A few weekends ago my sister Grace and I went on an epic adventure to the Toronto Island to purchase a quadricycle. We saw this BlogTO article about the Toronto Island Bike Rental Company closing up shop (after 32 years of being a family-run business) and they had to quickly sell off all of their stock before the summer season.
After speaking with our crazy cool parentals, they agreed that we should try to get one to use up at our family cottage. My Mom also grew up in Toronto riding those bikes on the Island so there was a bit of sentimental value there as well.
We kept close tabs on the Facebook group where the company posted updates of when the flash sale would take place. With the publicity surrounding it we anticipated that it would be a frenzy (we were right). The expected bike sale was to be from 1-3pm, but being the eager beavers that we are, Grace and I set to arrive at noon, just incase there was a line and we could maintain our position near the front. LUCKILY WE DID!
After taking the ferry over to Ward's Island (the only ferry open this early in the season) and about a 25 minute walk/sprint in what felt like a leg of the Amazing Race (running ahead of other Torontonians looking to purchase a quadricyle), we got to the Bike Rental and saw that almost all of the inventory was already gone! Despite stating that the sale would ONLY be open for the two-hour window from 1-3pm, they had been overwhelmed with the early arrivals that they just started selling them off.
The way to "claim" a bike was literally just by sitting on it. Grace practically did the splits across two bikes as I circled and inspected which one was in better shape before yelling SOLD. Then the bike pirañas descended on the scraps. Once paid, the man told us to bike away as fast as we could to minimize the chaos. We couldn't stop laughing as we joined the PARADE of quadricycles biking back to the ferry.
Back in Toronto, we biked off in the most comical single-file line. Well, it was hilarious to us, not so funny to the crowd of people waiting to head over to the Island ... by the time the "actual sale" started at 1pm... all of the bikes were GONE. It could have easily been us so I felt a pang of guilt as we biked away with our shiny new slice of metal but I was happy that our quadricyle intuition (to arrive early) had paid off.
After a harrowing journey from the ferry to our parking garage (narrowly missing being hit by a few cars), our parents picked up the ol' gal in a trailer later that evening. We cracked open some beers and toasted to the fruits of our labour !
HAPPY ENDING: The family-owned company has since been re-awarded the bike rental contract so they are getting new equipment for the summer while we were able to get our hands on a piece of Toronto history - alls well that ends well.
Here's a short 1-minute video of the day (not nearly as captivating as my sister's Snapchat story but a fun reminder for us of the adventure!) Note: THOSE THINGS ARE VERY HARD TO PEDAL (especially with just one person) !!!