Saturday, October 22, 2011

Ride for Africycle 5.0 Day Eight

Waking in Bronte Creek Provincial Park to a cool morning. The distant muted roar of traffic. The much closer sound of birds and people grudgingly extracting their bodies from sleeping bags.

My point-and-shoot camera battery said "no more" just after I woke up, so most of today's photographs are from the camera of Mr. Ed Kwaka, my biking buddy extraordinaire.

Here I am hauling my pillow over to my storage bin in exchange for a bowl of porridge.
(Photo courtesy Ed Kwaka)

The morning is a fragile place but there were always people laughing while they
parked back a couple of cups of coffee.
(Photo courtesy Ed Kwaka)

Today's ride had been the topic of much discussion as we were unsure whether to skirt North of the GTA or to cycle right through its heart. There are benefits to both routes of course but the decision was finally sealed by the Amazing Ben Voss who invited us to spend that night at his parent's home in Claremont. Our route there would take us directly along the Lakeshore until somewhere East of Toronto at which point we would turn North, ride past the Metro Zoo and then wiggle and twist our way through Concession and County roads until we would arrive at Chez Voss.

Most of the ride alongside the Lake followed the Waterfront Trail, a well-maintained and well-signposted route that we left when necessary as it does deviate away from what we thought was the best and most direct route for us.

The ride along Lakeshore Boulevard through Oakville and Port Credit was fast. A smooth uncluttered road with beautiful old trees on either side and of course, vast mansions whose wrap-around driveways are parking lots for Bentley's, Aston Martins, the odd Lamborghini and lots of other toys that are well beyond my experience. I wonder how the lives of their owners might be changed if they were to come along on an Africycle ride?!

Eventually the edge of Mimico arrived and we passed into the older parts of Downtown Toronto where the road was a little more broken up and of course bisected by streetcar tracks. I really enjoy riding along here - although the last time I had been on this stretch on a bike would have to be thirty years ago - it looked essentially the same. A lot of cool little shops seemingly untouched by the passage of time and very obviously deeply embedded as the anchors they are for the little communities they serve.

Shortly after passing through Mimico, we crossed the very stylish bridge over the Humber River.

Just up ahead and on the right are Dave and Mel enjoying the view across the Lake.
(Photo courtesy Ed Kwaka)

The views across the Bay to the Downtown skyline were really good!

Downtown Toronto skyline. (Photo courtesy Ed Kwaka)

We stayed as close as possible to the Lakeshore and blew past the Sunnyside Swimming pool, weaving and dodging through the bladers, runners, walkers, and other cyclists until we reached the bottom end of the Don Valley Parkway where we picked up the bike trail that would take us to our Lunch spot at Ashbridge's Bay. At Ashbridge's Bay we met the bus and the guys had picked up some roast chicken and fries and buns which was so totally unexpected and awesome! The park is huge and there were rugby games, a skateboarding park and all sorts of mega picnics and whatever else going on.

After Lunch we headed across the middle of Scarborough using the Danforth and Kingston Road -huge entertainment quotient there as bikes are definitely not expected and especially not welcome. This is a car and truck road and people are motoring along and have places to go and things to do!!! I was super happy when my front wheel turned North andI knew that we would pass by the Metro Zoo and head out into countryside pretty soon. Of course country roads are a bit rougher but there are all sorts of visual distractions that make it all worthwhile.

At one point we came across a countryside hazhard - the bridge was out. Not wanting to take the long way around we agreed that no matter what, we were getting across that river even if it meant we had to wade or swim across with our bikes!

Happily neither was necessary as the bridge had handy dandy planks where its paved span would normally be so we were able to walk across and remain nice and dry!

Here's Michael VanDerHerberg taking the difficult route across.
(Photo courtesy Ed Kwaka)

Here are the rest of us taking the easy way across. Is there a life-lesson there? You be the judge!!
(Photo courtesy Ed Kwaka)

From here some long smooth roads led us to the beautiful little town of Claremont where the bus was parked.

The bikes were put away in the garage for the night. I'm sure they had some amazing discussions!
(Photo courtesy of Ed Kwaka)

After we'd all enjoyed a couple of rehydrating beers, Ben's sister provided superb massages to all who wished! She worked on my shoulders which hold a lot of tension when I ride long distances and it was as if a weight had been lifted off them by the time she had finished working her magic!

Then we all gathered in the beautiful back yard of this gorgeous home for a candlelight feast that was beyond comparison around tables filled with the most amazing people. We ate and drank and laughed our way into the night and then retreated to our tents for the last sleep of this year's ride.


  1. That Humber River bridge looks great, I must look for more images of it...always nice to find a friendly place to lay your head at night, and this one with massages: wow!

  2. jra - it was an amazing experience and we had talked about inviting massage therapy students along to provide daily massages but that was one of those adorable fantasies that drift off into the night sky up among the stars that twinkle oh so very high above!!! the humber bridge is really cool. i'd not seen it before. steven

  3. Steve Brother,

    You may be old, but that is no reason to insult my bicycle lifting abilities.


  4. BrothercyclistDude!!! I figure that there have to be easier ways to cross busted bridges!!!! The old men on the ride talked about what this solo crossing on the difficult part of the bridge meant or was meant to suggest, and we couldn't figure it out!!! So maybe there's some secret life lesson tucked away in there. What I know for sure is that Michael you're truly awesome!!! Steven