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Archive for the ‘TBN’ Category

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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This was Canada Day weekend, and I took the opportunity to pile on some mileage in preparation for STP. Three TBN rides in a weekend, which was a record for me. It was also a weekend of extreme heat.

First up: the Saturday morning  ride from High Park, up to the belt line, and then across and down to the Brickworks, and back along the lakefront. There was quite a large turnout. Can you guess which bike I’m riding?

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and we’re off.

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Along the rail path.

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The route up to the belt line was a bit different from what I normally do, and now I know about this tunnel under the railway tracks.

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Near the western end of the Beltline trail.

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I elected not to take a break at the brickworks since I had to get home for another event. Note that in deference to the heat, I did not wear a wool jersey the entire weekend.

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Sunday: a long tourist ride to celebrate Canada Day. The forecast was for temps up to 37°C, but cooler by the lake. Four of us showed up at the start. What do they say about mad dogs and Englishmen?

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Although the posted plan was either a 65 or 125 km ride, Bob and Jim said that they would go as far as Port Credit and then perhaps turn back. Joey and I said we would decide what to do at the branch point between the two rides.

Apparently I didn’t get the memo about matching jerseys.

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At Port Credit, we run into a parade.

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At the Port Credit Starbucks, we run into several other TBNer’s.

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At this point, I asked Joey if it was OK to go to Burlington, and then I’d turn back to stay in the cooler temps by the lake. I wanted to get in 125 km, which would be my longest pre-STP ride.

Here we pay our respects to a ghost bike at Lakeshore and Third Line.

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At the McDonalds at King and Plains Road. Joey is determined to climb the escarpment and finish the posted 125 km ride. I’m a wimp, and I’m going to hug the lake on the way back.

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I was relatively pleased with the ride. First time in my memory that I drank five water bottles during a single outing.

Holiday tourist ride to Unionville: perhaps a few less people than would normally show up because of the oppressive heat. Forecast is for rain in the afternoon.

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Here we go.

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We’re going at a pretty good clip, but note that this was with a decent tailwind.

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Here’s the decision point between 60 and 75 km. I think that all of us elected to do the shortest ride. Even Joey.

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On the way back down Kennedy, I make a slight detour at Elgin Mills to pay my respects at the ghost bike we installed last Sunday.

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Lunch at Jake’s on Main.

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Jim from Sacramento joined us for part of his tour of North America. He was riding a very sweet fillet brazed Steve Rex gravel grinder. He said that he had several bikes from this builder.

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Not a minute after I took the above picture, the rains descended.

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However, it cleared up after a little while, and the ride back was dry and somewhat cooler.

My mileage for the weekend was 40 + 125 + 60 km, with the 40 and 60 on the Brompton.

Thanks to my fellow TBN’ers for a very pleasant weekend of riding.

 

 

 

 

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Today was the annual Ride for Heart, and appropriately enough, it was on the first World Bicycle Day.  As per my custom for the last couple of years, I was providing ride support, along with a crew of my fellow TBN members.

Here are a couple of other TBN’ers at the start.

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I know who built this bike. I see that it wasn’t unique enough for it to be a recumbent two wheel drive, two wheel steer tandem, so this year they appear to have added a trailer. Unfortunately I missed seeing them underway.

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Here we go.

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Decent weather for once. Mixed cloud, and not too hot.

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This dad is still smiling, but he has a good ways to go.

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Looking back at the skyline.

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My first customers of the day. He had front and rear pinch flats after hitting a pothole on the downhill after the Gardiner switches to the DVP. She just needed a little air. (actually there was one other person before this who had flatted, but he didn’t have the special wrench to loosen his theft resistant skewers).

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Once people saw that I had a floor pump out, a couple of them pulled over as well. These folks just needed some air.

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Approaching the Bloor St. viaduct.

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Another flat.

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One more. I advised her to replace her tires fairly soon as they looked like they were about 20 years old. They were the original tires on the bike.

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Seat post adjustment.

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After the turnaround for the 25 km route, things calmed down considerably. There was a very high turnout of families, perhaps because of the good weather.

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Approaching the big dip associated with Lawrence Ave.

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Nice to see that traffic on the 401 is moving well.

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At the York Mills turnaround. You will note that I was doing a little political advertising as well.

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This was our sole customer on the downhill portion of the ride. A flat fix.

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I had a nice conversation with Roy on the way back. He has several e-assisted bikes. He is also looking forward to delivery of his Helix titanium folding bike, as are many others.

As per usual, I bypassed the start/finish and rode back to High Park on the Gardiner. This part of the ride was very peaceful as it was only for the 75 km riders. Props to the little kid on the 20″ mountain bike who did 75km with mom.

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I didn’t quite get pictures of all of the people I met. Some of them just pulled over briefly to use tools. I probably helped about ten people; a good day’s work. Thanks to TBN for arranging the opportunity.

 

 

 

 

 

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TBN has a tradition of celebrating Victoria Day with a holiday tourist ride to Unionville. However, due to inclement weather on Saturday, the advanced urban roller ride from Burlington to Niagara (with return by GO train) was rescheduled to the same day. For me, it was an opportunity to do my first metric century of the year. I also enjoyed the same ride last year, even though there was a killer headwind for most of the ride.

The ride started at the Burlington GO station. The station still seems to be not quite finished, and there are some new condos sprouting up in the vicinity.

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General Jimmy is our ride leader.

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The “before” picture. There were 17 of us.  Twenty five had originally registered, but some of them might have registered for the original date.

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And off we go.

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Brant St in downtown Burlington.

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Along the Beach strip. I rode this section in the other direction just two weeks ago.

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First regroup at the east end of Confederation Park.

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Last year, the houses to the right were still under construction, and the condos to the left did not exist.

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Here is the picture from last year:

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A lot of the first half of the route was on North Service Rd.

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Adam was pulling us along for most of the day. He and Teo started from Toronto this morning.

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The lead group starting from a light.

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Brief rest stop, just as we turn onto Greenlane.

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This part of the ride is through peaceful orchards.

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Jimmy doing a pull at the front.

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Waiting for traffic at Victoria Ave, just before the lunch stop.

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Lunch stop at Tim’s.  By my count, three steel bikes, one aluminum, one titanium, and everything else was carbon.

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Starting off after lunch.

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A brief regroup at Port Dalhousie. This car attracted some attention, but it looked totally wrong. Firstly it was too big to be a Healey. Secondly, the “big” Healey never had a louvered hood without a secondary air intake. Thirdly, the ridiculous fender flares. A little Googling reveals this to have been a replicar: a Sebring XM.

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As we approach the Welland Canal, we see that the lift bridge is up.

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That is one big freighter.

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Now entering Niagara on the Lake.

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A brief stop for peach ice cream with only 25 km to go. I wanted to take this picture before I started the cone, just to show that a single scoop at Picard’s is generous.

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Most of the rest of the crew patronized this adjacent establishment.

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Jimmy altered the route from last year to take us south on Concession Rd 2 which had glass smooth pavement.

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At the Brock monument.

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No rest for the wicked. We are almost at the finish.

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A regroup at the Whirlpool bridge. We decide against going down the hill towards the falls to avoid the traffic, as well as the climb back up to the restaurant.

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Dinner at Zappi’s Pizza.

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Also beer.

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Cel phones are the death of conversation. Just kidding. We were tired and hungry while waiting for food.

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We arrived around 4:15 which was much faster than last year, and the train didn’t leave until 7:20 so there was a lot of time to kill. Most of the riders left early for the station, but this crew stayed to chat.

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Here’s our train.

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Tired but satisfied after a great day of riding.

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We get our bikes as we prepare to leave the train.

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Thanks to everyone who rode, and especially Jimmy our ride leader. The weather was pretty much ideal, and the distance was exactly 100 km. Strava pegged my average speed at just under 25 kph. Last year was 19 kph due to the strong headwinds.

 

 

 

 

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Today’s TBN Urban Roller ride was titled “Tour of Toronto”.  Since it went through a couple of parts of town that I haven’t been, I decided to ride along. With the great weather, we had a pretty large turnout at the start point in High Park.

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And off we go. Nice to see the park not so crowded after the sakura madness.

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Along Davenport.

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First major stop was Casa Loma.

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Just had to take one shot of the Brompton.

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Regroup before we enter the trail system near Sunnybrook Park.

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We have to walk this bit before a bridge.

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Sunnybrook Park.

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Now into the Don Valley trails.

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Regroup in front of the elephants.

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Crossing Pottery Rd.

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One more regroup at the foot of the Lower Don Trail.

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At this point, the main group went east towards the Portlands. I decided to peel off at Corktown Commons, and through downtown back to the High Park area.

Here’s what my abbreviated ride looked like. The section in Sunnybrook Park was new to me.

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Thanks to Dave, our ride leader for the day.  Looking forward to a longer ride tomorrow.

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TBN Weekend

This past weekend was the kickoff for the Toronto Bicycling Network, where there was a brunch gathering before a full slate of rides at various levels. Last week was also the first week when all their ride programs were in full swing. Things have been late this year because of the lingering cold weather.

Saturday morning at Etienne Brule Park. One of these days I’ll show up early enough to listen to the various announcements, but as per usual, I only managed to get there shortly before the rides started.

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Of course it’s fun to wander around to see all the hardware. Here are two orange bikes; I like the Kogswell in the background.

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I’ve seen this beautiful Mariposa before.

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One only recumbent: a tandem trike.

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Joey announces the start of the tourist ride. Me thinks the megaphone is not necessary.

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They had a 60 km ride on the books. Because I didn’t have much free time, I elected to ride out as far as Port Credit before turning back. Here we are on the new bidirectional lane on Lakeshore, which was still not officially open.

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On my solitary ride on the way back I see this:

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Also this signage is new since the last time I rode out here.

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Sunday dawned clear and bright, and it was time for a tourist ride from the new subway station at Vaughan Metropolitan Centre.

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Ed is fiddling with his electronics.

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Joey makes the pre ride announcements.

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And off we go. The start is further north than Finch Station, and so we reached Major Mac in about 20 minutes.

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Almost all the riders elected to do the short 68 km route today. Here is the lead group for 68km, just after the turn off.

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Since this was the fast group, it wasn’t long before I was dropped.

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I eventually caught up to them in Bolton, and here we are at a regroup in Kleinburg.

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Always time for ice cream.

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Here is one of two major subdivisions going in on Teston Rd, just east of Kleinburg.

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Teston Rd was closed for construction, but Sam had said that a bike should be able to get through, especially on a Sunday. He was right. Avoiding the detour cut about 5 km from my ride. Thanks Sam!

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Not in love with the long southbound stretch along Jane with lots of car and bus traffic. I’m not smiling; that is a grimace.

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Remind me how these sharrows are supposed to make me feel safer.

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Look: a bike lane for the last 50 m of my ride.

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Ride complete. 65 km at an average of 24.4 kph, which for me is pretty good.

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On the subway home, I encounter this gentleman.

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I usually don’t have an issue with giving buskers money, but I didn’t want to encourage busking on the subway itself, which is also against TTC rules.

 

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Yesterday was my first ride of the year with TBN. With Easter being earlier than last year, the Good Friday ride was a bit earlier than my first TBN ride last year. On a sunny but blustery day, we had 11 riders at the start.

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There was a fairly strong and steady wind out of the north the whole ride which made the first part of the ride a bit of a grind. Just like last year’s Good Friday ride, I elect to go for the shortest (60km) route that turns right at 19th Ave. Joey and the faster riders are going straight ahead.

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Every year, development inches further north. This sign on 19th Ave. was one of many new ones I saw in the area.

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Headed back south with the benefit of going downhill with a tailwind, you can see the effect on my speed.

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Given that I was first to Unionville, I chose to skip the brunch stop, and rode back to Finch. Joey’s ride report is here.

Just to vary things a bit, I elected to ride partway back to downtown along the Finch hydro corridor, incidentally collecting a few tiles along the way, and also connecting the Finch start point to some of my previous rides on my personal heat map.

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This section west of Yonge St. has crossings of major streets with lights.

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Not that this made any difference to Edouard Le Blanc who was killed at a very similar crossing on the Gatineau trail at Warden by a driver who ran the red light.

This section of trail branches north and south at a dam in G Ross Lord Park. I elect to take the southbound branch that leads to some streets that make it easy to bike down to Wilson, at which point I took the subway the rest of the way downtown.

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I tracked this ride with both the Cyclemeter App, and my Garmin. I had seen before that Cyclemeter is much more generous is assessing average speed than the Garmin. Cyclemeter says:

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You can see that the average speeds now almost agree, which means that Cyclemeter interprets the GPS data differently than what Strava does. I think from this point, whenever I use the Garmin, I’ll use that data for Strava, rather than the Cyclemeter upload.

Two other geeky points on gear. One thing was that my right shoe wasn’t clipping in for the entire ride. A quick look afterwards reveals that my cleat was broken. I found one last spare in the garage, but since Bebops are no longer made, I might have to switch to another type of clipless pedal.

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The other thing is cycling caps. I always thought that they were a bit of an affectation, especially when you wear one under a helmet. However, after using a kayak visor and having the velcro come unstuck from my helmet, and then trying and failing to use epoxy to stick the velcro onto my helmet (polycarbonate is not easy to glue to, and using a solvent based adhesive seemed like a bad idea), I finally broke down and tried out the hat under helmet thing.

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Voila, I find that the cap visor is perfectly shaped to shade my eyes from several angles while not blocking forward vision, even when I’m leaning forward on the drops. And note that my helmet has a raised bottom edge just wide enough to clear the visor.

You learn something new every day…..

 

 

 

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