Thursday, July 27, 2006

Rail line to a ravine

It was a fun ride with the Toronto group of the Cycling Cog last night. We went through parts of Toronto that I've never seen or even knew existed. It was an area most people think is used up with houses or roads that has a narrow swath of park land through it, creating an oasis of cycling perfection.

There were nine of us including a few people I met for the first time. We started at Eglinton West Station, a paradox of urban design: a subway station designed for cars. It took us five minutes just to get to the other side of the street since it required walking down the sidewalk to a pedestrian crosswalk, then crossing highway on and off ramps and two bus driveways.

This took us to the old Beltline path, a railway converted to a path. This was ideal for a ride like yesterday. We were moving slowly, doing a lot of talking, and could handle stopping to cross each street mid-block.

The Beltline led us to the Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Very spooky. Just as we were leaving, I nearly endoed as a piece of wood got between my front tire and fender. It must have been a poltergeist. The fender did an accordian impression and I did a BMX'er impression. I was sure my fender would be garbage, but it popped back into place. Isn't plastic wonderful? (I'll miss it.)

From here we dropped down a steep hill into the Moore Park Ravine. This ravine would be part of my bike commute in an ideal world. It takes a mostly straight path through a forest and down to the bottom of the valley where there's an old quarry, a pond and some old brick factory buildings. Apparently this is being made into a conservation area. Everyone refers to it as the Brickworks. Check it out if you have the chance.

The nice thing about riding with a group like this is that someone always seems to know where to go. I probably would have felt pretty lost at a few points along the way, but I wasn't the least bit concerned with all the experts around me.

As we're leaving the Brickworks, I have almost no sense of where I am. Just that I'm pretty sure I'm north of Bloor and kind of close to the Don Valley. We made our way out to Bayview and up the road a little bit. Everything started to come together. For the Toronto-folks out there, this is where the Don Valley Bike Trail does a strange zig-zag street crossing through concrete barriers. It's also just north of the Bayview off ramp from the DVP.

We head down the Don Valley trail to Queen, cut through a hole in a fence that Sean led us through, and pop up near the charming Queen Street bridge. I notice now that it's a fairly straightforward bridge. The colour and the decorative steel-work on top is what makes it nice to look at.

A woman openly and politely asks us for clean needles and condoms. None of us could help out. I hope she found some.

So off we go, up to a restaurant on Gerrard, where we had some food and beer. I finally got to try Mill Street Tankhouse Ale, brewed in the Distillery District (pretty sure). It turned out to be a perfect choice. After a bike ride, a lot of beers are the perfect choice, but this one really was tasty.

Good company and conversation. I'm looking forward to the next ride.

I didn't take any photographs, but I have a feeling some will show up soon on Tanya's site. (no pressure!)

Darren J 7/27/2006 02:20:00 p.m.


Good synopsis of the ride. I'll have photos up soon too.
Great fun awesome ride it was, I'll be doing that again soon and follow the trail past the Brick works to see how far it go's.. P.S. nice BMX moves you pulled :D
I will post a blog entry but in the meantime

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