It’s Bike Month in Toronto, meaning the place is crawling with cycling evangelists waddling about with their padded bottoms, inciting everyone to get on two wheels.
Whatever their fashion crimes, the wild-haired ones are onto something: This compact, flat city’s ideal for cycling, aside from some inconveniently placed streetcar tracks and spatially challenged supertruck drivers.
As a signed up member of the tribe, with the oil stained calves to prove it, I recently decided to take part in one of the Bike Month events, a group ride around Ward 18.
This involved cycling around Little Portugal and nearby neighbourhoods, stopping off enroute to scoff delicious pasteis de Nata. Anything for the cause, cycling comrades. Photos from the ride have been posted here (spot the lanky cyclist in the fourth picture down).
My unwavering commitment to the right to wear impossibly tight lycra and feel a little superior truly knows no bounds.
So, to further demonstrate my unwavering solidarity, here’s an extra contribution to Bike Month:
My pick of Toronto’s cycle trails, in no particular order.
1. Don Valley-Sunnybrook Park-Edwards Gardens. 17km, 1 hour.
Look out for raccoons and rabbits on the Don Valley, and take some extra time to meander through Sunnybrook Park. Walk your bike round serene Edwards Gardens, admiring the rock gardens and meadow flowers.
2. Waterfront Trail Westwards-Humber Bay Park. 12km, 45 mins.
Keep left when you get to Coronation Park and take the lakeside trail. Pause on Humber Bridge and drift round to Humber Bay Park, through the butterfly meadow and over to a peaceful rocky beach with a fabulous view of the city. Keep an eye out for tortoises!
3. Humber Bay Park-up the river until your legs get tired. Up to 35 km, 2.5 hours.
Ride alongside the river, through a series of quiet parks. The occasional steep hill gets the glutes going. In late September/early October you can spot salmon jumping out of the river.
4. Waterfront Trail Eastwards-Cherry Beach-Ashbridges Bay Park-Kew Beach. 11 km, 45 mins. Optional weekend detour: Tommy Thompson Park.
Take a detour past urban Sugar Beach, stop to watch kite-surfers at Cherry Beach, then weave around Ashbridges Bay Park harbour before dodging rollerbladers and kids on the path running along the sandy shores of Kew Beach.
5. Don Valley-Evergreen Brickworks-Moore Park Ravine-Mount Pleasant Cemetary. 10km, one hour.
Gorgeous in the Fall, when the ravine and cemetery are carpeted with auburn-yellow leaves.
This one’s my all-time favourite. It doesn’t seem to be as “on-the-map” as the others just yet, which works for me. Maybe I’ll reveal all in a future post. Possibly.
Note: Times and distances are approximate and are based on setting off from Union Station. They don’t take account of any detours, wildlife spotting or pausing for photos of the CN Tower in the distance (you can never have too many of those, after all).