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  1. #1
    Grateful Tread brawny's Avatar
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    Completed Tour - Lap of Lake Ontario

    Hi Folks,

    My wife and I just finished our summer tour around Lake Ontario a couple weeks back, and I've found the time to journal it on crazy guy. Here's the link in case anyone is interested: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/laplakeontario2010

    It was a good tour. The weather was great, we got some good exercise, had some fun, and proved that even overweight old folks can tour! :-)

    Brawny
    TV Sucks. Ride Your Bike!

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    Senior Member mvnsnd's Avatar
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    Read through your NY part since its in my backyard. Nice write-up. Loved the pictures. Looks like you had a great trip!


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    Jeff

  3. #3
    Go Ride tacreamer's Avatar
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    Grateful Tread brawny's Avatar
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    Thanks Jeff! We had a great time in NY. Very rural, and the folks are friendly. I like the area, and we'll probably plan some touring there in the future. There are some ACA routes in NY/VT that look interesting. Perhaps another year...
    TV Sucks. Ride Your Bike!

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    Grateful Tread brawny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tacreamer View Post
    Yep - someone from bike forums sent me that link when I was planning our route. We altered ours a bit to suite our purposes, as there were places we wanted to check out, like the Erie Canal trail. We took the ferry to Kingston rather than the bridge at Gananoque in order to save a bit of distance, and because the ferry sounded more fun than the bridge. The LOL route went north of Prince Edward County near Belleville as well, so they missed some great cycling territory there.

    The other obvious difference is that our tour took 10 riding days, as we were on vacation and taking our time in order to enjoy the journey - not trying to get it done in under 75 hours to meet a time criteria...

    Randonneurs are definitely a breed unto themselves... In fact, I'd say randonneurs are to cycle touring as ultramarathoners are to backpacking...
    TV Sucks. Ride Your Bike!

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    Nice Journal Brawny!

    I did almost the same route as you last year, but clockwise. I think you did the right thing going counter-clockwise.

    I'm thinking about lake Erie next year. Would you mind giving me your 2 cents on what steered you away from there? I'm just starting to look at maps.

    In case you're curious, my journal from last year was http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=5792&v=5C

    Thanks!

  7. #7
    Go Ride tacreamer's Avatar
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    Bravo on your journey, quite a nice write as well! I do plan on riding the LOL again in your style seems that I missed a few places by riding it in 61 hours and 10 minutes

    Bon route.

    Quote Originally Posted by brawny View Post
    Yep - someone from bike forums sent me that link when I was planning our route. We altered ours a bit to suite our purposes, as there were places we wanted to check out, like the Erie Canal trail. We took the ferry to Kingston rather than the bridge at Gananoque in order to save a bit of distance, and because the ferry sounded more fun than the bridge. The LOL route went north of Prince Edward County near Belleville as well, so they missed some great cycling territory there.

    The other obvious difference is that our tour took 10 riding days, as we were on vacation and taking our time in order to enjoy the journey - not trying to get it done in under 75 hours to meet a time criteria...

    Randonneurs are definitely a breed unto themselves... In fact, I'd say randonneurs are to cycle touring as ultramarathoners are to backpacking...

  8. #8
    Grateful Tread brawny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IvanK- View Post
    Nice Journal Brawny!

    I did almost the same route as you last year, but clockwise. I think you did the right thing going counter-clockwise.

    I'm thinking about lake Erie next year. Would you mind giving me your 2 cents on what steered you away from there? I'm just starting to look at maps.

    In case you're curious, my journal from last year was http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=5792&v=5C

    Thanks!
    Hi Ivan,

    I'm happy with the direction we chose as well. I was concerned that if we had done the Canadian side first, we might have been tempted to bail when we hit Kingston, rather than cross the border. By doing the US side first, we had to carry on around in order to get back home. Having finished the ride, I think riding the NY hills into the prevailing wind would have been a lot tougher.

    CGOAB seems to be down right now, but I would guess that I probably read your journal when preparing for our trip this year. I read everything I could find that matched searches on Lake Ontario or Erie Canal.

    We bailed on Lake Erie for a couple reasons. Firstly - my wife had a recurrence of some kidney stones a couple weeks before we were planning on going, and with health care being what it is, we thought it wiser to do something where we had a vehicle close by - so we drove/camped our way through Michigan up to Saulte Ste. Marie, and around the top of Lake Huron, and then biked Manitoulin Island for a few days. (Absolutely fabulous rural riding on Manitoulin, BTW!)

    I had reservations about doing Lake Erie based on some of the journals I'd read on crazy guy. Just about everyone talked about the poor road conditions, heavy traffic and lack of shoulders once you get out of NY. As well, there was mention of 'issues' around Cleveland in some of the parks. (I think it might have been Jamie Noble's journal that I'm referring too, but as I say, I can't get into CGOAB right now.)

    If you do decide to do Lake Erie next year, I can certainly vouch for the Canadian side of the lake, as we've ridden long stretches of it over the years. Not much traffic, fairly rural, and decent roads. I think the ACA has a connector route map that a lot of folks use to get from Michigan to NY through Ontario. FWIW - I also found that Google Streetview is a real help when verifying routes.

    Hope this helps!
    Brawny
    TV Sucks. Ride Your Bike!

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    Senior Member 1weasel's Avatar
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    Real pleasure riding/guiding from Cobourg to Oshawa. I'm still a bit amazed that you stayed upright going down the gravelly hill in that bush part of the trail. I'll send along a couple pictures from that section in the next day or so for you to add. Hopefully CGOAB will be back up and running soon.

    J (forgot that I had registered here ages ago)

  10. #10
    NoVA/DC Commuter Sentinel04's Avatar
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    Great journal! This makes me want to tour...

  11. #11
    Grateful Tread brawny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1weasel View Post
    Real pleasure riding/guiding from Cobourg to Oshawa. I'm still a bit amazed that you stayed upright going down the gravelly hill in that bush part of the trail. I'll send along a couple pictures from that section in the next day or so for you to add. Hopefully CGOAB will be back up and running soon.

    J (forgot that I had registered here ages ago)
    Hey J! It was a real pleasure riding with you too! I'm surprised I made it upright on that section too. I assure it was through blind dumb luck as opposed to any cycling skill! Someone's got to be the guinea pig though...

    I'm really glad you had those trail notes with you - the Waterfront Trail guide left a bit to be desired in places.

    CGOAB is back up now, thankfully!

    BTW - our ride from where we left you to Toronto was a ride in itself. Oshawa is a long way from Toronto. And I still can't believe we travelled all that way on Kingston Rd and Eglinton without experiencing some serious road rage...

    Good to hear from you - hopefully our paths will cross again in the future.
    Brawny
    TV Sucks. Ride Your Bike!

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    Thanks for the info, Brawny.

    I'll keep those in mind.

  13. #13
    Senior Member marmot's Avatar
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    Fascinating journal, Brawny, and kind of inspiring to me -- an older, average pedal pusher who's thinking about touring for the first time. Thanks for posting.

  14. #14
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Brawny, I liked your journal, but one question I had was about the trip between Oakville and Hamilton. It seems from photos that the Waterfron Trail is actually a bike lane. Is that a heavy traffic route? Is the trail fairly contiguous? Reason I ask is that I've done some of the "trail" south of Hamilton and ended up doing some loopbacks. You really need a map.

  15. #15
    Dead Men Assume...
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    The part between Oakville and Hamilton is actually a road. There is no "bike trail" per se, just follow the road. I've done Toronto to Burlington and further south into the Niagara Peninsula dozens of times.

  16. #16
    Grateful Tread brawny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gerv View Post
    Brawny, I liked your journal, but one question I had was about the trip between Oakville and Hamilton. It seems from photos that the Waterfron Trail is actually a bike lane. Is that a heavy traffic route? Is the trail fairly contiguous? Reason I ask is that I've done some of the "trail" south of Hamilton and ended up doing some loopbacks. You really need a map.
    Hi Gerv,

    There is a pretty good bike lane for most of the route from Oakville around to Hamilton. We went counterclockwise around the lake, and got goofed up by missing a turn as we approached the QEW. We 'turned' on to Northshore (I use the term 'turn' very loosely - the road actually curves, so by going straight we ended up on Northshore Blvd), which led us around into Burlington Bay instead of staying on Lakeshore, which would have taken us across to the other side of the bay (following the same route as the QEW. From the waterfront trail map, it looks like the part of the trail we missed is part of the Hamilton Beach Recreational Trail, and might not be on road.

    We didn't have any issues with traffic at all for that part of the route, but it was a Sunday morning between 9 - 11 am, so traffic was light anyway. There were lots of roadies out though - travelling in packs.

    I complained in our journal about the way the Waterfront Trail map is drawn, putting a split in the route very close to the corner of the map, with the next map in succession being the dead-end route. See what I mean:
    Here's the link for the section from Toronto to Hamilton:
    http://www.waterfronttrail.org/trail-s-2.html

    Here's the section where the trail splits:
    http://www.waterfronttrail.org/maps/wt-2_02.pdf
    You'll see the split in the top-right corner of this map. The dead-end route continues on this map, and the following page.
    http://www.waterfronttrail.org/maps/wt-2_01.pdf

    To get past Hamilton, you need to go to the next section of the trail guide, for Niagara to Grimsby:
    http://www.waterfronttrail.org/trail-s-1.html
    to find the next part of the route.
    http://www.waterfronttrail.org/maps/wt-1_12.pdf

    I suppose if you were going clockwise from Niagara towards Toronto, the maps go in order. We were a little frustrated that we'd gone probably an hour out of our way into downtown Hamilton, and had to improvise a route back out to the lake. It wasn't our only 'oops', and everything worked out fine in the end. So no biggie - just be aware that if you're riding the trail using their maps, there is a split in the trail. The Burlington section is a nice ride too, but there are a few good hills on that stretch, especially if you're loaded.

    Hope this helps!
    TV Sucks. Ride Your Bike!

  17. #17
    Grateful Tread brawny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmot View Post
    Fascinating journal, Brawny, and kind of inspiring to me -- an older, average pedal pusher who's thinking about touring for the first time. Thanks for posting.
    Glad you enjoyed the journal.

    You should give touring a shot, marmot. It can be a lot of fun, and certainly a completely different mode of travel. You see things from a different perspective - too, since you're up close and personal with your environment unlike a car. My advice - try a one night tour - an S24O - and go from there. Take that first step. All the others will follow from that.

    Hope this helps!
    TV Sucks. Ride Your Bike!

  18. #18
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brawny View Post

    I complained in our journal about the way the Waterfront Trail map is drawn, putting a split in the route very close to the corner of the map, with the next map in succession being the dead-end route. See what I mean:
    Here's the link for the section from Toronto to Hamilton:
    http://www.waterfronttrail.org/trail-s-2.html

    Here's the section where the trail splits:
    http://www.waterfronttrail.org/maps/wt-2_02.pdf
    You'll see the split in the top-right corner of this map. The dead-end route continues on this map, and the following page.
    http://www.waterfronttrail.org/maps/wt-2_01.pdf
    Ok I see what happened to you. Seems like an unfortunate detour, cause the correct trail was both shorter and more scenic. I really liked the beachfront part just before Grimsby. I've only done a portion of the trail around Hamilton but hope to someday make it up to Toronto from Hamilton.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    I just skimmed over your journal since I'm time constrained right now, but it was fun to read, especially the epilogue and all the extra stuff you brought. Back in 1977 my wife and I crossed the country from Los Angeles to Washington DC, and your journal brought back a lot of memories. For example, sometime after we crossed the Rockies and got into the midwest, we sought out a Dairy Queen every night. At virtually every rest stop it became a standing joke that we always brought the map with us to see our position and anticipated route.

    Also we currently cross upstate New York by car frequently to visit family in Michigan so I'm somewhat familiar with the New York part of your trip. So congratulations and thanks again, and I will bookmark the site to return again.

  20. #20
    Senior Member marmot's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips, Brawny. I'm thinking about an overnight at my cottage. It's about 50 km away, about half by rail trail and most of the rest by quiet back roads. I won't be setting any speed records on my errand/sightseeing bike, but I think I can do it in a day. (BTW, what does S24O stand for?)

  21. #21
    Grateful Tread brawny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marmot View Post
    Thanks for the tips, Brawny. I'm thinking about an overnight at my cottage. It's about 50 km away, about half by rail trail and most of the rest by quiet back roads. I won't be setting any speed records on my errand/sightseeing bike, but I think I can do it in a day. (BTW, what does S24O stand for?)
    I'm sure you can. Leave early, take your time, and most of all - have fun! 50 km sounds like a very reasonable distance for a first time single day tour.

    S24O is short for 'Sub 24 Hour Overnight'. It's a term coined by Grant Petersen of Rivendell Bicycle Works. I first heard the term while reading something on the Rivendell site. I can't find the link to the original article, which I believe was in the Rivendell Reader, but here's an abbreviated article that gives you the gist.

    Good luck!
    Brawny
    TV Sucks. Ride Your Bike!

  22. #22
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    I just skimmed over your journal since I'm time constrained right now, but it was fun to read, especially the epilogue and all the extra stuff you brought. Back in 1977 my wife and I crossed the country from Los Angeles to Washington DC, and your journal brought back a lot of memories. For example, sometime after we crossed the Rockies and got into the midwest, we sought out a Dairy Queen every night. At virtually every rest stop it became a standing joke that we always brought the map with us to see our position and anticipated route.

    … So congratulations and thanks again, and I will bookmark the site to return again.
    I just finished reading the entire journal and it was so enjoyable, bringing back memories of those self-supported tours my wife and I did. Safely ensconced now in civilization, I almost cringe thinking of the hassles of always trying to figure out routes, and where you will stay that night. But I do also recall the joys of all those obscure, yet memorable places you encounter.

    In the epilogue to the journal, you wrote:

    “Get off the bike at regular intervals for a rest. It's important to remember that this is a vacation, and not a race. And every four hours doesn't count as regular intervals. We found that the days where we would get off the bike frequently - to stop at a fruit market, or get a cup of coffee and refill water bottles were the ones that went the best.

    “Be realistic with your distance goals, and have a backup plan in case things don't go as expected…”

    I like this quote from Bike Forums that in a similar vein captures the spirit of nomadic touring:

    Quote Originally Posted by bikingshearer
    "A thought or two, based on personal experience…

    "…Also, what's the hurry? One of the joys of touring is the singleness of purpose and absence of demands. All you have to do is get there: you don't have to get there fast or get their first - and if you are touring with camping gear, odds are you can be incredibly flexible about what "getting there" means on any given day. Embrace that. Don't let your tour become an exercise in trading one rat-race for another."
    Last edited by Jim from Boston; 09-13-10 at 03:42 PM.

  23. #23
    Grateful Tread brawny's Avatar
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    Hi Jim,

    I couldn't agree more with the quote from bikingshearer. It captures the essence of what I aim for when touring. I think one take-away that I need to keep in mind is to 'underplan' our future tours to make sure I don't turn them into a race. Better to allow an extra few days to cover the distance, so that I can stop and smell the coffee every day. Sure, the odd really long ride can be fun, but not every day. If I wanted to push limits, I'd join a randonneuring group!

    Brawny
    TV Sucks. Ride Your Bike!

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