I love cycling. It has replaced most of the outdoor things I used to love to do, but no longer can. I also feel strongly that it’s a very viable form of transportation for commuting in cities, running errands & getting groceries. If everyone in a major city did a percentage of such every year, there would be a drastic cut in pollution stats. The fact that Toronto has such an ignorant war against the cyclist community has really just become a giant embarrassment. It’s the 5th largest city in North America, but sometimes behaves like a small town. I don’t participate in “the war”, as I do have a driver’s license also. But I need to call a spade a spade here. I’ve lived in a number of different places, so I’ve seen a lot of different regional driving habits. Toronto is one of the worst, absolutely filled with self entitled stupidity. The average driver in T.O. has become an aggressive, angry, not paying attention douchebag; that needs to be sat down and spoken to like a child. Followed by having their license taken away for a few weeks as a reminder that driving a car is in fact a responsibility. And is a privilege, not a right. On the flip side, many of Toronto’s cyclists that participate in this war are just as bad and make us all look bad. They don’t stop at red lights, stop signs, or anything for that matter. They weave in and out of traffic like fools. They don’t signal or let anyone know what they intend to do. And they behave just as aggressively. This is no better, and it’s just as stupid. I’m not opposed to having a requirement for a license to use a bicycle in the city, or paying for the license if it also means that sharing the road would become a requirement.
But I digress. The love of cycling. It keeps you in good cardio shape, and gets you out in nature if you so choose, to cover a lot of ground in a fraction of the time of hiking. For me it’s become like a moving meditation. Pushing yourself physically & keeping a pace, yet being surrounded by splendor and beauty all the while.
The waterfront trail is lovely, and a serious undertaking. I’m always a bit surprised how many people have lived in Toronto most of their life and never really checked it out personally. Learn some facts on it by clicking the button.
One day I will go with a group and cycle this trail right into Quebec. Until then, I’ll have to be satisfied with today’s example trip of starting in Toronto & making my way out to Ajax. The terrain is harder as you go further east. It’s very hilly. You go through the Scarborough Bluffs area and down into Guildwood. If you have time, take a detour and go through Guildwood park on your way. I guarantee it’s worth your time! After Guildwood, it snakes through some residential neighborhoods and leads you to the Highland Water Treatment facility. This is where the nice paved trail begins. Also a lovely view of the nuclear power plant (sarcasm intended). It takes you to Pickering, and through the Petticoat Conservation area and Frenchman’s Bay. There are some amazing bridges you get to cycle over. They go right over top some very large ravines and waterways. The views are stunning and worth the trip alone.
You can’t get lost on this trail. The signs are clearly marked. Just follow these signs
After you leave the Marina you head North around the waterway on some really beautiful paths, and then East on Bayly Ave in Pickering. From here you have the choice. And this is where I fork in the road. Head South and get back on the Waterfront trail East, or keep going East to Ajax via Bayly Ave., where I wimp out and take the GO commuter train home. But it’s a lovely trip, and I recommend anyone with a tolerably decent bike and the ability to wear a backpack while biking do so! It’s not a tootle down the road in Toronto, so make some preparations. Bring food, pack a bag with what you need, and spend the day doing this. The experience won’t let you down.
Pretty soon cycling season will be over, and this always makes me sad. I am not opposed to winter cycling at all. But in Toronto, for the above reasons mentioned – no way! One small mistake and someone will drive right over top of you, and probably just keep on driving – angry that you took those 30 seconds away from them after you forced them to hit you by being in the way somehow. The last picture in the slideshow below is the “Welcome to Ajax” sign. If Toronto were to have a sign like this it would read “Welcome to Toronto, A Bicycle Hating Community (Bikes are for Commies).”