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Archive for the ‘Gravel’ Category

A little over a week ago, I took some photos of the single track near the lighthouse in Tommy Thompson Park. I rode by today to see what the city had done. It was heartbreaking.

Everything has been bulldozed flat leaving a desolate moonscape, and somewhat of a road that will turn into a mud pit when it rains.

For some reason I was most upset by what happened towards the south end. There used to be a nice ridge of gravel that had a narrow path that had been worn smooth by footfall and cycle tracks. For some reason, they decided to rip up the ridge, leaving ugly mounds of gravel.

It’s almost as if what was left behind was deliberately made as unattractive as possible. Certainly there was no attempt to restore things to any kind of “natural state”.

The other thing I noticed was two new very ugly mirrors placed at two intersections.

It would be nice if the city put these where they were needed, for example at the intersection of Brock and Florence.

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It was announced recently that the city is going to remove the built single track that is a little east of the lighthouse, starting Monday March 29. The stated reason is that there are some “hazardous structures” that could pose a danger to the public. Since it is going to rain on both Friday and Sunday, and the spit is a madhouse on Saturdays, I look a little time off this afternoon for one last ride.

Here is where you take the unassumed road that is the alternate route to the lighthouse.

Just before the road meets up with the main paved road, you go off to the left at this point.

Turn right at the shore, and here you go.

Lots of lovely little paths to choose from.

This feature is out of commission.

This is the south end of the trails. Beyond this point, there is a straight path along a gravel ridge.

Nice detail here.

Every jump has a detour around it.

Three kids were hanging out in this hut.

None of the people that I talked to were aware of the fact that these trails were scheduled for demolition on Monday. In fact, an older woman who had hiked in was so upset that it sounded like she was ready to lie down in front of the bulldozers next week. She said that the fellow that put this together had been working on it for over ten years, and that it was one of her favourite spots in the park.

Did I mention that it was a lovely day?

Thanks to the unnamed artisan who put all this together. Rest assured that your handiwork provided much joy to others over the years.

Update: coverage about the removal on Blog TO

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I am a big fan of fenders on bikes; all of my bikes have fenders save one. I was informed by a very experienced local bike shop owner that I probably didn’t have enough clearance install fenders on the back of my Naked gravel bike, given the volume of the tire that I was using, and the position of the integral fender mount. Thus I put off my decision, also thinking that almost all the gravel bikes that I’ve every seen are fenderless. Getting dirty just seems to be part of the image.

Also, there was the issue of which fenders I should pick. I am partial to metal fenders, and there were lots of choices out there, most of them pretty spendy.

However, I came across this blog post, describing a fender set sold under the old brand Bluemels, even though they were actually made by SKS. Given that they were not that expensive, I thought I would give them a whirl.

Generally I buy stuff from one of my local bike shops, but none of them stocked this fender, and so it was off to Bike24 GmbH.

A couple of weeks later, I get this huge box in the mail.

At the very bottom of the otherwise empty box.

Yes, the fender clearance on the back is very tight.

My fork has an integral mount as well, so I remove this bracket.

Fender in fork.

Success.

Fender lines are not perfect, but I think I will ride it for a while like this before further fiddling.

As a finishing touch, I installed a John Cage by simworks. Swapping a US made king cage for something a little heavier, but quirky and made in Japan. They are stocked locally at Urbane Cyclist.

One additional note: a while back I bought a steadyrack rack to hang up the bike. I paid a little extra for the fender compatible version, but I was a little doubtful about how well it would work, since it didn’t really work with my tamarack. However, with these fenders, it was perfect.

Here’s hoping for another week or two without snow so that I can get some miles in before putting this bike away for the winter.

Spring update: some more fiddling with the fenders.

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A couple of weeks ago, someone named Yann posted an interesting looking loop around the Dundas Valley, and what interested me was that he climbed the escarpment going west from Chedoke along the Bruce trail. I’ve climbed going east from downtown towards Albion Falls as part of the Hambur Loop, but this was new ground. I put together a short ride that featured that climb, and looped back along the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail for the section between Ancaster and Hamilton (which was the only section of the trail that I had not done).

ridewithGPS link

I started in West Hamilton in the Fortino’s parking lot. Technically the rail trail is routed through this parking lot, and here is where it exits on the east side.

A quick ride to the east for several kilometers brings you to a point where you are skirting the north edge of Chedoke Golf Course. Turn south on Beddoe Dr, and there will be a bit of climb ahead of you (this is the small steep bit that you can see on the altitude profile on the map).

At the top of the hill there is a parking lot, along with stairs leading up the rest of the way. There is also a trail entrance leading west.

A very nice multi use trail.

At the top, you can connect to Scenic Drive on the left. However, if you want to continue to Ancaster, take the left most gravel trail.

Nice and smooth.

The bridge over the 403.

A little disappointed that the west end of the bridge has stairs.

After a bit of riding on Filman Rd, you cross Mohawk here, and the trail continues a bit off to the left.

On the other side of Mohawk, you turn right onto Hiawatha which leads you to the Ancaster Radial Trail. It is straight shot to Wilson Ave, and then I went down Jerseyville Rd until I reached Ancaster Lions Outdoor Pool. Turning right into the parking lot.

Just on the other side of the building is the trailhead for the Spring Valley Trail.

Lots of nice gravel. A bit muddy in spots, and with all the fallen leaves making it a bit slippery, I might have been a bit more comfortable on a mountain bike. At points I wished that I was not running slick tires. However, if I had bypassed the trails, I would have missed out on scenery like this.

From Spring Valley I joined the Headwaters Trail, and then at one point, turned off onto Gravel Pit Road. Here is Gravel Pit Rd intersects the Hamilton Brantford Railtrail.

After the somewhat technical trail riding, the railtrail felt like a superhighway.

About 7 km from the end of the trail, there is a visitor centre. There are bathrooms here if you need them.

The rest of the ride into Hamilton was uneventful. I did detour a bit out of my way to take this picture of the intersection of Rifle Range and Whitney Ave. This was the site of Prince Phillip School, where I did kindergarden to about Grade 6. At the time of its closing, there was some unhappiness about having a school closed in this working class neighbourhood.

One of the only artifacts that I’ve kept from my time at this school was a camel that I made from asbestos modeling clay. Things were a bit different back in the day.

If you finish your ride in this vicinity, I will note that there are two brew pubs nearby. One is Fairweather, and other is Grain and Grit. Alas I had to drive back to Toronto, so I elected to take some beer to go. I’ll hit the other place next time.

If you wanted to do a similar ride without some of the trail riding, you can continue along Jerseyville Rd out of Ancaster, and eventually you will reach a point where the road intersects the rail trail. Then you can come back east along the rail trail, and the whole 39 km loop would then be doable on pretty much any road bike.

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Last fall I explored a section of the Caledon Trailway, starting from Tottenham, and coming down as far as Inglewood and back again. I’ve wanted to explore the remaining part to the west for a while, and I decided to do it today. To make it a bit more of a challenge, I decided to bike up to Terra Cotta. Well not quite; there has been a recent discussion of FB about how to do some country riding while taking advantage of public transit. The difficulty is that some of the commuter GO trains do not run on the weekends, and so taking the Kitchener line out to Brampton was not an option.

I thought I would be clever and take the UP Express up to the airport, and that would be my starting point. I consulted the website, and the FAQs said that bikes were allowed outside of rush hour.

I started at Bloor station.

I thought that I could access the road out of the airport through the terminal but because of COVID, they were checking tickets at the terminal side of the bridges from the parking garage. I ended up taking a stairwell down to ground level. Ground level is one down from the arrivals level, and from there you follow the signs to Airport Rd, and then Silver Dart Rd.

Sliver Dart Rd takes you around the southern perimeter of the airport. It is pretty peaceful, and I got passed by several packs of roadies.

This part of the route was familiar to me as I had ridden it for the ghost bike ride for Steve Hancock. I paused at his ghost bike to pay my respects.

When you are on Courtneypark Dr, you also have the option of taking a parallel section of the Etobicoke Creek Trail.

The route continued to take me through Brampton. Here is a turnoff from Center St to another section of the Etobicoke Creek Trali.

I decided to leave the trail at Bovaird Dr.

This turned out to be a mistake. The ride along Bovaird was deeply unpleasant. There is a wide sidewalk that is nominally a MUP, but it is interrupted by many busy intersections, with most of them having right turn ramps. I was glad to leave the busy section one I got past Missisauga Rd. Just past this point was the ghost bike for Colin Fisher.

At this brief stop, I took the opportunity to lower the two knee warmers that I had been testing (the temperature when the ride started was about 8°C; I’ll blog about these another day). Too lazy to take them off. Why am I suddenly thinking of the eighties and Olivia Newton John?

I can’t say that I recommend the route that I took. It took 33 km of riding through busy streets in order to finally hit something that felt like riding in the country. The route turned north on Heritage Rd, and then jogged over to Winston Churchill which had a nice wide shoulder.

Once you enter Terra Cotta, Winston Churchhill joins onto King St which turns to the right, and shortly after the turn, there is a gravel road to the right: Brick Lane.

A short uphill section brings you to this point.

This is Mile 0 for the Caledon Trailway. I could tell it was going to be busy as there were about 30 cars parked along Brick Lane.

Fall colours were not quite at their peak, but it was a lovely day nevertheless. There were a few patches of looser gravel in the first few kilometers that had been laid down to repair some trail erosion, but past that the rest of the trail was in really good shape.

Cyclists coming down the bridge that crosses HWY 10.

I planned to ride along the trail as far as Caledon East as I wanted to visit the Four Corners Bakery. Sadly it was too busy, and there was a long COVID mandated line up to get in. So, once again I had to pass it up.

A nice display of colours on Boston Mills Rd.

One last ghost bike at the intersection of Dixie and Derry. I can’t identify it. It is not listed on the ARC ghost bike map. However, it was placed here in April 2014.

Heading home on the UP Express.

Exiting the train, I see this sign that indicates that non folding bikes are in fact not allowed, unlike what it says on the website.

All in all, I can’t really recommend using the airport as a starting point. It doesn’t get you that far out of the city. Furthermore, the return trip that took me along Derry and Airport roads was not pleasant; there was quite a bit of high speed traffic. I also didn’t enjoy riding through Brampton, although I freely admit that I probably didn’t pick the smartest route due to my unfamiliarity with the city. The last time I rode though town, I had a guide who knew the safest routes.

Here is a map of my route. About 109 km. Probably my last longish ride of the season.

Now at least I can say that I have finally ridden the entire length of the Caledon Trailway.

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The Simcoe County Loop Trail (SCLT) is a ride that I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and today (Friday) was the day. I started in Barrie.

I’ll also note that part of my preparation was reading the summary of the ride by Cory Kawa, which was the most detailed description that I could find online.

Wayfinding signs were helpful all around the whole loop. Here is one at the corner of Sunnidale and Anne.

Anne with an “e” Street dead ends, but you can continue north on an ATV trail.

The first bit of the trail is fine.

However this downhill section was a bit sketchy, as noted by Cory. Lots of loose sand and I imagine the fact that it rained last night didn’t help.

This is the intersection of Snow Valley and Vespra Valley Rds. Apparently Snow Valley is a popular starting point.

Heading north from the intersection, the road soon turns to gravel.

and shortly after that, you see the North Simcoe Rail Trail off to the right.

The adventure begins.

Yeah, I don’t think the posted speed limit is going to be much of an issue… at least for me 😉

A beautiful day.

A little trail maintenance.

At Flos Rd 7W, there is a gap in the trail and you are directed onto a detour. If you look at the ridewithgps map, this shows up as a little rectangular deviation just a little south of Elmvale. I’m assuming that a landowner didn’t want to yield the right of way.

Traveling north on the detour route.

At Flos Rd 8 W we are back on the trail.

Once you hit the village of Elmdale, the trail turns off of a road through Heritage Park.

A pair of portapotties. Don’t know if these are seasonal. In any case “better than the bushes”.

Just past the park, there was a tree down. (this is on Friday Sept 4, and I imagine that it will be cleared away fairly soon, although perhaps not during Labour Day weekend.)

Breaking and moving a few branches, I made an opening large enough that you could hike through with your bike.

Flos Rd 10 W is a spot where there is an inconsistency between the GPS route and the wayfinding signs. Here you are directed to the right, but you can see that there is a railtrail that continues straight. However, the trail appears to be overgrown, and it is fenced off in any case.

In all the confusion, I missed out on the spring water, which was very close to this spot. I was passed by these two faster riders, who were also having problems following prompts from the GPS.

A little further north, you enter Tiny Township, and the trail changes name.

The Tiny Rail Trail takes you all the way to Penetanguishene.

At the three hour mark, it’s time for a stroopwafel.

As you approach Penetanguishene, past this gate, the trail is paved.

It becomes apparent that the trail no longer follows a rail bed and there are plenty of ups and downs, and many little bridges across streams. Watch for pedestrians along here as there are plenty of blind corners.

The Tiny Trail appears to end here, but you can continue straight on through the tunnel.

Now you are in Penetanguishene, and you soon reach a multiuse trail along the waterfront.

Lake levels are really high again this year.

I actually got a little lost in town, but eventually found my way heading SE out of town on Murray Rd which ends at another trail entrance. Note the sign indicating a steep grade. I’m glad that I’m doing the route in a clockwise direction.

A fast, mostly downhill paved trail through beautiful woods almost all the rest of the way to Midland.

In Midland, you are routed onto another MUP along the waterfront. Part of it was flooded. There was more than 10 cm of water on this section, but I discovered that if you ride really slowly, your butt will stay dry. (I’m riding my only bike without fenders.) A city worker I met just around the corner said that she had never seen the trail this flooded, and there were ducks swimming along it.

Grounded Coffee is a popular spot with a nice view of the harbour. However, given the line up to get in, I elected to ride on.

I’ll also note that the published GPS route leads you to a motel for an overnight, but you can continue to right right along the waterfront trail all the way out of town. Just follow the signage for the SCLT.

Just as you leave town, you pass by the back side of Ste. Marie among the Hurons, which at least in southern Ontario is a traditional grade school trip.

Now you are on the Tay Shore Trail which is paved, and very well signed.

A mural in Victoria Harbour.

The same spot has what is probably one of the nicest public washrooms along the whole loop, complete with a bottle filling station.

After 19 km, you reach HWY 400, and the trail changes over to the Uhthoff Trail, which is gravel.

Nice, fast gravel all the way to Coldwater. Between the Tay Shore trail and this section, you have the opportunity to make up time if you want.

Lunch stop in Coldwater at Em’s Cafe. They have bike racks and outside tables beside the building. From my starting point, this was at the 100 km mark.

I’m not a big fan of eating large meals during a ride, so I was grateful that they sold half sandwiches. Grilled panini with chicken salad, a butter tart and lemonade.

South of Coldwater, the trail is less groomed.

Some trees down here as well, but nothing serious.

The trail is actually closed until November 2020 between Foxmead Rd and Uhthoff Line because a bridge is being repaired.

Can you tell that I have a significant tailwind on this part of the detour?

Back on the trail, as you approach Orillia, it is wide again, and there are some newish looking bridges as well.

The Lightfoot trail takes you to the lakefront in Orillia.

Couchiching Beach Park

The Oro-Mendonte Rail Trail takes you most of the rest of the way to Barrie. Make sure that you have enough water as there is nothing to be had between Orillia and Barrie.

I’m not sure if it was because it was late in the ride, but I found this stretch to be boring since the rail trail was dead straight without much variation in scenery (except for a pretty pond to the right early in this section). I was grateful for the trees as they provided some shelter from what would otherwise have been a very strong headwind.

Near the end of the trail, you will be directed back onto a road, but don’t miss this turnoff to the left on Penetanguishene Rd.

It brings you to a gravel MUP that takes you all the rest of the way into Barrie.

All done.

For me, it was a total of about 167 km, given that I got lost a couple of times. I’m slow, and my target was a rolling pace of about 20 kph. Total elapsed time was about 9.5 hours.

Other things I learned (mainly notes to my self).

  • Wildlife highlights: a blue heron on the trail at Elmvale relatively early in the morning, and a big fox on between the 400 and Coldwater.
  • It was great to have my heart rate monitor. If I stay between 70-80% of my MaxHR, I can ride all day. Of course for me at my current level of fitness that translated to the aforementioned 20 kph on gravel, etc.
  • I got a low battery warning on my Assioma power meter just as I left Barrie, and it cut out after about eight hours. (another reason I’m glad that I didn’t opt for Di2 on my bike.)
  • My ancient iPhone 6s wouldn’t quite last the entire ride, so for the first time I brought along a small battery pack. I run the cyclemeter app, and photos, with the display turned down low, bluetooth off. I have found that both Google Maps and the RidewithGPS apps can be real battery hogs.
  • A couple of times when I deviated from the set route, my Garmin Edge 530 would try to route me back and at one point it was directing me in circles in Midland. I’m probably going to turn that feature off. BTW, the Garmin was at about 36% battery after the ride. Maybe some small paper maps of the towns would have been good.
  • My eating and drinking seems to be at a lower rate that many other reports. This probably has to do with the fact that I am a relatively slow rider. I general eat something every 90 minutes (like a pack of clif shots, or a stroopwafel). After lunch at Coldwater, with about a third of the ride to go, I stepped this up to once an hour. The total was three gel packs, two stroopwafels, lunch, and a very sad kind bar that I think was in my handlebar bag for a long time.
  • This was my first ride with a pair of 7Mesh cargo bib shorts. Supremely comfortable. However, this also being my first pair of bib shorts, I discovered something about topology: when I had to go #2, I had to take off my jersey as well. Perhaps if I could do that trick that women do to take off a bra without removing their shirt, but I digress. In any case, perhaps too much information.
  • I picked the clockwise direction as I thought that there would then be more climbing earlier in the day. However, there was nothing that really amounted to significant climbing anywhere along the route. Perhaps a couple of the turns in Penetanguishene, along with the steep downhills going out of town that would have been a chore to climb in the other direction.
  • Not anything particularly sore after the ride, aside from my neck which was stiff from holding my head up all day. Once again, very happy with my new bike. Just over 2000 km on it at this point.

All in all, a good day. Perhaps if I had split the ride over two days, I would have been able to take in more sights. However, I wanted the physical challenge of doing it in one day. A nice way to cap off the summer.

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Elora Cataract Trail

After a week with two ghost bike installations, I wanted to get out of the city to remind myself that riding a bike is fun. I decided on checking out the Elora Cataract Trail. I used this ridewithGPS map, but I started the ride in Erin as I was not sure where to park closer to the Forks of the Credit.

I started my ride in back of the Erin Community Centre.

What a beautiful day.

When you are headed west, these signs count down. The route I was using turned off at the 8 km mark. I imagine that the 0 km mark is in Fergus.

Parts of the trail were a little overgrown, leaving just two narrow tracks of gravel. In general, the trail conditions were great.

Since the route made a loop around Belwood Lake, I was hoping for lots of waterviews, but the trail was mostly a little away from the shore. This was a typical view from the trail.

Do I look happy?

Belwood Lake Conservation Area had portable washrooms right off the trail. Just past that point, you ride across the dam.

Looking north.

South is prettier.

From this point, my route departed from the rail trail and when through some farmland before crossing back over the lake. In Michigan they talk about corn “as high as your eye on the Fourth of July”.

Nice fast gravel rollers.

Just before the bridge, there is the little village of Belwood, where there was a general store, and a picnic area with cyclists taking a break. Sorry that I didn’t get a picture.

Crossing back over the bridge, and then turning left back on the rail trail.

Taking some care to stay under the posted speed limit of 30 kph 😉

Signs counting back up.

Km 39 is where there is one of the official trail access points with parking in Erin.

My starting point was just a few hundred meters past this point.

Overall, yet another nice rail trail to enjoy. Well groomed and more or less dead flat.

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A day with 11 bridges

I wanted to check out the Cambridge-Paris rail trail. I was inspired by some of the pictures that were posted in the Ontario Gravel and Adventure Riders’ group on FB along with this route map. Wanting to add a little distance, I made my own version that included a side trip to Brantford.

Here is the trailhead, a little south of downtown Cambridge.

0 km

The Cambridge to Paris section of the trail is well packed gravel, mostly shaded, with pretty views of the Grand River.

These mileage markers were counting down, but I never figured out where they were counting down to, as the distance to Brantford was only about 30 km.

At the Brant County line, the trail is renamed the S.C. Johnson Trail.

Unfortunately this bit of the trail was closed.

20 km

However there was signage to direct you back to the trail. This is the intersection of Dundas and Curtis Ave. If you want to go to downtown Paris, you turn right at this point. I went straight to reconnect with the trail.

Sure enough, a short distance south of the intersection, the trail branches off to the left.

Welcome to Brantford.

At about 26 km, the trail ends and you are directed onto a road through this industrial park.

After going east on Hardy Rd, you can rejoin the trail to the right.

28.9 km
Wilkes Dan, 31.6 km

Beyond the dam, the trail is on a raised levee.

The trail takes a sharp bend here at Morell St.

31.6 km

More riding on levees.

Approaching the Colborne St overpass. My intention was to cross the rail bridge that you can see just past the overpass.

However, Brant County had other ideas; the bridge was closed.

Back onto the trail towards the next bridge. Note the gap in the fence to the right.

This leads to the Dike Trail.

This leads to the Dike bridge, which I will designate bridge #1. I’ve ignored a prior bridge over the 403; I’m only counting bridges over water.

As described in a previous post, you turn right at the end of the bridge, and then a trail takes you around to Ballantyne Drive.

Ballentyne Dr ends at Spalding Drive, and from here, looking across Veteran’s Memorial Parkway, you can see the entrance to the Brantford-Port Dover Rail Trail.

There’s a parking lot at the end of Spalding Dr. Don’t take the trail leading down to the right. Continue on the trail, or just ride along Oakhill Dr.

There is a bike trail leading off of Kerr-Shaver Terrace that is not well marked.

It leads to Oakhill Cemetery.

After skirting the cemetery, the trail leads to another crossing of the Grand.

This is bridge #2.

The bridge was official closed for repair, but these gentlemen let me through.

I turned right onto a dirt trail after the bridge.

It eventually ends here, and to want to go through both P gates to the SC Johnson Trail.

Here is where the SC Johnson Trail intersects Hardy Road. I already went through this intersection in the other direction earlier in the ride.

Riding back towards Paris.

This time crossing the Grand River on Dundas St.

Bridge #3

Then across the Nith River towards downtown Paris.

Bridge #4

I turned left on Mechanics St towards Lions Park, where there is another bridge across the Nith.

Bridge #5

There are washrooms at the south end of the park.

54.4 km

At the north end of the park, another crossing of the Nith.

Bridge #6

After this bridge, head on up the trail to Broadway St as soon as possible. The GPS file might not be accurate at this spot. By no means should you try the walking trail along the river. It is not bikeable.

You head west out of town on Silver St, which becomes Keg Rd. South on Brant-Oxford for a bit, and then you can divert onto Township 2 Road. Back on gravel!

Cars and ATV’s are blocked here, but you can ride on.

This brings us to the second coolest bridge on the ride.

Bridge #7

The next two crossings of the Nith are just on roads.

#8
#9

Note that I’m wearing an Audax wool jersey in a vintage style with front pockets. I imagine that when these were first worn, no one imagined that you could tuck the equivalent of a Cray 1 supercomputer into one of the pockets. Also perfect for carrying snacks.

At km 69.5, you have a choice of continuing straight on Township 5 Road, or there is a dirt road leading off to the right. It is marked as private road with no trespassing. I thought I took a picture of this point, but apparently not.

If you do elect to go down the dirt road, you will cross several bridges. This is the first one over a culvert. I rode across, and then went back to inspect the rather large gaps between the timbers.

There was another such bridge. I didn’t take a picture of it as I came upon someone who was clearing brush, and I didn’t really want to get into trouble. You will see things along this road that some people might not want you to see. You have been warned.

The third bridge along this stretch spanned the Nith River, and given the larger gaps between the timbers, I elected to walk my bike across. Just past that point, there is a section of loose sand where I could have really used knobby tires.

Bridge #10

After this point, some more gravel riding. This is Nith Rd.

This is a paved section of Beke Road, leading back to the Grand. I’m hoping it’s the last climb of the day.

Back across the Grand on the last bridge of the day, on Footbridge Road, which is actually not a footbridge.

Bridge #11

From here, it was a quick 3 km along the rail trail back to the trail head, for a total of about 100 km.

All in all a fun day of biking. I got lost a couple of times, partially due to the GPS file. The one that is posted has been corrected.

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I’ve been running an Assioma pedal based power meter on my road bike for a while. Although I am at best a moderate cyclist, it has been fun to collect stats on my output power so that I can tell after a ride how hard I was working, as opposed to how hard I felt I was working. I have the single sided version that is a pretty good value.

About three weeks ago I was having problems getting clipped on on my right shoe, and after doing a post ride inspection of the cleat, it was obvious that the flange on the toe side of the cleat had completely worn off.

Here is the left cleat as a comparison.

In retrospect, it made sense that the right cleat would wear faster since it was always the one that I unclipped while rolling to a stop.

At the same time, I was wishing for some SPD pedals since they would be more compatible with shoes that were walkable. However, I wasn’t about to drop $1.2K USD for a pair of the only SPD power meter pedals available.

Through the magic of Google, I found out that a very clever person had noticed that the Assioma pedals seemed to have the same axles as SPD pedals from Xpedo, and that it was possible to swap out pedal bodies between the Assoima, and the Xpedo M force 4.

Of course, since this was discovered, it became difficult to get the M force 4.

There are now several videos showing how to do the pedal swap, and that it was possible to do it with the Xpedo CXR pedal as well.

After getting a pair of the CXR pedals, I did the swap myself about a week ago. Here is the starting point.

You’ll need a 6 mm Allen, and a 9 mm socket. Also a 8 mm Allen to remove the Assioma pedal from the crank.

Here are the two left pedals disassembled. It’s important to keep track of which nut and end cap goes with which body as they are slightly different.

You’ll also see that the two axles are quite different. In particular, the spd pedals have an o ring seal on the inboard side, and the lengths are not the same as well. However, what is important is that the location and the inner diameters of the pedal bearing is the same.

Re assembly was a snap. One thing that was not mentioned in any of the videos is that after tightening the fixing nut, there was still a little side to side play in the pedal. However, this went away when I reinstalled the end cap. I’ll have to keep an eye on this, and also on the inboard side which is not sealed the way it was with the original axle/pedal combination. I don’t know if this is because I used the CXR pedal rather than the M Force 4.

One other point: depending on the shape of your shoe, you might have to grind away a little of the sole to clear the body of the powermeter, which is on the inboard side. In my case, the shoe did clear, but I wanted it not to touch even when twisting out of the cleat so I did a little work with the dremel.

This is what the finished product looks like.

So far, everything is working, and it is great to be back with double sided spd pedals that are easier to get in and out of since I do a fair amount of riding on city streets.

Word is that Assioma and other vendors are working on their own SPD power meter pedals, so it might be prudent to wait. In my case, this hack let me avoid buying another set of power meter pedals.

Update December 28, 2020. I’ve had absolutely no issues with the converted pedals, after having logged almost 3000 km on them. Also, as of this date, the SRM SPD pedals are still “coming soon” although it looks like “prototype units” are being sent out to reviewers.

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Clairville Conservation Area

Someone on FB suggested that there was some nice gravel riding to explore at the Clairville Conservation Area. I took a quick ride up the Humber River trail to check it out. It took a bit of trial and error to figure out how to get there by bike.

The Humber River Trail takes you all the way to the Clairville Dam.

There is an old paved road that crosses over the dam and turns north, and it looks like it connects to Albion Rd. However it dead ends at a fence that blocks all passage. In the past, it has also been possible to skirt the reservoir on the west side through the campground / trailer park, but all of the auxiliary exits are current closed off due to COVID 19. I ended up riding along Finch, and I used the sidewalk. It’s a quick ride two or three blocks, then you turn right into the entrance for the water park. Turn left towards the golf driving range, and that road turns to gravel and continues under the 407. Now you are in the conservation area, and the gravel road is actually designated as an extension of the Humber River trail. I checked out the northwest entrance as well as the eastern entrance off of Albion. The next time, I’ll try out some of the narrower paths.

This is what happened when I hit some loose gravel while trying to take a selfie.

I’m standing still to take this one, having learned my lesson.

Keep in mind that the Humber River Trail gets crowded on weekends. The conservation area itself was pretty deserted.

Ride safe everyone!

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