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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bicycle Insurance + Other Goodies

TECHNOLOGY - There are lots of companies out there offering car insurance quotes, but where are the companies offering bicycle insurance quotes? (Seriously, you can get pet health insurance these days, so it should not be too hard to get bicycle insurance.)

I did a Google search for "bicycle insurance" and there are 146,000 hits on the topic.

The top listing was a fellow who apparently does have bicycle insurance (listed under his tenants insurance) and he asked about insuring a bicycle for replacement cost. The insurance agent told him it would be $9.35 per year for every $100 value of bicycle.

Thus insuring a $2,000 bicycle for a year would cost him $187. Some other people have found cheaper rates. (See the full discussion on the TBN forum.)

Some insurance companies even offer advice for cyclists:
How to foil a bicycle thief
A stolen bike - to claim or not to claim

Obviously for theft purposes its best to just have the best quality lock(s) you can afford and always pay attention when locking your bike up so that its in a location that won't be easy to break / remove your bicycle. (I regularly see people's bicycles locked to poles that any reasonably tall person could just lift the bike up and off the pole and then ride away with it.)

If the lock is really good the insurance company should in theory lower their rates... but of course, if you have a really spectacular lock, doesn't that make insurance obsolete? You would hope so, but thieves will also see really expensive bikes as a bigger prize and try harder.

The whole thing got me thinking about niche markets for products/services cyclists would likely want or could use.

In theory there are a variety of things that cyclists should have... #1 accident insurance, #2. life insurance, #3. health/dental insurance... to say nothing of the niche markets available for cellphone, BlackBerry and laptop users. ie. A laptop holder for your bicycle, a place to put your BlackBerry, iPod, iPhone, etc... because talking on your cellphone whilst cycling is just plain dangerous.

For example here's a service some cyclists might like: ShrinkRay Mobile, its a mobile application developer for iPhones. Or for those organic food / ultra clean / botanical medicine people out there is companies like the Wellpath Clinic, a natural medicine clinic... which no doubt has products we could all use.

One of things I'd like to get is a video camera I can stick on the front of my bicycle. I found this website for Building your own Bicycle Camera Mount, but I'd much rather have something professionally made and pointed in the right direction (as opposed to limply hanging on with duct tape).

To paraphrase a fellow blogger "I want to see roads and faces, not the butts of bikers."

(If only Lenzr had video contests instead of photo contests.)

There are a LOT of Bicycle Gadgets out there, you just have to do a Google search for them.

Bicycles with Classical Music

ENTERTAINMENT - Somewhat off topic, I am looking for bicycle videos that contain classical music.

Its actually surprisingly hard to find what I am looking for... instead I've found the Bicycle Bell Symphony, a flute made out of a bicycle pump, and various other shoddily made videos.

Ideally what I am looking for is something like 'Ride of the Valkyries' with Tour de France footage, but apparently nobody has done anything remotely resembling that yet.

On the plus side I did find this wonderful photo of a bicycle and a violin (above), and a rather bizarre German fellow called Christian Adam who rode 60 km backwards on a bicycle whilst playing a violin. Apparently it took him almost 6 hours.

In other news this blog is now being sponsored by Mooredale Concerts, a Toronto orchestra company which promotes "Classical Music for Everyone", has regular performances in the University of Toronto's concert halls and operates a classical music learning program for children and a youth orchestra in Rosedale.

Both U of T and Rosedale incidentally are two of my favourite places to go for a nice bike ride. They're relatively free of traffic and the scenery is quite good.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

BAM Program looking for students

Toronto's BAM program (a government funded program which trains bicycle mechanics) is looking for more students.

People interested in becoming a bicycle mechanic should contact the Learning Enrichment Foundation and inquire about becoming a BAM student.

Classes last 8 weeks and include an one week placement in a Toronto bicycle repair shop.

The next set of class dates are: January 4th 2010 - February 26th 2010. Sign up early to avoid the waiting list!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Looking for Sponsors

Wouldn't it be great if Park Tools sponsored this website, The Bicycle Mechanic?

Yes, yes it would be awesome.

But in the meantime I am going to put the call out to people, bicycle shops, tools manufacturers, etc... sponsor this site!

In the case of Park Tools they wouldn't even have to pay me... they could just give me free tools every year and I would be happy. Like the tools below in the Park Tools Bicycle Mechanic Starter Kit.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Bicycle that folds into a Backpack

The bicycle below folds into a backpack, great for camping in rocky terrain. I think it makes a great xmas gift idea.


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Looking for a bicycle mechanic school in Canada? The Quadra Island Bike School in British Columbia is a Canadian bicycle mechanic school that trains professional bicycle mechanics against the backdrop of the beautiful Quadra Island.

About the Author

Charles Moffat is equal parts bicycle mechanic, cyclist, painter, sculptor, fantasy writer, poet, website designer and pun maker. For more details see



Do you own a bike shop and are looking to hire a bicycle mechanic in North America? Just email me with the job posting details and I will post it for you. (Also, please let me know when the job has been filled so I can update the posting.)


If your bicycle is basically junk and you don't know what to do with it then SELL IT TO ME. I will use it for parts. I will give you a fair price ($20 to $30) for your old clunker just so I can rip it apart for parts.

If you need repairs check out my Bicycle Mechanic Services in Banbury-Don Mills.