Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ride for Africycle Day Seven Part Two

Night falls at Bronte Creek

Riding across the top of the Niagara Escarpment, you get some pretty good views of Lake Ontario and bits of the Golden Horseshoe conurbation.

After riding through a lot of countryside, the scale of cities always comes as a surprise.

Eventually we arrived above Hamilton and made the big decision about which road to drop down into the city on.

The picture below shows Dave Blondel scouting the terrain to determine which tarmac ribbon would get us the closest to the shoreline of the great Lake. This scene reminds me of those paintings of Columbus, Cartier and Cabot that have the great explorer standing on the prow of their ship while the scurvied lackeys wait anxiously for him to announcethat indeed we have arrived at the New Land .....

Dave's choice was a road that descended at a ferocious, brake melting rate with - bonus of bonuses - a sharp right about four fifths of the way down that cars coming up the hill left their lane and crossed into ours to take at a faster clip!! I was so nervous coming down that I didn't fully appreciate it and I hope that one day I can return and let the bike do its own thing!

We raced through the streets of Hamilton which were pretty clear and in surprisingly good condition.

We made our way to the Lakefront trail which is a wide paved smooth and very fast ride but on this day was also fairly well populated with roller bladers, runners, walkers, families, little and big dogs and so we picked up speed where we could and were careful everywhere else.

At this point last year it was the only cold and rainy day of the ride.

This year it was beautiful and so we were able to appreciate the mega-structure of the Skyway ...

Soon after passing this great big bridge we crossed another great big bridge. This is the lift bridge that you can see when you cross the Skyway by car. Some of us rode across it and some took the sidewalk. If you're thinking of riding across it I'd suggest taking the sidewalk! I've done both and the sidewalk feels a whole lot better under the wheels than the interlocking metal grid of the roadway!!

From here we continued along the Lakefront park trail which became even more densely populated. At one point we saw two women walking along it in scuba diving flippers ..... and eventually the trail ended and we came out into Burlington where we stopped at a favourite pastry and coffee stop of Ride for Africycle riders - the Lakeshore Coffee House.

Here we were able to strech out and put back some tasty Americano's and I believe that most people parked a slab of cheesecake back as well.
From there we rode on caffeinated legs at a very good rate of speed along Lakeshore Boulevard, and then North towards Bronte Creek. Bronte is an improbable park, located smack dab in the middle of suburbia. But you would never know there were housing developments within a kilometre of you at all times through some cool trick of nature that has placed trees, small rises and a really beautiful setting to distract you.

We set up the Ride for Africycle tent city ...

and watched the sun go down behind the trees.

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