I would highly recommend this route! It is quite chill- not too laborious and offers lots of good scenery. The link to my route is HERE- Ive slightly modded it to start at our shop and end at Trinity Bellwoods. Now for the ride recap...
It wasn’t early, but for the day after a New Years Eve party, it was early enough. The weather on this particular Tuesday was bleak. With an impending storm rolling across Ontario in the coming days, I had opted to leave a day earlier than planned. Despite my self inflicted head wounds in the days leading up to the ride, I was feeling strong and focussed this morning. I said goodbye to my parents and headed South East towards Dingman Drive- one of my go-to routes out of London. The first thing I noticed was my miscalculation in the footwear sector. I had been trying hard to find an adequate shoe that would be warm and comfortable enough for the colder Ontario winter rides, but had no luck. I opted for my usual Fizik M6 Boa shoes paired with a mid weight merino wool sock from MEC. On top of that I had hastily picked up some Castelli neoprene toe covers to cut down on wind and water penetration. Although i had enough room to move and swell in my shoe, the warmth of the mid weight sock was not enough and by KM30- my feet were screaming for a sock upgrade. My upper body also took some time to adjust to the temperature and activity output. I had left the house with an Icebreaker 150 base layer, Castelli Gore Windstopper jacket, and a Showers Pass Refuge shell on top. I was glad to shed the shell when I did as I was unaware of how much I was sweating with it on. The adjustment to the temperature without the shell on took about 15 minutes but after I adjusted, I was much more comfortable than before because my body could breathe better now. I was confident I would see precipitation at some point today so I was glad to have a reliable rain jacket stowed away just incase of emergency.
Around KM50 I reached my usual rest stop at the Lawson Nature Reserve where I refuelled with a muffin and some hot coffee. I had visited this park a few months prior on my way to Toronto from London while riding with my good friend Wyatt, where we shared some snacks, a couple beers, and stories of our past tours. I always love listening to some good tour tales. I sat down and changed my socks to a heavier weight Smartwool, which ended up being the biggest dub of the day. My feet were now warm, dry, and much more comfortable than they had been for the previous 50km. I continued onwards down McBeth Road with renewed energy. After another hour, by KM80 there was snow covering the ground. 1-2inches of fresh snow made for slippery but fast riding. At precisely KM85, I picked up the rail trail just outside of Mt. Pleasant, ON and headed North-East towards Brantford. (Note to self: Pay attention to the map as the trail splits at a crossroad and the fork goes in separate directions). When I reached downtown Brantford(KM100), I kept my rest stop to a minimum. Normally I would stop at Wendy’s for a hot chilli and fries but today I packed all the supplies I would need so I wouldn’t have to waste time. For lunch, I had a ham sandwich, a Coke, a Lara Bar, and a banana. I was literally shaking after I chugged the remainder of the cola, it was unpleasantly cold and I was completely depleted of sugars. After a few check-in texts to the fam, I hopped on the Brantford-Hamilton rail trail. It was quite soggy and the gritty mud that clung to my bike made shifting increasingly harder. As I was exiting the other side of Brantford, my relatives that work in the area caught up to me at a cross road. They had been tracking me and wanted to see how I was holding up. Their effort to find me gave me a big moral boost for the second half of the day.
Over the next couple hours, I continued up the scenic trail to Hamilton where the path spits you out close to McMaster University. This stretch between Brantford and Hamilton is normally busier with pedestrians, but is still quite fast and enjoyable. I tried to find water from a fountain but to no avail. I forgot that the campus was probably still closed for the holidays. I kept going and found a Tim Hortons- this was my first refuelling stop of the day(approx. KM140). I rode out of Hamilton and into Burlington- crossing the York Blvd bridge taking a much more efficient route than previous tours. This bridge has stunning views of Burlington Bay and the accompanying train lines that run along the outskirts. Besides the bridge and a couple of cool underpasses, the stretch between Hamilton and Burlington along my route was not too exciting. I was anticipating the quick descent down to the water from the height of the ridge with its impending ascent up to Woodland Cemetery. No other choice but to bite the bullet. It was gloomy weather which made the cemetery feel extra paranormal today. I continued on to Oakville through the endless urban sprawl of the Greater Toronto Area. Unbeknownst to me, I had to pull over on the side of the road to stretch my sore lower back at almost the exact same distance as my previous LDN2TO randonee(approx. KM175). I took this opportunity to swap my sweaty base layer for a dry one and eat some left over chicken and rice from the night before. I was back on the road in 15 minutes or less. I made a crucial mistake of taking off my gloves for the duration of the stop because once I started riding again my fingers were numb and cold until I reached my destination.
Riding through suburban Oakville seems foreign and I always wonder whats actually going on there. Somewhere in Oakville I hopped on Lakeshore Road. I took this road all the way into Mimico where I turned onto the Waterfront Trail at the Parklawn complex. I crossed the Humber Bay Bridge, but not before pulling onto the side of the path to snap a quick picture of the Toronto skyline. The sky was dark and cold against the warm yellow light of the towering buildings downtown. I was quite relieved to be so close to home. While riding the remainder of the route, I was quite glad to have my bright reflective clothing and lights, as I was tired and less aware than I had been during the day. It was also now completely dark outside- a typical sight for 5pm in the winter. I pulled up to my apartment just after 5pm in good spirits, glad to have completed a long anticipated ride in harsher than usual conditions. All that separated me from a warm bath was 4 flights of relentless stairs.
Total Distance: 200.89km
Moving Time: 7h35m
Elapsed Time: 9h07m
Average Speed: 26.5km/hour
Start Time: 8:11am
Finish Time: 5:18pm
Weather: Mainly cloudy with spurts of wet snow throughout the day. High of +3 degrees Celsius.
Wind: Up to 30km gusts headed Southwest
GEAR: 3-layer rain jacket, GoreWindstopper jacket, 150 merino wool base layer, bibtights(these performed flawlessly- wicking moisture and breathing well), socks, acrylic finger gloves, water resistant overmitts, balaclava, neoprene toe warmers, SPD shoes, Miyata 1000LT.