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Spending a Day with the Fit Family: Fitset in a Honda Fit

Big things come in small, little packages. You could say that the Honda Fit is one such vehicle that packs a punch, and by punch, I mean anything you can possibly toss into it.

I got a call from Honda a few weeks ago, with an offer to take on this big things come in small, little packages challenge by pairing me up with one of their prototypical Honda Fit buyers: the busy downtown guy in need of a vehicle that’s compact enough to zip around the city for the purpose of fulfilling his/her entrepreneurial and active lifestyle duties. Plus, we’d stuff a couple big mountain bikes in it and heading for the Don River Valley Trails. Ha! I thought, yeah right. How the heck is this tiny boxcar going to do that?

Honda paired me up with Jake. He’s a pretty solid dude: at 25 he’s co-owner of a neat Toronto start-up called Fitset, which is a member based service that provides trial classes at 20 different studios across Toronto for 6 months, notably Moksha Yoga, Krudar Muay Thai, Flirty Girl Fitness and more. He’s a pretty active guy too: when he’s not skipping around the city from his homebase in the east end, he’s hitting the bike trails, riding on his skateboard, and drinking as many coffees as he can biologically devour.

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After a quick intro to Jake and the 2015 Honda Fit in the Distillery District, which included a demonstration of how to create impossibly spacious room in the back of the car. The Fit also had some surprisingly innovative features, two of which stuck out like a sore but pleasant thumb:

  • Hitting the turn signal activated one of the cameras connected to the side view mirrors, which allowed the driver to view their blind spot and left or right side via the central video screen. What we thought would be useless feature eventually became a usability feature we couldn’t drive without after two hours.
  • The secret that makes the Fit so spacious is the placement of its fuel tank. Instead of placing it below the rear seats, they’ve made use of the space below the drivers and passenger seating by moving it forward, thus giving more floor space. It’s almost surreal to see your feet just inches from the ground.
  • Honourable mentions to the coffee holder right next to the steering wheel’s 10 o’clock. Apparently Jake’s winning feature.

I tagged along as he went about his usual Tuesday routine with his Fitset business partner Leila.

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There’s something kind of exciting about watching a small business kick off their heels. Every little accomplishment, whether it’s picking up stamps or negotiating colour on your event posters, is a super important milestone. They’re the building blocks to your (potentially) vast future organization, originally built off of dreams and motivation. It’s kind of like when you learned how to first ride a bike – the excitement of being in total control of the bike, every pedal confidently pushing you forward as you feel that rewarding breeze on you.

After lunch we dropped Leila off to start on the trails. Geared with his all-star mountain bike, which proved simple to toss into the back from my camera-holding viewpoint, we made our next stop Bateman’s Bike Shop to attempt at adding a second. Honestly, it wasn’t even a challenge. You could’ve easily stacked another 1-2 large sized mountain bikes on top of these and still managed to see comfortably out of the rear view mirrors.

However stacking the bikes sideways, even with the lowered flower, proved to be impossible without removing the tires. Which is totally cool, since it’s on minivan-level when it comes to cabin space.

We scooted up to the Don River Valley Trail and parked the Fit to start the most mentally and physically stressful 30 minutes ever.

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Okay, maybe I’m over exaggerating about the stress. Mountain biking is pretty kick-ass; off the bat, you need to learn how to anticipate your next steps, to trust your general instincts, and make very quick decisions. It’s kind of like life, no?

Despite having large frames, the bikes were extremely light. After taking the path through zig-zags, vertical dips, and steep inclines, Glass-is-half-full-Reggie felt very capable on the trail, considering the most biking experience usually involves casually coasting through Trinity Bellwoods and slow riding in side streets. Glass-is-half-empty-Reggie has a lot of work to do in the cardio department. A LOT.

After riding straight into a mud pit and nearly slipping off the trail into a pathetic demise multiple times, we completed the beginners trail and I left with a sense of epic accomplishment. Jake had hardly put a sweat on, but I guess that’s just the way it is when you do this a couple times a week.

Then we biked up the most vertical hill I’ve ever experienced for what seemed like an eternal 10 straight minutes.

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Yeah, me spinning. Without having anyone to hold the camera, we were fortunately unable to record my most embarrassing moments (which is probably for the better).

With a successful day behind us, Jake and I agreed that the Fit could easily pass as a jack-of-all-trades type of car. It has the speed, the spaciousness, the above-class features, the efficient fuel economy, the affordable price point, and can still maintain a high level of fun when you’re in it.

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