Sunday March 30 – Riding the Humber

Years ago, before the Humber River Trail, went under the 401, I rode a part of it with Patti.  We didn’t go far.  My  only strong recollection is pushing our bikes along the sidewalk over the 401 and how noisy it was.  Patti’s recollection is that we got ice cream at Dairy Queen on Weston Road!

Last fall I explored the path from the Humber College area to just north of the 401.  Today, Alun needed a ride to a DECA event, at 9am at a banquet hall in Woodbridge, so I decided to explore another branch of the Humber River Trail,  to kill time waiting for him  to be finished.  It was a cold day, just around freezing, when I started, so I dressed warmly in my winter coat and snow pants.  I have typically been a fair weather cyclist, but I am trying to increase my riding and to not let cold weather discourage me.

After dropping Alun off I headed to Rowntree Recreation Centre, near Kipling and Steeles.  The parking lot was deserted, as was the recreation centre when I went in to the bathroom before heading off.

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A short ride down a steep hill into the valley and onto a bridge over the river provided me with this view.

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I was protected from the wind once I got down into the valley and it was a lovely sunny day, so dressed as I was, I was quite comfortable other than my feet which got cold in my cycling shoes.  There were still small slabs of ice along the edge of the river and quite large ones under the road bridges.

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I was surprised to learn from people in the Cycle Toronto Facebook group that the City of Toronto doesn’t clear the paths of snow in the winter.  In Brampton, they post signs stating there will be no snow clearing, but my experience has been that they do clear it irrespective of the warning signs.  Most of the snow had melted by the time I was riding, however, I did have to detour around this pile just before a bridge.  I don’t know if it had been pushed off the bridge onto the path or if some clearing had occurred up the the bridge but not under it.

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Toronto is much better at signing its multi-use paths than Brampton is.  Generally, whenever the path branches, and even occasionally when it doesn’t, there are signs showing what route you are travelling on and what streets you are approaching.  These signs are easy to spot on their own posts.  In Brampton, even when there are signs, they are small and attached to lampposts, often quite high up out of the line of sight of path users.  Also, they only inform the user of the path name and occasionally provide an arrow indicating the direction of the main path at location where there is a branch.  Brampton would do well to model its signage on Toronto’s.

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I love weeping willows.  They are so lovely against a blue sky when there is otherwise not much colour around.

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As I neared 10 kilometres of riding I saw a familiar sight from an unfamiliar angle.  Yes, that’s the 401 just west of Weston Road.

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The path now goes under the 401.

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I think artistic graffiti can really enliven and enhance areas like this that are otherwise barren and messy.  I’ve seen the Lovebot before under a railway bridge over Parkside Drive near High Park.  It’s kind of interesting seeing graffiti themes repeated around the city.

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Here’s a view of the 401 I had not seen before.  I’ll bet not many people have seen this angle compared to those that drive over the bridge.  It was much more pleasant travelling under the 401 compared to travelling over it as I did many years ago.

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Just south of the 401, the path ended at Fairglen Crescent.  Apparently Toronto cyclists, unlike those in Brampton, can be trusted with a curb depression at a mid-block location.  I am currently working with the Brampton Bicycle Advisory Committee to try to get Brampton to change their policy against curb depressions.

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At this point I rode my bike up to Weston Road to have a hot tea at McDonald’s before returning to my car.  Once back, I loaded my bike into the car, and headed to Panera Bread, which was near Alun’s meeting, for lunch.  Panera Bread is one of my favourite restaurants.  They have a great selection of soups, salads and sandwiches.  The menu shows calories and they have something called Pick 2, which allows you to order to half size items.  I had a steak salad and French onion soup.  It was delicious.  I plan to return to the Humber to explore more in the future.


About Lisa Stokes

I am a stay-at-home mother of four whose hobbies include photography, quilting and cycling. I have recently started to advocate for better cycling infrastructure in my community. I am the photographer at the Brampton Quilters' Guild.
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