Welland Vale and the Co-operative Cycle & Motor Co.
Posted: May 11, 2013

When the Welland Vale Manufacturing Co. of St. Catharines opened a Toronto retail outlet in February 1898, it laid claim to being the largest sporting goods store in the city, handling everything from ice skates to tennis racquets. At the time it was reported that the company had “left no stone unturned to make their premises at 149 Yonge Street a place worthy of the bicycles they sell.” (Toronto Star 02/04/1899)

Established in 1874 by William J. Chaplin the Welland Vale Manufacturing Co. produced a variety of steel goods, including axes, saws and harvesting tools. By 1896, however, the bulk of their factory had been given over to the production of a successful line of bicycles, that included the Perfect, Garden City and Dominion lines, as well as a popular chainless model. In 1899 when the Welland Vale bicycle works became part of the CCM merger, the St. Catharine's operation proved to be CCM's busiest factory.


Then on May 16, 1900, a serious fire ravaged the St. Catharines factory bringing an abrupt end to its manufacture of bicycles. Described as “the most disastrous conflagration” that had occurred in the history of the city, the fire destroyed the large building occupied by CCM, as well as the remaining shops of the Welland Vale Manufacturing Co., causing half a million dollars damage and putting five hundred employees out of work.


Following the fire CCM announced that it would not rebuild in St. Catharines, but had instead agreed to a deal with the city of Brantford to move the Welland Vale bicycle works to that city. In return CCM was to receive from the city of Brantford a seven year extension on the company's tax exempt status in that city.

“Mr. Joseph Shenstone, General Manager of the Canada Cycle & Motor Company, Toronto, has been here [Brantford] and the deal has been completed. The full details of the scheme are not yet allowed to transpire, but all the wheels and tools hitherto made at the Welland Vale factory will be made at the Brantford factory. Mr. Shenstone had a conference with the Manufacturers’’ Committee of the City Council, and an arrangement was agreed upon to have the manufacture of the chainless wheel take place in the Brantford factory.” (Globe May 30, 1900).

 It was a move that didn’t sit well with folks in St. Catharines who found themselves without their bicycle works. In an effort to appease the disgruntled, when the St. Catharines Board of Trade announced that the Welland Vale Manufacturing Co. and Chaplin Saw Works intended to rebuild and to take on more employees than before the fire, it also announced that the Co-Operative Cycle & Motor Co. from Brantford and Ingersoll had commenced business in St. Catharines and "compensates the city for the loss of the Welland Vale bicycle works.” (Annual Report of the St. Catharines Board of Trade for 1900).

Photo courtesy: Gerald Hobbis

 Incorporated in November 1900, the Co-Operative Cycle & Motor Co. had been formed for the purpose of acquiring the plant, machinery, stock-in-trade, business and good-will of the McBurney-Beattie Co. of Toronto and the W. G. Nott Bicycle Co. of Brantford. Among the directors of the newly-formed company were Jas. Coulter of Ingersoll and Chas. F. Verity of Brantford. W.G. Nott was the president and manager of the operation, while J. McBurney of Toronto was its vice president. 


The company purchased land in St. Catharines and erected a large three storey factory where they turned out "wheels" as rapidly as machinery, skill and labour allowed.They continued to make the E. Z. bicycles, formerly made by the W. G. Nott Bicycle Co., as well as the McBurney-Beattie bicycle and opened up branch retails outlets in Kingston, Toronto, Hamilton and London. 


There’s little question that the Co-operative Cycle & Motor Co. had hoped to cash in on the similarity of its company name to that of the Canada Cycle & Motor Co., not to mention the CCM acronym, but, in the end, it wasn't enough. Although expectations ran high in St. Catharines regarding the company, unfortunately within a few years Co-operative Cycle & Motor Co. found itself in financial difficulties and had to shut down.

Meanwhile to the east in Toronto the newly-formed CCM continued to produce bicycles under the old Welland Vale model designation of Perfect and did so well into the 1920s. 




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The Canadian Head Badges of Ron Miller
Posted: April 09, 2013






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The Evans & Dodge Bicycle 1896 - 1900
Posted: March 02, 2013

 With recent interest on here in the E. & D. bicycle and Dave Brown's photos of his great-looking bike, I thought I'd post the following. Although the Dodge brothers were to become the best-known members of the Evans & Dodge partnership, in the beginning it was actually Frederick Samuel Evans (1857 - 1922) who was the key figure in the company.

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, at the age of 18 Frederick Evans went to work as a telegrapher for the Grand Trunk Railway. By the late 1800s he had arrived in Windsor where he established the Dominion Typograph Company (later known as the Canadian Typograph Company). When he and his company were eventually left out of CCM's purchase of the National Cycle & Automobile Co. in 1900, Evans immediately took CCM and its directors to court. By this time, however, the Dodge boys, who had come to Canada in 1892 to work at Evans' typograph plant, were long gone.

Walter G. Griffiths, who was an apprentice at the Typograph plant in 1890 – 1895, recalled the arrival of John and Horace Dodge at the plant. The company had placed an advertisement in the Detroit News for “an assembly man, a floor man.” The Dodge brothers came to the plant to see the superintendent, Mr. Piper, looking for work for both. Piper said he wanted only one man, to which John Dodge replied, “We’re brothers and we always work together; if you haven’t got room for two of us, neither of us will start. That’s that!” Piper agreed to hire the pair and told them to report the next Monday. Griffith recalled that John was the more aggressive and hardworking of the two brothers. Horace still went by the name of “Ed.” Both drank heavily on weekends at various taverns in Detroit, but seldom got into fights because they usually drank with each other, apart from others.  (The Dodge Brothers: The Men, The Motor Cars, And The Legacy by Charles K. Hyde)

John Dodge's E. & D. Bicycle which now resides in the Detroit Historical Museum.

 It was while working as a machinist at the typograph plant that Horace Dodge invented a bicycle bearing that incorporated an enclosed mechanism by which the bicycle rode on four sets of ball bearings. The adjustable four point ball bearing was not only dirt-resistant, but was said to offer a smoother ride with less effort. Horace and his brother John were granted a patent for the bearing in September of 1896.

Shortly thereafter the brothers entered into a partnership with Evans and the trio used a space in the Canadian Typograph plant  to manufacture a bicycle using the patented bearing. Known as the “E. & D.” or “Maple Leaf” bicycle, it quickly became a popular model.

In February 1897 Evans displayed the bicycle at the New York Cycle Show and reportedly sold 50 “wheels” to dealers in Philadelphia and New York. In January of 1898, the Canadian Typograph Co. announced plans to open branch offices and retail outlets in London, Ontario and Montreal.

The company also offered bicycle-riding lessons at the Windsor Curling Club. Instruction was free for E. & D. owners and cost $2.00 for five sessions for all others. Separate sessions were offered for the ladies in the morning and mixed sessions for the rest of the day. 

In September 1899 when it was announced that five Canadian bicycle companies were to be merged to form CCM, Frederick Evans was irate that his E. & D. bicycle company had not been included. Shortly thereafter (October 1899), he announced the establishment of a Canadian branch plant of the American Bicycle Co., a huge conglomerate of 42 American bicycle makers put together by Colonel A. Pope, maker of the Columbia bicycle, and sporting goods magnate A. G. Spalding. 


The Canadian subsidiary of the American Bicycle Co. was to be under Evans' direction and was to be known as the National Cycle & Automobile Co. ("National"). The new company was to include not only the various brands of the American Bicycle Co., but also the E. & D. bicycle and Locomobile motor car. 

Evans informed the Canadian public that the bicycle trade previously done in Canada by the companies that were part of the American Bicycle Co. would now be carried on “by a syndicate of Canadian capitalists, who have purchased for Canada from the American Bicycle Co. all their patents, rights, and good-will and business, and will immediately establish in Canada a complete manufacturing plant, capable of turning out not less than 30,000 bicycles per year.” ("Another Great Bicycle Company", Daily Mail & Empire, October 30, 1899)

          This shows the various brands carried by National.
You know the chances are slim a company will survive when they mis-spell "bicycle." 

Among National's directors were A.G. Spalding (New York), Colonel Pope (Hartford), Edward Stearns (Syracuse) and A.R. Creelman (Toronto). At the time the New York Times reported: “The new company is a branch of the American Bicycle trust, but the Toronto business is largely financed in Canada and will be run chiefly by Canadians.” (New York Times, November 20, 1899)


While the company was initially to be located in Toronto, it landed in Hamilton when the Toronto Parks and Garden Committee was slow in finding them a suitable location. The Hamilton deal was set out in an agreement between the bicycle company and the city that called for the city to provide an estimated $20,000 for the construction of a new factory, while the company, in turn, agreed to provide full-time employment for at least 300 men for 10 years. 

Dave Brown's E. & D.

When National took over the manufacture of the E. & D. bicycle, they agreed to continue to pay the Dodge brothers royalties for the use of their bearing and offered them both jobs. While Horace decided to remain at the Canadian Typograph plant in Windsor, John headed to Hamilton where he was to be National’s general manager. With anticipation in Hamilton running high, temporary facilities were found for the new firm on Barton Street and John Dodge arrived shortly thereafter to oversee the installation of equipment.

  From the outset, National made a conscious effort to bridge its homeland with its new home. The company crest featured a prominent British lion and an American eagle hovering under a Red ensign with the Stars and Stripes in the background and a banner that read, “The greatest tandem team on earth.”

Meanwhile Frederick Evans tried to soothe away any suspicions Canadians had at the time that National was a backdoor entry for the American takeover of Canada’s bicycle industry. He pointed out that National was not taking business away from any Canadian concern, particularly CCM, since CCM had never controlled the trade of the firms acquired by National.

In fact, pointed out Evans, CCM would be strengthened “by the effectual shutting out of the possibility of competition by unreliable firms, which might make Canada their dumping ground.” The arrival of National in Canada would, according to Evans, “create a healthy competition which will regulate prices in the interests of the purchasers.” ("Another Great Bicycle Company", Daily Mail & Empire, October 30, 1899

As it turned out, National's stay in Canada was a short one. In November 1900 it was announced that “after prolonged and well considered negotiations,” Canada Cycle & Motor had acquired control of the National Cycle & Motor Co. and all of its Canadian assets.

As part of the takeover, John and Horace Dodge sold their interest in National to CCM for $7,500 and returned to Detroit where they used the money to open a machine shop, eventually becoming famous for the development of the car that would bear their name.

The only brand-name retained by CCM following its take-over of National was Columbia. As a result when Frederick Evans discovered that neither he nor his E. & D. bicycle was to be included in CCM's purchase of National, he immediately launched what was to be a messy and long-running lawsuit against George Cox and the other CCM directors. With the lawsuit taking several months of arguing and legal wrangling, Evans followed the Dodge brothers to Detroit where he helped establish the Commercial Motor Vehicle Co ., a maker of electric runabouts. 


IIn the end, Evans' lawsuit against CCM proved to be unsuccessful thus bringing to an end production of the E.& D. bicycle.

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CCM and the Golden Jet Take Flight 1968 - 1972
Posted: February 25, 2013


Growing up my favourite hockey player was Bobby Hull. Despite living in a household full of Bruins fans, the sight of him winding up behind his own net for an end-to-end rush inevitably started my heart pounding and brought me to my feet.

My first girlfriend once told me I had shhh'd her mother when Hull was in full flight on the family TV. Her annoyance with me for doing so undoubtedly led to the demise of our relationship. C'mon, I said, it was Bobby Hull for god sakes.  

A well-known photo of Hull pitching hay
on his farm just outside of Belleville, ON. 

Throughout the sixties no player in the NHL was more recognizable or more feared than Bobby Hull. Hailing from Point Anne, ON, just down the road from my hometown of Kingston, the muscular Hull became known as the “Golden Jet,” hockey's marquee player. With most Canadian homes now having a television set, nothing filled the screen on a Saturday night with more excitement than Hull with his blinding speed, blond hair and blistering shot.

In the latter part of the sixties when CCM looked to launch its new line of medium-priced skates and hockey equipment, company president Tom Nease knew he needed to connect the product to a name and face instantly recognizable by Canadian youngsters. He knew exactly whose face it should be. 

No one drew a crowd on or off the ice like the Chicago star. While Blackhawk owner Bill Wirtz called Hull “the greatest public relations man the NHL ever had,” Time magazine maintained "the sight of Robert Marvin Hull...leaning into a hockey puck to be one of the true spectacles of sport- like watching Mickey Mantle clear the roof, or Wilt Chamberlain flick in a basket or Bart Starr throw that beautiful bomb.”(1)


Hull's popularity was seen by Nease as the answer to a longstanding question at CCM - how to expand the company's share of the youth market. Despite the stellar reputation of the CCM Tacks, the Tack was an expensive skate and for that reason alone many parents were reluctant to buy them knowing their youngsters would quickly outgrow them. Nease was right. The launch of the Bobby Hull line, marked with Hull's familiar signature, brought CCM instant market appeal at a level where the company had previously struggled.  




Such success, however, came with a price. When Tom Nease and Hull's agent met in 1968 to hammer out an agreement between the player and the company, the ensuing contract paid the hockey star $25,000 a year for five years. At a time when endorsement deals were relatively rare, one for $125,000 was simply unheard of.


Advertised as “the greatest name in hockey joins the greatest name in hockey equipment,” the deal was defended by Nease based on its scope. Not only could CCM use Hull’s name and photograph to promote its bicycles and hockey equipment, Hull was committed to making six personal appearances annually on behalf of the company at conventions and trade shows.


Hull, who endorsed everything from Ford cars to Jantzen swimwear, paid little heed to the naysayers who claimed he devoted too much time to his off-ice concerns. When he arrived to sign the CCM contract, Hull used his well-known charm to tell reporters: “I’m going to read this little script. I haven’t had time to memorize it.” (2)


It wasn’t just the money that brought Hull to CCM. He'd been using their skates for some time. In fact, he'd been using them ever since CCM's George Parsons discovered Hull had been cutting the back seam out of his previous skates for added comfort. On catching wind of this Parsons approached the design department at CCM and asked if they could develop a custom-fitting skate with the seam moved to the side. Hull tried it and liked it. Buoyed by this success, the company gambled on him feeling the same way about their hockey sticks.




Although he agreed to give up his Northland Pro for a CCM Custom Pro, Hull maintained an escape clause which allowed him to return to his previous brand of stick, if he could demonstrate that it was "vital to the performance of his work.” (3)


Meanwhile Hull's coach, Billy Reay, was concerned about the cost of the stick. “I hope Bobby put a clause in the contract that says the company (CCM) has to supply him with sticks. You have no idea the number of requests we get for one of Hull’s sticks. It must run into a pile of money,” said Reay at the time. (4)


Even Hull’s team mates benefited from the CCM deal. Whenever the company used Hull’s picture in their promotional material with the club insignia or the Blackhawk name showing, a percentage of the fee was paid to the hockey club for distribution among the other players.




In the end CCM's contract with Hull was not renewed, for while it had landed the Golden Jet on the cover of Time, it had landed Tom Nease in a lot of hot water with the company's owners, the Levy brothers, who felt the deal was simply too rich for their taste.


1. "Hawk on the Wing," Time, Vol. 91 No. 9, March 1, 1968, p. 54

2. Milt Dunnell, "The Trouble With Bobby Hull," Toronto Star, February 29, 1968. 

3. Ibid.

4. Ibid.


Bobby Hull Makes Hockey History

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Everybody Will Ride the Massey-Harris Wheel
Posted: January 27, 2013












      The above bicycles (with the exception of Jack Gordon's) are from the collection of Peggy Eisenbraun and Roger Goodrich. All images are reprinted with the kind permission of the Massey Harris Ferguson Legacy Quarterly



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Sunshine-Waterloo Co. Ltd.
Posted: January 27, 2013


 Hugh Victor McKay
1865 - 1926
Founder of the Sunshine Harvester Works

By the 1920s the Sunshine Harvester Works of H.V. McKay in Australia was the largest implement factory in the southern hemisphere, covering 75 acres, and was one of the world’s leading international agricultural industries thanks to its development of the world's first self-propelled harvester in 1924. At its peak, the enterprise employed nearly 3,000 workers.

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Photo Credit: Waterloo Public Library, Ellis Little Local History Room.

In 1929 McKay and Toronto’s Massey-Harris Co. along with the Waterloo Manufacturing Co. incorporated the Sunshine-Waterloo Company Ltd. with the intent of adapting McKay’s self-propelled combine design for the North American market. In 1930, the newly formed company built a 285,000 sq. ft. plant in Waterloo, Ontario. In exchange McKay was granted the exclusive Australian distribution of Massey-Harris farm equipment.


Photo Credit: Waterloo Public Library, Ellis Little Local History Room.


Although set up to produce mainly farm equipment, in order to survive the tough economic times of the thirties, the new company manufactured a multitude of products, including baby carriages, bicycles, tricycles and roller skates. Throughout this period (1930 - 1940) Tommy Russell was president of Massey-Harris and no doubt a key figure in the Waterloo-Sunshine Co.

 Sunshine Waterloo Company Limited

Sunshine-Waterloo plant in Waterloo, Ontario
Photo Credit: Waterloo Public Library, Ellis Little Local History Room.

During the Depression as grain harvesters were being phased out since farmers could not afford them, the company began to produce automotive stampings for cars. Waterloo Manufacturing withdrew from the joint venture in 1934.


 In 1939 the company converted to the manufacture of war-related products including smoke bombs, shells, mines, grenades and gun mounts. During World War Two the Sunshine Waterloo Co. was a major producer for the war effort. During the war security was high at the plant due to the fact that it produced tank, airplane and truck parts, as well as ammunition, land mines, and various bombs.


Backpeddling, Guelph, Ontario 

   Backpeddling, Guelph, OntarioFollowing the war, further market changes led to the company adding office products, stoves, shelving and lockers, as well as bicycles. Sunshine bicycles and tricycles were produced until 1954.


Greg Williams' 1952 Sunshine with a Whizzer 300-series motor

In 1955 the McKay family sold out to the newly formed agricultural implement conglomerate Massey-Ferguson which was a combination of the Canadian and American interests of Massey Harris and the British tractor firm of Harry Ferguson.

In 1961 the name of the Sunshine-Waterloo Co. was changed to Sunshine Office Equipment and the company concentrated solely on the manufacture of steel office equipment and storage lockers until the plant was sold in 1978. 

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In Support of Big Brothers Big Sisters
Posted: January 13, 2013






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1951 Sales Brochure
Posted: December 29, 2012









Comments: 3
An interesting read.....
Posted: November 26, 2012


Restoring a Canadian Classic –
The ’46 CCM Loop Frame

by Coreen

15 08 2012

The Raving Bike Fiend had offered me this bike some time ago, knowing that I have a soft spot for loop frames, the ability to properly fix it up, and that my own vintage CCM, Poplar, was in extremely poor condition and I was spending more time fixing it than riding it. But with both of us living car free, transporting a non-functional bike cross town can get a little complicated. With a big trip on the horizon, though, he got his car rolling again and outfitted it with the necessities: racks for multiple bikes.

Keith loads up the '46 CCM and le Mercier beside it to get me and my bikes home. This wwould be the first time in months that I'd stepped inton an automobile.


The bike was given to Keith by another BikeWorks volunteer, whose grandmother was the original owner. In remarkably good shape, the burgundy rims still had their original white pinstriping, though the striping on the frame hasn’t fared as well over the decades and the white paint on the chain guard and fenders was particularly rough. It was missing a pedal, chain, grips, saddle and seatpost but still had all its integral components. However, the important question was how it looked on the inside.<?xml:namespace prefix = o />

The first step was to replace the missing components and get it ready for a test ride. Keith gave me a new old stock CCM seat post and I lucked out tremendously and found a Wrights leather saddle (history note – Wrights was an English manufacturer that was bought out by Brooks in 1962). With a brand new 1/8″ chain, it was starting to look like a whole bicycle again but started getting complicated when I went to install pedals.

I had found an appropriate set of 1/2″ pedals and had them ready to go when, after much grunting, swearing and penetrating lube to get the old one off, surprise! I discovered one side of the 1 piece crank was drilled 1/2″ and the other side was drilled 9/16″. WTH? Why would anybody do that? Did they start on the right side before realizing the left side was reverse threaded and needed a special tap? Disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to use the awesome pedals, I headed to the parts room to see if, by some major minor miracle, I could find a matched pair of mismatched pedals. Luck was on my side again, and you wouldn’t know they weren’t a pair by looking at them.

Keith had mentioned some concerns about the coaster hub, so I started the overhauls with that. Old CCM coaster hubs are fairly different than any other coaster hubs I’ve worked on, so if any of the parts were worn, finding spares would be an issue. Though very grimy on the outside, I was pleasantly surprised to find pretty clean lube and all the parts in excellent condition when I opened it up. When I tell people that hubs can outlast bikes if they’re taken care of properly, this is exactly what I’m talking about. This 66 year old hub was in better condition than a lot of 2 year old hubs I’ve seen.

A large part of a project like this is cleaning. There's a nice cog under all that caked-on grime, waiting to be exposed with degreaser and some elbow grease. 

The parts of the coaster hub before re-assembly. If you look carefully, you'll see that every part, even the nuts, are stamped "CCM." I don't know why, but it makes my heart skip a beat in joy.

Re-assembled and shined up CCM coaster hub. made in Canada, patented 1937.

 My next priority was to repack the headset, which felt a little loose. No surprise that the stem was corroded in place inside the steering tube, but after much grunting, swearing and malleting, I got it out. The wedge part actually had rustcicles growing from it! I disassembled the headset and set the fork aside to clean the cups when I heard the sound of running water. It turned out the steering column on the fork was full of water, which was now running across the bench and onto the floor. At least that explained the rustcicles.

Despite the watery surprise on the inside, the races, cups and chrome were in beautiful shape underneath the grime. Also, this is, by far, the best photo of anything I have ever taken inside BikeWorks. 

 The headset itself was in fine shape, and I didn’t have any other issues repacking it. While I had the front wheel off, I repacked the bearings in it too, and like the back, it looked like it had been maintained regularly and would see many more decades of use.

The headbadge has seen better days, my guess is because of a basket. notice how the paint is unevenly faded where parts of the badge have chipped away.

 After all of that was reassembled, I could finally put on my grips. I wanted something special that would still be appropriate to the bike while fitting within my next to nothing budget and vegan values. I decided to go with cork stained to match the saddle, as described in Lovely Bicycle and in the subsequent comments.

Two light coats of all-in-one Minwax stain/sealer on plain light beige cork. i then used a layer of double-sided tape to keep the grips in place.

 The last major thing to do was the bottom bracket. After finding all that water in the steerer tube, I was really worried about what awaited me in the bottom bracket, especially considering the bike had been sitting outside with an open seat tube for an indeterminate amount of time. Bugs, leaves, sand were some of the things I expected, but all I found was enamel that had chipped off of the inside of the bottom bracket shell. There was a very small amount of pitting starting on the races, but it should be OK with diligent maintenance to keep it from getting worse.

The last step was take it for a late night test ride!

The bear was also excited about this old school bike and wanted to take it for a test ride too.

 All these repairs took several nights, and I had been riding the bike back & forth to the shop without grips & overhauls, but that first guilt-free ride when you know you’re not pushing your luck by getting on an unfinished bike is something special. The bike is heavy and clunky, and I think I may need to look at the coaster brake again because it occasionally makes an unhappy noise, and the saddle squeaks like crazy, but  it’s still a joy to ride. Upright, lady like and attention getting, the bike turns heads and I’ve gotten many compliments on it from random strangers. Because the frame isn’t bent, it handles much better than Poplar, and the gear ratio feels just right. The tires are in fair condition, but I know I’ll have to be on the lookout for appropriate replacements. The wheels could also do with a truing, which I’ll do when I replace the tires.

I don't care how late it is. I need to test ride this baby.

 I fix enough bikes to know that some are more satisfying than others. This one was off the scale. I’m sure at least one of you wants to know if and what I’ll name this bike. For something that’s survived so well intact and potentially still has a long life ahead of it, it feels kind of presumptuous to give it a quirky moniker. But as I reread this post, an underlying theme of luck comes up, so I think I may use that as inspiration for a name.

Reprinted with kind permission from Breaking Chains and Taking Lanes.



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Winter is just around the corner.....
Posted: November 23, 2012

How about some snow tires for the baby carriage? 


 Or some fancy blades for the feet?



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