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  1. #1
    cycleobsidian
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    Is anyone doing (or has done) the Waterfront trail ride?

    Hello,

    I'm thinking of doing the Waterfront trail ride. Is anyone else going from this forum? Has anyone else gone? I would love to hear about your experiences.

    It is an 8 day, 700 km ride from Niagara on the Lake to Cornwall, from July 2 to July 10. The maximum distance in one day is 145 kilometers. I'm not sure I'm ready, but I love a challenge!

  2. #2
    LMLN Turd Ferguson's Avatar
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    I rode around Lake Ontario about 4 years ago and found the WT to be a pleasant ride, far better than the US side. It's relatively flat and plenty of nice rest stops. You'll enjoy it. I camped at Provincial Parks which were decent, but kinda expensive. The privately owned parks I stayed at ( near Sandbanks ) were also nice... was able to do laundry, swim in a pool or lake

    Can't go wrong with that trip... should something go awry you can always jump on the VIA train home.

  3. #3
    Forever CLYDE ! cyberpep's Avatar
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    Why not save yourself the cost and just cycle the Waterfront Trail yourself. It stops near my home and seems well organized but I would rather spend the cost of the trip on other things. I have ridden the WT several times as I live on it. If you do ride it do yourself a favour and avoid Toronto unless you really want to go into the city. Many times I have taken my bike on the GO train from Oshawa to Aldershot. That saves a days ride, avoids Toronto and is cheap.
    Lots of luck and happy touring.
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  4. #4
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    I live right by the Waterfront trail and ride on it on almost a daily basis from Scarborough to past Whitby. I've heard a lot of good things about the trip and I'd strongly recommend it but you'll have to be prepared by training for it. You didn't mention what sort of long rides you've done before, what sort of terrain, and if you've done any group rides, but for the most part the Waterfront Trail is pretty easy.

    I've heard that some people skip the section from Union station in Toronto to Pickering partly because of the traffic in some sections and partly because of the hills (ravines) . I actually ride a lot on those hilly sections and I don't find them anywhere near as bad as a lot of other places I've been. As Cyberpep says, there's no reason why you can't go on a self guided tour of the trail. The maps are pretty good and the signage has really improved in a lot of sections.

    On the other hand, the nice thing about going on an organized tour is option of having a support vehicle (or sag wagon) to carry a lot of your gear. I'm not a big fan of carrying a lot of stuff on my bike and I prefer to travel as light as possible.

    The other thing is that it's simply nice to be in the company of like minded people. It's simply more fun when there's more people riding with you.

  5. #5
    cycleobsidian
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanknm View Post
    On the other hand, the nice thing about going on an organized tour is option of having a support vehicle (or sag wagon) to carry a lot of your gear. I'm not a big fan of carrying a lot of stuff on my bike and I prefer to travel as light as possible.

    The other thing is that it's simply nice to be in the company of like minded people. It's simply more fun when there's more people riding with you.
    Yes, I think I would like to do it as a group. I do not normally ride with others because I'm not interested in riding at any fast pace, but I certainly ride a lot so I can probably handle it.

    I think the camping might be difficult but the bed and breakfast alternative is very expensive... I'm still deciding, but I'm leaning towards attending!

  6. #6
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    I did the GWAT two years ago. All in all, it was a good experience and I'm glad I did it, but it was by far the most expensive tour I have ever been on. I plan to ride the same route again, but I will do it on my own and likely go right around the lake. Most of the Waterfront Trail route is excellent and well-marked. However, the year I did the route, the "garbage strike" in Toronto forced us to take the Go Train from the CNE to Pickering. If you're riding a tandem or a long recumbent, you needed help. Fortunately, the Tour Group helped me out. There was a section around Darlington that was "single track" and it was necessary to lift bikes up and over deer fences at least twice. I was surprised to be spending an additional $50 a day on meals, as what was advertised and/or included in thetour fee, was "skimpy". I needed to spend an extra night in Cornwall in order to get the only VIA train that would accept bikes the following day. It all added up. Rewarding, but expensive. (Along with 20 other Canadians, I am riding Bike Florida at the end of March, which is a similar tour. $450 for 7 days, meals, week long parking, maps and cue sheets included.)

  7. #7
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    Um.. yeah.. there is that issue of "how do you get back" ?
    At any age: Always carry a spare.
    After age 50: Always carry a spare and try to get rid of the one around the middle.
    Km for last year: 2,844.02 km
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  8. #8
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    Did It Last Summer

    I did this tour last summer. This was my first tour and I enjoyed it.
    Met several people who had done it several times and were planning on doing it again.
    I paid for the bus back to Niagara on the Lake, as I left my car in the free parking lot at the hotel.
    I thought that the organization was very good for the most part, but around Toronto it was a mess. The Waterfront Trail signs were missing in many places.
    I bought the meal package. I am still not sure if it was worth it in a $ value, but it made sure I always had food.
    Last summer the weather was hot, Picton was 47 C., no rain on the ride, except the last night.
    I was thinking about doing it again this summer but instead we are doing the BON TON which has more climbing.
    All in all the Waterfront ride was fun and I may do it next year as it is the last year for it.
    Any questions just ask

  9. #9
    cycleobsidian
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    I ride a fair bit, on all terrains, so while I don't think I'll be near the front of the pack, I can probably manage it.

    Part of the reason that I want to go on the tour, even if it is expensive, is because I am new to cycle touring. I am hoping that I really get the bug then move beyond Ontario next year.

    I also like the idea of being with such a large group, and I also like the idea of supporting a group that supports the Waterfront trail and a low impact way of enjoying it.

    47 degrees! Wow, that's hot!

    Morgster, were there very many people going alone? My husband isn't interested so I will be going alone and am kind of nervous that I will be alone in a pack of people who know each other.

    Why is next year the last year that they are doing it?

  10. #10
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    Do not know why next year is last year. I thought that was on their website.
    I was surprised at the number of females on this ride, there were ages and ability and types of bikes.
    It was not a race, support staff was great, everybody was friendly.
    I really enjoyed it.

  11. #11
    gzo
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    Did you guys actually take road bikes or a touring bike with "wider" tires?

  12. #12
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    My friend and I used road bikes, but there touring and mountain bikes.

  13. #13
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    It all depends on what you feel you would be comfortable with and what you want to carry.

    Some folks like to carry a huge amount of stuff (support wagon/truck or not) with handlebar bags, panniers, kitchen sink etc. Check your owners manual for the maximum weight limits on the frame. That includes cargo (like a seatbag etc.) and yourself. Some people also like to have fenders etc.. Most road bikes won't let you mount that sort of stuff.

    My own bike for example has a cargo weight limit of 5 pounds (Specialized Roubaix) and that's for a seatbag only. I've got a very small seatbag that has 1 spare tube, a CO2 inflater, a multitool and some tire levers and that weighs about 3 pounds. Aside from water bottles, full carbon road bikes aren't meant to carry stuff, period.

    Some road bikes with an alloy frame and a carbon front fork will allow you to mount stuff on the bike.

    The GWTA folks don't recommend two things in their FAQ. http://www.waterfronttrail.org/gwta_...Whatkindofbike
    Don't ride with knobby mountain bike tires (you'll be dead on your feet at the end of day so put on slicks instead) and "Lightweight, narrow tires that can be pumped to a very high pressure are not suitable" ( 700c x 23 road bike tires pumped at 120+ psi will be sliced to ribbons on some sections).

    My guess is that you could survive on 700c x 25 or 700c x 28 on a road bike as long as they were something like Specialized Armadillos or Continental Gatorskins.
    At any age: Always carry a spare.
    After age 50: Always carry a spare and try to get rid of the one around the middle.
    Km for last year: 2,844.02 km
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgster View Post
    My friend and I used road bikes, but there touring and mountain bikes.
    How did you manage with road shoes ?
    At any age: Always carry a spare.
    After age 50: Always carry a spare and try to get rid of the one around the middle.
    Km for last year: 2,844.02 km
    Km this year: 172 km

    2011 Specialized SL2 Roubaix Comp
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  15. #15
    gzo
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanknm View Post
    It all depends on what you feel you would be comfortable with and what you want to carry.

    Some folks like to carry a huge amount of stuff (support wagon/truck or not) with handlebar bags, panniers, kitchen sink etc. Check your owners manual for the maximum weight limits on the frame. That includes cargo (like a seatbag etc.) and yourself. Some people also like to have fenders etc.. Most road bikes won't let you mount that sort of stuff.

    My own bike for example has a cargo weight limit of 5 pounds (Specialized Roubaix) and that's for a seatbag only. I've got a very small seatbag that has 1 spare tube, a CO2 inflater, a multitool and some tire levers and that weighs about 3 pounds. Aside from water bottles, full carbon road bikes aren't meant to carry stuff, period.

    Some road bikes with an alloy frame and a carbon front fork will allow you to mount stuff on the bike.

    The GWTA folks don't recommend two things in their FAQ. http://www.waterfronttrail.org/gwta_...Whatkindofbike
    Don't ride with knobby mountain bike tires (you'll be dead on your feet at the end of day so put on slicks instead) and "Lightweight, narrow tires that can be pumped to a very high pressure are not suitable" ( 700c x 23 road bike tires pumped at 120+ psi will be sliced to ribbons on some sections).

    My guess is that you could survive on 700c x 25 or 700c x 28 on a road bike as long as they were something like Specialized Armadillos or Continental Gatorskins.
    I did go through that website, I'm trying to figure out if I would be able to ride my CAAD9 and be able to carry around all that they recommend (minus the tubes and pump and water I already usually take with me on rides).

  16. #16
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    I have a Giant road bike, carried 2 large bottles of water in cages, large as I could find seat bag. In it I carried 2 tubes, tire levers, tools,camera, cash, pump on frame, clip in road shoes, pair of sandals tied on, plus some stuff in 3 bike shirt pockets.
    My partner on a Trek road bike also carried 2 water bottles in cages, 1 liter camelback, road shoes, sandals, 2 tubes, pump, tire irons, sunscreen, extra towel for drying after her numerous swims, camera, blackberry, cash, some food.
    We both had 23x700 tires, also made room to get a few beers on the way to the camp at night.
    No flats, no problems. just fun!!

  17. #17
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    I think that you should be able to. You'll probably want to go with 700c x 25 instead of the 23's that are on there and that's only because of some the parts that are gravel. You won't be carrying all your stuff like a hermit crab so I don't see how riding a CADD9 could be a problem.
    At any age: Always carry a spare.
    After age 50: Always carry a spare and try to get rid of the one around the middle.
    Km for last year: 2,844.02 km
    Km this year: 172 km

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morgster View Post
    I have a Giant road bike, carried 2 large bottles of water in cages, large as I could find seat bag. In it I carried 2 tubes, tire levers, tools,camera, cash, pump on frame, clip in road shoes, pair of sandals tied on, plus some stuff in 3 bike shirt pockets.
    My partner on a Trek road bike also carried 2 water bottles in cages, 1 liter camelback, road shoes, sandals, 2 tubes, pump, tire irons, sunscreen, extra towel for drying after her numerous swims, camera, blackberry, cash, some food.
    We both had 23x700 tires, also made room to get a few beers on the way to the camp at night.
    No flats, no problems. just fun!!
    Sounds about right to me and yeah sandals are essential. Sometimes I use a fanny pack to stuff things that don't fit into pockets (stuff like surgical gloves - for changing tubes, extra zip ties, food bars etc.. ) . It's good to hear that you can get away with 700c x 23 tires.

    I've been told by some guys to get some camelback water bottles, they swear by them .. no chewing on the spout to get them open etc..
    At any age: Always carry a spare.
    After age 50: Always carry a spare and try to get rid of the one around the middle.
    Km for last year: 2,844.02 km
    Km this year: 172 km

    2011 Specialized SL2 Roubaix Comp
    2007 Trek 7100

  19. #19
    gzo
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    Thanks for the replies guys. I feel a bit more confident about this now. Now I just gotta save up some money for the trip. I'm still paying for school at the moment.

  20. #20
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    You will do fine on this ride.
    Last year was great, no rain till the last night, Picton was 47 degrees, partner stopped to swim in the river a lot, a lot of ice cream. There was a real good story in the Toronto Star last year, in the wheels section, called something like " Why we ride"
    Do not worry, just go, ride have fun and when it is over you will start planning your next tour.
    Mine is Bon Ton this summer, already talking about the following summer of 2012!!

  21. #21
    Come on you Spurs! renton's Avatar
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    I would really like to do a tour like this this summer but I've never done one before and I don't know anyone who would join me.
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  22. #22
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    Water front trail

    Here is a small video of the Ajax section.



    I did a very short one yesterday, It snowed and it rained. the winds were 45km when I checked the local weather. I think I could have walked faster going up a hill.

  23. #23
    cycleobsidian
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    Quote Originally Posted by renton View Post
    I would really like to do a tour like this this summer but I've never done one before and I don't know anyone who would join me.
    It seems the tour is set up for a lot of people who come alone. They try to help people get to know one another by encouraging small groupings of people. It is probably the best way to ride if you are alone as there are 199 other riders; likely someone you are compatible with!

    My husband is now going (with his car) so I will be riding alone. I'm sure someone will tag along with me!

  24. #24
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    It has been kind of breezy the last few days. I've been out on the Scarborough sections between the Rouge river and Highland creek the last couple of days and it's been a bit slow (and cold) when riding into the wind so it's been down in the drops while keeping an eye on the cadence. If the weather gods are willing then you'll be getting a tailwind for a good part of your tour so wind shouldn't be too much of an issue.

    The section between the Rouge Hill GO station and the Rouge beach won't be finished until the spring of 2012 (everybody in the neighbourhood can't wait for it to be finished ) so if you do go, you'll be riding on Lawrence ave. for a little bit. The nice thing about the trail is that it's certainly a lot smoother (in most sections ) than the streets in Toronto.

    When I mentioned to my brother inlaw that the Roubaix that I'm riding was designed for racing on cobblestones he replies with "Oh ! it's perfect for around here! "
    Anyway, you'll only be on them for a few hours.

    The one advantage to all that wind in the summer ? It blows the bugs away, especially those massive swarms of midges that come out, well, most of them not to mention those no see ums that like to get into the vents in your helmet. I think I'll get one of those nylon skull cap thingies to keep the bugs out this year.

    I wouldn't mind doing a tour this year but my wife has other ideas on a different kind of touring (kayaking in Georgian Bay).

  25. #25
    Come on you Spurs! renton's Avatar
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    I signed up for the Waterfront Trail ride. I plan on taking the train to St. Catharines on the day before the start then ride my bike to Niagara on the Lake and camp there over night. My brother will pick me up at the end in Riviere Beaudette.
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