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July 9, 2009 8:00 AM   Subscribe

Torontocyclingfilter: I'm planning a 50 mile ride this weekend. Is Yonge St. a good call?

So I'm looking at doing 50 miles on Saturday morning, and I was thinking about just heading straight up Yonge. Are there any areas I should look out for (particularly above Eglinton)? Is this even a good idea? Are there better routes out of the city?

Note: I am in good shape, and a regular cyclist in the city. I'm comfortable in traffic, but looking for ways to increase my distance.
posted by TheWhiteSkull to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I biked from the Annex to Barrie via Yonge St a couple of summers ago. In Toronto proper its exactly what you'd expect from Yonge St up to York Mills but then it widens and speeds up. This continues through North York and Richmond Hill.

When you get past Richmond Hill to the Newmarket/Aurora area it calms down quite a bit, but up until then it can be pretty hairy riding; the density and speed of traffic just plain never lets up, so if you're comfortable in heavy urban (and faster) traffic, go for it, but if you're not, I'd find another route.

Going north I've tried going straight up Bathurst, Bayview and Warden as well. Bathurst is the best of the three in my opinion, but no matter what you're going to get city traffic in and around the city, and Warden in particular turns into a wide, fast road pretty quickly.
posted by renderthis at 8:14 AM on July 9, 2009

Have you at least driven on Yonge above Finch? It's a pretty wide road up there (i.e., faster traffic). As for better routes, depending on what you are looking for, there probably are many possibilities.

I don't think you'll be in particular danger if you're a decent and aware cyclist, but it won't be the smoothest ride given the vehicular and pedestrian traffic there. Depending on your style of cycling (or perhaps regardless of...) you may feel squeezed out by the suburbian drivers in the Richmond Hill area.

Have you looked at this map?
posted by bread-eater at 8:17 AM on July 9, 2009

Best answer: Try Oakville or Burlington so you can enjoy the lake breezes. I covered a metric century from the Junction, out east and south to Bathurst and LakeShore, then west on a combo of LakeShore and the bike trails a few weeks ago, starting around 7 AM, although when I do it again, I'm going out at or before dawn. It's cool and windswept and nearly empty, even the trails, for a few hours.

This very rough route from your neignbourhood maps out to 26 miles one way, so a 50 mile round trip just means reversing your path (although in Oakville, I'd stay on Lakeshore Rd until Southdown and go north there on the return).
posted by maudlin at 8:28 AM on July 9, 2009

The Toronto Indy race is this weekend. You won't be able to get through lakeshore around the CNE grounds.
posted by rocket88 at 9:33 AM on July 9, 2009

Islington Ave. isn't half bad, starting at the cute bungalows of New Toronto on the lakeshore. It feels quite rural in stretches and eventually takes you to the McMicheal collection in Klienburg.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:56 AM on July 9, 2009

Oops! Yeah, the LakeShore might be sucky this weekend. You may have to detour a little north if you're really hankering for Oakville. Any other weekend it's awesome.
posted by maudlin at 10:03 AM on July 9, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for the answers. I was hoping to get a bit more of a climb in, but that Oakville route looks pretty good. I actually live at Bloor and Dundas, so I should be able to avoid the Indy.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:38 AM on July 9, 2009

There's not much of a climb from here to Oakville, true, but Lakeshore Rd in Mississauga/Oakville has some nice rolling hills, some with stoplights right in the valley, that should be a bit of a challenge if you don't time things right.
posted by maudlin at 11:52 AM on July 9, 2009

If you head west along Dundas you will hit the escarpment in Burlington. Tonnes of cyclists are always on the rural roads in Milton and Halton Hills. At least the air is clearer than in the city. You can also take a GO train to Milton or Georgetown if you want to do all 50 miles in the country.
posted by saucysault at 3:15 PM on July 9, 2009

Huh. About a decade ago I biked up Yonge starting from downtown. I was a teen with no job then so I just started around noon and biked and biked and carried some water with me and I got to this place where Yonge was this scrawny little street and there were fields on either side and only the occasional car. By then I'd biked for several hours and only turned back because I knew I needed to leave enough time to get back home before like, 1 in the morning. Sometimes it is a joy to see where a road goes.
posted by Sully at 10:39 PM on July 9, 2009

If you follow the waterfront trail to Oakville, you see a lot more neat things than just taking Lakeshore. If I'm an irregular biker and it was killing me, you should have no problem.

If you're going 50 miles, why not ride to Hamilton and take the GO back? They have an express bus back to Union or the "bus and train" route and they don't charge for bikes. And if you don't make it to Hamilton, there's always a close train station to get you back.
posted by cathoo at 4:00 AM on July 10, 2009

There is construction on Yonge right now between Eglinton & Lawrence - so it's a bit messy. I'd flip over to Mt. Pleasant or one of the other N/S streets to avoid the debris.
posted by machine at 6:45 AM on July 10, 2009

Yonge and Eg is a fucking disaster of construction.

If you are at Bloor and Dundas and *want* a killer hill, there's none better than Caledonia Park Way. I've ridden it and it's brutal in a good way. However, I've only done it in the early am (around 1am) so can't speak to traffic on a Saturday morn. I ride up Symington to Davenport to Caledonia Park Rd and then ride north on that till it ends and turns into Bridgeland or something like that. You'll then end up just south of Wilson and Dufferin. If you take Wilson east past Yonge you will then encounter what I think is the toughest hill in the city for a cyclist: York Mills Road. I've never successfully made it to the top of that hill--however, I ride single speed.

You can then head down Bayview and pop into Sunnybrook Park and go south till you get your distance and then start heading back.

Again, I ride this stuff only at night so can't speak to the traffic in daylight.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 5:24 PM on July 10, 2009

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