Do you ever have those moments on a bike when you feel like the city doesn’t really want you there? I decided to document some of those feelings on a recent ride.

Originally published at Shifter.


You’ve no doubt ridden a bike driven by a chain. But have you tried one that’s powered by a carbon-fibre belt?

Both power a bike using the same principles, but there are some fundamental differences between them, including the fact that most bikes in the world — in fact, nearly all of them — are driven by chains.

Yet, there remains a small and (maybe) growing subset of people who swear by belts these days. So here, I examine the differences between the two types and offer some advice for your bike commute.

Derailleur vs internal hub

You all probably ride a bike…


I, like most of you, have been stuck at home for weeks now because of the COVID-19 lockdown, and I’m glad to be doing my part to help stop this virus.

But it hasn’t been easy. Being stuck home for weeks, frankly, sucks. But thankfully, I’ve still got my bike, and I still live in a jurisdiction where health officials are encouraging its use, as long as it’s being done while keeping appropriate distance from others to prevent the spread of the virus.

But riding a bike through a city these days is completely different than in the past. …


Perhaps the most common question I get from winter cyclists these days is simple: Why don’t you ride a fat bike for your winter commute?

It’s true, I don’t. I ride a built-for-winter commuter bike that has non-rusting parts and skinny tires. But fat bikes are pretty amazing winter machines, and I’ve ridden plenty of fun miles on one. So here I lay out my case for why a fat bike isn’t my commuter choice, but maybe for you.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel. Follow Tom Babin on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Medium. You can also follow Shifter on Facebook or Medium. Tom Babin is the author of Frostbike: The Joy, Pain and Numbness of Winter Cycling.

Originally published at http://shifter.info on April 9, 2020.


My winters changed forever with a smiling dude with curly hair standing behind a bike in the lobby of a conference centre in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

It was an early edition of the Winter Cycling Congress, an annual event that brings winter bike lovers from all over the world together to discuss their favourite misunderstood transportation mode. I was on hand as a journalist-turned-speaker and the smiling dude was David Weiner of Priority Bicycles. Normally, bike conferences are filled with all kinds of bike-industry types flogging their wares, but something about Weiner’s bike stopped me.

I took a closer look and…


I’ve always wanted to do this, but never quite got deep enough into Clark Griswold mode to get it done. But this is the year I decorate my bike with Christmas lights. This is mostly for fun, but being more visible on the roads during the dark winter months isn’t a bad thing!

Check out my video below to see how I did it (spoiler alert: It’s super easy!).

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Follow Tom Babin on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Medium.

Tom Babin is the author of Frostbike: The Joy, Pain and Numbness of Winter Cycling.

Originally published at http://shifter.info on December 16, 2019.


As the days get darker, it’s important to be well lit on your bike commute. So I’m testing three lights to see which ones stack up the best.

The new Biolight PowerLight Mini.

The Beryl Laserlight, my favourite light from last season.

And a $15 wraparound handlebar light. Which one is best? Thanks to both Biolite and Beryl for sending me the lights to try.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel. Follow Tom Babin on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Medium. You can also follow Shifter on Facebook or Medium. Tom Babin is the author of Frostbike: The Joy, Pain and Numbness of Winter Cycling.

Originally published at http://shifter.info on December 5, 2019.


As the days get darker, it’s important to be well lit on your bike commute. So I’m testing three lights to see which ones stack up the best.

The new Biolight PowerLight Mini.

The Beryl Laserlight, my favourite light from last season.

And a $15 wraparound handlebar light. Which one is best? Thanks to both Biolite and Beryl for sending me the lights to try.

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel. Follow Tom Babin on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Medium. You can also follow Shifter on Facebook or Medium. Tom Babin is the author of Frostbike: The Joy, Pain and Numbness of Winter Cycling.

Originally published at http://shifter.info on December 5, 2019.


The cry went out as soon as the news hit Twitter: “No! Now I’m going to have to buy a second car!”

That was the response from a co-worker when the news broke recently that Calgary, where I live, was among the handful of North American cities being abandoned by car-sharing company Car2go. When the company launched in Calgary in 2012, it was an unexpected hit. …

Tom Babin

Cyclist in Chief at Shifter.info. Author of Frostbike: The Joy, Pain & Numbness of Winter Cycling http://bit.ly/1shP2WI. Author, journalist.

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