On November 4th 3T Bike hosted a community partnership event at their Toronto location offices. As a cyclist for 20 years and first responder for over 31 years I worked daily in a career embedded in the local community in support of individuals, group initiatives, and programs. As a lifelong community helper I could never have “done it alone” and relied heavily on developing relationships with community stakeholders and corporate partners to ensure successful outcomes. This 3T Bike community gravel event was no different. It was an opportunity to bring local Toronto cycling groups, individual riders, along with local community police officers, paramedics, and firefighters to 3T and share what we love, our community and cycling!
Every successful event starts with an idea and well executed plan. 3T wanted to host a gravel experience for cyclists who may be avid road riders, new riders, or those who never had a gravel riding experience. 3T pulled all the stops planning the event ensuring every rider had a bike for the event. For attendees who didn’t own a bike 3T arranged Exploro gravel bikes with different group sets sized to their needs. 3T’s goal was to host 40 riders for the event, in the end over 50 attended on the wet, cold +4C morning…perfect fall gravel weather!
For 3T, it was all hands on deck at 8am fitting those needing bikes and testing out their ride. At 189 cm tall I was fitted on a 58cm Exploro with a 1x Campagnolo grouping. With a super raised seat post I was concerned I may be at the max seat post and the 58cm frame may have been too small for my size. I was soon proved wrong and actually appreciated the smaller frame sizing for the soon to come trails. After brief speeches by 3T vice-president Alberto Cerea, local City of Toronto Counsellor Brad Bradford (Toronto Hustle), and Toronto Police Staff Sergeant Murray Barnes all riders pushed off. The 34 km ride route was well planned with a true mix of all surfaces found in the city; industrial areas, park paths, hydro cuts, gravel trails, and full single track. As it had rained overnight a full experience was in order with early mud and some continued light rain. We rode into the Don Valley, north toward Taylor Creek Park, and Sunnybrook Park taking on the edges of the Don River, water crossings, bridges, and some good valley climbs. The early rain and clouds gave way to sun and welcomed warmth forcing all to shed layers as we snaked our way around Sunnybrook Park playing fields on wooded trails. Lower tire pressures and good rubber made the experience on my loaner Exploro. The ride route was amazing, with nobody left behind but all wanting more when it was done!
In just under 2 hours we were all back at 3T HQ, clothing changes completed, with a great group social with 3T providing coffee, drinks, and treats by local bakery Circles and Squares. Great laughs, photos, new friends and relationships made the overall 3T experience amazing. What a great way for a corporate partner to give back to the community along with local cycling groups Toronto Hustle, Just Ride, and Toronto Police 55 Division Neighbourhood Community Officers. A well executed community ride experience in a city to places I had never previously explored or been definitely leaves one wanting more. Well done 3T!