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  1. #1
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    I've just gotten back into bicycling after a several year hiatus. Now that I have my new bike (a Fuji Touring), I'm already itching to do a mini-tour over the Victoria Day weekend (21-23 May). I did my first long (60K) ride this past weekend and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was very manageable and I'm not hurting from it.

    Any ideas for approx. 100K/day jaunts starting and ending in Toronto? I plan to camp, btw. One idea I had was:

    Day 1: Toronto to Cobourg
    Day 2: Cobourg to Presqu'ile and back
    Day 3: Cobourg to Toronto

    Anyone have other suggestions?

    Mark
    Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men. Ayn Rand

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    Personnally, I really like the area around Kitchener/Waterloo... lots of small roads, nice countryside and a couple of interesting attractions. The sunday market at St-Jacobs is a nice place to eat for cheap and buy a couple of summer sausages for cheap (they'll last for months in good conditions). It is, on the other side, a weird touristic place so you might want to stay away from it after your snack.

    You could also try to follow the Niagara escarpment for awhile using small roads... it's the closest thing to a hill in the area and it's a very nice geological feature.

  3. #3
    Gordon P
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    I've only canoed this route, but it is part of the Waterfront Trail and I can only image how nice it would be to cycle (with the exception of the GTA section). Presqu'ile is a very busy place for the May 24 holiday, so it may be late to book a spot. Rough camping is a posability.

  4. #4
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    You didn't say if you would drive. I just did a shakedown tour last weekend to Paris, Ontario. It was mostly by trail, with a small amount of on road exposure.

    Prince Edward County is very bike friendly, but biking from Toronto will expose you to a lot of traffic. The Lake Front Trail ends in Scarborough and the only way through is Kingston Road. (ugh).

    If you are just getting back into this I suggest a trip that will be memorable as well as enjoyable. Don't try to go too far especially if it might be into a howling headwind. If you are camping, you may not be anywhere near a campground. Are you prepared to stealth camp?

    What ever you decide have fun. That's why we are here.

  5. #5
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    Toronto Guelph Toronto. via Elmira

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the ideas so far. I don't have a car, so I hadn't planned to drive at all. I guess the GO train is an option to extend my range, though I don't know what the schedules are for the holiday.

    No stealth camping for me, I think. Motels are OK, though, if necessary.
    Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men. Ayn Rand

  7. #7
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwickens
    Thanks for the ideas so far. I don't have a car, so I hadn't planned to drive at all. I guess the GO train is an option to extend my range, though I don't know what the schedules are for the holiday.

    No stealth camping for me, I think. Motels are OK, though, if necessary.
    I did a nice tour along the lakefront to Niagara Falls. There are a few nasty bits beside the QEW, but as a whole good. You could stop in Burlington for the night. Lots of funky motels by the Burlington Beach. Good B&Bs too!

    On the weekend the GO train will take you to Oakville. They take bikes on every coach but the handicap where the ramp is. Take the south exit at Oakville and ride down Trafalgar Road to Lake Shore Road. An hour will get you to Burlington. You then have an option of following a trail to Hamilton and then the Hamilton Brantford Trail or heading south to St Catherines and later Niagara. Depending on your experience and other factors, you might want to overnight in St Kiits. Again, there are lots of choices for motels and B&Bs. but few campsights close to the trails.

    I don't want to push stealth camping, but unless you are in a Winnebago it makes more sense to stop in a nice quiet and private location than it does to make your way to an authorised camp siight, (often up a hill, 12 kilometres from your trail).

    I credit card toured (B&Bs, motels) for years before I started camping. Even now I do a 2 to 1 ratio.

    If you go the latter route you will have a great time. Stop in at the wineries on the way. They all have free samplings
    Last edited by stokell; 05-11-05 at 05:27 AM.

  8. #8
    Faster than a SwiftTurtle
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    I highly agree with taking the Go Train to the edges of the city. Every year I ride to Kingston on a mid-July night. You just gotta avoid rush hour trains, and on weekends the trains stop at Pickering and Oakville I believe.

    By using the Go Train you can extend eastward into Prince Edward County area, many nice places to visit there, nice beaches, small towns, pretty quiet roads.

  9. #9
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    On weekdays you can take a VIA train to Belleville. That gets you right into Prince Edward County. Each weekday there is one train inbound and one outbound with a baggage car that will take a bike for $15.

    roosmachine is right about the GO train. You have limited station access on weekends and you must travel against the rush during the week. There is no charge for bikes on GO trains. GO buses will not take bikes.

  10. #10
    Virtulized geek MsMittens's Avatar
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    Oh, Kingston Road/Highway 2 out of Toronto ain't *THAT* bad. I've ridden it regularly as a training run (from downtown to where it meets Highway 401). Heck, I've taken Highway 2 all the way to the Quebec border (twice!). That said, going to Niagara would be a good option. Presqu'ile would be ok but I suspect that it might be a bit cold (not that the Weather Network is accurate for 24 hour predictions let alone 14 days!) and the seagull colony that I got the joy of sleep near last time are a tad noisy at night.

    I'd do the B&B option. There are quite a few if you look around enough. Hedney's Toronto-Montreal trip lists quite a few sites to stop at. Also, pay a visit to the local Ontario Travel tourist office as they will often have brochures for B&Bs, motels, hotels and campgrounds (I know the one downtown in the Atrium on the Bay has this). BTW, the new 2005 provincial and private campground guides are out.

  11. #11
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    Great suggestions! I rode Kingston Road out of Toronto on my last trip (over 10 years ago -- kof!) and don't recall having any problem with it, so I won't exclude it as an option. I have been to the travel office to load up on brochures. With those in hand and this thread, I'll finalize my plans this weekend, hopefully. Thanks for all the help.

  12. #12
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    OK, I've decided on my trip! I'm taking the train to Oakville Saturday AM and riding from there to Selkirk Provincial Park on the north shore of Lake Erie. I have a tent site reserved there for two nights. I figured since it's my first trip in a decade I might as well play it safe and not commit myself to riding all three days. But if I feel OK, I expect to be on the bike all day Sunday exploring the area (maybe to Turkey Point and back?) before returning to Selkirk. Thanks for all your suggestions and if you have any specific route ideas or must-sees given the above plans, they will be appreciated!

    Mark

  13. #13
    Virtulized geek MsMittens's Avatar
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    Good luck. Realize that we expect to see lots of photos and stories when you get back.

  14. #14
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwickens
    OK, I've decided on my trip! I'm taking the train to Oakville Saturday AM and riding from there to Selkirk Provincial Park on the north shore of Lake Erie. I have a tent site reserved there for two nights. I figured since it's my first trip in a decade I might as well play it safe and not commit myself to riding all three days. But if I feel OK, I expect to be on the bike all day Sunday exploring the area (maybe to Turkey Point and back?) before returning to Selkirk. Thanks for all your suggestions and if you have any specific route ideas or must-sees given the above plans, they will be appreciated!

    Mark
    It will be a full days run, so start with the first train to Oakville. From the GO station take the south exit (it has an elevator) and it gets you to Trafalgar Rd. Bike down to Lake Shore Road and hang a right to Burlington.

    At Burlington go past the QEW access and follow the Waterfront Trail signs. At this point it is a bit hilly but carry on along the route past the golf course and past a park that extends to both sides of the road. I'm sorry, I don't know the name, but at this point you must turn right and go up to Plains Rd or you will end up trying to manage very steep hills. Bike along Plains Road. There is a bike lane (more or less), past the Royal Botanical Gardens and into Hamilton on York Street.

    You now have the choice of doing the Hamilton Brantford Rail Trail or the Chippewa Trail , the latter I believe is much more direct. It is hard to hook up to because it is not well marked but if I remember correctly you can get to it from Corktown Park.

    Head for the GO rail station because the trail follows the old Toronto Hamilton Buffalo rail line to almost Caledonia so it is SE of the station starting in a park on the south side of the tracks. If I remember correctly it breaks at the top of Hamilton Mountain. Try to get back on it soon because the mountain highway traffic is wicked.

    The last time I was on it the rail trail ended before Caledonia, but if you take McKenzie Road down to County Road 9, then go west towards Hagersville and drop down south on Cheapside Road you should make Selkirk Provincial Park.

    Unless you are much faster than I am fully loaded, if you leave Toronto at 7:30, you might reach there before sunset. I suggest a contingency plan as this is your first tour in a while.
    Last edited by stokell; 05-16-05 at 08:40 PM.

  15. #15
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    Wow, that's great information. Thanks, stokell. That will definitely save me some time and trouble. I'd actually been thinking of taking Beach Blvd under the Skyway Bridge, but I guess that would make for a longer route if I want to use the Hamilton Brantford Rail Trail? The Chippewa trail seems equally close to either route, but I can't find much information online about it.

    As for timing, this past weekend I loaded up the bike for a trial run and did just shy of 50K in 2.5 hrs (in the rain!), so I'm feeling fairly confident I can do the 100-120K by sunset. (I do plan to be leaving on the first train to Oakville.) But I will think about a plan B to have ready should I discover I've been too optimistic.

    Thanks again.

  16. #16
    Virtulized geek MsMittens's Avatar
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    Uh.. you might want to have a plan C on how to get there since the GO engineers might go on strike and thus, no trains.

  17. #17
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    Yeah, that was great news to wake up to this morning! I've got my fingers crossed.

  18. #18
    Senior Member stokell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mwickens
    Wow, that's great information. Thanks, stokell. That will definitely save me some time and trouble. I'd actually been thinking of taking Beach Blvd under the Skyway Bridge, but I guess that would make for a longer route if I want to use the Hamilton Brantford Rail Trail? The Chippewa trail seems equally close to either route, but I can't find much information online about it.
    The great think about the Chippewa Trail is it takes you up the Niagara escarpment. If you follow along the Burlington Beach route you'll have one heck of a hill to get up. Trains don't like hills so rail trails are graded well.

    Hamilton Tourism has maps as well as Ontario Tourism. There is an information centre at Dundas and Yonge in the Atrium on Bay. The latter have a recreation map of the Golden Horseshoe by Advermap. You will need map 2.
    Last edited by stokell; 05-17-05 at 04:43 PM.

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