Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Toronto’ 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.

map1

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.

IMG_9400

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

IMG_9401

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.

IMG_9402

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.

IMG_9403

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.

IMG_9404

Definitely appreciated safety in numbers along Albion.

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

IMG_9407

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.

IMG_9408

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

IMG_9410

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.

IMG_9411

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

IMG_9412

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.

IMG_9413

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

IMG_9414

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.

IMG_9416

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.

map2.5

This picture shows the trail and busway crossing tracks.

IMG_9418

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.

IMG_9419

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.

IMG_9420map3

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.

map4

This is what the trail entrance looks like.

IMG_9423

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.

map5

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

map6

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.

IMG_9424

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

IMG_9425

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)

IMG_9426

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.

IMG_9427

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.

IMG_9428

map7

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.

IMG_9429

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.

IMG_9430

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.

 

 

Read Full Post »

One of my favourite things to do is to have a family bike ride to Toronto Island. It’s been a couple of years since we’ve done this, and we took advantage of the fact that the California branch of the family was in town to do this again. The first logistical problem that we faced was to get eight peoples’ worth of bikes downtown with one car. Here is what five bikes looks like with the six who will ride them. (you can’t see the Brompton that is tucked away in the van, and two will ride the tandem)

DSC02990

(In addition, two of us rode down to the lake.)

And off we go to the ferry terminal.

DSC02992

DSC02993

Just a reminder that at busy times, you should buy your ferry tickets online. Here we were in the left hand express lane, which we cleared in less than five minutes.

DSC02994

Biking towards Centre Island from Hanlan’s Point.

DSC02995Well at least I’m all smiles.

IMG_9362

Compare this picture:

DSC03056

to this one taken three years ago, the last time the daughters were on the island.

DSC05481

The skyline from Algonquin Island.

DSC03003

Over the bridge to Centreville.

DSC03013

Our fleet parked at Centreville.

DSC03049

On a crowded ferry at the end of a busy day.

DSC03058

Three of us rode home through downtown. It was interesting to hear their perspective on the bike infrastructure. They were quite impressed, saying that it was much better than San Francisco. Of course, I led them through the very best of what we have downtown including sections of the Simcoe, Richmond and Bloor bike lanes.

DSC03063

I hope everyone gets a chance to ride this long August weekend!

Read Full Post »

Tonight was the memorial ride for Dalia Chakos, a 58 year old grandmother who moved to Toronto from the US two years ago and loved riding her bike in the Annex neighbourhood. She was killed by a flatbed truck at he corner of St. George and Bloor. Even before tonight’s ride, people had left flowers in her memory.

A very large crowd gathered at Bloor and Spadina.

DSC05953

Geoffrey talks to the media.

DSC05948

Dalia’s son, Skylor Brummans, flew in from Minnesota to attend the ride. He was determined to use the news of his mother’s untimely death to press for more safety for cyclists.

DSC05950

Joey makes the usual announcements to get us rolling.

DSC05951

We start lining up on Spadina in preparation for heading north.

DSC05954

Here we go.

DSC05955

DSC05956

DSC05959

DSC02784

Pause at Lowther.

DSC02786

Right turn on Bernard.

DSC05961

DSC02792

DSC02794

Pause for a regroup before turning south on St. George.

DSC05962

DSC02795

DSC02797

The ghost bike arrives at the crash site.

DSC02798

The crowd is so large that we block the intersection.

DSC05964

DSC05968

Setting up the ghost bike.

DSC05965

DSC05966

Joey calls for a minute of silence.

DSC05970

DSC05971

Afterwards, people come forward to decorate the bike.

DSC05980

DSC02800

We own the intersection for a brief period of time. It was striking that after an initial bit of honking, many cars waited patiently for us to finish.

DSC05973

Skylor thanks everyone for attending, and says that his mother would not have believed that hundreds of strangers would ride in her honour.

DSC05976

Believe me, this is the very least we could do in her memory.

As the crowd disperses, the banner is still held across one lane.

DSC05982

The decorations.

DSC05983

Deepest condolences to Dalia’s family and friends. The presence of Skylor and his wife was highly appreciated.

DSC05981

Thanks to everyone who rode with us tonight.

Note: a few of these pictures have been cross posted to a separate blog post at Dandyhorse Magazine.

Update:

Read Full Post »

Today was the annual Bells on Danforth ride, a day to remind ourselves about the joy of cycling.

DSC05913

Bells on Bloor organized a small ride to the ride starting from Bloor and Spadina.

DSC02741

Albert pulling a bike trailer with signage.

DSC02744

Across the viaduct.

DSC02748

A brief detour south as a portion of the Danforth was closed off at Broadview for a street fair.

DSC02750

DSC02752

The ride starts at Withrow Park. Tom is our emcee today.

DSC02753

Liz from CycleTO and Janet Joy from the Reading Line.

DSC02754

First speaker was Peter Tabuns, newly reelected MPP. He read out the acknowledgment of lands, and then apologized for not being free to ride with us.

DSC02756

Next: Janet Joy Wilson talked about the upcoming book ride on August 26 that is themed around the Prince Edward Viaduct. She was raffling off a signed copy of “In the Skin of a Lion”.

DSC02759

As Bells on Danforth is a non partisan community organization, they did not allow anyone who is running for office to speak. However, Mary-Margaret McMahon is not in that category as she will be stepping down in the fall due to a self imposed two term limit. She talked about how she will continue to press for better bike infrastructure, partially through her efforts on PWIC.

DSC02762

Janet Davis announced just this week that she is also not running this fall. With the loss of her and Mary-Margaret, we have lost two strong proponents of cycling, and the two champions of the Woodbine bike lanes. She said that she and MM will continue to press for a corridor study to be started before the election as part of a continuing push for bike lanes on the Danforth. She reminded us that not only should we be talking our local councillors; we should also be putting pressure on the mayor’s office.

DSC05893

Liz Sutherland announced CycleTO’s new campaign: #BuildTheGrid, which is an update of the “minimum grid” campaign.

DSC05897

Just before the ride, the draw for the book was done.

DSC05900

Regrettably I did not get the name of our happy winner.

DSC05901

Mark from CycleTO.

DSC05902

One thing that was noticeable to me was the large number of families with kids, many more that I have ever seen on the Bells on Bloor rides. Here is the most elaborate kid bike set up I saw today.

DSC02758

Now time to line up on Logan.

DSC05905

Our leaders head off with the banner.

DSC02764

Here we go.

DSC02765

DSC02768

DSC05910

DSC05913

Lots of kids.

DSC05919

DSC05921

Albert Koehl.

DSC05917

I was impressed that Danielle’s friend could ride slowly enough in full aero tuck position.

DSC02772

DSC02773

Jess Spieker from Friends and Families for Safe Streets.

DSC05918

Warren “pool noodle” Huska.

DSC05924

Martin de la Rue waves to the crowd as he corks a side street.DSC02776

Approaching Woodbine.

DSC05925

DSC05930

DSC05933

Turning north on Danforth Rd.

DSC02778

DSC02779

DSC05935

Arriving at the Oakridge CRC.

DSC05936

Janet Joy with Sarah Climenhaga who is running for Mayor. She is fully engaged on active transportation issues.

DSC05937

Scarborough Cycles and the Ward 32 group.

DSC05938

Some fellow Bells on Bloor members.

DSC05939

One last reminder about the new campaign. I forgot to ask CycleTO to smile.

DSC05940

Overall, a perfect day for a bike ride, with lots of families present. Starting and finishing at Community Centres was a smart idea.  Thanks to all the organizers for a wonderful event.

Here is a brief video of the front half of the rider pack.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Tonight was the ghost bike memorial for Jonas Mitchell, a 35-year-old male cyclist struck on 15 May 2018 on Lake Shore Blvd at Colborne Lodge Road, the evening before Douglas Crosbie was killed. Jonas died from his injuries on Friday, 8 June 2018.

29927956_15267625210_r

(image source: gofundme)

Here is the ghost bike ride arriving at the crash site.

DSC02711

The ghost bike.

DSC02713

DSC02716

DSC02719

The banner. Actually the traffic waiting to turn left from eastbound Lakeshore was very patient. We appreciated this.

DSC02720

A reminder of another victim on Lakeshore.

DSC02722

A minute of silence.

DSC02723

Alan sings for solidarity.

DSC02724

Jonas’ dad makes a few remarks. He says that we should all take care. However, the difference between careless cars and bikes is that the cars will always win, regardless of fault. He did note that the person who killed Jonas ran a red light.

DSC02726

This has been a difficult week for cyclists in the city, with three dead and another in Markham. There will be other ghost bike rides this coming Sunday and Wednesday. The media was present tonight.

DSC02733

DSC02730

DSC02731

His parents.

DSC02734

With the recent, dense spate of deaths due to traffic, there are finally calls in the mainstream media for something to be done.

It remains to be seen if the city is serious about Vision Zero. Just throwing more money at it is not going to work.

First step would be to change the membership of PWIC. Second would be to make it easier to reduce speed limits. Too many pedestrians and cyclists are dying on our streets.

This is aside from the fact that we have been asking for improvements at this particular intersection since 2011, with a formal proposal submitted to the city in 2014.

Condolences to family and friends of Jonas Mitchell. Thanks to those who came to tonight’s memorial.

DSC02735

Video ny Mike Whitla:

 

Read Full Post »

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.

DSC02630

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.

DSC02629

Here we go.

DSC02631

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

DSC02633

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

DSC02635

Looking back at the skyline.

DSC02639

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).

DSC02641

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

DSC02642

Approaching the Bloor St. viaduct.

DSC02643

Another flat.

DSC02644

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.

DSC02645

Seat post adjustment.

DSC02646

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.

DSC02647

Approaching the big dip associated with Lawrence Ave.

DSC02649

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

DSC02650

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

IMG_8855

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

DSC02652

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.

DSC02660

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.

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

Read Full Post »

Today was the memorial ride for Douglas Crosbie, who was killed last Wednesday morning, on the same day as the Ride of Silence. At Bloor and Spadina, there was quite a large turnout for a ride that was scheduled during the workday.

DSC05864

Joey makes some announcements to get us organized.

DSC05865

Lining up on Bloor, headed east.

DSC02463

And off we go, Geoffrey and Joey in the lead.

DSC02464

A bit of tricky business getting the ghost bike through the bollards under Soldier’s Tower.

DSC02467

DSC02468

DSC02470

Through the corner of campus.

DSC02471

Behind Queen’s Park.

DSC02472

We were thankful to have several officers who corked major intersections for us.

DSC02473

Today we owned Wellesley.

DSC02478

DSC02479

Turning south on Sackville.

DSC02480

Now east on Dundas.

DSC02483

Sharrows on the bridge over the Don. These turn into bike lanes along Dundas past Broadview.

DSC02484

DSC02485

Bike lanes on Dundas. Just lines of paint, though.

DSC02486

Approaching the crash site at Jones.

DSC02490

Photos and flowers had already been left by friends and family.

DSC05868

DSC05869

Installing the ghost bike.

DSC05870

DSC05871

The banner, ironically blocking the bike lane for the moment. It is just a dashed line at this point, meaning that it can be used legally as a right turn lane.

DSC05874

DSC05872

A minute of silence.

DSC05877

Douglas’ wife, Christine talks with Joey, and then to the media.

DSC05880

DSC05882

Another senseless death, in a city that is not serious about Vision Zero.

Here is a Toronto Star editorial that was published yesterday: “Toronto’s ‘Vision Zero’ plan to reduce traffic deaths has had zero impact so far”

Thanks to everyone who came out to the ride.

Deepest condolences to family and friends.

DSC05879

Update:

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »