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A Sunday morning training run I’ve done a hundred times is the bike ride from my Toronto Riverdale neighbourhood to Port Credit along the lakeshore. The terrain, as the graph below shows, is about as flat as it gets. (It also shows that I lost GPS reception a couple of times!)
Taking advantage of the Lower Don Trail, the Martin Goodman Trail, and an almost-traffic-free Lakeshore Road, I get an excellent ninety-minute cardio workout which I monitor with my Polar M400 GPS fitness tracker. After a cup of coffee at the Starbucks on Lakeshore in Port Credit, I ride back home.
This morning I would choose to do the second half of the ride to Port Credit on Lakeshore Road instead of on the less-direct and meandering Goodman Trail. The route on the insert map illustrates the difference! On my way back home I would take the more leisurely way.
On this ride, I also brought along my Sony A57 and my Zeiss 16-80 lens. However, except for the four images which follow, I did not stop to take many pix on my way there, intent as I was on keeping those pedals moving.
I did stop as I cycled past Ontario Place. It turns out that the 2016 Toronto Triathlon Festival was taking place. From the mess of bikes and wetsuits in the pic above, it looks like the cycling and the swimming have already been done. I would see participants running in the stretch from Ontario Place to the Humber River bridge as I continued on my way.
Before I pulled in to the Starbucks, I did get some shots of Port Credit Harbour and the bridge over the river. Then it was off for my caffeine injection and a ten-minute breather at a spot popular with Sunday morning cyclists.
Now for the return ride! After tucking in with a peloton for two or three kilometers as we headed east on Lakeshore Road, I decided to slow down a bit – and escape from the traffic. It was about 11:30 and It had definitely picked up. The Goodman Trail is much more relaxing – and all sorts of great views of the city can be had along the way.
A sunny Sunday morning – and everybody was out. Kayakers, canoeists, joggers, fellow cyclists, folks walking their dogs, parents with strollers, rollerbladers … a real fitness commercial in the making!
The route includes bridges over the Don, the Humber, and the Credit Rivers. Also on the list is Mimico Creek. In the two photos below you get to see the view from the bridge towards the lake – quite idyllic – and then the view looking up the creek. Quite a contrast!
I stopped on the west side of the bridge over the Humber River and framed the following half-dozen views of the neighbourhood in my viewfinder. That’s my bike – a “vintage” 2007 carbon fiber Trek Madone 5.0 which is my official Sunday bike! For bike tours, I take my 1990 steel frame Miyata 600GT, and my everyday bike is another Trek, the 2005 aluminum frame 2100.
It’s 13 kilometers from the bridge to my front door – still 45 minutes or so of work to do! I followed the Goodman Trail as it makes its way east along the lake shore – past Ontario Place where the triathletes were wrapping up their day, past the giant Inukshuk, past all sorts of great photo ops that I’ve stopped for on other occasions.
This time I bombed right past them all – though I should have stopped at Sugar Beach for a beautiful view of the umbrellas and of the downtown area from the east. I headed right for the junction of the Lower Don Trail with the one which runs on the north side of Lakeshore Blvd. all the way to the Beach(es). The pic below shows the new art on the pillars of the expressway – still fresh enough for taggers not to have ruined it with their mundane scrawls.
As I cycled up the Don Trail, I left it for a few minutes to visit Corktown Common’s Pavilion Terrace. It is a high plateau overlooking the neighbourhood and provides a great view of downtown.
The entire neighbourhood was created to serve as the temporary housing for the Pan-American Games athletes in the summer of 2015 before being turned into mixed-income housing. By all accounts it has been an urban planning success story – and it looks great.
The Lower Don multi-use trail runs along the west side of the Don River all the way up to the Riverdale footbridge that I use to access the path from Broadview. In the photo below it is hidden by the swath of tree cover on the right-hand side.
To no surprise, my ride back from Port Credit took a bit longer and was less intense than the ride there –
I would take the next day – usually a one-hour workout with weights at the gym – off!
A map of the Waterfront Trail – the Hamilton to Toronto section – can be found at the Waterfront Trail website. (See here for the pdf file.) In years past I have followed the trail all the way from Niagara-On-the-Lake to the Quebec border; it provides an almost-traffic-free bicycling route along the shore of Lake Ontario.
Biketrain began as an initiative to make taking bikes on trains easier. From the original Toronto-Niagara Falls VIA route, it has expanded to include trails across the province. It allows you to come up with more exciting ride possibilities by making use of train connections. For example, instead of doing the typical “there and back” route, I took the train to Niagara Falls one Saturday morning and then spent the day cycling back to Toronto. It is definitely an excellent way to introduce new rides to your repertoire!
Over the years VIA (Canada’s national passenger rail service – it rents track usage from CN) has made it easier to take your bike on the train. It used to be that boxing your dismantled bike was part of the routine. These days they have bike racks on specified trains and you just hand up your bike to the attendant and that’s it. When you get to your destination, he hands down the bike and off you go – no unpacking, no putting everything back together – it’s fantastic! See here for the details.
Another source of information and inspiration on bicycling Ontario is at the Ontario By Bike website.
Twenty years ago none of this existed. All of the above have certainly made it easier to plan and do exciting one-day and multi-day routes in a province whose quiet beauty we take for granted.