This past weekend we were blessed with some mild January weather. I decided to experiment with taking my bike on the GO train. I have been wanting to do this for a while. Taking the train is a way for me to expand my bike riding perimeter. I have visions of riding the GO train to distant destinations and then riding back or vice versa.
For a test run, I rode to Clarkson Station and put my bike on the GO train to Exhibition station.
When I went to purchase my ticket I asked how much extra it costs to take my bike. The response “Bikes are Free”. Then I asked if there is a special bike car. The response “Ride any car except the handicapped car”. I went to the platform and waited a few minutes.
The Bad Boy waiting on a train
Then I loaded my Bad Boy onto the train.
Bad Boy on GO train
I forgot about my Garmin GPS until it started beeping as the train clicked off the kms. I looked down and the train was doing 92.9 km/hr. My Bad Boy and I were covering some distance seriously fast.
I arrived at Exhibition and rode across Lakeshore to the Waterfront Trail heading downtown.
I have ridden to the CN Tower from my house several times over the summer. It is an 80km trip and it takes several hours. Riding the GO train is great away to save some time and still get into the city for touring.
My first experience taking my bike on the GO train was great. I’ll be doing this again.
I took a little bike ride to Square One shopping area tonight. That’s about a half hour ride each way from where I live.
It was a Wednesday night, early January, -2C at about 10PM. This was one of those very rare rides where I did not pass a single other cyclist. Imagine that. It was so pretty with snow covered trails and sparkly ice on the paths. I took this pic with my iPhone and it doesn’t do the scene justice. I took this from the middle of a soccer field just west of the City Hall.
The weather was unseasonably warm in November and December. We had a green Christmas. We have not had any snow in Mississauga (Toronto, Ontario) until this week.
I had a week off of work over Christmas but friends, family and errands took priority over bike riding. I still had my summer tires on the bike, until yesterday. It was cold, about -2C with a light dusting of snow. I started off on my regular tires but the bike slid on ice as I left the driveway. I didn’t want to start my first ride of 2012 with a spill so I went back to the garage and put on my Shwalbe studded snow tires.
There was a lot of ice on the trails. Riding on snow and ice is different than summer riding. I go slower and take it easy on corners. I wasn’t clipped in to the pedals … just in case. The studs did their job and I ended up having a good ride. I’ve got the layering, gloves and shoes all figured out. I was dressed perfect for the temperature.
Winter Mississauga Bike Path
I rode paved paths for half of the ride and then hit some dirt trails through the woods. Riding dirt trails in the winter is like riding on paved paths because the ground was frozen solid.
It was a very different ride than just a few weeks ago when the trails were soft and muddy. I prefer the frozen snow trail riding over mud riding.
I’m looking forward to more snow rides over the next few months.
Lance was one of 50 participants in the 2011 Iditarod Invitational which is a 350-mile bike race through the Alaskan wilderness.
Lance came in 8th of a field of 50. That’s pretty damn good considering that he broke his leg, and kept riding, then he broke his arm, and he kept riding, and then he fell and had a concussion, and he kept riding, and finished the race beating 80% of the field. Swear to god, talk about guts, perseverance and intestinal fortitude.
After a lot of experimenting, I’ve got my cold weather riding gear figured out. I’m also equipped to ride in nice weather … that’s easy. But I’m still working on my gear for wet weather.
This time of year is the worst case scenario for wet weather riding. Cold rain can turn a ride into an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience when the temperature is between 0 and 10 deg Celcius. I do not enjoy being wet and cold.
This is the solution to keeping my head warm and dry when it rains. MEC had two choices of bike helmet cover designs. I chose this one because I thought the flap in the back would keep the rain off of my neck. The back flap can be removed with a zipper.
I tried it out this past Sunday while riding with a few of my friends. I had brought the helmet cover with me just in case it rained. About halfway through our ride it started raining hard. We stopped under some pine trees and I got out the helmet cover. It slipped over my helmet very easily. A draw cord secures it in place. It literally took just a few seconds. I strapped my helmet back on and we were off.
The result: The bike helmet cover passed the test. My head was warm and dry. I did not have any rain go down my neck. I am recommending this helmet cover for any wet riding. My only suggestion is that I wish the front bill was a little longer and a little stiffer. It was adequate but bigger would be better. Despite that, I’m very happy with this bike helmet cover. Riding in the rain just got a little more comfortable.
A while ago I was using Google Maps with the beta bike paths feature turned on. I was mapping a route from Mississauga to Niagara-on-the-Lake. I ended up taking the Waterfront Trail because I was familiar with it.
I was curious about a couple of routes that google suggested across Burlington. Today I decided to check out one of the routes that had me curious.
Burlington Bike Trail A
I did a lot of searching on the web and I have yet to find an official name for this path. It is simply referred to as a multi-use path. That is confusing because there are many multi-use paths in Burlington. It would be easier to describe if the trail had a name. I chose the name Berton Part Trail because it passes by Berton Park. That is a good place to park and access the trail. I would suggest the parking lot near the intersection of Berton Avenue and Berwick Drive as shown in the following picture.
Berton Park Parking Area
The path passes through several parks including Newport Park, Ireland Park, Peart Park and Roly Bird Park. The Roly Bird Park is on the south end of the trail. It also has a good parking area and easy access to the trail. It is adjacent to Industrial Street as shown in this picture.
Parking at South end of Berton Park Trail
I ended up riding the trail between Berton Park to Roly Bird Park with a short detour to Ireland Park. I covered a total distance of 13.6km. The trail looked longer on the map. I estimate the trail to be about 6km. There are bike paths beyond this section at both ends but it requires some street riding to connect.
The path goes past the Burlington Heights Shopping Centre which was near the midpoint of the trail. The path would be very convenient for residents in that area to access the shopping center.
The path meanders down a green space beneath very large hydro (electric) lines. The power lines are not very scenic. It would be a wonderful and scenic path without the power towers. I kept trying to ignore the towers and enjoy the other scenery.
Besides the towers, the second downside to this trail is that it crosses a lot of roads. The crossing are well marked. However it is a busy area and it was hard to get any momentum riding the bike. The crossings required a lot of stopping and waiting for cars.
The path wasn’t very crowded but it was December and 0 degrees Celcius. I did not pass any other bikes but I did pass several dog walkers and joggers.
This is a short video capturing some of my Niagara-on-the-Lake Ride. I followed the Waterfront Trail from Mississauga to Niagara-on-the-Lake. I only filmed about 1/4 of the ride because I discovered that my video camera battery was dead when I left. I was charging it as I rode and only got enough power to film by the time I got to Burlington. After that it was dark and the camera didn’t work in the dark.
We had some snow flurries today. It is motivating me to get ready for the approaching Winter riding. Last year I learned that when it gets really cold water freezes. I bought this insulated water bottle so my water wouldn’t freeze up. It won’t be long before I’ll be needing this.
I came across this bike as I was entering the Cawthra Hockey Arena for my son’s hockey game this afternoon. This is a tandem bicycle with an electric assist. It looked heavy … like a bicycle bus. I thought it was interesting so I took a pic.
Electric Tandem at the Rink
There was one large battery mounted but it looked like you could mount two batteries. That is one serious powered rear hub.