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Archive for the ‘scene by bike’ Category

The park is peaceful on a Tuesday evening.

You can see that the trees are about 25% in bloom.

People clustered around the tree that was most in bloom.

Snuck a picture of this happy group of cyclists.

Lucy says: “can we go home now?”

Wednesday might be a little better, but it will rain on Thursday. Looks like peak bloom will be this weekend. The policeman at the park entrance said the park will be blocked to traffic until next Monday, which isn’t what was originally announced. In any case, this weekend is going to be crazy.

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The weather was glorious today, so Lucy and I decided to visit High Park, regardless of the fact that the sakura were not yet in bloom.

Car traffic blocked at the park entrance.

The long line up for the trolley.

Lots of people out and enjoying the weather.

Why is it that we can’t close the park to car traffic every summer Sunday?

Lucy does not look impressed.

Not too crowded yet.

The High Park Nature Centre folks used a cargo bike to haul their gear to this spot.

Lots of people taking close ups of buds not quite in bloom.

Never seen the Grenadier parking lot so empty on a weekend.

Multitudes still arriving as we left the park.

Peak bloom is predicted for later this week, but I’d keep an eye on the weather as well, since rain is in the forecast for overnight Monday and all day Thursday.

Robarts update: The city has been publicizing the other places where you can see sakura. The blooms at Robarts are coming along.

In fact, about 15% of the trees are in bloom.

So if you pick the right spot, you can pretend they are all in bloom.

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It’s that time of year when people start getting excited about the High Park Sakura. I usually monitor things by watching a stand of cherry trees along Shanly St on the way into work, as well as the sakura around the south side of Robarts Library. In both cases, the sakura in both spots usually bloom about a week earlier than in High Park.

However it’s been an unusual spring with lingering cold weather, and so things seem to be off their normal timing. The trees on Shanly appear to have been frost damaged as most of them look like they are going to go straight to leaf. Here are a few buds showing signs of blooming.

In a reversal from the usual timing, the sakura at Robarts are a little further along.

Unfortunately, the viewing at Robarts is not going to be as pretty as usual because of some construction fencing.

The big news about High Park is that cars will not be allowed into the park during sakura season. They have announced that the roads into the park will be blocked starting tomorrow, from 7 am on Saturday May 4.

Here you can see some of the preparation for the blockage.

At 6 pm on Friday, the park is pretty dead.

It looks like the sakura are at least four or five days away from blooming. I wouldn’t bother going this weekend.

Next weekend should be close to peak bloom. With the closure, and Mother’s Day as well, it’s going to be pretty crazy. As per usual, walking, biking or taking transit is the best way to get here.

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A sunny morning brings out the fair weather cyclists. #30daysofbiking

Lappin Avenue
Hallam St.
Shaw St.
Harbord St.

Ride safe everyone!

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Every Friday evening when the weather is decent, a group of cyclists in the Lansing area meet up at either the Peanut Barrel or the Lansing Bike Coop to go for a group ride and a casual dinner.

My introduction to this group was through good friend and former Michigan neighbour Tim Potter who runs MSU Bikes.

Here is his pretty vintage French bike outside the Peanut Barrel.

and of course we start the evening with a little beer. This one called M-43, a hazy IPA brewed locally in Williamston.

We were joined by Dave, and here is a group picture of us in front of the shark AKA Lex Luthor’s house.

Then a brief ride though the old part of MSU campus to the Breslin centre where we were going to meet up with the rest of the group.

this used to be Morrill Hall, now a disguised parking garage
This is the protected bike parking in that garage, operating at less than 50% capacity.
The construction site for a bunker like addition to the Music building.

The full complement of LBP folks at Breslin.

Brian had this beautiful 650B randoneuring bike by Lyons.

Off we go.

Hitting the river trail
along the river trail

Construction!

Another shot of Brian and his Lyons

Passing through REO Town. This is a part of south Lansing that I had never biked through. It is named after the REO car company that Olds founded after he left Oldsmobile. This store was just down the street from the original factory site. The correct pronunciation is “Rio town”, as opposed to the initials in a certain seventies band.

Coming upon a fabric art show. I liked this piece of felted wool.

Leaving the gallery for dinner.

Dinner with new found friends.

Regretfully, time to leave.

This crew comes prepared with lights.

Thanks to Tim for introducing me to this group. It was also great to touch base with Jeff after 15 years or so. Great to meet Brian, Dave, Gary and the rest of the crew. If you’re in the Lansing area and want a nice social ride with good folks and no spandex in sight, I recommend the Lansing Bike Party.

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I posted some notes on snow clearance in bike lanes over on Dandyhorse. Almost froze my fingers by repeatedly taking photos while riding around in -17°C weather. Also had to punch in my security code on the phone every time because FaceID wasn’t working for me 😉

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Looking at the weather forecast, maybe we are done with the polar vortex after today.

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The Big Loop is an 83 km route put together by TBN that goes up the Humber River trail from Etienne Brule, across the top paralleling the Finch Hydro corridor, and then down past Don Mills and into the Don River trail system.

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It was scheduled for late July, but it was cancelled by rain. I elected to load the route to my GPS to do it on my own, but noticing that today’s regularly scheduled Saturday morning ride went up to Humber College, I decided to ride along with them, and then split off at the appropriate point. Here is the crowd gathered for the ride. Chris is in the centre making announcements.

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Looking back at riders crossing the Humber, all walking their bikes like good citizens.

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After a brief stop at James Gardens, we have to take our first detour on Edenbridge out of the park because of continuing construction on the trail near Scarlett Rd.

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Further north, we take the usual route through a few blocks of Weston to traverse a gap in the trail. We have to stay alert on the bit where we go through a parking garage.

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There is a sign indicating construction on the trail past Albion Rd. The sign said that construction was due to be complete July 31, but on the other hand, the sign was still there so we elect to take the detour.

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Definitely appreciated safety in numbers along Albion.

IMG_9406The sections of the Humber River tail past Albion are very peaceful and scenic.

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At some point approaching Humber College, I had expected to turn off from the main group, but Chris informed me that due to the detour, we had bypassed the turn. I went with the main group to Humber to make a brief stop, and then I headed east to try to hook up with my original route. The difficultly was that I had erased the maps on my GPS, so it was not easy to navigate to the route. I decided to bike east along Finch until somewhere in the vicinity of York University. It was not as bad as I had feared due to relatively light traffic. There was even this pseudo bike lane in places.

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However, after the 400 overpass I was only too glad to get on the Finch hydro corridor trail (FHCT), at York Gate Blvd.

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It also turns out to have been a good move not to take the original route here as Adam had pointed out that the Rogers Cup was happening at York this weekend.

After a very short distance, I was not pleased to see no crossing at Jane St.

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So OK, I have to go a little south to cross.

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Past Sentinel Rd, I was happy to see this large area of community gardens, which made up for the fact that the trail was diverted to what was essentially a sidewalk for this stretch.

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A seeming dead end at Keele St, with no signage.

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If I had the cue sheet, I would have known to look to the right to see that the trail continues a little further south. The building on the right margin of this photo is the new Finch West subway station.

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This map shows that you have to make a few twists and turns to stay on the trail, which eventually straightens out, paralleling the York U. busway on the north side.

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This picture shows the trail and busway crossing tracks.

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The line of high buildings in the distance is Yonge St., but coming upon Dufferin St, I realize that they are still some distance off.

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Past G Ross Lord Park, the route takes me along Drewry Ave that becomes Cummer Ave, which was peaceful and uneventful, although the Ride with GPS route urged me to turn left at Bayview, which was not necessary.

At the end of the section on Cummer, the route turns south and then hooks up with the FHCT again. This downhill section that zigzags to the junction with the Don River trail was the most fun part of the whole ride.

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Going down the Don River trail was uneventful until it seems to end at the intersection of Leslie and Sheppard. Here you have to cross the intersection to the south east corner to find the continuation.

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This is what the trail entrance looks like.

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The trail ends again at Duncan Mill Rd, and here I met a group of lost seeming cyclists. There was a sign pointing to the right that said that the Don River trail was 2.4 km away, but again, not enough signage. It turns out that the 2.4 km involves a couple of turns on city streets before you end up back on the trail.

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The trail ends again, just short of York Mills, and the route map shows this.

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There was a bike lane westbound on this short section of York Mills, but there was too much traffic to take a picture. Cross the street at the light at Scarsdale, effectively making a left turn, and then look for a doubling back of the trail under the bridge.

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The trail then turns south and goes along a disused rail corridor. It is a straighter, more peaceful version of the West Toronto Railpath.

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Signalized crossing at Eglinton. It almost felt like I was in Vancouver for a moment. (except for the exceedingly long response time to a button push)

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The other thing I liked about this section was that at intersections with other trails, there was this round about like feature, with embedded sections of train track as a decorative element.

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Sadly, as with most bike infrastructure in TO, this cannot last, and the trail ends abruptly, and you have to make a sharp right turn on a short section of gravel that then leads to this narrow section that leads to Leslie St.

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The short section of Leslie leading to Willett Creek park was the scariest part of the whole ride, no thanks to the many drivers that whizzed by less than a meter from my handlebars. Bastards.

From Willett Creek, the Don Trail is probably more familiar to many of you so I didn’t take many pictures. Here are the elephants.

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And the stop with the gargoyles just north of Bloor, where I’ve never bothered to stop before. It was good to be riding the Tamarack. Much as people rave about Bromptons, I do find it easier to ride longer distances on a standard bike.

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Thanks to TBN for organizing the first part of my ride, and for plotting out this nice route.

Note: for those not in TBN that want more information about the route, it is available here, at least for the moment.

 

 

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