses, because the clearance from the eyeball is generous, due to the curved lenses.

Of course, there is the usual problem of fitting the ear pieces under your helmet. It varies depending on which helmet I am wearing. In general, though, it is not bad, and certainly not uncomfortable or painful. A word of advice though, is to take your helmet along when you try on the glasses, just to be sure they work for you.

Ventilation

These glasses have a ClimaCoolTM ventilation system, which keeps you cool thanks to the ventilation holes. These are little rectangular holes between the lenses and the frame, on the outer edges. I don’t particularly notice the holes, but I do feel cool wearing these glasses.

Appearance

Not cycling glassesI think these are very good looking cycling glasses, and I have had several people ask me where I got them. On the other hand, one guy said they were awesome because they made me look like Jordi from Star Trek. So … best to see what you look like in them, and judge for yourself.

Bottom Line on Adidas Tycane Pro L cycling glasses

These are expensive cycling glasses. But the quality is unbeatable – if you are willing to spend a few hundred dollars, and you bike a lot, and you value your eyes, they are worth the outlay. If you want to spend a bit less money, click on the link below.

 

 

Galloping Goose Trail donkeys

Galloping Goose Trail – An Average Joe Cyclist Trail Review

Galloping Goose Trail, Vancouver Island

Galloping Goose Bike Trail on Vancouver Island

The Galloping Goose Trail is a world-class trail with world-class views. It’s entirely off-road, so the only unpleasant parts are the road crossings – and most of those are fine. Adding the cherry on the top is the fact that almost the entire trail is on gentle gradients.

Constructed on the abandoned CNR (Canadian National Rail) railway line that once linked Victoria and Leechtown (now a ghost town), the trail covers a total distance of 55 km (34 miles). It’s named after a gasoline train which used to transport passengers back in the 1920s. In 1987 the rails were transformed into this spectacular trail.

Galloping Goose Bike Trail on Vancouver Island
Horse riders and cyclists share the Galloping Goose trail peacefully

Much of the dramatic beauty of the trail derives from the fact that it was once a railway line – this gives you the opportunity to do amazing things, such as bike on very high mounds, and cross spectacular wooden bridges.

Galloping Goose Bike Trail on Vancouver IslandThere are wonderful sights to enjoy on this trail, including wildlife and farm life: wild rabbits, eagles, deer, sheep, pigs, and horses. There’s also a glorious diversity of birds, and plenty of botanical interest: all manner of ferns and moss; Douglas firs; Arbutus trees; Hemlock and Cedar; as well as shasta daisies, foxgloves and  blackberry bushes.

There are also some friendly human beings, often accompanied by interesting companions, such as the couple at the top of this post.  We met this  couple out for a walk with their two miniature donkeys, Lola and Frosty. They told us that miniature donkeys guard against deer, cougars and bears – who knew?

In general, the first 30 km (20 miles) of the Galloping Goose are a mix of urban and rural, but the further you go, the more you are in actual wilderness. This means that the views just get better and better. This video shows  you the kind of spectacular scenery you can expect to see from about the km 35 mark. It’s not my most professional video (as it was taken while riding with one hand and trying not to plummet over the cliff), but it should be enough to whet your appetite.

How to Find the Galloping Goose

The easiest way to find the Galloping Goose Trail is on your bike. Come over on the ferry from Vancouver to Swartz Bay, and then follow the bike trail that leaves directly from the ferry. This is the Lochside Trail, which is a lot of fun it its own right, and which I have written about elsewhere. After about 32 km (20 miles), the trail splits, with signage indicating one way for Victoria and the other for Sooke. If you head for Sooke, you will immediately be on the Galloping Goose. (Or you could divert a few kilometres to have lunch in the beautiful city of Victoria, before doubling back and rejoining the Goose.)

Once you are on the trail, it is intermittently marked with beacons that tell you how many kilometres you have come. These are useful markers, if somewhat erratic.

What to Take with You

The Lochside Trail is 32 km (20 miles) long, and the Galloping Goose is anything up to 55 km (34 miles), for a grand total of 87 km (54 miles) depending on how far you go. It’s therefore wise to go prepared. I would suggest taking the following:

  • bike repair kit
  • plenty of water
  • Scooby snacks to prevent hitting the wall
  • lights in case something goes wrong and you end up being out there after dark
  • bicycle bell, as you are in bear country from around km 35
  • wet gear, as island weather is very changeable
  • a cell phone, as you are often quite far from civilization
  • bike locks – we only take one cable lock with us, but that’s because we only stay at bike-friendly B&B’s, where our bikes are safe overnight. Follow your own comfort level with this one.

Facilities along the Way

Washrooms on the Galloping Goose: There are only three washrooms on the entire 55 km length of the trail, so unless you actually LIKE peeing in thickets of blackberries, don’t cycle blithely past any of them. The first one is at around km 5 of  the Galloping Goose, the second at km 35, and the last one at km 45, at the entrance to the Sooke Potholes Regional Park.

Other washrooms:

  • At km 12 there is a Tim Horton’s at Old Island Highway and Wales Road. Even if you don’t particularly care for Timmies, it’s a wonderful place to rest, grab a coffee, and of course, use the washroom. There is bike parking right outside the window, so you can keep an eye on your bikes and panniers while you relax.
  • At km 16 you are in Langford. As you cross Brittany Road, there is a shopping mall a block to your right. I have never actually detoured there, but there must be a washroom in there somewhere, if you’re desperate.

Bike Shops: There is a bike shop, called “The Bike Shop,” close to the Galloping Goose at Glen Lake and Sooke Roads, at km 18. This is your only chance to get mechanical assistance along the way. Note that this is a very busy intersection on the trail – it’s advisable to use the pedestrian crossing at the traffic lights to cross over, whether or not you are going to the bike shop.

Kids’ Play Area: Ihere is a kids’ park at km 8. This spot is also suitable for a picnic break.

Places to stay

  • Arbutus Cove B&B Guest House: This wonderful B&B is situated right on the trail at km 37, near Sooke. It’s hard to find the superlatives to describe it. To reel off just a few of its attractions: perched right on the edge of the Sooke Basin with stunning views; safe bike parking; yummy breakfasts; friendly but unobtrusive hostess; everything you could possibly want supplied, so you don’t have to bring it on your bike (including hair dryer, bottle opener, toiletries); fridge and microwave; basic TV in the rooms, plus big screen satellite TV & DVD player in a large comfy sitting room/dining room; hot tub with views; beach access, lovely big rooms (ask for # 2, which is the very best); and all at reasonable prices.
Our bikes safely parked just outside our room at the Arbutus Cove B& B Guest House – overlooking the stunning view of Sooke Basin
  • Cycle Inn: At km 17.5 there is Cycle Inn, beautifully situated on Glen Lake, and also right on the trail. We have decided that the next time we cycle to Sooke, we’ll stop over there on the way to Arbutus Cove B&B. It’s 65 km from the ferry to Arbutus Cove, and we found that last 20 km to be KILLER – we’re so busy wondering “are we there yet?” that we forget to enjoy the spectacular views. Also, we did not make it before dark, which is a bit dangerous.
  • Comfort Cove Cottage on the Sooke Basin is a cozy, oceanfront, pet-friendly, self-catering cottage, with great views and its own private dock. It’s just ten minutes off the Galloping Goose: great for relaxing in comfort after a hard day’s ride, or for a romantic stay with your favorite cycling companion – so go ahead, spoil yourself!
  • There are also  many other B&B’s close to the Galloping Goose, and a campsite at the Sooke Potholes Regional Park.

Cautionary Notes

  • Watch out for slugs and large piles of horse scat.
  • Watch out for bears after km 35.
  • Don’t be out on the Galloping Goose after dark if you can possibly help it. It’s unlit, and in many places there are very steep drop-offs on the edges.
  • Although the trail mainly has only gentle climbs and descents, there are a couple of exceptions. Between km 35 and 36, you will suddenly encounter warning signs of steep downhill and loose gravel. Take them seriously! The first downhill and then uphill is very steep, and the second (between km 36 and 37) is even worse. For skilled cyclists only – others should dismount.

The friendliness of the people on the Galloping Goose makes me long for a world in which everyone is walking or cycling, so we can all be friendly with each other – gentler, more humane times. Competing with the happiness of being among friendly human beings is the sheer cycling pleasure of endless tree-canopied trails, with the rich smell of trees in your nose. Feeling exhausted? Sit back on your saddle and suck in that beautiful clean air!

Some parts of the trail are both paved and tree-canopied – so that it’s just the sound of your tires and birdsong, as seen in this short video.

From km 37 of the Galloping  Goose, you can expect wonderful, increasingly dramatic views, on a steady but gentle upwards incline. However, do NOT cycle this section in the dark. There are dizzying drop-offs, and no barrier rails. In fact, on this video, you can hear me whoosh when I almost go over the edge while taking the video: Don’t do this on the Galloping Goose!

At around km 40 you will encounter Sooke Road. Just down the road is the fabulous Fuse Restaurant, which I have written about previously. Next to the Fuse you could rent a canoe or kayak and explore the wonderfully peaceful and unspoiled Sooke Basin. You could also detour five km down the road to visit the interesting town of Sooke.

Sooke Road at km 40 used to be the worst road crossing on the entire Galloping Goose. Cars screamed down this hill at over 100 km per hour, while cyclists scurried across the road like terrified rabbits. Fortunately, they have now put in a pedestrian crossing.

After km 40 the ride just gets better and better. It becomes obvious that you are on a disused railway line, as you cross impressive wooden bridges of staggering heights.

There are many of these magnificent  railway bridges on the Galloping Goose

Impressive workmanship went into constructing these bridges, which are now about 100 years old, and were restored around 50 years ago. The view from these bridges is dizzying – my camera could not do justice to the old growth trees that manage to tower over the bridges, despite the fact that the bridges are often more than 100 metres high. These are trees that awe you.

Looking down the side of the railway bridges you can see magnificent workmanship

Watch out for bears!

This section of the Galloping  Goose is bear country, as is apparent from the piles of bear scat, and the occasional bear spoor. So take a bicycle bell or a loud voice with which to sing lustily. The day we cycled this route there had been a recent sighting of a mother bear with two cubs, so we pretty much wore out our thumbs on our bicycle bells.

Sooke Potholes

At around km 44 you will find the entrance to Sooke Potholes Regional Park, and a very welcome washroom. Another 3 km on are the Potholes themselves. These are accessible only by going down steep rock steps. However, there are excellent viewing platforms that are accessible.

The Sooke Potholes – it’s impossible to do them justice in a photo – get out there on your bike and see them for yourself!

At this point of the trail you are less than 10 km from Leechtown, a ghost mining town where the Goose ends. Gold is still found in the area, and it is said to be a very interesting area to bike through.

For many more great bike trails, see Average Joe Cyclist – Great Bike Trails.
Want to Support this Blog?
The next time you want to buy something from Amazon, please click on one of the Amazon links on the left (such as the one way at the top on the left), and then buy your product within 24 hours. It costs you NOTHING, and I get a teeny commission. I’ve been writing this blog for four years without earning a penny from it. I do it because I love it, but it would be really awesome to earn a bit of income from my many hours of work!

A Blog for Average People who love to ride bikes

%d bloggers like this: