Articles Tagged ‘cycling’

GUEST POST: Icelandic designer Alice Olivia Clarke creates eye-catching accessories that will stop traffic (literally)

Shop Talk is written by OM senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven.
This week, Shop Talk welcomes guest blogger Amanda Spagnolo of Velo Vogue, Ottawa’s own cycle-chic blog.

This Saturday, when the Velo Vogue fashion show touches down at Kichesippi Brewery, there will be one unique accessory that combines both cycling safety and fashion — with products that have travelled all the way from Iceland!

Alice Olivia Clarke models one of her Tira accessories.

Alice Olivia Clarke, an Ottawa-born designer currently based in Iceland, is the force behind Tíra, a brand that designs stylish reflective wool pieces for cyclists. The accessories of Tíra — a word that means “glimmer of light” in Icelandic, help pedestrians and cyclists stay safe in the dark by turning the invisible visible.

In Iceland, cycling safely is of primary concern because during the winter months darkness increases each day until it reaches a dreaded 24 hours of darkness. Alice almost hit a pedestrian while driving one evening and realised just how invisible the passing pedestrians and cyclists were under the cover of darkness. And she noticed how fashion seemed to always lean towards darker colours — a trend she was guilty of following. As in Ottawa, parents are more than willing to put reflectors on children but forget about doing it for themselves.

The trick, according to Alice, was to turn the reflective thread into fashion accessories. More people would want to wear things that made them look good as opposed to something that needed to be worn for protection. The reflective wool is something that can be worn in the day time, but also has the added bonus of being useful at night.

Alice, who is also a mosaic artist and teacher in Hafnarfjörður, is married to an architect, and emphasizes that he is integral to the company. He helps with detailing and designing the look of the product and packaging it for the internet. Her children also work with the company. Her daughter does the illustrations for the packaging and promo material while her son is in charge of putting together mass orders that are sent out to stores.

Perfect for men who shy away from crossing-guard yellow, the reflective quality is barely visible during daylight hours.

So far, the reception to this new function-meets-fashion items has been very positive. Tíra was introduced through pop ups, and has received coverage in newspapers and  fashion magazines. But the best way, Alice says, to get people’s attention has been to show them how the accessories work. The reflective thread is so transparent that  demonstrations are required to reveal how the accessories work.

Try them on for size at the Tíra pop-up at Flock or Workshop June 2 to 9, or at Velo Vogue on Saturday where Alice will be presenting and selling her unique pieces.

~ By Amanda Spagnolo


WEEKENDER: The Harlem Gospel Choir comes to Ottawa, farmers get some support, and Holly McNarland plays Mavericks

ARS Nova is kicking off its fall season with a rousing performance by the Harlem Gospel Choir. The choir, which has been touring the world for 26 years, features top singers and musicians from the churches of Harlem in New York City. Incorporating their motto “Bringing people and nations together and giving something back” into each performance, the group serenades audiences with songs of love and hope while also raising money for various children’s charities. Friday, September 14, 7:30 p.m. Reserved seating $45, general seating $35, senior $30, students $20. Dominion Chalmers United Church, 355 Cooper St., Ottawa,

Holly McNarland takes the stage at Mavericks' this weekend. Photo by Vanessa Heins.

Back in May, Manitoban singer-songwriter Holly McNarland released her first album since parting ways with her old record label. Run Body Run, which blends McNarland’s country roots with modern rock influences, was the result of five years spent writing, re-working, and recording. You can catch the Juno Award-winner this Saturday when she brings her Run Body Run tour to Mavericks. Saturday, September 15. $17, Mavericks, 221 Rideau St.,

Capital Vélo Fest will be launching the Capital Vélo Rally this Saturday! Working in partnership with 8 Locks’ Flat Restaurant, the event offers participants the opportunity to explore the city by bike. Focusing on low-traffic streets and bike paths, riders will travel 20km in total, collecting clues and competing in cycling competitions along the way. Register your team of 3-6 people online – or sign up as a solo rider and be added to an existing team. Saturday, September 15. $20/person, 8 Locks’ Flat Restaurant, 191 Colonel By,

Taste of Wellington West returns this Saturday with a jam-packed day of music, shopping, and food! Check out what’s cooking in the ‘hood (literally) with this fun street fest that sees people from around town head west. Performing this year are Reverb Syndicate, Crown Vic, Still Dangerous, and Tall Trees, as well as children’s performers, Hey Buster!. You can also treat your taste buds to a plethora of free food samples, with Hintonburger, Bridgehead, and SuzyQ Doughnuts offering up some goodies. Saturday, September 15. Wellington Street, from Somerset Bridge to Island Park, Ottawa,

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WEEKENDER: Van Gogh’s life becomes a play, Spencerville celebrates 1812 and tries to break a world record, and seven more awesome events for the first weekend of June

Since 1985, artists from all over the world have been coming to this festival to perform for Ottawa’s kids (and those young at heart). This year’s event will feature Australian tap dancers, a German puppeteer, American musicians, and many local acts. Organizers know kids aren’t likely to sit still all weekend – so in addition to the shows, there will also be face-painting, games, interactive story-telling, and arts workshops. Many events are already sold out, so get your tickets soon. Wednesday, May 30, to Sunday, June 3. Beginning at 9 a.m. daily. $12.50 per show. Lebreton Flats Park, The Canadian War Museum, and the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre,

Frank Groothof performs in the one man show "Vincent Van Gogh, A Life in Paintings" about the artist and his brother.

Saw the National Gallery exhibit, and still can’t get enough ol’ Gogh? Explore the famous artist’s life in this one-night-only performance of Vincent Van Gogh, A Life in Paintings. A single actor plays both Van Gogh and his brother, portraying their lives with the help of music and animation. Friday, June 1, 7:30 p.m. $30. Gladstone Theatre, 910 Gladstone Ave.,

The Canadian Film Institute and the Embassy of Israel are holding their ninth annual Israeli Film Festival, beginning this weekend. Select Israeli films, including Sundance-award winner Restoration, will be shown Thursday and Sunday nights for two weeks. Thursday, May 31 until Thursday, June 14, times vary. $12. Auditorium of the Library and Archives Canada, 395 Wellington St.,

Brooding male artists (from Henry David Thoreau to Bon Iver) have been doing it forever – escaping to secluded cabins to create their masterpieces. The latest to do so is Canadian singer-songwriter Peter Katz, who recorded his latest album, Still Mind Still, in a cottage in the woods. Check out the result at the Blacksheep Inn this Friday night. Friday, June 1, 8:30 p.m. $15. The Blacksheep Inn, 753 Riverside Dr., Wakefield,

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WEB EXCLUSIVE: Talking about purple bikes and street-level interaction with the newly launched RightBike program

Keep an eye out for people on RightBike's signature purple bicycles.

Starting today, Ottawa can look forward to some colourful new additions on its roadways in the west end of town. The Causeway Work Centre launched its newest community program — a bike share in Wellington West called RightBike — this morning. RightBike is a social enterprise that uses donated bicycles to create employment for disadvantaged members of the community, all while reducing pollution, fostering healthy lifestyles, and encouraging street-level interaction, said Don Palmer, president of Causeway.

The goal was to create a transportation solution with the community’s existing resources, instead of bringing in an outside program, said RightBike’s “godfathers,” Dick Stewart and Bill Shields, of SLOWest (Sustainable Living Ottawa West). Large-scale bike share initiatives like Bixi can be too expensive for many communities, said Shields.

“I think Bixi stole your idea, and not the other way around,” joked Mayor Jim Watson at this morning’s launch at RightBike’s new headquarters on McCormick Street. Watson talked about the many environmental and health benefits of creating a bike-friendly city. “It’s just the right thing to do,” he said.

In addition to support from the city, the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Sherrell Franklin announced a three-year, $200,000 provincial grant for the program.

If you want to try the service for yourself, memberships are $10 per month or $40 for the season, plus a $60 refundable deposit. To keep the program accessible, Somerset West Community Health Centre will be offering free memberships to low-income members of the community.

To learn more about the back story behind the program, Ottawa Magazine’s Emma Paling caught up with Shane Norris, one of RightBike’s organizers from Causeway, before the launch to get the scoop on the two-wheelers.

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HIDDEN OTTAWA: Cycle Salvation, re-Cycles help people, profits, and the planet

By Dayanti Karunaratne

Exterior of the re-Cylces/Cycle Salvation home. All photos by Aaron Mckenzie Fraser.


Near the corner of Bronson and Gladstone, between a long-standing memorial stone store and a hipster brunch spot, sits the shared space that houses Cycle Salvation and re-Cycles. You’ll know it by the uplifting black-on-yellow posters in the window with messages such as Burn Fat, Not Oil and It’s Not WHEN You Get There, but HOW. Make your way past the iron gates and through the side door, but don’t expect a formal greeting. It’s more a mi casa, tu casa vibe, as grease monkeys and wannabe techs wander about unassumingly.

Take note of the complex open hours — it’s the home of re-Cycles on evenings, but visit during the day to catch Cycle Salvation (each group also has a shift on Saturdays). Either time is a great opportunity to pick up a solid bike for cheap, but it gets trickier if you want a closer look at the inner workings of a derailleur (re-Cycles are the DIY tutors).

Not that the look and feel of the space change much. The marriage of re-Cycles, a long-standing not-for-profit group that repairs donated bikes and helps people learn basic bike maintenance, and Cycle Salvation, a recent Causeway initiative that helps train and employ people in bike mechanics, is a happy one.

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BEST OF SUMMER: 16 must-try rural adventures

Ottawa Magazine‘s Summer Edition includes a 25-page Outside Guide. But there’s still so much going on around here that we’ve found more to include. From boating to spa retreats to cycling adventures, 16 more ways to get the most out of the summer.


Tour marshland by pedal boat at Éco-Odyssée.

Taking his cue from the local beavers, former Gatineau Park animal conservation officer Michel Leclair transformed 70 acres of marshland outside Wakefield into a water labyrinth with 6.4 kilometres of meandering canals, which visitors can explore by pedal boat. Groups of at least six can also book guided dawn and twilight trips on a pontoon boat. The award-winning attraction, which opened in 2008, recently added a canoe route and a two-kilometre hiking trail. 52, ch. des Sources, Wakefield, 819-459-2551,

Jenda Paddlesports
Don’t own a kayak? Your canoe sprang a leak? Don’t worry — you can still get out on the water by renting a boat from Jenda Paddlesports in Osgoode. They’ll even throw in PFDs, paddles, a safety kit, and the gear to attach the watercraft to your car. The Rideau River is a short drive away. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. 5426 Dalmeny Rd., Osgoode, 613-826-0922,

SUPER SHOPPER: Cool bike stuff gets the season in gear

Tools and trimmings to get you in gear

Wicker-style basketStylish colour-swirls helmet from NutcaseTrek’s 2011 urban single-speed (grey-blue)

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URBAN DECODER: I’ve heard you can be fined for skateboarding on roads. I was wondering about longboarding — can I get in trouble even if I’m just using it as transportation?

Photo by Hilary Duff

Taking a quick look at the City of Ottawa website, it isn’t clear if longboards are included in the bylaw that prohibits the use of skateboards and rollerblades on city roads and sidewalks.  So is this surfboard on wheels considered illegal?  Troy Leeson, the program manager of bylaw services and parking enforcement, says yes. Longboards are considered to be in the same family as its wheeled relatives, he says.  Unlike bicycles, the bylaw doesn’t currently recognize longboards as a mode of transportation, which is why they are still banned. Leeson says he thinks it’s a matter of age: “at this time skateboarding and rollerblading are more of a younger generation thing so universally they’re not as accepted yet.” That means riders can expect a $25 fine if caught, but this is at the discretion of the police.  With the right lobbying, Leeson says that bylaw changes can be achieved, so longboarders wanting to take back the roads: unite and conquer.

The Weekender: Sunday rides, country concerts, and one crafty birthday bash

If this is indeed the last day of the last SuperEx at Lansdowne, you’ve got to be here. And if you’ve got to be here, you’ve got to see the last demolition demolition derby. As the promo says “Come to Ottawa SuperEx and hit another car without having to call your insurance company!”  Categories include mini smash and pro-modified class. Grab a poutine, head for the stands and cheer on your favourite wrecks. Aug. 29. 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. $7-$12. Lansdowne Park, 1015 Bank St.


Photo courtesy NCC

Round up the family and hop on your bikes (or rollerblades) during the last few days of summer for some traffic-free riding. On Sunday mornings until Sept. 5, more than 50 kilometres of road are closed to cars, including Colonel By Drive from Laurier Bridge to Hogs Back Falls along the canal. The kids might protest getting up early for a ride, but they’ll thank you when they’re older. See website for road locations and closure times. 613-239-5000.

Wakefield seems to up its cool quotient on a weekly basis. As summer draws to a close, it’s all about Wakefest, which swings into action with four days of music and dance. A highlight on the bill are the ultra-cool popsters known as the Hilotrons. Aug. 28. 8:30 p.m. $10 (earlybird); $12 at the door. 753 Riverside Dr., Wakefield, 819-459-3228. or

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Shop Talk: Mountain Equipment Co-op

(Photograph: Angela Gordon)

The people who introduced gearheads to cooperative ownership are at it again, this time drumming up enthusiasm for cycling in the city. On Sunday, June 20, Mountain Equipment Co-op will host its first Bikefest at Lebreton Flats. Scheduled events include demos and clinics, plus there’s bound to be plenty of gossip among local cycling groups about the new bike lanes coming to Ottawa streets.

The look: Pretty and practical

The labels: MEC, Patagonia, Prana

Perfect for: weekend warriors, city dwellers who bike to work, and camping enthusiasts looking for a cute campfire ensemble

USP: Mandatory $5 (lifetime) membership to buy or rent

366 Richmond Rd.,