Archive for the ‘Hamilton’ Category

Today I decided to do an abbreviated version of a 100K route that I found on RidewithGPS that went from Hamilton to Caledonia. I started taking pictures at the north end of the Chippewa rail trail, on the northeast corner of Dartnall and Stone Church. (I rode this trail once before)

The signage gets fancier once you cross into Haldimand County.

The rail trail ends at Haldimand Road 66, although according to this sign a walking trail continues to the south. The route turns you to the left at this point.

A few kilometres on road brings you to this road, looking east from a traffic circle. At this point, you will have your back to a huge very unsubtle sign marking a new subdivision called “Avalon”. The road is gated closed, but you need to ride on.

Just a kilometre or so on there is the entrance to the Gypsum Mine Trail: yet another arrow straight rail trail.

The strava route turns you south on Stoney Creek Road, but I found myself continuing on the rail trail to see where it goes.

The trail ends at Haldimand Road 9, and you can turn right towards the river. There is a nice wide shoulder.

As you approach the Grand River, you pass through the village of York. The road dead ends at Front St. Turn right, and then just about 500 m there is a turn off to the Rotary Riverfront Trail. It is not well marked approaching while riding west. This picture was taken looking back east at the turnoff.

Great to see this family biking the other direction.

After passing a paved section through the hamlet of Sims Locks, you are directed onto the main road, but there is a trail that parallels this busy street.

A bit of a steep slope takes you down to the trail.

The route continues on River St, and then more trail. The trail ends at Seneca St, and then you take some side streets through Caledonia.

You are directed north out of town on Argyle St, and then turn left onto a Service Road that is gravel. It turns out that this stretch is where the city stores some road construction materials, and it is probably not good to pass through during working hours. Here is the road passing under the HWY 6 bypass.

When you reach the end at Mines Rd, you might have to lift your bike over a fence.

Going a short distance south on Mines Rd, you are then directed onto a very rough path just past the railway tracks You can see it to the left on the photo below. Note the huge potholes filled with water.

It had rained quite heavily the previous day, and there were a lot of boggy bits. I should have taken this abandoned jeep as a warning.

Here is one of the more ridable sections.

I managed to make it to a gravel extension of Harrison Road, and then there is an ATV track marked as providing access to some hydro towers.

I had to walk up this bit. (also visible in the photo above)

At the top, in the middle of nowhere.

Once I reached Onondaga Townline Rd, I bailed on the continuation of the ATV track. There was quite a bit of sticky mud that I had to clear from my fenders. I eventually rejoined the route on Mulligan Rd.

The remainder of the loop joins onto the Hamilton-Brantford Rail Trail. You can read about my previous ride on this section here.

The bike was credibly dirty at the end of the ride.

I do admit that close fender clearance is not ideal for muddy conditions, and I am also reminded that having the fender stays running inside the fenders is not ideal. But at least the fenders kept most of the mud off my clothes.

Strava says that this was “harder than your usual effort”. A good day nonetheless.

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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.

image source

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).

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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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.

Screen Shot 2018-08-19 at 9.36.42 AM

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.


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.


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.


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.


More lights.


I was told these fiber optic lights were from Dollarama.


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


Lining up to get ready to roll.


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.


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


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.


Skirting the harbour front.




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


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


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


Turning the last corner onto Augusta.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


And off we go toward Cherry Beach.


One very bad selfie, while everyone was distracted.


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.


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.


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.


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


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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