Many of you know I have been planning a trip along the Lakefront Trail from Toronto to Hamilton and then along the rail trails to Lake Erie and back to Toronto along the Lakefront Trail.
Toronto to Hamilton. What can I say about the Lakefront Trail? It appears and disappears, sometimes leaving you in harms way, but I donít know how else you would get from Toronto to Hamilton. It is worthwhile picking up a copy of the Waterfront Trail Mapbook from MapArt at $CDN 10.
In Burlington you get an option of going into Hamilton or heading south along the Lake. I took the former as one of the great pubs in our country is in Hamilton. I also have relatives there. I would suggest avoiding going down Spring Garden Road and instead head out onto Plains Road. There is a pseudo bike lane most of the way along and you can avoid two killer hills.
If you decide to go into Hamilton check out the Winking Judge on Augusta, right near the GO transit station. They are bike friendly. If you have a very expensive bike you can bring it in and leave it near the bar. They always have a real ale on a hand pump and have a great selection of otherwise unobtainable ales on CO2.
This time they had Corporal Punishment on the engine. The publican told me the ABV, and itís in the 8% range but I had three so I have now forgotten. For the more sober they usually have Scottish Irish Session Ale. At around 4%, this is a great beer that wonít bite back. A real treat. Dark, malty with a hop bitterness that would make a hop farmer blush.
I had already checked out the start of the rail trail in Hamilton. I started through the Corktown Park on a rainy cold Thursday morning. The trail takes you up the side of Hamilton mountain, more properly known as the Niagara Escarpment. Trains are notorious for not liking hills, so the grade doesnít get more than about 5%. I did it in10th gear out of 21. The views are of the Ďdark satanic millí variety as, letís face it, Hamilton is a very ugly city.
Once at the top, the trail leaves the old rail bed and heads over to a park where it ends. I spoke to a couple of locals who directed me to Rymal Road to catch up with it again. They said it didnít connect because of an expressway. Rymal Road is like a narrow two lane expressway so I rode on the wide dirt verge until I found the trail. It headed back towards the old trail, but I didnít investigate to see if I could have avoided the detour.
The trail abruptly ends at Haldibrook Road, some kilometres from the advertised Caledonia on the map.
I decided that since I was fighting a headwind and losing time like a drunken sailor, that I would then head directly to Smithville where my reserved Bed and Breakfast was. Good choice it was too, as I didnít get in until around 4:00 and was really exhausted.
This entire area is packed with vinyards, so if you want you can easily turn a trip into a wine crawl, although I would not consume alcohol while biking.
I left Smithville just after 8:00 and hit County Road 14. It wasnít too busy, but it got really foggy and cold, so I was thrilled to get to Mud road. It is paved and has a .5M wide lane that made me more confident when I heard a truck behind. I was warned by the B&B lady not to go down Park Road because it was too steep. I headed down Woolverton and found the descent acceptable. I then hit the North Service Road paralleling the QEW. Itís not as bad as you might think and soon I was in Hamilton where the Waterfront Trail starts again. With all the new trails, it was all off-road from there until I hit the GO Transit train in Burlington.