Bike the Creek Practice Ride

As a member of BikeBrampton, a cycling advocacy group, I helped to plan the Second Annual Bike the Creek ride.  Last year I was a participant.

This year my father is getting married on June 20, which coincides with the ride, so I won’t be able to participate.  Patti is going to ride without me so we decided to try the route out today so I can have a chance to ride the whole route, Patti can be more familiar with the route when she is riding on her own and I could let the committee know if we ran across any problems.

It was a gorgeous day for a ride: dry, sunny and cool.  We met at the south end near Ray Lawson and Main Street.  Patti rode her bike there from Meadowvale but I drove as it would have taken me an hour’s riding time just to get to the meeting point if I had left home on my bike.

I saw these signs for the first time.

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In the space of  a few kilometres we were warned against blinding and burns by giant hogweed,  stinging by fire ants and savaging by coyotes.  Apparently the parks of Brampton can be dangerous places.  We didn’t see any of the above.  Just ducks, geese and one deer.

Last year the route was essentially an out-and-back where the participants re-traced their routes from the northern and southern ends to get back to the middle-ish starting point at Jim Archdekin.  This year the route is roughly a figure eight.  At the north end this was made possible by the extention of the Etobicoke Creek Trail by the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and the Town of Caledon up to Old Kennedy Road.  Last year this was the turnaround point as the path going up the hill ended up in the Valleywood subdivision which exits onto a very busy Highway 10.

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Here’s the beginning of the new branch.

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Around the corner.

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Across the new bridge.

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An s-turn.

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And up the hill to Old Kennedy Road.

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Between Mayfield Road and the new bridge the path is either worn limestone screenings, gravel or dirt.  I really wish the TRCA would pave this portion of the trail.  It would attract a lot more users and be much more accessible for those with mobility issues, people with strollers, children on small bikes or people riding road bikes.

The portion of the trail north of the bridge leading up to Kennedy Road has limestone screenings that have been tightly compacted.  At the end of the trail we saw these machines.  It looks like the north portion will be paved shortly – hopefully by June 20 when we hold Bike the Creek.  It doesn’t look like there has been any preparation made to pave the portion between Mayfield and the bridge, unfortunately.

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At the top of the hill we turned right, southbound, and encountered this sign across the nice multi-use path adjacent to the road.  As far as we could see from that point, the path continued so we rode around the sign.

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Unfortunately, we soon encountered this and had to go onto the road to get across the relatively new bridge, which does not appear to be able to support a multi-use path, even though the path begins again south of the bridge and looks like it has been there for years.  Imagine if as much care were taken planning and building roads as is taken with bike paths!  Driving would be a disaster.  People would be outraged.

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When we got to Mayfield and Kennedy we crossed south and east to continue across a park into the Stonegate subdivision.  Unfortunately, we discovered this in our way.  I hope that it will be fixed before the 20th.

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During the event we have information stations set up at various locations where participants can learn something about the area and receive a passport stamp which can be traded for raffle tickets after the ride.  Last year, I won a city fitness pass.  One of the stations is at Bovaird House this year.  A heritage building is being moved to the site and it is quite a mess.  Unfortunately, we will not be showcasing Bovaird House at its best.

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Toward the south end of the ride we encountered this.

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The city is doing bridge rehabilitation work that will last until the fall and has closed the path.  Fortunately, another BikeBrampton member discovered this a couple weeks ago and Michelle, a Parks and Rec employee who has been involved with running Bike the Creek last year and this year, was able to negotiate that the trail be opened for the day on June 20 – a win for the event.  However, it is frustrating that no one at the city even considered the impact on our event, nor the impact to users of the city’s premiere off road trail, that a closure from May until the fall would have.

Even after riding 40 km I would not consider eating this burger advertised at Union Burger at Steeles and Main Street.  I wonder how many calories it has?

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It was a wonderful day to ride and I am pleased to have experienced the route I helped plan which helps with the disappointment of missing the excitement of the actual event.

If you are interested in participating, head over to BikeBrampton.ca to sign up.  It’s free, fun and showcases our wonderful parks.  There is entertainment and a BBQ after the ride.

Given that we rode the full 41km route, we encountered very few problems, experienced wonderful parks and quiet streets.  It’s a great way to see our city.

These are the routes:

  • 16 km Bike the Creek Nature Ride – 10:00am start (2-3 hrs, with a 11 km shortcut option available) – northern route (trailhead ribbon cutting at 11:00 am)
  • 25 km Bike the Creek City Ride – 9:30am start (2-4 hrs) – southern route
  • 41 km Bike the Creek End-to-End Ride – 9:00am start (3-4 hrs for experienced riders)
  • Bike Rodeo for kids up to 10yrs (at the start of the day)

 

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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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