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Archive for the ‘TBN’ Category

Today was the Ride for Brain Health that took over the open slot vacated by the Ride for Heart (which was virtual again this year). As per previous rides, I provided mechanical support for the riders, along with many others from Toronto Bicycling Network. The organization of the TBN riders was a bit different this year. For one thing, we were told to gather at 5:30 AM so that we should be assigned to different start times. It’s been ages since I’ve been riding before sunrise.

Here is a picture of the group just before 6 AM.

Things were also a bit confused by the fact that the event announced a no bags rule, meaning that we were not allowed to have panniers. I arrived with my usual set up on my Haul a Day, gambling that I would not be turned away. As it turns out, there was no issue.

The timing being what it was, I decided to do as much of the 25 km as I could before coming back to meet some colleagues back at the start at 7:30. Here I am riding off at 6:10.

First fix of the day was just a few hundred meters down the course in the shadow of BMO field. Just needed a little air in her tires.

Riding into the sun with Jimmy.

Pretty peaceful as most of the early riders were fast and experienced.

Nice views of the Port Lands development from the Gardiner.

I looped back to meet my colleagues from the MSE department at the start.

Got a couple of pictures of the group riding together.

photo by Eli Sone

After these photos, I told everyone to go at their own pace, and of course I immediately got dropped like a wet rag.

Having been abandoned by my colleagues, it was nice for me to see several familiar faces on the ride.

Here I’m asking Becky Katz if the DVP should set a new standard for bike infrastructure, particularly with respect to the width of a bike lane.

A colleague from the Bike Brigade and one from Chemical Engineering.

I saw Jess from Friends and Families for Safe Streets several times, but I only thought to take a picture at the very end of the ride.

Here I am at the top of the ride.

A flat fix on the way back down.

They seemed to be breaking down the course very early. These trucks were headed northbound at Bayview when it was only 10 AM.

The highlight of my helping out was sagging a little girl back to the start. I saw her and her dad walking along the Gardiner and offered to give her a ride while towing her ride. She recently learned to bike and did 17 km for the day, which I thought was phenomenal.

The one big thing that made the ride less kid friendly this year was the fact that the first rest stop with water and snacks was at Bayview, and the “no bags” rule meant that the dad couldn’t bring along water or food on his bike. The other thing was that the Ride Marshalls were told to tell stranded riders that there would be a bus offering sag every 20 minutes. This did not happen. I think I saw two school buses on the route for the entire day.

It will be interesting to see which charity runs the ride again next year. I’m sure that Heart and Stroke would like to have their ride back.

Total support provided: pumped up about six bikes worth of tires, didn’t change a single flat, couldn’t help a guy with a broken chain, or another with a broken crank. Lent out Allen keys a couple of times. Also couldn’t help a guy that flatted both front and rear tubeless tires on a pothole. And of course provided some sag at the end of the ride.

I logged 84 km, which is probably the most that I’ve ridden my cargo bike in a day.

At any rate, it was ideal weather (unlike the last ride in 2019), and it was great to be out and out with colleagues and friends.

Thanks to Todd from TBN who organized all of the Marshalls, and who also waited patiently at start the whole time so that he could collect our armbands after the ride.

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TBN ride from Aldershot

Today was a TBN ride out of Aldershot. I took the train from Exhibition GO, and I also took advantage of the closure of Lakeshore East for #ActiveTO on the way there.

This ride combined the country cruise crowd with Tourist B. As a result, we had a big crowd, and two ride leaders, Danny and Dennis.

I didn’t get an exact count, but I think there were about 40 who registered.

One of the first climbs of the day on Lemonville Rd.

There were two ride options, 72 or 86 km. I was with the 86 km group, and here are the leaders approaching the top of Sydenham Rd on Rock Chapel.

Here we are headed south on Valens Rd, just as we blow by a potential stop for Berrys and frozen yogurt.

At Concession 2 West, the official route turned west from Orkney Rd. However continued south so I bid the group adieu. I wanted to check out a closed Rd that was this dotted line on Google Maps called the Kitchen Trail.

Here is the north entrance off Governers Rd.

The trail is an ATV track. It was mostly in good condition.

First of three downed trees.

This downhill section was fun.

This was the only tree where I had to do a bit of bushwhacking to get around.

Looking back at the south end of the trail from Powerline Rd.

Now I’m steaming along the Dundas Brantford Rail Trail in the downhill direction.

There was a downed tree just a little before the intersection with HWY 52.

Look who I met just past the tree: Jimmy and Carol!

Met up with some of the 72 km people at the train station. They were speculating on how Dennis and Chris would get their tandem past the downed tree.

Riding towards Dundas with this crew.

I ended up not stopping at the same cafe as the others in Dundas. I made my own way back, but with a slight modification to the route on York Blvd, just past the high level bridge. At this point, I turned down Valley Inn Rd because I heard that the Valley Inn Rd bridge had been replaced after having been closed for several years.

Sure enough, the bridge was there. Nice scenery on the way down as well.

The other side of the bridge connects to Spring Garden Rd, and you can make your way back towards Plains Rd and Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. Granted that this detour added an addition down and up, but it was much prettier and safer than just continuing on York Blvd which joins onto Plains Rd.

At any rate, thanks to Danny and Dennis and Chris for organizing today’s ride. The weather was really perfect, and it was a good day to log my longest ride of the year so far.

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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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another Wednesday with TBN

Today’s Wednesday Wheelie ride was out of Stouffville. A good turn out: 17 riders. Also about 4°C at the start, but it was going to warm up during the ride.

Off we go.

Lots of potholes on Uxbridge-Pickering Townline.

Sadly, within the first 5 km I got my second flat of the year. No idea what happened this time. However, I was glad to have a better hand pump compared to last time when I couldn’t even get enough pressure to seat the tire properly. Starting not to be a fan of these aerothan tubes.

Since I had driven an hour to get to the start, I didn’t want to abandon the ride, so I soldiered on towards Uxbridge. After about 15 km, I came upon fellow rider John who also had a flat. He had a spare tube, but blew a hole in it while inflating it with a CO2 cartridge. I told him that I would take a short cut to Uxbridge to see if I could catch the group to let them know what happened.

Just entering town, I see this interesting sight. Africycle is an organization that ships donated bikes to Malawi.

Here we are in Uxbridge, across the street from the Tin Restaurant. Norm was sent out to rescue John with a spare tube.

There are some charming buildings in the centre of Uxbridge. That’s a public library to the right, and an old school movie theatre next door.

Here’s the one post and ring I saw.

Uxbridge is promoting cycling, perhaps because it is at one end of the Uxbridge-Lindsay rail trail. Exploring that trail will have to wait for another day.

Norm said that he never found John. As it turns out, at the end of the ride John tells us about how another cyclist stopped and gave him a spare tube. Cyclist in the brown vest, thank you, wherever you are!

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Aldershot to Dundas with TBN

Today’s ride was similar to the one I did with the Wednesday Wheelies out of Waterdown, but this one started at Aldershot GO. Danny is briefing us on the ride.

Off we go.

The group split up almost immediately into two groups, and I was with Cesar and Danny.

First detour of the day: Old Guelph Rd north of York. I went to check it to see if it was passible, but it was not.

Second closure. Joanne had warned us of this one on Harvest Rd

She said something about crossing on a board, but this looked scary.

Luckily, Cesar found this off to the right.

Thanks Cesar for the company today. At this point, we had left Danny behind.

Riding down the railpath towards Dundas.

A brief cafe stop in Dundas. The map had suggested the Depot Cafe, but it is beyond me why TBN doesn’t stop at Cafe Domestique which is run by a cyclist, and has a cycling theme. One point is that the menu is a bit limited, but the cookie and croque monsieur that I had was tasty.

They have a patio at the back where it is easy to keep an eye on your bike.

Thanks to Danny for organizing the ride, and to Cesar for good company. It was his first ride on his new road bike.

Joanne has posted some pictures of the other group here.

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Holland Marsh with TBN

This time of year, every opportunity to get in a long ride is precious. Today’s TBN tourist ride started from the Vaughan TTC Station.

Crossing Jane at Courtland Ave.

Heading north on Keele.

The fast group pauses at the branch between the 70 and 85 K routes, giving me a chance to catch up. Everyone in the lead group elects to ride the 85K.

Flat riding on Holland Marsh. Anyone know what the green crops are?

As per my usual, if I go out with the fast group I get dropped between about 30-40K. This is the point where I turn back south and discover that I’ll have a headwind riding home.

Still smiling though. What a great day!

Jane St, here we come. You can see the climb out of the marsh.

I catch the fast group who have paused at the Roost Cafe in King City.

I elect to press on to Vaughan rather than stopping.

Thanks to our ride leader Neale, and everyone for good company. There is a full slate of rides scheduled for next weekend. We shall see what the weather will allow.

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TBN: Ancaster Ascension

Today was another enjoyable ride with TBN, this time starting in Waterdown. Here are seven of us at the start.

The consensus was that we would do the medium length ride, but cutting out the side trip to the Tim’s in Ancaster and opting for a stop in Dundas instead. I only took a cursory look at the map, and I assumed that since we would descend on the Brantford-Hamilton rail trail from Jerseyville and then do Clara’s Climb, that the rest of the ride would be more or less flat. As soon as we left town and rode down Snake Rd, I knew that I was wrong.

The section of the route along Patterson and Valley Rd was actually a lot of fun, winding roads and rollers as we worked our way along the mountain brow, more or less. We paused here on Patterson Rd where some local citizens were clearing a downed tree.

The Lynden General Store, which had the smallest Beer Store/LCBO outlet I had ever seen.

At the rail trail off of Jerseyville Rd.

A stop at the station while Dave fills us in on some railway history.

Our last stop in Dundas just before Clara’s Climb. Dave knows several of the restaurants in the area. Regrettably, the cafe that he suggested had sold out of butter tarts.

All in all a very pleasant ride with good company. The wind came up in the afternoon, but it was a tailwind for once.

Thanks to Rick for organizing the ride.

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Today was my first ride with the Wednesday Wheelie group. Sadly, given the fact that their rides are on Wednesday mornings, and that the new academic year approaches, this will probably be my last with them for this year as well. I did have a great time.

Here is ride leader Dave briefing everyone. He mentioned that there are four John’s on the ride. He also said that I’ll be writing a blog post about the ride, so here it is.

It was a brilliantly sunny day with thankfully cooler temperatures and little humidity. There were two routes on offer: 69K and 81K. I elected to do a slightly shortened version of the longer route for reasons that will become clear later on.

Off we go.

The 81K group started distancing the other group, and at some point Ed organized the lead group into a double pace line.

As was not unusual, I was dropped by the lead group after about 30K, but I thoroughly enjoyed riding and chatting with Paul who had a beautiful Ti True North custom touring bike with S&S couplers and a Rohloff hub.

Here is where I planned to stray from the posted route. The first northbound road west of Airport Rd was gravel and looked interesting on Google Maps. Note that the street view track had a gap in it just south of Hockley Rd.

The view where the southern track ended didn’t look too bad.

Paul was up for some gravel riding as well so he agreed to turn as well. “No exit”

Beautiful gravel riding.

Here is where the road started to deteriorate. It became basically a steep downhill Jeep track, and it didn’t help that recent rains had carved a lot of trenches.

Nevertheless it was ridable for the most part. Paul did extremely well on much narrower tires.

Eventually we reached Hockley Rd, and turned right, thereby trimming about 5K from the long route. He went ahead while I paused to take this picture to complete my series of “Schitt’s Creek” riding photos.

Here is the common rest stop at the Hockley General Store, with that all important LCBO component. The next time I’ll stop to check it out.

However, on this day, just as I rode up a couple of riders from the 69K were leaving, so I bid adieu to Paul and decided to ride on.

Left to right: Connie, Pat, John and Nancy

Pretty much ideal riding conditions.

A roadside memorial at a level crossing.

Here we are at the end. Thanks to Nancy for leading us home.

Thanks everyone for a wonderful morning of riding. I’m going to have to make a point of freeing up more Wednesday mornings next summer so that I can join in on the fun.

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Today was my first group ride with TBN since the beginning of the pandemic. The official starting point was downtown, but there was a pickup point at Queensway and Windermere. Here is the first group to arrive at the pickup point. That’s ride leader Danny on the right.

A few minutes later, most of the rest of the group arrives. We are all still getting used to chatting face to face. Note that we are all at least the required 2m apart.

and we’re off, headed to Oakville today.

Along Atwater.

Threading through a road closure just off of Mississauga Rd.

We’ve arrived at the lunch stop. A lot of cyclists had the same idea.

I elected not to stop, and to ride on. The route went to the mouth of Sixteen Mile Creek before doubling back along Lakeshore. Thanks to the anonymous person who took this photo for me on the pier.

On the way back, all of the Lakeshore Parks were crowded but it was nice to see so many families out enjoying themselves.

It was great to see familiar faces, along with meeting many new TBN members for the first time. However, it’s going to take some time for me to get used to being in a group of people again.

This evening, Lucy and I decided to join ManDem CC for another one of their Sunday night rides. Unfortunately, the city has decided that for the rest of July, the Lakeshore West closure for ActiveTO will be truncated at British Columbia Dr, meaning that it is closed basically only the length of the CNE grounds.

Lucy does not approve.

Waiting for the crowd to gather at the starting point, the Bentway.

Chris tells us that we will leave in five minutes.

Off we go.

Turning left on Lakeshore.

At a certain point, the ride broke up into several groups that were taking different routes. The one that I followed decided to continue on Lakeshore for a while which was not ideal from a safety standpoint.

Then we transitioned to Queens Quay which was very crowded.

Lucy and I started falling behind, partially because the drivetrain on the Haul a Day has issues and I can only use the lowest three gears. Here we are trailing some riders on Bayview.

Hey, we made it to the Evergreen Brickworks!

Loads of people arriving.

A great way to spend a Sunday riding with two very different groups of cyclists.

The Toronto Bicycling Network has recreational rides at all levels. Today was a Tourist ride, which is the second fastest type, with a moving average speed of 24-32 kph. For the duration of the pandemic, you must register in advance for any of the rides. TBN also has a route library which is a good resource for Toronto area cyclists.

ManDem CC has no formal structure. They announce their weekend rides on Instagram. Follow them if you want to be in the loop.

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Today was the last TBN tourist ride of the season. Who knew that we would have decent riding weather this late in the year? Eight hardy souls showed up at the start.

Danny Harvey has been the organizer of the Tourist B rides all year. Thanks Danny!

And we’re off, headed to King City and beyond.

Waiting for the light at Center St.

Another look at the intersection improvements at Center and Dufferin. These curb indents for left turning cyclists is an interesting idea, perhaps safer than the design at Bloor and High Park?

This sign across the intersection explains how to use them.

The last time I was up here, I noted that the raised bike lane abruptly ends without a ramp. (picture taken this August)

This is their solution:

As it turns out, this ride was a carbon copy of a ride back at the end of August, except that we turned back short of Kettleby. Here is the lead group at King Vaughan and Keele. Sam really wants to make sure I see him.

We took a detour on the way back to pay our respects at the Daniel Bertini ghost bike, just north of 16th sideroad on Keele.

Every opportunity to ride in good weather this late in the year is a blessing. Even better in the company of fellow cyclists. Thanks TBN, and here’s to hoping that we have lots of good riding in 2021.

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