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  1. #1
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Best way North of the City - Toronto

    I live near Bathurst and Sheppard, anyone know a good way out of the city to the North. Leslie has long been recommended, but the area between Steeles and Hwy 7 along Leslie has really been built up in the last 5-10 years, and automotive traffic on that road has really increased considerably, don't know if that's a good route anymore.

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    Going up Leslie would be the easiest way. You can do what the other suburbians do, just ride their bikes on the sidewalk. Cause up north pedestrians don't even use sidewalks cause of the easy parking access for the cars unlike downtown area where the bikes rule in heavy traffic.

    I find up in thornhill/richmond hill area not too bike friendly and it's near suicidal to even think of bike riding on hwy 7. Cars go 80km+ there. It really made me laugh when the city started to promote a bike to work campaign when there's really no bike lanes out there and cars go 70+ easily there. My co workers tried to bike to work from going down on yonge or bayview before from up near major mackenzie. They did it once and never again cause there's not enough space for bikes up there and they didn't feel safe at all.

    But when you hit to major mackenzie east of the 404 on the south side there's a wicked paved black sidewalk trail along the south side of the road. It's seamless and smooth like glass goes all the way from near the 404 to mc cowan.

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    What the GTA needs are a few decent North - South roads that go across the 401 and the 407 but with no ramps to them. Birchmount is a good example on the east but it does not intersect the 407 (yet). Again in the East, Roddick road has a bridge over the 407 with no ramps to it so it is safe for cyclists to use going across the 407. Unfortunately it leads to Woodbine and/or Warden which are full of cars during rush hours. Instead of Leslie, you could also try Bayview where traffic is not too bad north of Elgin Mills.

    Yeah, cycling through the suburbs to get up North is a crap shoot especially on weekdays... though it is not as bad on the weekends. One best option is to just drive up North of the 407, park the car at some strip mall parking lot or in a park and ride from there.

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    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclocommuter View Post
    What the GTA needs are a few decent North - South roads that go across the 401 and the 407 but with no ramps to them. Birchmount is a good example on the east but it does not intersect the 407 (yet). Again in the East, Roddick road has a bridge over the 407 with no ramps to it so it is safe for cyclists to use going across the 407. Unfortunately it leads to Woodbine and/or Warden which are full of cars during rush hours. Instead of Leslie, you could also try Bayview where traffic is not too bad north of Elgin Mills.

    Yeah, cycling through the suburbs to get up North is a crap shoot especially on weekdays... though it is not as bad on the weekends. One best option is to just drive up North of the 407, park the car at some strip mall parking lot or in a park and ride from there.
    It's really not good much beyond the old city of Toronto, North York isn't really bicycle friendly, although it is getting better, slowly, very very very slowly. York Region is 10 times worse. As for driving north of the 407, that's not really an option, no car.

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    If I were to choose between Leslie and Bayview heading North, I would probably go for Bayview even though there may be more vehicular traffic, for the simple reason that the road has wider shoulders, especially north of Elgin Mills. Also along Leslie there is that stretch where it kind of "esses" as it crosses over Stouffville Road which could be a pain to negotiate (as you have to travel 100 or so meters along Stouffville Road) during the weekdays... on weekends when there is no traffic it is not much of an issue.

    I do transfer over to Leslie from Bayview when heading much farther north via Vandorf Sideroad to avoid all the stop lights along Bayview as you get into the Aurora Newmarket area. When I get to St. Johns along Leslie and I still am headed North, I go east along St Johns towards Warden which has the least amount of vehicles (and stop lights) among the north bound routes (Bayview, Leslie, Woodbine).

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    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclocommuter View Post
    If I were to choose between Leslie and Bayview heading North, I would probably go for Bayview even though there may be more vehicular traffic, for the simple reason that the road has wider shoulders, especially north of Elgin Mills. Also along Leslie there is that stretch where it kind of "esses" as it crosses over Stouffville Road which could be a pain to negotiate (as you have to travel 100 or so meters along Stouffville Road) during the weekdays... on weekends when there is no traffic it is not much of an issue.

    I do transfer over to Leslie from Bayview when heading much farther north via Vandorf Sideroad to avoid all the stop lights along Bayview as you get into the Aurora Newmarket area. When I get to St. Johns along Leslie and I still am headed North, I go east along St Johns towards Warden which has the least amount of vehicles (and stop lights) among the north bound routes (Bayview, Leslie, Woodbine).
    Hmmm, might try Bayview, it's ugly in the city proper, but probably no worse then any other 4 lane arterial in the city. Of course once your North of Hwy 7, I think that they all die down traffic wise. Need to work out a route in the next few days and see what I can do, probably be spring before the ride though, there isn't much time left for that sort of thing this year.

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    Honestly? I'd ride up YONGE over Bayview. Bayview functions as a defacto highway for most of it's length. I've easily had more negative interactions with motorists on Bayview than all other roads on my commute put together, despite the fact it was only 1/10 of my ride distance, or less.

    There are more cars on Yonge, but the average speed is probably 15 km/hr slower. Plus you have that (totally meaningless) diamond lane from Sheppard to Steeles.



    This is of course, my unsubstantiated opinion.

    I'd look for a more obscure route if possible. Even negating the motorist behavior aspect, I find that the stoplights on arterial roads are timed for about 70kph, and riding them I spend a big chunk of time stopped at reds. It's often faster to string together slightly longer routes from smaller streets that have less stop time.

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    I used to ride up Weston Rd from Finch to Holland Marsh, but that was 30 yrs ago. I expect much of the countryside has now been swallowed by urban sprawl.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruiser View Post
    Honestly? I'd ride up YONGE over Bayview. Bayview functions as a defacto highway for most of it's length. I've easily had more negative interactions with motorists on Bayview than all other roads on my commute put together, despite the fact it was only 1/10 of my ride distance, or less.

    There are more cars on Yonge, but the average speed is probably 15 km/hr slower. Plus you have that (totally meaningless) diamond lane from Sheppard to Steeles.



    This is of course, my unsubstantiated opinion.

    I'd look for a more obscure route if possible. Even negating the motorist behavior aspect, I find that the stoplights on arterial roads are timed for about 70kph, and riding them I spend a big chunk of time stopped at reds. It's often faster to string together slightly longer routes from smaller streets that have less stop time.
    There is a problem with smaller streets, once your north of Steeles, it's kind of frustrating. Most of Toronto is built on a grid system, streets tend to be long and fairly straight except where it's not possible due to existing structures or natural obstacles. Once you north of Steeles it's all different, your in the land of cul-de-sacs off crescents, the crescents all run off arterials, so it's difficult to find smaller streets that go very far, unless your willing to go 100km to go 10.

    Wondering right now about Bathurst, not sure about traffic north of Steeles though.....

  10. #10
    tallpole markieta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
    I used to ride up Weston Rd from Finch to Holland Marsh, but that was 30 yrs ago. I expect much of the countryside has now been swallowed by urban sprawl.
    Weston Rd. is still a beautiful rolling landscape! I ride up there weekly in the summer.

    I live out by bloor west village and take Jane north. I'm a brave cyclist.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Wogster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markieta View Post
    Weston Rd. is still a beautiful rolling landscape! I ride up there weekly in the summer.

    I live out by bloor west village and take Jane north. I'm a brave cyclist.
    Considering the amount of traffic on Jane and on Bathurst, they should be about the same out of the city. Jane is a street which has gotten a bum rap, lots of people have the opinion that it's extremely dangerous, and while I wouldn't want to ride the section between Wilson and Steeles late at night, during the day it's just another arterial. The Jane bus is one of the most heavily travelled surface routes in the city, last time I saw figures it's was the heaviest bus route, should have been converted to street car decades ago. I wonder though, will streets like Jane get bike lanes when they tear everything up for transit city, or will we lose those streets permanently.

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    I was considering biking to work, I currently walk, but there's no option for me other than to take Jane from Rutherford to 7, no way I'm ready to handle that. I'd prefer to take the sidewalk, as I see a few others doing, but it's not exactly legal, and I can't afford to be fined

  13. #13
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    I like riding up Warden a lot, but usually take a Viva bus from Finch to Elgin Mills or Newmarket. Or GO bus from Union. I can't be bothered dodging traffic for two hours or more before I start enjoying my ride.

    Another good GO bus route is to Brampton or Georgetown and ride north to Caledon. Now, that's some good riding!

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