So my friend and I had been bouncing this idea back and forth about how I should bike to her house for a visit and then we’d go check out this bakery in the vicinity. Tricky thing is that she and her family live in Scarborough near Lake Ontario and I currently live in North York (no lakes but we got streams and rivers). For those who aren’t familiar with the city of Toronto — North York and Scarborough are different parts of the city.
As I was mapping routes out, one of the first things I noticed was the lack of bike trails that could take me from North York into eastern Scarborough. Everything in North York ran north-south. This meant I had a choice to either ride along main avenues (big no-no for me) or find small residential streets and ride through those until I could make my way into the networks of trail paths in Scarborough.
I have to admit some trepidation on my part because despite having grown up and lived in Toronto — there are a lot of areas of the city I’m not familiar with. Funny how that is isn’t it? We sometimes know parts of other cities we travel to more than we know our own.
Anyhow, with some help from the popular RidewithGPS.com, I managed to create a route down to the Port Union area where the waterfront trail has been in development. The waterfront trail in the downtown core and the Beach area really should be connected to this Port Union area but I’m guessing there’s a lot more work to be done and that’s a story for another time.
I managed to export this route and upload it to the new Garmin GPS that I had picked up. This would serve as my guide to get to my friend’s place. This was my test run.
I’ve been enjoying the new tires. They are definitely making my ride a little easier and smoother. According to the GPS, I manage to get to a speed of approximately 23 to 25km so far — sometimes faster if I’m going downhill but I have my doubts whether I’ll be able to go significantly faster on a consistent basis — not with the mountain bike frame and the relatively fatter tires. My goal really here is just to manage energy more efficiently in the long-term when I’m going to tackle the Greenbelt Route.
Unfortunately as I make my way further south, I end up taking some wrong turns. It is rather tricky trying to read the directions on the GPS and bike at the same time. To top it off, the route that I had mapped out apparently took me on to a hiking trail and I found myself carrying the bike down some stairways. Ah, the consequences of using Google Maps. Still good enough.
The route took me further into a more elaborate network of paths which were amazing ride through. Some were a part of a larger park, others were nice manicured gardens or extended backyards that led into a ravine area. The diversity was amazing and I was grateful that such a network of multipurpose paths and trails were developed within the city. To some extent, I wish the part of North York I lived in had more of these. I followed these trails south until I hit the lake and it was a happy sight. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to drop by my friend’s place in time because I kept getting lost or taking a wrong turn.
After I stopped by my friend’s place (it was fun and her son was hilarious and inspiring) — I took the same route back home. It was practically all uphill most of the way. To make it even tougher, the wind was blowing at me the entire way back. Good training opportunity for future reference, but quite the challenge. Thank goodness it was a beautiful day and it wasn’t too hot or humid.