Exploring Hamilton by Bike

It’s been a while since I have made a blog post, but I had such an amazing day today, I want to write about it to cement the memory.

The day started cool and misty with a walk with Owen and Bailey. It was a perfect autumn day with a few of the leaves changing colour.

The boys all have the day off school today, which I forgot, when I planned to spend the day cycling in Hamilton with my friend Rani, before picking up Megan for Thanksgiving and Reading Week.

They don’t really mind when I leave them since it means they can do their own thing without me bugging them about spending too much time in front of screens.

Years ago, I used to spend a lot of time cleaning the house and resent it when Michael and the kids made messes.  Michael told me I should lower my standards since no one else cared how messy the house was.  Over the years I have managed to do so.  Apparently, I have been so successful that today, Alun, my 17 year old, vacuumed, dusted and washed the stairs and mopped the kitchen and hallway tiles because the mess was offending him.

I met Rani at Princess Point at 10am.  Here is a link to the route I planned. In June, another friend, Erica, and I spent the day cycling in Hamilton.  That day I planned for us to use the bike trough on the Kenilworth stairs to get our bikes up the mountain, but we missed Kenilworth by a few kilometres, looked at the map and decide to follow the Red Hill trail to Albion Falls, our destination.  It was a beautiful, but tough ride, on a dirt or crushed gravel path with steep hills up and down.  After leaving the falls we returned to the lower city on the Hamilton-Brantford rail trail. It was a lovely gradual decline through the trees along the face of the escarpment and I wanted to try riding up it, which is what we did today.

The mist was lifting just as I arrive at Princess Point where Rani had arrived and was taking pictures.  We unloaded our bikes and set off to discover that Rani, while trying to pump up her tires last night, pretty much completely emptied them.  Neither one of us had a pump so we loaded up the bikes and drove to the Bike Repair station on Locke St.  Unfortunately, the pump only had a Schrader end, not Presta, which is what Rani needed.  So we drove to Pierik’s Bike Shop, nearer to Princess Point than the Bike Repair station on Locke, where a friendly, helpful staff member pumped up Rani’s tires.  Back at Princess Point, we unloaded the bikes again and set off.

We cycled around the bay and then up James Street in search of an independent coffee shop. Last week I found a list of 15 in Hamilton and am determined to try them all.  I couldn’t think of a single one in Brampton.  Sigh.

We stopped at the Mulberry Street Coffee House and had some awesome cappuccino and baked goods to fuel up. I’ve now been to three on the list of 15.

We continued on our way and we very pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to climb the mountain on the rail trail.  It was about 100 metres ascent over 8km.  Much easier than riding up any of the street accesses or the Red Hill Trail that Erica and I took.

We briefly used the great Cannon Street cycletrack which has little bicycle shaped insets in the lights for bikes.  We also came across this great new crossing on Limeridge Road East where there are no curbs and pedestrians have the right of way when they are present, but otherwise drivers do not need to stop here.

We’ve just finished the climb and Rani is still smiling.


Here are a couple more pictures of the rail trail.  Much of it was covered by trees and so pleasant to cycle through, but I didn’t take any pictures in that part.


Here we are at Albion Falls.  It was a bit difficult climbing down with the cleats on the bottom of my sandals.

We then cycled along Mountain Brow Boulevard, a street that went on a road diet and became a complete street a couple years ago.  It is residential on one side and a narrow linear park overlooking the lower city on the other.  It used to be a four lane cross section, but is now two, with some parking and a wonderful wide multi-use path.

The views were awesome.  When we couldn’t see over some low bushes Rani climbed up on this wall.  I soon followed.  My family, and my friend Patti, with whom I have been cycling and exploring since Grade 7, usually discourage this type of “risky” behavior.  It was fun having someone else lead the way.

Here’s the view from the top.


Back in April, I did some cycling and exploring of the escarpment staircases which I wrote about here. I talked about Uli, who single-handedly build an escarpment staircase.  We met him tending it today.  What a modest fellow.


We found a great place for lunch.

Then continued along to the Chedoke Radial Trail, which I hadn’t explored before.  What a wonderful ride down the mountain it provided. It started under an hydro tower and passed several waterfalls.  It is part of the Bruce Trail.

We looked down over the highway and crossed a bridge.


There was a lovely canopy of trees all the way down.


By following the route clockwise we had gentle inclines going up and fun, steeper rides going down.

It was a perfect autumn day, enhanced by a lovely visit with my daughter on the way back home.

Morning mist banished by sunshine.
Autumn colours.
Cycling in a city that gets it.
New friend with the same passion.
It doesn’t get any better!



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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