Sunflower fields, winding roads through valleys, and well-banked corners leading to the summit of your dreams. No, not here. We are a small cycling boutique in the center of a big city. We don’t have landscapes with beautiful backdrops, we have a grid with 90-degree corners, concrete and traffic signs.
If we want to ride open roads with beautiful rolling hills, we have to fight our way through the urban jungle for 30kms. During the week we don’t have time for that. And we’re not here trying to sell you a romantic ride with inspiring photographs.
Most of our rides start at the crack of dawn. 5:30am, to be exact. At that time, the city is dark and the roads are empty. It feels like we are in a video game as we speed under the streetlights.
Excitement is high every morning amongst our riders, even though it might not seem that way to newcomers.
We approach our weekday rides like crits: they start and end fast, so talking is minimal.
We have designated loops like race tracks through city neighborhoods with only right-hand turns for safety and speed.
The pre-ride morning routine has to be swift and efficient, with Absolutely Equipment selected the night before.
Most riders wake up at 5am to be out the door in 15-20 minutes and arrive on time at the meeting spot: High Park. If you’re late, we don’t wait. It’s important to start and finish the ride as punctually as Swiss trains, because everyone has daily commitments afterwards.
The group size varies, but you can always bet on 25-30 riders and up to 50 riders on summer mornings.
Most mornings in Toronto are chilly, even in the summer, and the Q36.5 Air Shell has been the weapon of choice lately. This ultra lightweight shell keeps our core warm and protected with no volume penalty when packed. We like to think of it as a Formula 1 tire blanket, keeping our core ready for the next effort.
As the group leaves High Park, the pace picks up rapidly along the lakefront and the Air Shell gets unzipped and stuffed into the jersey pocket as everyone starts laying down the hammer. Well-choreographed teamwork can get us moving up to 55km/h on flat sections. On the actual loop, we try to drop each other yet stay together. It‘s a race where we don’t race – we try to find each other’s limits.
We always finish our rides with coffee, or as we like to call it: ‘spro’ (short for Espresso).
Getting back on the bike it’s always cold, so the Air Shell comes out again. By now the city is waking up, traffic is filling the streets and, as the sun rises and the street lights dim, our video game comes to an end.
Alpha Velo Ltd.
T: +1 289 221 0285