Bicycles and condo living in Toronto

This past weekend (March 2-4), the Spring 2012 session of the Toronto International Bicycle show took place, and was it ever a sight to see.

Packed into the Better Living Centre at Exhibition Place, an interesting piece of real estate in Toronto, featuring late 1950s architecture, and less energy depleting air than the usual venue, the Direct Energy Centre, it was a tight fit, but nonetheless an impressive event.

Driving down to Exhibition Place in rush hour proved to be the greatest challenge, especially with all the new construction condo living brings to Toronto. However, it would have been possible to leave the car at home and taken the TTC right there, as there is direct streetcar access from Union Station to Exhibition Place.

The show featured everything a cyclist would be amazed by.

Road bikes were the show’s most prominent feature, and with good reason. If you know where to look (and a quick web search can clue you in), the city of Toronto and the long, straight roads throughout the GTA provide ample opportunities for long road rides without taxicabs banging into your carbon frame and stop-and-go traffic breaking your rhythm and chewing up your $400 Sidi shoes.

Exhibitors included some of Toronto’s finest bike shops, such as Gears, D’Ornella’s, La Bicicletta, Sporting Life and more.

Manufacturers made their presence known too. A real highlight was Bianchi, known for their iconic Celeste coloured paint schemes and high-performance geometry and components. This year, more of Bianchi’s catalogue is making itself into Canada – a welcome addition.

Mountain bikes were a welcome, if small addition to the show. Toronto and the GTA also have a wealth of trails to be ridden.

Perhaps the largest additions to the bike show this year were bikes aimed at the urban rider. These included an array of folding bikes. These are ideal for condo living and apartment dwellers, as their small size will not make a significant impact in even the smallest studio or 1-bedroom condos, and if one rarely ventures north of Bloor and its attendant hills, the small diameter wheels will do just fine, especially for getting you to work and back to your condo. You can cover a lot of Toronto real estate on a bicycle and is ideal for condo living.

Cruiser bikes also made a real impact at the show. Built for style and comfort rather than speed or rough terrain, they would find themselves equally at home in a condo by the Beaches or a Brian Setzer Orchestra video.  Coming in a huge array of styles and colours, these newly popular machines are aimed at the leisure cyclist, and are easy to ride, especially through Toronto’s bike path system in parks.

There are so many new projects for condo living in Toronto and what better way to get around than on a bicycle! Cycling is an integral part of Toronto (and not just for weekend warriors or condo living dwellers who won’t, or can’t afford to buy a parking spot), so stay tuned for the fall addition of the show!

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