Once again, the Toronto International Spring Bike Show marks the unofficial start to the local cycling season. Everyone is always looking forward to opening day and the halls seemed busier than the last few years. A good sign to the health of the cycling scene in Toronto. Not only did opening day feel like it had more attendees, but the show floor had noticeably more vendors. Last year I felt like there was a lot more breathing space for photographing bikes, which is why I like to go opening day, however this year it was hard to get clean shots through all the people. I'd rather see the scene growing than have a clear shot.
For me, my favorite part of opening day has to be all the familiar faces. People were excited to see each other and start making plans for group rides. I spent most of my time talking with friends, catching up on what people have been doing all winter, and snapping pics of some truly distinguished rides. Here's what I saw.
After about a 6 year hiatus, the good people at Blacksmith Cycle were back on the floor. With their distinctive minimalist style, the eco-friendly cardboard booth stood out like an inviting oasis amongst the inventory crowded markets. The Blacksmith booth showcased a curated selection of 3 shop classics that represent the breadth of their craft. I can never get enough of the #pinkparlee, a personal ride of shop owner, Mike Y. It's a hand built masterpiece in carbon by Massachusetts legends, Parlee. That 20+cm head tube!
The ride that keeps calling my name is the fire engine red Cherubim Uli. The word is that Jesse's new build on this frame tips the scales the right way at 14lbs. That makes this thing a steel screamer. Each Cherubim is handcrafted in Japan by master craftsmen who continue the family legacy in frame building. I've shot another Cherubim before, but there is really something special about this one. Maybe it's because it's my size, maybe it's that heart throb red, maybe those curved seat stays, or maybe it's that uber rare raw ENVE 1.0 carbon fork. Who cares what it is, it just is. I need to ride this unicorn before it's too late... just afraid I'll fall too far in love.
Also on hand was the new Scapin Kalibra, a disc braking carbon road bike in stealth black. I couldn't manage to get a clean shot but I did a photoset for the shop press pack so keep an eye out for those in a seperate article soon.
The local folks at No. 22 hit the floor for a back to back show stopper. The Toronto Bike Show always falls in line with the North American Hand Built Bike Show (NAHBS) and this year we were lucky to run first. This meant that Bryce and Chris had their 2017 NAHBS custom built, and VeloColour painted, Reactor on hand. These two Toronto powerhouses knocked it out. Even down to the custom painted titanium King Cages.
The NAHBS Reactor features a super muted paint scheme with the carbon bits painted in flat grey with a fading polka dot pattern. But those dots are the familiar No. 22 shield found on the head tube. The full build features paint details across the fork, one piece stem/bar, and the integrated seat mast. But even the titanium wasn't spared the hands of Noah and Suzanne. The top tube and seat post topper were painted help stand up the No. 22 graphics. You have to get up real close to appreciate how they put down a matte clear coat overtop of the anodized purple to create a really unique texture that plays tricks with the light. The color palette for the paint may not be bold and contrasted, it's a exceptionally muted in the best way possible. No matter what, this thing is going to be a purple people eater. Word is that after NAHBS, this will become the personal sled for No. 22 co-owner, Bryce.
Don't worry, these weren't the only things to see at the show. The vendor showcase was going full steam while I was there. Pinarello came prepared with their two story display. It's pretty hard to miss and the new Pinarello Dogma F10 was drawing a lot of attention. Speaking of the F10, Canadian Cycling was only a few steps away with their latest edition, the annual Buyers Guide, featuring the F10 on the cover... which I shot by the way. More on that to come.
Six degrees of seperation with the F10 keeps going because the actual bike from that cover came from local bike shop, The 11 Inc, who had the bike on hand. So if you've ever dreamed of owning a bike that's been on the cover of a national magazine, this may be your chance. Speaking of The 11, I tried to get a shot of said Pinarello F10 in their booth, but the 50% of sale meant I could never get a clean shot. Then I ran out of time. It was good to see them doing so well.
Before I leave I always like to take a wander through the back rows. Usually a treasure trove of oddities and chair massagers, I almost always find something lurking in the shadows. This year I came across a Willier Cento10AIR along with some some Cinelli track frames. A lot of Italian heritage right there. Those that made it that far back got caught doing double takes.
Last but not least, on my way out the door I picked up a new 7mesh Re:Gen rain jacket from La Bicicletta. I've had my eye on one for a while since crashing and tearing my SAS SJ-1. Like everything else the 7mesh folks do, this jacket has a fit that is simply on point. I don't like riding in the rain, (please don't quote the rules, it won't change my mind), but this thing has me considering it.
That's my recap on this years Toronto International Spring Bike Show. If you haven't made it out yet, there's still time.