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Old 02-27-12, 12:10 PM   #1
vgXhc
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Route Advice: Toronto to KW

I'm currently planning a ride from Montreal to Waterloo. From Montreal to Toronto it's pretty straight-forward, with the Route Verte/Waterfront Trail. But how do I get from Downtown Toronto to Kitchener-Waterloo? I suppose one would follow the Waterfront trail until you're out of the worst of the GTA and then turn west/northwest. But I'm not familiar enough with the area to figure out a good way. Do any locals have suggestions? I can deal with traffic but obviously prefer quieter roads.

Thanks for you help!
Harald.
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Old 02-28-12, 08:41 AM   #2
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This blog post gives a ride report from KW to Toronto, hope it will be helpful. If you're aiming for the west side of KW, I find this to be a great route from Cambridge to KW.
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Old 02-28-12, 10:51 AM   #3
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Thanks a lot. That blog post has some good info. My destination is near Conestoga Mall, so it might make sense to take the route via Guelph that is linked from that blog post.

Harald.
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Old 02-28-12, 02:59 PM   #4
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97 has a lower speed limit than Hwy 8 and less hills than Safari. It allows a connection to Blair rd which has dedicated bike path, which in turn connects to other dedicated paths as it meets Homer Watson

Is there a reason for downtown TO? it's a bit indirect if Kitchener is the end game. If more about the ride than the location you may consider coming a fair bit further north, starting west at Hwy 9 and staying completely north of Brampton. Start going SW on old 24 through Erin on rural routes and taking yourself through Guelph instead.

The hills in Dundas are killer, but the trails are plenty.
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Old 02-29-12, 08:49 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by roobydoo View Post
97 has a lower speed limit than Hwy 8 and less hills than Safari. It allows a connection to Blair rd which has dedicated bike path, which in turn connects to other dedicated paths as it meets Homer Watson

Is there a reason for downtown TO? it's a bit indirect if Kitchener is the end game. If more about the ride than the location you may consider coming a fair bit further north, starting west at Hwy 9 and staying completely north of Brampton. Start going SW on old 24 through Erin on rural routes and taking yourself through Guelph instead.

The hills in Dundas are killer, but the trails are plenty.
The only reason for Downtown Toronto is that that's where the Waterfront Trail spits you out. I've considered bypassing the GTA on the North. But since almost everyone seems to take the Waterfront Trail I have a hard time figuring out a good route. Any advice would be appreciated.

Harald.
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Old 02-29-12, 11:38 AM   #6
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I'm local to Cambridge / Kitchener. Haven't gone any further east on a bike than Dundas so I'm at a bit of a loss there.

I just think once you get to Kingston you start heading too far south by taking waterfront trail.

If you don't know these tips already - which you may:
1 - zoom out on Google maps with the bike map feature turned on (under advanced settings usually in top right)
take a loook at the general flow of the roads, see how they tend to slope at an ESE direction, leaving you with limited routes once you've gone too far south. problem would be finding enough paved routes (with low speed limits or less traffic) to make the trip easier on effort and still safe.

2 -search the bikemap.net site and see if it comes up with anything...
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Old 03-02-12, 02:24 PM   #7
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Thanks for your suggestions.
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Old 03-10-12, 11:16 AM   #8
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Cycling through Toronto with a distant destination in mind is going to be s-l-o-w-w going whether you take city streets (many many many stoplights) or the Waterfront Trail, such as it is (much meandering, conflicts with toddlers, headphone-wearing rollerbladers, dogs barely controlled on those infernal adjustable leashes, etc.)

A nice alternative is to take the hourly commuter train along the Lakeshore Corridor through the most congested part of the Greater Toronto Area. You can get on as far east as Oshawa and get off as far west as Aldershot, a lot of stops but you don't have to change trains (usually) when you pass through Toronto Union downtown. You can take your bike on any train except those that are sure to be crammed with commuters: the rush hour trains that arrive at Union between 06h30 and 09h30 and those that depart Union between 15h30 and 18h30. You also can't take your bike through the main Union Station concourse during those hours, again because of the tides of commuters. Conveniently, there is a train leaving Union for the west at 18h35 if you were spending the day downtown and wanted to get out of Dodge for the night. (That train actually goes as far as Hamilton, although that's getting you rather off the path if you're heading for K-W.) The answer to a FAQ is yes, you can take your bike on a train during those embargo hours as long as you are going counter to the influx of commuters. So if you were staying overnight in Toronto and wanted to get an early start you could get on at any station west of Union (e.g. Exhibition which is only a few minutes by bike from Union) at any hour until 15h30. Just be aware that the occasional off-peak train might be really crowded at the finish of special events downtown and have no room for your bike -- for the summer daytime touring cyclist these would mostly be Toronto BlueJay baseball games and the two-week Canadian National Exhibition (late afternoons in August.) Edit: Oh, and the Caribana festival first weekend in August.

Check www.gotransit.com for details. Remember, only the Lakeshore West and the Lakeshore East lines have (hourly) train service during weekends and non-rush-hour weekdays. But all the GO buses that serve other routes have bike racks for a couple of bikes that seem to be rarely used.

If you get off at Aldershot, I suggest you avoid riding up Waterdown Road, the obvious route away from the station. It is going to be widened soon and the two-lane pavement has been allowed to deteriorate badly. It is a fairly steep climb, there is no shoulder, and traffic has increased a lot since the interchange with the freeway adjacent to the rail line was expanded. (The falsely reassuring bike lane disappears immediately past the stoplights controlling the interchange!) Snake Rd. or King Rd. are much better choices, still steep though.

Last edited by conspiratemus1; 03-10-12 at 08:17 PM.
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