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Old 07-16-10, 09:59 PM   #1
GSmith
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The jog down to the waterfront

I've been having some trouble getting out for rides lately. I live in downtown, around Bathurst/Bloor (Annex). The problem is, I work at home as a freelancer, and I try to stick the time in the middle of the day (mid afternoon, rather) to get out and sprint across the waterfront on my route - but first, I need to get down to the waterfront. This is the part I dread before every time I go out. I'm a seasoned city cyclist, but I use my other bike for that - an older Peugeot that's perfectly outfitted for city riding (and it's NOT a single/fixed gear, thank you very much), but the jog from Bloor to Queens Quay is terrible no matter the route. Clipless SPD-SL pedals and shoes are terrible for stop-and-go cycling, streetcar tracks everywhere which don't go well with 700x23c tires, etc. It's just a bad experience and it puts me off the whole ride. I have to keep my left pedal at minimum tension so I'm able to pop it in and out a few dozen times over at the beginning and end of every single ride, just to avoid falling over like a tipped cow.

Now, there are a couple things I need to consider moving forward: The route to the waterfront, and the fact that I use the waterfront every time.

I've slowly narrowed down the best routes from my place to the water over the last couple years, and a couple have come out on top:
  • Side streets down from the Annex to King (where they end), E to Bathurst, S on Bathurst to Front, E on Front to Yonge
  • S on Spadina from Bloor to Queens Quay (the terrible part being the exceptionally common door-related accidents tha happen between College and Queen, as well as the lane changes in heavy traffic (always) just before the Gardener)
Does anybody know of a better possible route off hand? The idea is to spend as little time as possible in the middle of the city, like I said, it's just a terrible experience and I'd like to do as as little of it as possible.

The other thing is my route as a whole - I absolutely love the waterfront because it means -zero- stops for often entire weekday rides (~40k) apart from the turnaround, and I've been meaning to get back on the Don Valley trail (perhaps in the next couple days), but other than those routes for shorter rides I'm not sure where else I could go. For long rides I hop on the GO train and get off at Browns Line or Port Credit to skip the city nonsense (and a particular 15k length of path I've done so many times I'm a danger to myself riding it for fear of falling asleep), but this of course means setting aside an additional 2 hours for the there and back trips, which I can't do for my shorter rides during the week.


Anyways, lengthy & jumbled post, but I'm hoping somebody an suggest some alternative routes/strategies for me - I really want to get back to riding 5x a week.

Thanks for reading!
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Old 07-16-10, 10:27 PM   #2
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Ugh, I'd never ride on Spadina! Way too busy. Have you tried the bike lane on St. George, Beverly and down? It's route 35 on map 10. http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/map/index.htm

If you really want to avoid riding on city streets, why won't you take a Bathurst bus as far south as it goes? That's what the racks are for, why not use them?

Also, try looking up some routes here: http://www.ridethecity.com/toronto

For a longer ride, you could take the subway (you will be fine taking your bike on in off peak hours) to Royal York and take the Humber trail south to the lake and across going east. Nice ride.
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Old 07-18-10, 08:52 AM   #3
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+1 on the St George/Beverly route.

I was out yesterday and can't help noticing that while we have wonderful new, wide waterfront trails with separate pedestrian paths approaching Humber Bay from the east, the Don Valley Trail is in a sad state. On some stretches it's much narrower than a single lane of the newer trails, and sight lines are terrible due to vegetation and other obstructions. Particularly south of Pottery Road there are tooth-jarring bumps caused by washouts and tree roots etc, and there are long stretches where silt left by the flooding several weeks ago still hasn't disappeared. It really needs a good renovation.

While we are at it, let's see the loose gravel trail down to the Bailey Bridge on the Leslie Street Spit from the north paved, the same as the one on the other side. Other than that, a loop on the Spit is a great workout on a road bike. The new asphalt beyond the bridge is fantastic.

I suppose I should be sending this to the Toronto Cycling Committee, but they seem to have more time for commuters than recreational riders
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Old 07-19-10, 07:36 AM   #4
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Another vote for the St George/Beverly bike lane route. You cut past the Rogers Centre after King Street and you're right at the waterfront.

Just watch the stop signs heading north. There's one sign that is totally meaningless for bikes, and I've seen cops lurking just up the road from there waiting to write a scarily expensive ticket.
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Old 07-20-10, 03:39 PM   #5
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Why not take Palmerston to Queen, Tecumseth to Wellington, Wellington to Strachan, and Strachan down to the bike path?
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