beloved Mariposa bicycle of legendary Canadian artist Greg Curnoe. It is stunning and it was built right here in Toronto during the ’70s. Maybe it was the oil embargo, maybe it was a renewed focus on participation. Who knows? But there was a bike boom happening, and Toronto was right in the middle of it. Funny how history has a way of repeating itself."> beloved Mariposa bicycle of legendary Canadian artist Greg Curnoe. It is stunning and it was built right here in Toronto during the ’70s. Maybe it was the oil embargo, maybe it was a renewed focus on participation. Who knows? But there was a bike boom happening, and Toronto was right in the middle of it. Funny how history has a way of repeating itself." />

A made-in-Toronto cycling boom: city gets back to the business of making bikes


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A stylish ride from Gallant bicycles

On the wall of this office hangs a print depicting the beloved Mariposa bicycle of legendary Canadian artist Greg Curnoe. It is stunning and it was built right here in Toronto during the ’70s. Maybe it was the oil embargo, maybe it was a renewed focus on participation. Who knows? But there was a bike boom happening, and Toronto was right in the middle of it. Funny how history has a way of repeating itself.

In 2013, with sky-high gas prices, mind-numbing traffic congestion and no relief (not to mention political will) in sight, the city is once again turning to the humble bicycle to save its collective caboose.

This year, in addition to already being home to the headquarters of Cervélo — one of the most recognizable cycling brands in the world — and Pat Menzies’ very hip Bamboo Bike Studio in Kensington Market, the city welcomes not one but two new bike companies. 

Launching this month is Gallant Bicycles, co-owned by Jason Wood and Tony Mammoliti, focusing on the end-to-end production of a Toronto city bike. Although the frames are constructed in China, everything else is done out of their retail location in the Annex at 678 Bloor St. W.

“We wanted to do the end-to-end thing and really control the experience for our customers,” says Wood. “We are bringing in the frames raw, painting here and assembling just the way you like. Everything is built to order.”

Gallant offers two frame styles and a slew of cool add-ons, including automatic transmissions. Prices start at $699.

Simcoe Bikes is taking the design side a step further by creating a bike with T.O. riding in mind: think extra-strong wheels for streetcar tracks and increased rustproofing for Canuck winters. 

Although scheduled to launch this summer, according to co-owner Eric Kamphof, things are already behind. Seems there is a bike boom happening around the world as well, and their Taiwan manufacturer is behind schedule. But, soon enough, their unique brand of city bike designed specifically for life on the streets of Toronto will hit the streets.

“There is a need for this in North America, even globally,” says Kamphof. “Nobody has said, ‘What does a city bike look like?’ ” The bikes will come in three- or seven-speed versions and will sell for $899 and $1,150.

Both companies offer a very urban, stylish look that you won’t find in a road or mountain bike. “In the city, bikes are now people’s primary transport,” he explains. “Like owning a car, it’s a design and fashion thing, too. It is very important to our market.”

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