The 365 Cyclist

Cycling Year Round in Canada

Archive for the category “Routes”

Bikes and Trains

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.

GO Train

GO Train

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

The Bad Boy waiting on a train

Then I loaded my Bad Boy onto the train.

Bad Boy on GO 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.

Crossing Lakeshore

Crossing Lakeshore

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.

Berton Park Trail – Burlington

Berton Park Multi-Use Trail

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

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

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

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.

Berton Park Trail

Berton Park Trail

A map of the trail can be found on the Burlington Green Map which is referenced on this web page.

This is my ride captured by my Garmin.

My Ride Data - Berton Park Trail - Burlington

My Ride Data - Berton Park Trail - Burlington

This a decent path and it beats riding on the streets. It would be a route worth considering as a part of a longer ride.

I prefer paths without power lines overhead. I rate this path 6 out of 10.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Ride

I thought it would be fun to do a little ride to Niagara-on-the-Lake one evening. This week was ideal because I took Thursday off to celebrate American Thanksgiving. I decided to leave work a little early on Wednesday and head to Niagara-on-the-Lake knowing that I could sleep in the next morning.

I installed a seat post mount rack onto the Guru and filled a single pannier. I was ready for a nice ride.

Guru Equipped for Touring

As I left the driveway I heard a THUMP. Darn it, my pannier fell off the rack. Well it’s a big bump at the end of my driveway so I realized that I had better take it easy over the bumps. I re-attached the pannier and took off.

As I started down Glen Erin Blvd past St. Claire school I hear THUMP. Dag Nabbit … there is my pannier in the middle of the road again. Something’s not right.

Another kilometer … THUMP. Another 2 km … THUMP. My pannier is starting to get ragged from being tossed onto the road so much. I figure that there is no way I’ll make it to Niagara-on-the-Lake with my pannier in one piece.

I stopped and made a phone call to my bike shop (Van de Velo). I said “I’ve got a problem and I’m coming in.” I felt like an indy driver calling into the pit crew.

There were some problems with my rack attachment and pannier clips. Paul, the owner and chief mechanic, modified the clips and mounted a sturdier rack on the back.

Fixing the Rack

It took a little while to figure everything out and swap the racks. I lost some daylight but at least the problem was fixed.

I headed down to the Lakeshore and was on my way.

Lake Ontario

It was pretty windy and the sound of waves crashing onto the beach was pretty nice. As I approached Burlington it was getting dusk.

Burlington at dusk

I was carrying about 20-25 pounds of gear (I’ll pack lighter next time). The weight was not much problem when I was moving but when I stopped the front wheel kept turning and the bike wanted to fall over. It was really annoying. I decided to head to Mountain Equipment Co-op and get a second pannier to balance the load. MEC wasn’t too far off my route but I ended up killing another hour getting there, shopping, installing the second pannier and redistributing my load. Now I was ready to go. The only problem was that I had killed the afternoon and only got about 40km … I had 80 km to go and it was dark.

This is the last picture I took because all of the rest turned out black.

Hamilton at Night

I had my Cygolites charged and a recharge pack as well. I knew I had about 4 hours of night riding. I’ve been practicing night riding and I am comfortable riding in the dark. But my night rides have only been 60-90 minutes so far.

My plan was to follow the Waterfront Trail the whole way to Niagara-on-the-Lake. When the sun went down the temperature dropped to near zero. I put on an extra base layer and as long as I was moving I was comfortable. When I stopped I got cold.

I stopped for a meal around 7:30 in Grimsby. I was going to lock my bike to a fence but as I approached the fence I did not see 6″ of standing water in the weeds until too late. I stepped in and both my feet were soaked. I was a little worried about wet feet, zero degrees and two hours to go.

My socks were wool. I had only bought them a few days earlier for winter riding. My feet remained wet but the wool held the heat and it was not a major problem.

I arrived at Niagara-on-the-Lake at 10:30pm. My Cygolites worked the whole way … over four hours of night riding and still going. I was really impressed by that. Those light are amazing.

I enjoyed riding at night. The wind died down and the traffic was almost non-existant after 8pm. I was rolling down country roads and along the lake enjoying the lights from Toronto and the stars above.

The ride was 120km and I was pedalling at an easy pace (16-20km). Rolling time 6:25. Total time, with all the stopping, 9:13. My worst case planned scenario was 10 hours so I wasn’t disappointed. I had some leg left but after working that morning for 6 hours and then riding for 9 hours I was just plain tired.

This was my longest distance ride; my longest solo ride; my longest night ride; and the ride with the most problems. It was also one of my best rides.

The next morning my legs still felt good and I started pedaling home around 10AM. I got to Welland and had to wait about 20 minutes for a ship to pass through the lock.

Ship at Welland

It was windy and 1 degree Celcius … I got very cold waiting. The headwind was strong and was wearing me down. My legs were feeling heavier and heavier. I started thinking about Turkey and Football. I decided to call my pit crew (Denise). She picked me up in St. Catherine and we rode home to enjoy the rest of Thanksgiving day together.

Niagara-on-the-Lake Ride 120km


Etobicoke Creek Trail Extension – Official Opening on YouTube

I just discovered this YouTube Video promoting the opening of the Etobicoke Creek Trail. I think Mississauga could use some help in the promotion department. This Youtube video was produced in Sept of 2010 and only has 79 views as of the date of this post.

Compare that to a random video of my daughter when she was growing up. That video has 200 hits. Aside from Grandma and Grandpa I’m not sure who else is watching. But clearly there are more people watching home videos of kids than the City of Mississauga’s promotion of the bike system development. That just ain’t right.

We did an Etobicoke Trail Ride back on Nov 15, 2010. I remember it being a marginal ride as compared to some of the other ride routes. Perhaps the Etobicoke Creek Trail will be more appealing in the Spring time.

Leslie Street Spit

I’ve been blessed with good health for the past year. I can’t remember missing a Sunday ride because of not feeling well since last March. But today I’m not riding as I recover from a head cold. If it was the middle of summer I might have attempted to try a ride and “sweat it out”. Today it is -11C and snow everywhere. I think the best idea is to rest.

Which brings me to the point. I’m getting caught up on email and came across an email of the electronic version of Running Room Magazine. The have a new section called Home Runs which showcase favorite running routes.

The showcased route this time is the Leslie Street Spit.

It made me remember the few times we did that ride last year. Good memories. And it made me want to ride it again this year. It is on the list of planned 2011 rides.

This is the link to the article.

Bike Pittsburgh

Maybe a trip to Pittsburgh is in order this Summer.

Bike Pittsburgh Video

Bike Pittsburgh Organization Website

Here is a PDF of the activities from the Pittsburgh 2010 BikeFest. Click Here

Here is a very cool Bicycle Cafe. Click on the image below to check it out.

Bike Paths Along the River in Pittsburgh


Brampton Trails Map

I just came across this Brochure of the Brampton Trails and Pathways. I’ve also added a link to it in the maps section of the blog. Here is the download.

Brampton Trails and Pathways

Greater Niagara Circle Route

One for the to-do list.

Tommy Thompson 48k

Saturday Oct 23, 2010 – RRS Tommy Thompson 48k

Read more…

Caledon Trailway – 38 k (East)

Sunday Oct 17, 2010 – Caledon Trailway East Read more…

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