Last year, I was planning to complete 50 memorable rides in the year I turned 50. A crash in September put that on hold, so I extended my goal to 2017. I’d finished 2016 with 41 of my 50 rides completed, and this past week, I added two more rides in the GTA.
With March break this past week my and my family decided to go to Toronto for a few days. When I mentioned this to Colin from Team Colin, he invited all of us to Joyride with his family (for my Ride 42). Having never experienced this indoor bike park north of Toronto, I accepted his invitation. Colin is a regular at Joyride and he knows everyone. He got into cycling a half-dozen years ago, when he first visited Joyride. I could repeat his story here, but you should really check it out for yourself here. It’s inspirational, and I love stories like this; stories about how the bicycle can change lives. Colin rode at Joyride before he entered events like Paris to Ancaster. Now… 2017, he’s got a full race schedule!
We’ve been blog buddies for months and finally got a chance to connect in person.
After we got our bikes ready, Colin showed us around. I was a little nervous, but once I saws some young kids (no more than three years old!) riding tiny bikes with training wheels, I figured there would be something for me to ride. Colin led me and my family around the cross-country loop. It was a blast! It circles the perimeter of the building and is wide and as fast as you want it to be (or as slow… in my case).
After riding this loop a few times, Colin took us to the Beginner area, where we could try the easy rollers. I should also mention that Colin’s daugher and son rode with us. His son was very generous in offering me tips throughout the evening as we progressed from the Beginner area to the intermediate pump track. I can’t say I had it mastered by the end of the evening, but I did learn a lot from them!
I also braved the skinnies (ok, the widest of the skinnies… see below). The risk on these is low, but I didn’t want to take any chances, so I stuck to the easy lines.
At the end of a fanstastic evening, Colin and I posed before a darkened Joyride behind us. I gave him a RideCyceSpin hat (you’re looking at the only two in existence below!), and we talked bikes at Timmies afterwards. It’s much easier to defend the number of bikes one owns when you have an ally who shares your passion for cycling. Colin has at least as many bikes as I do, and he actually has two that he uses solely at Joyride!
The next day, for Ride 43, my goal was to ride from our hotel in the west end (near Pearson Airport) to meet my family downtown. I’d plotted out a route in Strava of about 20 km, and had my mountain bike that I’d used the night before at Joyride.
Here’s the route I took.
The roads were in good shape. A few puddles, but I made it to High Park (the downhill was fun and fast). In High Park, the trails were snow and ice covered. A little dicey but I walked the really slippery parts.
Along the waterfront, the beach was deserted but the sky was mostly clear and it was surprisingly warm (for a cold day!).
My final destination was Ontario Place, which has been deserted for a few years. I heard they’re planning to revitalize it somehow. I hope so. I have a lot of childhood memories from that place.
Toronto has great places to ride. I managed to find some good bike lanes (and some not-so-good ones), and I rode through some really nice neighbourhoods. I’d like to explore more of the city I grew up in by bike. Not just trails, but pathways, bike lanes. And more of that beautiful, great lake!