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Old 02-25-09, 05:40 PM   #1
BikeLover1989
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Toronto Hills

For those of you who live in Toronto or somewhere else in the GTA, how do you handle Toronto's "tough hilly-ness"?
There are just so many huge hills here, I wouldn't be able to cycle here if I wasn't in the good physical shape I am in right now. For example, Don Mills Rd. right from the start-point of O'Connor Dr. to the 401 or Eglinton East from like Bayview to Vic. Park Ave have multiple huge hills which try to act like obstacle courses. Even my commute to and from work is on a hill, with a mostly uphill ride to work and downhill when I go back home. I am not really bothered by hills most of the time and it is a good lower body workout when I ride my bike, plus I have very good gears on both of my bikes, but it sure gets annoying some of the time when there are big hills one after another and your shirt/sweater is soaked in so much sweat.

Opinions?
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Old 02-25-09, 10:23 PM   #2
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One way to handle Toronto's hills is to climb the tougher ones outside Toronto, then you will find the hills in the GTA not so much a challenge anymore With regards to getting soaked in sweat after the commute, you just have to insist on management to install a decent shower/change room...

Seriously, if you are using a mountain bike, you might want to change the off road tires to something more for road riding (thinner, slicker tires). You might also want to make sure that your seat height is right and not too low.

Last edited by cyclocommuter; 02-25-09 at 10:26 PM.
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Old 02-26-09, 10:42 AM   #3
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On the other hand you could live in San Francisco.
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Old 02-26-09, 11:59 AM   #4
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Not many big hills in Toronto, but there are plenty of steep ones where the roads cross ravines. It is worst when there are traffic lights at the bottom, like Hoggs Hollow, which prevent you from getting a run at the next hill. You have my sympathy but no advice except buy a lighter bike and wear lycra.
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Old 02-26-09, 03:37 PM   #5
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^It's even worse when there are bumps and potholes at the bottom. For example, Dawes Rd at the Taylor Creek Park Ravine, it is so deteriorated at the bottom, one time the cover of my bike's tail light flew off due to the force of the bike going over the pothole. I now have to slow down at the bottom to avoid doing any further damage to my bike.

Oh, and my 2 bikes are pretty light for being mountain bikes, which certainly does help out on the uphill climb.
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Old 02-27-09, 09:27 AM   #6
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Oh, I though this was going to be a thread where we can post our favourite climbs.

** quietly leaves **
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Old 02-27-09, 11:51 AM   #7
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Favourite climbs eh? Well mine would be any climb on a bridge that has a down slope on the other side
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Old 02-27-09, 01:14 PM   #8
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The short but steep climb by the stables in Sunnybrook Park is a nice one
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Old 02-28-09, 10:46 AM   #9
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Yeah there are lots of steep hills around here, challenging on the fixed gear.
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Old 02-28-09, 01:14 PM   #10
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Favorite climbs within the GTA:

1. North York, along McNicol/Cummer/Drewery crossing the Don from Leslie going up to Bayview. Always leaves me soaking in sweat when I was commuting to the 400 Industrial area.
2. Scarborough, Twn Rivers drive coming from Altona going up to Sheppard. Going the opposite way is also challenging.
3. Scarborough, along Brimely, climbing up the Bluffs from Lake Ontario to just before Kingston Road.
4. Richmond Hill, headed North along Bayview between 19th and Stouffeville road.
5. Markham, headed North along Warden from Highway 7 up to 16th and then from the valley after 16th to Major Mac.

All these climbs are warm ups for what lies beyond though... negotiating the hills along the Morraine especially in the Aurora - Pickering - Uxbridge corridor and also the escarpment in the Guelph - Hamilton area.
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Old 02-28-09, 04:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BikeLover1989 View Post
For those of you who live in Toronto or somewhere else in the GTA, how do you handle Toronto's "tough hilly-ness"?
There are just so many huge hills here, I wouldn't be able to cycle here if I wasn't in the good physical shape I am in right now. For example, Don Mills Rd. right from the start-point of O'Connor Dr. to the 401 or Eglinton East from like Bayview to Vic. Park Ave have multiple huge hills which try to act like obstacle courses. Even my commute to and from work is on a hill, with a mostly uphill ride to work and downhill when I go back home. I am not really bothered by hills most of the time and it is a good lower body workout when I ride my bike, plus I have very good gears on both of my bikes, but it sure gets annoying some of the time when there are big hills one after another and your shirt/sweater is soaked in so much sweat.

Opinions?
Those aren't hills, they're rises. You need to buy some cycling jerseys if you don't want to be all soaked in sweat. Regular t-shirts and sweaters aren't going to do. The type of bike also influences how hard it is on said routes as well.
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Old 03-01-09, 09:42 PM   #12
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In regards to the hills on the Morraine, I am guessing that I can reach speeds like 70 km/h speeds going downhill right? I haven't ever ridden my bike there, so I am just wondering...
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Old 03-02-09, 07:09 PM   #13
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On a road bike and with the wind on your back, yes you could top 70 kph.
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Old 03-03-09, 09:51 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by cyclocommuter View Post
1. North York, along McNicol/Cummer/Drewery crossing the Don from Leslie going up to Bayview. Always leaves me soaking in sweat when I was commuting to the 400 Industrial area.
2. Scarborough, Twn Rivers drive coming from Altona going up to Sheppard. Going the opposite way is also challenging.
3. Scarborough, along Brimely, climbing up the Bluffs from Lake Ontario to just before Kingston Road.
4. Richmond Hill, headed North along Bayview between 19th and Stouffeville road.
5. Markham, headed North along Warden from Highway 7 up to 16th and then from the valley after 16th to Major Mac.
You've hit most of my favs, although I submit that the upper pitch of Twyn Rivers Drive is at least twice as ugly as the next ugliest climb on your list.

I wonder what happens there when it snows... do they salt the crap out of it or close it off? Given that half the vehicles in Toronto somehow can't get up the half-as-steep Cummer hill.
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Old 03-03-09, 05:22 PM   #15
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In regards to the hills on the Morraine, I am guessing that I can reach speeds like 70 km/h speeds going downhill right? I haven't ever ridden my bike there, so I am just wondering...
You can easily top 70kph on the Yonge st. downhill section heading north to York Mills.
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Old 03-03-09, 05:37 PM   #16
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Loving the hijack.
My faves are the two sides of the valley where Lawrence doesn't connect at Glendon college east of Bayview.
The west side is woodsy and has switchbacks. Fun.
The east is brutal and straight. Suitable for masochistic repeats.
I did 89 km/hr going down that when I was younger.


On my mountain bike.
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Old 03-03-09, 09:53 PM   #17
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You've hit most of my favs, although I submit that the upper pitch of Twyn Rivers Drive is at least twice as ugly as the next ugliest climb on your list.

I wonder what happens there when it snows... do they salt the crap out of it or close it off? Given that half the vehicles in Toronto somehow can't get up the half-as-steep Cummer hill.
I suspect they close it down... I kind of remember seeing some sort of gate at the entrance to Twn Rivers drive at Sheppard. That hill is probably more than 15% in grade at its steepest... comparable to Rattlesnake in Guelph though Rattlesnake is probably at least twice longer and is relentless from the foot to the switchback to the top. I had an altimeter the last time I climbed Rattlesnake and it was displaying a constant 12 - 15% grade just after the foot of the hill to almost the top.

Other hills similar in grade are along 2nd Concession northbound just before reaching Highway 8th and southbound along 3rd Concession southbound (not as steep but rolling) from 8th to Wagg both in Uxbridge. In Pickering Whitevale road at the point where it ends in the east is also challenging... I had to zigzag the bike towards the top the last time I went there.

There are steep rollers along Webb Road too in Uxbridge starting at the 2nd Concession all the way to Brock Road.

Last edited by cyclocommuter; 03-03-09 at 09:59 PM.
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Old 03-04-09, 07:09 PM   #18
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The hill on Southwood Dr. in the Main St./Kingston Rd. area is one that shouldn't be missed. When there are no cars, you can easily zoom down really fast. It sucks that there is a stop sign half way down the hill though, so some of the time I have to trim off the speed halfway down.
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Old 03-07-09, 04:19 PM   #19
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Bell School Line.

Deceptive. Starts slow, gets steep, then steeper, then even steeper. One day I will make it all the way to the top.
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Old 03-07-09, 08:46 PM   #20
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Gee...as a non-resident, Toronto for me pretty much consists of the patch of real estate bordered by Parkside/Keele on the west, Bloor on the north, the Don Valley on the east and the lake on the south. My wife and I make the odd foray to the Danforth, the Gerrard-Coxwell India Bazaar, the Beaches and the Pacific Mall way up in Markham, as well. Which is all pretty flat.

It's clear I don't know anything about the outlying suburban areas.
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Old 03-09-09, 01:26 AM   #21
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I live in the Shwa and do most of my riding east of that. There you will find some hills, especially north east of Newcastle, 15% grades anyone amazing 90k decents though.
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Old 03-13-09, 08:04 AM   #22
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I live in the Shwa and do most of my riding east of that. There you will find some hills, especially north east of Newcastle, 15% grades anyone amazing 90k decents though.
Yup you have that right. Clarington, Northumberland County, and North of both are great training grounds.
I love the hills out here. Nothing to seeing 15 - 17% grade on the GPS.
The best part is this is mostly without traffic.
Try county road 9 in Northumberland from Hwy 45 to Kirby.
http://ejbarnes.motionbased.com/
http://www.mapmyride.com/user/957464971/LungsOFire

The links above should take you to some of my rides if you would like to have a look.
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Old 03-19-09, 12:54 PM   #23
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My favourite hills in T.O:

-Hoggs Hollow (all four directions are good, but york mills has the steepest stretch)
-Lawrence East by Glendon (love doing hill repeats there)
-Sunnybrook park (always see lots of roadies around there)
-Keele St, north of the city (donut ride)

And as for commuting, the hill on Russell Hill Road (by St. Clair) is always hard after a long day.
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Old 03-20-09, 02:23 AM   #24
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Yup you have that right. Clarington, Northumberland County, and North of both are great training grounds.
I love the hills out here. Nothing to seeing 15 - 17% grade on the GPS.
The best part is this is mostly without traffic.
Try county road 9 in Northumberland from Hwy 45 to Kirby.
http://ejbarnes.motionbased.com/
http://www.mapmyride.com/user/957464971/LungsOFire

The links above should take you to some of my rides if you would like to have a look.
Just off Newtonville Road by Reid road you now the hill, Starkville, 1km long 14% average turn the corner to go south at the top and look at another 8% climb, oh I can feel my legs burn.
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Old 05-18-09, 12:42 AM   #25
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Okay, I've been busy/unavailable but now that I'm here I'll revive this hijack...

My perspective on these hills comes from riding a 40lb touring rig...

I've hit two hills that made me want to die, ir at least feel like I was about to do so: Cummer east of Bayview (westbound) and Weston Road I *think* north of Major Mack (southbound) but I was so focused on just making it to the summit I forgot to note its exact location.

Other good ones:
Bayview (southbound) from Steeles to Cummer St. (a couple km?)
Bayview (northbound) from Sideroad 19 to Stouville Rd. (as has been mentioned)
Any route out of Hogs Hollow (where Yonge is intersected by York Mills/Wilson) (as has been mentioned)
The hill up to Sunnybrook Hospital from the park (also mentioned)

But seriously, I think I find the winds to be far more demoralizing than the hills. (And echo that sentiment that at least it's not San Francisco!) As both a commuter and pleasure rider it seems there are more days with steady winds over 20km/h than there are days without, in and around Toronto...
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