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Archive for the ‘Hamilton’ Category

About a month ago I previewed the Keddy Access trail in Hamilton before it was officially open. At that point in time, there was still work to be done at the top end of the trail. This past Friday, Cycle Hamilton announced that the trail was officially open. This morning I took a few pictures of the top end of the trail to update my previous post.

Here is the end of the spur on West 5th. It is unfortunate that the trail ends in a sidewalk. From this point north, W 5th is a high speed arterial with two lanes of car traffic in both directions, and needless to say, it is not bike friendly, even though Google Maps seems to think otherwise. I do understand that there are plans to extend some kind of trail or bike lane as far as Brantdale, which means at least you can take back streets as far north south as Fennell.

The sign directing pedestrians to the left will make sense a little further along the trail.

A few hundred meters along the pedestrians are separated from bike traffic.

For parts of the West 5th spur, the road surface has not been improved. My guess is that since this part is elevated, they couldn’t pave over the expansion joints. However, you can see that a little further on, the surface has been repaved.

The crossing that allows the trail to access Southam Park.

A brand new ramp gives access to the park.

Looking back from the top of the ramp.

From the top of the ramp, you can go north south on this paved pathway, or go east west to join onto Claremont Drive.

The paved path leads to Inverness Ave.

During the few minutes that I spent biking around and taking these pictures, I saw at least three other cyclists checking things out, this on a rather cold windy morning. I’d say that this trail is going to be a huge success. The only disappointment is the lack of safe bike infrastructure to connect the top end to Hamilton Mountain. The difference in bike infrastructure downtown and on the mountain is pretty stark, and I imagine this has to do with the preferences of the local councillors. We have similar issues in Toronto, with the Brimley bike lanes just being in the process of being removed this past week.

CBC coverage. ‘I think he would have been thrilled’: Family grateful Jay Keddy’s name lives on in trail

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Back in December 2015, schoolteacher Jay Keddy was killed while cycling up the Claremont Access by being struck from behind. Fast forward several years, and the City of Hamilton decided to put a bi directional protected bike lane along this busy route up the mountain, and that they would name it after Mr. Keddy. I had heard that the bike lane would be opened late this fall and so I took the opportunity while I was in town to take a look at the state of construction.

This website is the best overview of the project that I have found. I will be referring to the connection numbers that are indicated here.

Here is the view from Southam Park, which is practically at the top of the trail. Still a busy construction site, but if you look carefully, you can see a cyclist who has ridden up the trail to this point, where the trail is still gated off.

The upbound lanes where closed due to construction, so I was able to ride down around the construction to the same point. This was the view down the mountain. This was going to be fun.

A few minutes later, approaching downtown.

Back in the day, I would occasionally ride from the west mountain down to Hamilton Collegiate Institute for Grade 13, and it was not much fun. The thing that I remember more than all the high speed car traffic was all the road debris that fortunately did not cause any flat tires.

Here is the connection to Hunter Street (connection #1). It is gated off as well, but clearly you can get past the gate rather easily. You can also see a preview of the bike lane parkings that might be used on the trail?

Coming back up the trail, here is the connection to St. Joseph’s Drive (connection #3).

This new MUP trail is complete, but it is gated off at the end. This is the view from this entrance back up towards the access.

Here is one of the connections to the road leading up the Jolley Cut (connection #4).

Connection #5 is a way for cyclists to cross the offramp leading to West 5th Ave. The first photo in this post shows the state of construction. The signal lights have already been installed.

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The stretch of bike lane that goes along the West 5th ramp is also still under construction.

Here is where it will end and connected onto West 5th.

Very much looking forward to seeing this spectacular piece of bike infrastructure complete. One hopes that this will spur the installation of more bike lanes on Hamilton Mountain, which are very sparse in comparison to the downtown areas.

Nov 30 update: the W5th spur is still under construction, but the main section up to Southam Park is now open. Word is that there will not be a formal opening ceremony until it is possible post COVID.

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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).

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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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Before we moved back to a big city, we lived in semi rural Michigan for about eight years. During that time, a great deal of my recreational bike riding was on recumbents. So I was interested when I found a FB page for the Recreational Recumbent Riders of Hamilton (3RH). Today they had an around the bay ride, and I decided to join them.

We met at Bayfront Park. Here are Cora and Rob, both on ICE trikes. I dragged my Aiolos Speedlite out of the garage for the occasion. You can see that I misplaced my kickstand for the bike.

John took this group picture at the start.

The plan was to go clockwise around the bay. I did the HamBur loop a couple of years ago, and that version went up the mountain. Today’s ride will cut back through downtown. Here we go.

Just past Dundurn Castle.

At the high level bridge.

Crossing the 403 onramp was not fun. Not even any paint indicating where to cross.

Nice buffered bike lane on Plains Rd.

Nice view of the Skyway bridge.

Approaching the high level bridge.

The multiuse path along the beach spit is always a great ride.

Do I look happy?

Rest break. We are joined by Donna on her orange Catrike.

She said this was an attachment so her dog could tow her trike.

A look at Rob’s homebrew electric drive with a brushless motor. He says that it is much more efficient than a hub motor.

A flock of birders waiting to see if they can get a glimpse of a brown booby.

Crossing QEW Niagara.

Meeting a recumbent rider that was not part of our group. I liked his leather tool sling.

Rob’s turn signals

Bike lane along Britannia.

Now turning onto Cannon St. The eastern portion of Cannon had bike lanes on both sides.

Short picture break at Tim Horton Stadium (that I will always think of as Ivor Wynne)

Just a few blocks past the stadium is where we transition to a bi direction bike lane on the south side of Cannon.

This protection along Cannon was new since the last time I rode along here. Note that the concrete curbs are more solid than the precast ones that are now common in Toronto.

One last group picture close to the starting point.

Thanks to Cora for organizing today’s ride. It was a nice easy pace, and it was also a no drop ride.

Cora is also a trike and ‘bent dealer, and from the looks of her FB page, she has a very wide selection of trikes available.

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The Chippewa Rail Trail is a trail that will eventually extend from Hamilton to Caledonia. I passed the entrance to this trail on another ride, but finally got around to exploring it recently.

Here is the start at the southwest corner of the intersection of Dartnall and Stone Church in Hamilton.

Just a little further along is the actual start of the trail.

Be careful at the intersection with Rymal Rd. There can be a lot of traffic, and there is no particular accommodation to cross the road.

The trail itself is nicely graded, almost dead flat, and also straight as an arrow for about 15 km.

Crossing into Haldimand County at Haldibrook Road, the signage becomes more fancy.

This map show that the trail still does not go all the way to Caledonia.

Unfortunately, after about 3 km past this point, the trail comes to an end.

I was hoping from this Google street view from May 2018 that the construction had advanced past this point.

However, after 200 m, this is what you see. This is a glimpse of what the rail right of way might have looked like without enhancement.

I turned back at this point. Anyway, any day out on a bike is a good day.

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There is a rail trail from Hamilton to Brantford, and today I decided to explore the portion from Ancaster to Brantford. Earlier this year, I rode on the rail trail from Brantford to Port Dover, and I’ve ridden to Hamilton from Toronto several times. Today’s ride filled in the gap between Ancaster and Brantford.

I elected to head out of Ancaster on Jerseyville Road. There were a few more rollers than I expected.

Just after you pass the hamlet of Jerseyville, you will see the rail trail off to the left.

Open skies.

Fallen leaves.

About 3 km in from Jerseyville Road, there is this bike repair stand.

There are distance markers along the trail. They measure the distance from the beginning of the trail near Ancaster. Jerseyville Rd was just before the 19 km mark.

It would have been great to have the other side of these signs measure the distance from Brantford, but this was not true.

Passing under the 403. There is a short section of paved trail here, albeit in pretty rough shape. Nevertheless, it helps when going down this dip, and coming back up the other side.

Welcome to Brantford.

This gate marks a section of eroded trail, but it was nothing serious.

The rail reaches the intersection of Locks and Beach at about the 31 km marker.

The intersection of Beach Rd and Locks, facing towards town. At this point, you turn left, and Locks crosses a bridge and becomes Mohawk.

On the other side, the multiuse trail continues along the road for a while.

Then it veers off and becomes a proper off road trail again.

This is the intersection with Greenwich St. Although it is tempting to continue straight, you are better off turning right and riding along Greenwich.

At the intersection with Mohawk, continue slightly to the left on Cayuga.

After several blocks, turn right on Foster.

At the end of Foster, you can go on a trail whose entrance is just to the left of the pick up truck.

The path will take you to a larger trail along the Grand River, and you should head to the right.

Passing under Veterans Memorial Pkwy.

Fairly soon, you will come to a pedestrian/bike bridge going left across the river.

Turn right at the other end of the bridge.

Here you can see the underpass so that you can cross Colborne St.

The path then ends here but you can continue for a few km along Ballentyne Dr, and it will take you to the start of the TH&B rail trail to Port Dover.

Here is a map of the portion of the route through Brantford.

Since the forecast was for light rain, I took the opportunity to test out some rain gear. I was wearing the shorts portion of a pair of convertible rain pants over my wool knickers. Before heading back to Ancaster I decided to also put on a pair of lime green shoe covers.

From the splash pattern I can tell that I need a mudflap on my front fender.

At Jerseyville Rd, I decided to continue along the rail path, rather than going back the way I came.

The signage at road crossings is more fancy on this section of trail.

A little rain never hurt anyone.

At the finish: dirt on the bike, and my shoes and socks.

I left the rail trail on Mineral Springs Rd, and then took Sulphur Springs back up to Ancaster. If you look at the altitude profile, you will see that from the blue circle onwards, the rail trail was actually sloping down, and that is why I had to climb back up to town.

In retrospect, the better route from Ancaster would have been to descend Sulphur Springs, and then to make the height back up gradually on the rail trail. I’ll do this the next time.

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This past weekend I visited my parents who live on Hamilton mountain. For various reasons, the best plan was for me to take the GO train to Aldershot, and then to ride the rest of the way. The route that I chose was part of the HamBur loop. I rode a variation of this trail during Bike for Mike a couple of years ago.

Here’s my ride for the day.

The first part of the ride was down Waterdown Rd to North Shore Blvd, cutting through a cemetery, connecting on Spring Garden Rd, and then taking a trail up to York Blvd. This is the first tricky part of the trail, where you have to cross a high speed off ramp from the 403.

After you cross the high level bridge that you can see in the image above, you need to look to the left for the connection to the waterfront trail. This connection is circled on this map.

What is not clear on most mapping apps is that the connection involves 200 stairs. Here is a cyclist just having come up to York Blvd.

Here are the stairs.

The payoff is that instead of riding into town on busy York Blvd, you get to use the waterfront trail. The last time I came this way was at night, in the company of several hundred Hamilton Glowriders.

Crossing downtown is easy along Ferguson Street. You can take it south almost to the foot of the escarpment.

I did note on the way south that Cannon St. was being resurfaced, and as a result, the bi directional bike lanes were out of action.

Here is the start of the trail up the escarpment. It follows a section of the Bruce Trail, and is extremely gradual.

Here the trail crosses Wentworth St.

From this point forward the surface is rough asphalt and some gravel, but no worse than some roads in Toronto I could mention. The trail takes you fairly far to the east by the time you crest the escarpment.

You are on fully separated bike trails all the way to Stone Church Rd. Here is the bridge across the Lincoln Alexander Expressway.

Here the trail ends at Stone Church Rd.

Stone Church has a bike lane and is a good way to get across the mountain in the East West direction. There is signage here pointing to the Chippewa rail trail, but that is an adventure that has to wait for another day.

One side note about gear: my Brompton as a red Selle Anatomica saddle, and I noticed after my ride today that the colour is still bleeding a bit. Better stick to dark pants for long rides on this saddle.

If you are interested in the Ham Bur loop, the Bike for Mike people still have their version up on Ride with GPS.

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The Hamilton Glowriders is a group that rides around downtown once a month during the summer after darkness falls. Everyone shows up with bikes decorated for the occasion. I’ve been reading about this group for a while and decided to hit the QEW to check out their August ride.

The ride starts at Durand park, and the route takes full advantage of the scenery around Cootes Paradise and the harbour front.

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This picture gives you an idea of the age range of the riders. In actual fact, the great majority of the riders looked to be in their twenties or early thirties. I can’t remember the last time I was in a group ride where I was decades older than the average. When many bike clubs bemoan the aging demographics of their membership, these people seem to have done something right.

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The other thing that I didn’t expect was to see was the diversity of interesting bikes. Two small examples. Firstly a Hase Pino that the owners got used, and they also added a Rohloff hub to the back. This is the centre stand with lowrider pannier mounts.

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Another fellow had an immaculately detailed 650B gravel bike, and this was his girlfriend’s bike: a vintage Nishiki mixte with interesting Nitto bars that he had ordered from Blue Lug.

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Meet up time was 8 pm, but we didn’t really get rolling for about an hour. As darkness fell, more and more riders showed up. Here is Don, one of the ride leaders, taking pictures of people.

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More lights.

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I was told these fiber optic lights were from Dollarama.

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In total, there were probably two or three hundred riders at the start.

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Lining up to get ready to roll.

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On King St, crossing the QEW. Note that a full lane of traffic has been given over to bikes. This is the main westbound thoroughfare in the city. Imagine the Bloor viaduct having one full lane reserved for bikes.

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This couple was asked what they would do to top these costumes at Hallowe’en. Yes, that is a cat skeleton.

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The leaders did a great job of having enough regroups to give this very large group together. There was no corking at traffic lights, but at these pauses in the ride, everyone was able to get back into one large group.

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Skirting the harbour front.

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Now riding through downtown on James St. Lots of supportive calling out from pedestrians.

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The ride leaders. That’s Tyler in the captain’s hat.

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Another surprise was the large number of riders on Sobi bike share bikes. The Sobi system seems to be doing very well.

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Turning the last corner onto Augusta.

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Captain Tyler thanks everyone for coming, and suggests we all have a beer. Unfortunately, given that it was past my bedtime and the fact that I had a drive ahead, I was not able to stick around.

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At any rate, it was a spectacularly fun evening for me. I got to geek out on bike hardware, met lots of friendly people, and soaked in the laid back vibe of downtown Hamilton on a summer Saturday night with several hundred new friends. Thanks to Tyler, Don et al for a great event.

You might get a better impression of the ride from this video, minus the occasional whiff of cannabis.

The final glow ride of the year will be on September 22, and you should watch their facebook page for details. I heard that the start time will be moved earlier as we would be at the equinox.

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Today was a day packed with bike related activities.

First off was an early morning meet up of a few Toronto Brompton Owners. I don’t know whose idea it was to meet at 8 am on a Saturday, but here are a few of us at the foot of Spadina at Queens Quay.

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Of course, with any meeting of Brompton owners, there was the opportunity to admire how we had accessorized our bikes. I was particularly struck by the friction shifters on Tom’s number.

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We met up with Nathan at the foot of Yonge St, and as is the tradition, here is a picture of our machines in the kickstand position. Sorry about the crap lighting.

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A picture of the five of us at Polson Pier, taken by a bystander who didn’t fully appreciate the fact that you have to include the bikes in the frame.

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Obligatory repeat of picture with the bikes, taken by self timer.

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And off we go toward Cherry Beach.

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One very bad selfie, while everyone was distracted.

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At this point, I had to peel off the group as I had to rush back to Union Station to catch my next bike related appointment.

I took the GO train out to Rouge Park.

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Upon disembarking, I rode towards Rouge Beach along the Waterfront Trail. I came upon this ghost bike. If I recall correctly, this cyclist was killed by a train at a level crossing.

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I was riding out to Rouge Beach to meet up with James, who was a 10 year old who was riding from Whitby to Coney Island NY to raise funds for autism treatment. My story of riding with James and his dad and other supporters was posted today on the Dandyhorse Blog.

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My final activity of the day was an evening ride with the Hamilton Glowriders.

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It was am immense amount of fun, and as I have a bunch of photos and video to process, I’ll reserve that ride for a separate blog post.

All in all, a fun Saturday spent on the bike.

 

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Today was the annual  ride in support of Bike for Mike, a charity that supports cycling for youth in Hamilton. Last year I did a 50 km road ride. This year I thought that I’d try the “Hambur Loop” a ride that includes quite a bit of trail riding, and also circles Hamilton Harbour. The website recommended against road bikes, but since it said that hybrids were OK, I assumed that the Tamarack would do just fine.

Here are the ride marshals getting briefed just before we departed. As it turns out, the three of them kept us more or less in a group the whole time which build up some camaraderie as well.

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Now the announcements to the riders. There were roughly fifteen of us on the ride. Two fast people took off in advance of the group.

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And off we go, north on Ferguson, which was a marked and signed bike route with bike lanes for most of the length.

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In this short section between King and Main, I like the paving that mimics a rail line that must have cut through this neighbourhood.

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Now we are already at the escarpment. Downtown Hamilton has the advantage of being relatively compact. From the start at the Harbourfront to this point was roughly 2.4 km of bike lane, the same length as the Bloor bike lane in TO, and yet we’ve traversed the entirety of the downtown area from south to north.

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Riding up the rail trail was a breeze. The grade was very gradual all the way up, and most of it was paved.

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Here is the crossing at Wentworth mountain access, with proper signage and signaling. From this point, the rail trail is part of the Bruce Trail. There was a bit of gravel, but then the trail reverted to mostly pavement.

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Crossing the road that leads up to the Sherman Cut.

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All smiles as we approach the top.

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A brief stop at Albion Rd. to regroup.

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Here we go down the mountain.

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This was the only bit that was pretty marginal for a road bike. I was one of two that rode down, and I had to put my foot down a couple of times.

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Along the Red Hill Valley trail.

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Another regroup as we consider the next downhill section.

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Another downed tree mandated that we walk down this hill. There were several rollers on this section of trail that had interlocking bricks to prevent erosion.

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Riding alongside the Red  Hill Expressway. The last time I saw that highway sign was on the way back from ASME.

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A long bridge across the expressway.

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Now we are on the trail beside Beach Blvd.

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A small detour through a parking lot packed with Mustangs, although I only saw one from the 60’s.

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Mini rest stop at Hutch’s at about the 22 km mark. Drinks, granola bars, and bathrooms.

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We had to pause because the lift bridge was up.

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This bit of North Shore Blvd was the single most dangerous part of the ride because of all the on ramps and off ramps.

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Now we’re on a much more peaceful section.

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Regroup just before turning south on York.

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Back on Multiuse trails as we pass Princess Point. That is marshall Matt in front. I had a nice chat with him. He also has an Xtracycle Edgerunner for shopping and family cycling.

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Under the high level bridge back to the Harbour proper.

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Riding along the lakefront.

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These three are thinking about sprinting for that final corner.

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A group picture of most of the Hambur group. It was pleasure to ride with you folks. Thanks also to our three guides.

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Thanks also to Collective Arts Brewing for providing the start and finish facilities for the ride.

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The interesting thing is that this weekend I did two back to back rides with about 18 km of off road riding. I’d have to give today’s ride the edge. In particular riding up the escarpment on that rail trail was fun, and it provided many good views of the city along the way.

 

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