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Old 08-20-06, 11:03 AM   #1
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Toronto to Niagara help?

I remember reading a thread a while back about possible routes for this, search aint working right now, but the thread wasnt very specific, at least for someone not familiar with those areas anyway.

In the early part of september Im supposed to meet a friend In Niagara. Rather than bus the whole way there from Sudbury I figured I'd greyhound to Toronto with a bicycle. (Id like to bike the whole thing, but hwy 69 is a hell hole for bicycles, no shoulder and 18 wheelers travelling at 90-100 buzzing you every 15 seconds.

Could anyone recommend routes to follow, paths, anything etc.., If you wanna trace out a route for me over a print screen of google maps that would be wonderful too! I guess I'll be starting out at the greyhound station in Toronto, which is on bay street, which is near the eatons center if I remember.

I'd like to make this as quick as possible, although judging by the distance it will likely be a whole days ride regardless. But I'd prefer not deal with terrible traffic (automotive speaking), and tons of red lights/stop signs etc.. thats my only worries really.

Im gonna take my lightest bike.. which is a 70s japanese single speed, only im gonna turn it into a 3 speed for the trip.. gonna run 46 X 16 in highest gear as much as possible!

Thanks if anyone could help!
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Old 08-20-06, 11:28 AM   #2
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Have you looked at the Waterfront Trail. Here is the link for you.
www.waterfronttrail.org/.
I have not ridden this trail as yet, but my girlfriend lives in Burlington ON and I have seen and driven along much of it from there to Niagara falls and the surrounding area. It looks like a nice ride I do plan on riding it once I finally move up there....which can't be soon enough. I can't wait to get out of New Jersey.

I hope this helps.

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Old 08-20-06, 01:20 PM   #3
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There is some discussion of the Waterfront Trail and some particular sections here: Toronto-Hamilton Commute. .

I'm surprised to hear Hwy 69 is bad. I rode on some of it just last summer (around and south of Parry Sound) and it was perfect for biking: smooth wide shoulders and not a lot of traffic. Oh well, I guess some sections are better than others... I never went as far north on it as Sudbury.
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Old 08-20-06, 02:38 PM   #4
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I just read the Toronto-Hamilton thread and it just goes to show how things are relative. I live in New Jersey, USA and I found the Trail from Oakville to Burlington to be very nice, but of course I am comparing it to where I usually have to ride down here. When you are used to the roads here anything with less traffic (which is just about everywhere) is like Heaven.

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Old 08-20-06, 05:29 PM   #5
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Wait, but you said you haven't ridden the trail yet. Am I missing something?

There are sections of this trail that are just lovely: smooth, wide, paved, lightly travelled. And then there are less-than-nice ones...

And if you want traffic... we've got traffic around here too, if you go to all the right (i.e., wrong) places.
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Old 08-20-06, 06:33 PM   #6
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It's about 160-170 km down to Niagara and it should take you most of the day depending on your speed and a bit on the route.

The quickest route, as far as I'm concerned, is as follows:

Toronto Bus station -> south to Lakeshore -> go west and follow the Martin Goodman Trail -> Humber Bay Butterfly Habitat -> north onto Lakeshore Blvd and head west -> south on Southdown -> continue west on Lakeshore Blvd -> Oakville -> Bronte Village -> Burlington -> south towards the Burlington Canal Bridge -> messy and slightly dangerous area but you want the North Service Rd. -> south on Welland Canal Trail -> east onto Thorold Stone Road -> sort of straight into Niagara Falls from there on in.

You should be able to follow the above using Google maps. The area of the North Service Rd. is not very scenic at all but it's relatively flat and will give you a fast straight shot towards the Welland Canal path. There are alternative routes that you could take that are a lot more scenic but it's a bit tougher and longer. Make sure that you bring along at least two bottles of water unless you're willing to purchase water along the way and lots of sunscreen.

Depending on what day you're coming in, I can escort you if you like, as far as the North Service Rd. I'm only willing to go that far with you since you're probably not interested in being up as early as I am when I do this sort of ride.

Some description of this ride is on my blog from two weeks back.
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Old 08-20-06, 07:47 PM   #7
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IronMac: If you could escort me that would be really awesome! It would be a lot less nerve wracking on my part as I wouldnt have to worry about getting lost and wondering if im going the correct way so much. I should arrive in TO as early as 6am. I'm gonna take the latest bus from Sudbury that way I can get an early start.. gonna try to sleep the whole boring bus ride there. This will be on the 7th - Sept 7th, 6am!

Let me know how tht sounds, and thanks!
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Old 08-21-06, 08:18 AM   #8
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divineAndbright, I'm not too sure about the date since I may not be in town but I can "walk" you through the entire route meaning that I could write out the entire route in much more detail than in my earlier post. The only areas of concern would be to get onto the Martin Goodman Trail (part of the Waterfront Trail) and following it until Lakeshore Blvd. The other difficult/strange parts would be along the Hamilton Beach/North Service Rd. area and getting off of the Welland Canal path onto Thorold Stone Rd. (there's an odd loop/exit that's easy to miss but you can keep going south another 5-6 kms to Highway 20 and take that into Lundy's Lane which will take you straight into the 'Falls anyways.)

I do not recommend following the Waterfront Trail in its entirety because it twists and turns quite a bit and would add scenic but unnecessary distance to your route.

PM me if you like for further contact info. I've already printed out, using Google Maps, the entire route after my last trip since if I were to do it again I certainly don't want to get lost in St Catherines!
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Old 08-21-06, 02:43 PM   #9
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I'll help you if you get lost in st catharines!
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Old 08-21-06, 03:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baj32161
I just read the Toronto-Hamilton thread and it just goes to show how things are relative. I live in New Jersey, USA and I found the Trail from Oakville to Burlington to be very nice, but of course I am comparing it to where I usually have to ride down here. When you are used to the roads here anything with less traffic (which is just about everywhere) is like Heaven.
It is a nice ride, but hardly a trail. You're riding along Lakeshore road.
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Old 08-21-06, 03:47 PM   #11
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Ironmac, how about doing the route on http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/
Save the route, and then we can all use/see it.

Hopefully my wife and I will be going to Winona on Saturday - Grimsby is the furthest I have ridden towards Niagara. North Service can get really boring (and tiring if there is a headwind - NOTHING to slow the wind down) and your mid-peninsula route mentioned on your blog sounds better.
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Old 08-21-06, 06:31 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Lolly Pop
I'll help you if you get lost in st catharines!
Thought you lived in Ireland or something like that! LOL!

Yeah, I got on St. Paul st (?), asked for directions...didn't like the look of Glenview/Glendale road when I saw it. Good thing the No. 3 Firestation was so friendly.

Later on, I went through the downtown core and it seemed a bit rundown but still had that small-town Canadian feel to it.

Last edited by IronMac; 08-21-06 at 06:39 PM.
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Old 08-21-06, 06:38 PM   #13
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Ironmac, how about doing the route on http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/
Save the route, and then we can all use/see it.

Hopefully my wife and I will be going to Winona on Saturday - Grimsby is the furthest I have ridden towards Niagara. North Service can get really boring (and tiring if there is a headwind - NOTHING to slow the wind down) and your mid-peninsula route mentioned on your blog sounds better.
Caspar, thanks for that link! It looks really interesting. I'll check it out tomorrow and see if I can fill it out so we can all use it.

You may see me down there...or not (there's a Linux gathering this Saturday in Toronto that I may attend) but you will certainly enjoy it. Winona's having their annual peach festival this weekend! Yummmmmmers.

The mid-peninsula route is definitely more interesting (it also has at least three more bathroom stops than the North Service Rd.) with at least two major hills/valleys near Jordan.

The only reason to take the North Service Rd. route is if you want a fast transit down to the 'Falls. It's dead flat and you don't have to think very much...just pump out the kilometers.

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Old 08-22-06, 01:52 AM   #14
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Thought you lived in Ireland or something like that! LOL!

Yeah, I got on St. Paul st (?), asked for directions...didn't like the look of Glenview/Glendale road when I saw it. Good thing the No. 3 Firestation was so friendly.

Later on, I went through the downtown core and it seemed a bit rundown but still had that small-town Canadian feel to it.
Yes, it's gone downhill since I left. Use to be a really smart downtown. Glad the firefighters were good to you. The downtown is like a hub with roads radiating out from it. Tough to navigate. Roads in the north of the town run parallel to Lake Ontario, while roads further south run parallel to the old canal.
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Old 08-22-06, 09:00 AM   #15
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IronMac or Lolly Pop: Could you tell me if there is a pedistrian bridge over the Welland Canal? I read your blog IronMac, and you mentioned a pedestrian walkway. I have the Golden Horseshoe street atlas, and it doesnt show a walkway, over the canal.

I am planning to ride from Windsor to Niagra Falls to Toronto, then back to Windsor, but not until next May. Since there is a thread on this, might as well ask now, even though its early. I was wondering the best way to cross the canal, since bikes arent aloud in tunnels, and some bridges sometimes.
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Old 08-22-06, 09:16 AM   #16
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IronMac or Lolly Pop: Could you tell me if there is a pedistrian bridge over the Welland Canal? I read your blog IronMac, and you mentioned a pedestrian walkway. I have the Golden Horseshoe street atlas, and it doesnt show a walkway, over the canal.

I am planning to ride from Windsor to Niagra Falls to Toronto, then back to Windsor, but not until next May. Since there is a thread on this, might as well ask now, even though its early. I was wondering the best way to cross the canal, since bikes arent aloud in tunnels, and some bridges sometimes.
Hi mudskipper99, yes, there is a "walkway" through the tunnel beneath the canal at Thorold Stone Rd. You cannot ride a bike through the tunnel (you can try but it'd be taking your life in your hands) but have to use the walkway and you can certainly ride on the walkway itself. It's a wild ride through it if you're coming from the 'Falls and there's no one ahead of you. It's a different story if someone is ahead of you.

Alternatively, in your case, there are a variety of ways of getting over the Canal. You can take the 58 (which turns into the 20 and which is what I did) which will take you into Lundy's Lane and straight into the 'Falls or you can take the 58a or even in Port Colborne there are several ways across the Canal. All roads in that area seem to head to the 'Falls.
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Old 08-22-06, 09:24 AM   #17
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Thanks to Caspar's excellent link to gmap-pedometer.com, I have done up a map that people can use:

http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=382522.

This is the fastest transit that I can think of since it is almost all flat. As Caspar pointed out, all bets are off if it is a windy day since the North Service Rd. has no shelter except for a noise barrier. There may be a straighter shot through St Catherines but I will look into that for another day.

As I mentioned before, there are a couple of vague areas such as going from the Hamilton Beach trail (thanks Caspar for reminding me of the name) to the North Service Rd., crossing the Burlington Canal Bridge (follow the signs or else run quickly!), and probably the most troublesome, going from the Welland Canal over to Thorold Stone Rd. I strongly suggest to anyone taking that crossing to magnify that location and print it out.
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Old 08-22-06, 09:40 AM   #18
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Hi mudskipper99, yes, there is a "walkway" through the tunnel beneath the canal at Thorold Stone Rd. You cannot ride a bike through the tunnel (you can try but it'd be taking your life in your hands) but have to use the walkway and you can certainly ride on the walkway itself. It's a wild ride through it if you're coming from the 'Falls and there's no one ahead of you. It's a different story if someone is ahead of you.

Alternatively, in your case, there are a variety of ways of getting over the Canal. You can take the 58 (which turns into the 20 and which is what I did) which will take you into Lundy's Lane and straight into the 'Falls or you can take the 58a or even in Port Colborne there are several ways across the Canal. All roads in that area seem to head to the 'Falls.
Thanks IronMac! No wonder I couldnt find that walkway, if its beneath the canal. That 58 that turns into the 20 looks like maybe a better way. I will mark that in my map book for when I go. Thanks again!
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Old 08-22-06, 10:39 AM   #19
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Thanks IronMac! No wonder I couldnt find that walkway, if its beneath the canal. That 58 that turns into the 20 looks like maybe a better way. I will mark that in my map book for when I go. Thanks again!
You're quite welcome! That route is absolutely flat and turns from rural suburb to dark underbelly of the Niagara Peninsula in less than 6 miles. I swear, there must have been at least three strip clubs along that route!

The locals told me to keep on heading straight along the 20 to hit the 'Falls. I made the mistake of taking a turn and ending up at MarineLand along another road. It took me about 3-5 kilometers out of my way.

Have fun on your trip!
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Old 08-22-06, 12:22 PM   #20
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yes, good luck!
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Old 08-23-06, 06:09 PM   #21
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It is a nice ride, but hardly a trail. You're riding along Lakeshore road.
Yes I did notice that...but I thought it was still a part of the Waterfront Trail. Was I mistaken?
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Old 08-24-06, 12:49 PM   #22
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Yes I did notice that...but I thought it was still a part of the Waterfront Trail. Was I mistaken?
Yes and no. The Waterfront Trail follows part of the North Service Rd. You'd be surprised at how often you find the Trail's signs on the on- and off-ramps to the North Service Rd.
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Old 08-24-06, 06:40 PM   #23
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Okie dokie....thanks. In fact I will be up there next weekend.

Cheers,

Brian
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Old 08-24-06, 07:48 PM   #24
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IronMac: thanks for the pedomap thingy, I'll be going by this on my trip.. I'll let you all know how it went, when I get back!
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Old 08-25-06, 02:36 AM   #25
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baj...you're welcome. Have fun!

divine...you're welcome. My schedule is still up in the air but drop by once in a while!
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