Archive for the ‘scene by bike’ Category

It was recently announced that a good deal of Ontario place will be closed to the public as part of ongoing construction and revitalization of the site. Most of the access to West Island closes off May 1. I decided to bike down to take a last look.

Here are some installations that are part of Lumiere at Trillium Park.

This is the point at which access from the east will be gated off.

Not a fan of a lot of what this sign says: “including a commercial recreational facility in the first phase”….”below and at-grade parking on the mainland”

This sign gives a bit more information, indicating that what is going on now has to do with repairing facilities such as the pods and the Cinesphere, so it is not immediately linked to the proposed spa.

I had never been on this breakwater, part of which that was made out of an old laker.

Sad to see the marina closed. This has caused some hardship for boat owners.

Another view from the breakwater.

I certainly wasn’t the only one exploring the nooks and crannies of the West Island today.

I had a nice chat with a fellow cyclist who said that she often came down to Ontario Place, and that she would miss even things as cheesy as the fake rocks.

I had forgotten that this bell was put up to mark a centennial for the Japanese Canadian community.

Some tree limbs were left here so that people could ring the bell.

An appropriately mourning tone for the day.

One last look at the pods, with a crane lurking to the right.

Access will be maintained to portions of the perimeter of West Island via this bridge.

On the way home, I see that the sakura are still in OK shape, with the threat of rain keeping the crowds fairly light today.

Many in the community are figuring out if the proposed development of a huge private spa, and the even more recent announcement about moving the Science Centre to the pods can be fought.

Ontario Place for All is a website that has more information on this.

Also, here are some picture from what was billed as the last public event on West Island before access restrictions, which was held last night.

This is not to be confused with anything linked to the twitter account “Ontario Place for Everyone” which is set up by the corporation that intends to build a monstrous nine story high private spa. They have signed a 99 year lease with the provincial government for the land where the spa will be sited, and the terms of the lease are being kept secret.

There are also many issues with the idea of moving the Science Centre. It is not clear how much thinking went into these ideas before they were proposed, and there was certainly no sign of public consultation beforehand.

Certainly this has become be a hot button issue for the current mayoral election, but even so it is not clear what power the city has to stop this project from going forward.

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This is interesting branding.

Also, it looks like the Purolator mini hub on St George has started up.

I’ll have to take a look at the cargo bikes they use at some point in the future. I’m still partial to the Fedex cargo bikes, partially since I’ve seen them a fair amount in Bloor West, and my bike buddy Brian is one of their riders further east. Also, I’m not a bit fan of Purolator in general since many times that I’ve had a delivery at home, they’ve left a door hanger, even if I’m at home, and I end up driving out to their Kipling depot to pick things up.

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This morning I was out for a ride, and my intention was to just do my usual out and back to Port Credit. However at Ellis and Lakeshore, FB friend Yann pulled up beside me, and after we rode off in different directions, I had remembered that he had posted some notes on a less accessible section of the Etobicoke creek trail. Inspired, I decided to try to bike the trail south from an entrance point mentioned in the FB thread.

Here I am crossing the Ogden Rd bridge. Still falling apart and partially fenced off as per usual.

On Dundas St eastbound, just crossing back into Toronto. The entrance is supposed to be just past the sign.

Here it is.

There was actually much less of a descent than I expected.

Easily rideable trail along the creek.

Someone has built a little lounging area.

Suddenly, a rather abrupt uphill that I had to walk up.

Several ups and downs, and then I am crossing under the rail line.

The trail climbs to a point where you can bail on the north side of The Queensway.

However, there is a trail that continues off to the right at this point, and you spend some time paralleling The Queensway before a rather steep descent as the trail swerves to go under the bridge. Here I am at the underpass.

Although I am a fan of Spy vs Spy, this spot would violate the #Biketag rules since I would not consider it as easily accessible. I also chose to walk under the bridge as the trail was “paved” in irregular rocks about the size of my fist or bigger.

After passing under The Queensway, you reach this point. I took the left fork for a bit, and it looked like it would lead me uphill to the other side of The Queensway, so I backtracked to take the right fork. I should have taken the hint that the left branch was much more popular.

Looks like I am crossing a dry branch of the creek.

More trail.

This leads to parts of the creek that I have never seen before. Very pretty.

You can see a small bridge ahead.

It soon became apparent that even the walking trail had largely disappeared. I did manage to find the trail again, but it was obvious that this section was not intended to be passable by bike.

Just past this point was the roadway that connected to the Middle Rd bridge.

If you go west across the bridge, this leads to Sherway Dr, and then you can bike a few blocks to the bike lane along The Queensway. If you go the other direction, then you will see a paved path that leads south to the rest of the Etobicoke Creek trail. Of course the underpass at the QEW is still closed.

This climb puts you back onto Sherway Dr, just by the edge of Sherway Mall.

At the top of the hill, you can take Evans Ave and then turn south on Gair Dr, and then Bisset to the southern portion of the trail.

Rewarding myself with an ice cream stop at Marie Curtis Park.

Here is a map of what I describe in this post.

Overall, I would say that the trail down to The Queensway would have been much more fun on a mountain bike. I would characterize it as very narrow single track, but totally doable. I was riding my gravel bike, and I was running 38mm wide slicks, so not ideal for the terrain. I did have to dismount maybe four or five times, whereas on a MTB, there was perhaps one point that I would have had to dismount. The other thing is that would not recommend going further south than the trail fork that I mentioned. Taking a closer look at the Strava map, I can see that I should have taken the left fork, and that would have allowed me to bypass the portions of the trail nearer the river that were not rideable.

All in all, a fun exploration of a piece of the valley that I had not seen before.

Update: August 20: The section of the trail under the QEW is still under construction and is officially closed, but it is now much more passable than before.

Here looking south.

Looking south under the bridge.

Looking north after I biked under the bridge. No problem with the gravel bike, although it was a bit muddy.

At this point, there is still some construction debris, and you might have to walk your bike around the fence to get to the rest of the trail southbound.

Who knows? Perhaps the connection will be finished before the snow descends?

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We have spent an extended weekend in Woodstock NY, exploring the town and also enjoying going to concerts, and squeezing in a bike ride or two.

We were actually here to see a concert given by Nexus, a percussion ensemble marking their 50th year of playing together with a show in Woodstock, at a unique venue called Maverick Concerts. The concert hall is hidden away in the woods, and is pretty much what you might expect of Woodstock.

This is the stage where 4′ 33″ was premiered.

In this setting it makes a lot of sense, since the piece is actually not about silence; it is about experiencing the sounds of the ambient surroundings, which in this case includes the rustling of leaves in the wind, and many bird calls.

After the concert, we were lucky to have dinner with the performers.

I got to hear some war stories from Paul Winter, and there was also an incident where Phillippe Petit pulled a coin out of my wife’s ear. Didn’t know that he was a magician in addition to being a high wire artist.

But where is the bike content? Well, the first ride was on the Ashokan Rail Trail which runs along the north shore of the Ashokan Reservoir. Here is the trailhead near the midpoint of the trail.

Off we go.

Most of the trail was in the woods, with only intermittent views of the water.

A bridge near the Boiceville end of the trail, which is the western end.

The Boiceville trailhead.

The next day, I decided to do something a bit different. I rode out to the same trailhead, but I wanted to ride around the end and travel along the south shore as far as the Reservoir Road bridge that roughly bisects the reservoir. Here is the connection of the trail to Route 28A.

I wasn’t thrilled to see that 28A has no shoulder. However, it being relatively early Sunday morning, traffic was light.

A free library that is an entire building!

The turn off for the west end of the causeway on the South shore.

This looks promising.

Stellar views.

On this narrower section, you get a better sense of how much work it was to create the berm defining the south shore along this stretch. I was told that after 911, this road was closed to car traffic for security reasons, since the reservoir is an important source of drinking water for NYC. No swimming or boating allowed, BTW.

Now approaching Reservoir Rd.

So apparently it is also a source of hydroelectric power. This bit reminded me of the Crystal Springs reservoir south of San Francisco.

Looking back west at the stretch I just rode.

Beyond this point, motor traffic descends and connects with 28A, but you can continue along the causeway.

The eastern end, with parking and portapotties.

Now headed back to the bridge across the reservoir.

Some fellow cyclists enjoying the weather and the spectacular views.

Across the bridge to the north shore.

This was my route for the day.

In all seriousness, if you only have a short time to ride in the area of the Ashokan Reservoir, rather than taking the rail trail, I would recommend driving to one end of the causeway on the south shore. It is only about 5 km end to end, but the views are great, and it is car free except for the crossing at Reservoir Rd.

I usually don’t drink beer at lunch, but after a ride I imagine it is OK.

I’ll close with two more shots of things seen in town. One is some memorials for local people who died of COVID.

and finally this: “All dogs that don’t eat wax are welcome”.

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Station Eleven is a novel that has attracted some attention in the past several years since it is about life after a global pandemic (aside from the fact that it was one of my favourite books over the past several years). More to the point, it is about the need for life and art to continue in a radically changed world. It was also turned into an HBO mini series. Ironically, although the setting of the beginning of the series was switched from Toronto (as it was in the book) to Chicago, a great deal of the series was filmed in and around Toronto. One of the final scenes was filmed in Terra Cotta Conservation Area, and the article claimed that it was at a fork in the road actually labelled station 11. I thought that I would check this out during a slight detour on today’s TBN ride.

Almost 40 people registered for the ride: one of the first sunny and warm Sunday’s of the year.

The start point was Malala Yousafzai public school. I counted 11 portables, which is a sign of the rapid population growth in the area.

Here is Dave with his home-brew electric assist.

Ride leaders Dennis and Chris had this lovely S&S coupled tandem. Dennis was telling me about the issue of explaining to the gate agent that the contents of two suitcases was actually just one bicycle.

Off we go, briefly headed east on Mayfair. That’s Brampton to the right and Caledon to the left.

Heading north on Creditview.

Fairly early in the ride I turned off onto the Caledon rail trail towards Terra Cotta. The trail was in good shape, although there were some ruts that were probably caused by cyclists riding when the trail was still not dry.

Cheltenham Brickworks.

I turned north on Winston Churchill to get to the conservation area. Note that conservation areas do not charge an entrance fee for cyclists.

Very pretty.

Here is the intersection mentioned in the article.

Comparing it with the scene in the series, I think that the scene was actually shot elsewhere in the park.

Rode to mile 0 of the rail trail on my way to rejoining the official route.

22nd side road west of HWY 7 was torn up in preparation for construction.

The worst of it was this right turn. This was also the single point on the route that overlapped with the April 10 TBN ride.

Not surprisingly, there were many cyclists out today.

Some people decided to stop at Spirit Tree Cidery on Boston Mills Rd.

It was a nice route on a day with glorious weather.

In terms of Station 11, book vs series, both had their merits. I preferred the book, although the plot in the series was quite expanded, and there were some interesting additions. Shout out to Gregory Oh who gave Lori Petty piano lessons.

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It’s April, and so it’s time for #30daysofbiking. Today was day 2, so I did a couple of bike related things. Started the morning by meeting two fellow Brompton owners who wanted to swap a saddle that came on a C Line Brompton with my take off saddle from a couple of years ago. It was nice to have a chat and I look forward to seeing them on one of the local Brompton rides. I was surprised that the stock saddle is now this quite narrow and fairly firm saddle by Fizik.

Then I went downtown to check on the bike team. They are using a low racer project to train some of the new students. Here is the mold for half of the rear of the bike.

TITAN is dormant and waiting patiently for this coming September.

Since it was relatively warm, I took a spin out to the lighthouse.

This was a new feature. I’m assuming that it is a memorial for an angler since there was a fishing reel on the left hand brick inukshuk.

Nice that the weather is finally the plus side of 0°C and the road salt is gone. We got our nominal snow in April yesterday so I’m hoping that there will be no more. Might even take the studded tires off the bikes next weekend.

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It’s been many years since I ventured out to the island during the winter, but I was inspired by some pictures posted by bike buddy Sam on Saturday so I took a midday break to check it out. There were lots of people on the ferry with skates and sticks, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up for clear ice.

Sure enough there were a quite a few places where people had cleared the ice to be able to skate and to play shinny.

A little past the church I decided to check the depth of the snow myself, and I found that it was only about 5 cm. Totally bikeable. (note that I have studded tires).

This video immediately preceded my taking the above picture.

The sound and feel of cutting through the snow was something I hadn’t experienced before. Just like normal biking, but with a little drag. Also the ice was glass smooth underneath. It was especially nice to bike on untracked areas. However, even areas with lots of tracks was fine. I biked back east to just past the church where I started to get bogged down in deeper snow. Everyone that I passed was pretty chill about me biking by. I had a nice conversation with a fellow who had skated for three or four days on Grenadier Pond before the snow hit.

All the major roads were plowed, and there were no crowds.

They also cleared the snow off of the pier.

Waiting for the ferry. No worries about the flag; it was a group of First Nations and supporters. I guess all the troublemaker flag wavers were in Ottawa for the weekend.

Travelling back to the terminal.

I’m going to have to go out to the island more often during the winter. It was a very peaceful break.

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I spent a few days in Vancouver over the Christmas break and one thing on my list to do was to visit the latest tourist attraction in Vancouver, as described in this NY Times article. This of course was the barge that washed up on English Bay during a series of severe storms that hit southern BC, causing widespread flooding in areas further inland.

Conditions were better than those during this epic video of a cyclist biking by the barge shortly after it washed up.

Also, unless you actually visit, it is difficult to appreciate how large the barge is. In this photo, it is some distance back of the SUV that is parked in front.

Apparently it will take some time before they can remove it. In the meantime, the Vancouver Parks Board posted that wonderful sign seen in the first picture. Additionally, some wag had labeled the spot as “barge on the beach” on Google Maps but that tag got removed before I could get a screen shot of it; this of course is a reference to “Bard on the Beach” which is held on the other side of English Bay each summer.

Also while I was downtown, I saw this footrest on the Hornby bike lane at Robson, but it appeared to be a one off since it looked like it had been there a while, and I didn’t see any others along that stretch.

The other reason that I wanted to ride down to the water had to do with the fact that I had ordered a Swytch kit to convert one of our bikes to electric assist. The order went in back in July, and when the item was ready to ship, they sent me a tracking website that was more interesting than usual. When they said “ship” they literally meant putting it on a boat bound for North America as the first step. They provided real time tracking of the container ship.

The first thing the ship did was to dock for about a week at Tacoma, Washington. Afterwards it headed up to the coast where it lay at anchor in the Burrard Inlet.

Sure enough, you could see the ship in this photo taken from Jericho Park. It was helpful that there was “MSC” lettering on the side.

It spent a while at anchor, and then it docked near Tsawwassen where presumably the container containing my item was offloaded.

This gave me a new appreciation for transport logistics. Imagine stacking those containers in an order to facilitate unloading at the correct port in the correct sequence. It also gave a view of how much time was spent at anchor waiting as opposed to sailing. The actual crossing only took about ten days.

While I was in town, I was determined to keep my continuous days with biking streak going. This entailed a couple of days biking through a rare snowfall. I was happy that UBC did a decent job of snow clearance.

At the moment, MSC Francesca is headed to Vietnam via the Panama Canal.

I wish it and its crew safe voyage, and I await arrival of the kit, at which point I will post a review after installation.

March 2022 update: It arrived on March 23 with no additional payment of duties, etc required.

Update, Nov 2022: the barge is almost gone.

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With the forecast showing a high of 15°C, and a day of rain beforehand to wash all the salt off of the roads, it was time to get in one more ride on the good bike. Tommy Thompson has become a favourite destination for me.

I realized on the way there that I had not biked over the bridge at the foot of the Don at Lakeshore Blvd for a while, and I was struck by how different the intersection looked without the expressway looming overhead.

Here’s a shot on the way back.

Compare it with this image from Sept 2020.

It is a shame that more of the Gardiner was not brought down and replaced by an at grade boulevard. It is amazing how much the space is opened up. However I imagine that in ten years, most of the sky will be blotted out by more high-rise condos.

My understanding is that the bike/pedestrian bridge along with a section of the lakeshore MUP will be closed by construction starting Monday Dec 13. The city has arranged a detour, but I have seen many reports that the detour is not big fun to ride.

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Birthday ride

I have a friend in the Human Powered Vehicle community named Richard Myers who bikes his age in miles every year on his birthday. I’m inspired to do the same. Note: he turned 85 this year.

However, since I have never been the athlete that he was, and the fact that my birthday is in late November and not August, I’m making the following adjustments. The biggest one is that I’ll use kilometres as the unit of measurement. I’m also going to allow myself to bike within a week of my birthday, or potentially the entire month of November, since one never knows when the snows will descend.

At any rate, this past Sunday had decent weather and so I went out for my birthday ride. I did most of it by going out to Tommy Thompson Park and exploring a few parts of the park that I had not explored. Hat tip to Sam for alerting people about this new piece of artwork very close to the lighthouse.

Note that the single track path to the lighthouse is much more passable now with a clear path through the coarse gravel portion.

Haven’t been to this corner before.

To get up to the required mileage, I had to pad my ride a bit by going a little further west than home.

Seen on the way back: who the heck parks a Ford GT and a McLaren in their driveway? Also note the Punisher hood decal. 😦

I had to do math while riding to make the mileage work out.

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