My Bicycling Interests

As a kid I loved to ride my bike.  I was really proud of my new CCM bike (so proud I took the following picture) my parents bought for me in 1948.  Previously, I had a second-hand “English” bike, but it had a coaster brake and not hand brakes which were common to English bikes as we called them. 

The bike was a second home to me. I was always riding around, mostly in the south end including Point Pleasant Park with such neighbourhood buddies as Bill Montgomery and Wayne Horner. 

I had a keen interest in railroads, and rode my bike out to the CNR Roundhouse in Fairview often.  And, just as often, I got ushered off the property for safety reasons.  Being a determined young railfan, I found that if I went into the Fairview Cemetery (where most of the Titanic graves are), I could hide my bike in the bushes between the cemetery and the roundhouse property and walk right in the back way to the property.  Well, it just took CNR security longer to catch up with me, but finally, they realized I was a responsible and keen kid, and I developed a friend-engineer, his surname was Lawson.  He used to take me up in the cabs of the locos, and when diesels first came out, WOW, was I excited. 

In 1960, I moved to Montreal to work, but always had a bicycle.  In fact, when it became in vogue for adults as well to use a bike for daily transport, people used to say to me that I founded the idea.  I don’t agree that I founded the idea, it was just a passion I had enjoying bicycle riding.  When I began to work for RCA in downtown Montreal (St. Henri), I decided on fine summer days to take the 40-minute bike ride into work.  I did this for a number of years.  We also rode for pleasure out through Ste. Anne de Bellevue, Deux Montagnes, Hudson, etc, all of which were enjoyable rides.  Two years in a row, I participated in the CCM Tour de Quebec. 

In 1977, my employer was Montreal Engineering (Monenco) and they moved us to St. Catharines.  Niagara, except for the Escarpment, is a level place to ride.  You cannot go south from St. Catharines, without having to go up at some place.  However, it was just something you took in stride.  I used to ride in to the eastern end of Hamilton, or to Dunnville, down to Welland or down past Niagara Falls, and down to Fort Erie.  Each of these trips, just as I cycle today, are pedaling leisurely at my own speed, taking several hours to make the return trip.  In those days there were no official leisure trails, I traveled on the secondary roads, and traffic and traffic manners were not a big issue as they are today. 

In 1983, all of Moneco’s megaprojects went down the tubes, resulting in layoffs.  With not much great employment activity around St. Catharines/Niagara, I viewed the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) as the place to work and began in Mississauga with the Institute for Hydrogen Systems (IHS).  Commuting back and forth was a problem, so I decided to stay at a cycling friend’s (Doug Gemmel) home in Port Credit (part of Mississauga) during the week and go back on Fridays, returning on Monday mornings.  This meant that all my evenings were spent in the Mississauga area.  Mississauga has always been a well-planned community, and they had nifty bike trails even back in 1983.  One very nice one was the Sawmill Valley Trail which ran close to the IHS, and I used to keep a second bike (bought for this purpose) at work and several employees did the trail every fine day. 

One of the prettiest trails is the Humber River trail from above Highway 401 right down to Lake Ontario in Port Credit.  I’ve also cycled many times what used to be called the Martin Goodman trail (now the Waterfront Trail) from Port Credit right through downtown Toronto to its eastern extremity, Balmy Beach near Woodbine Ave.  After 6 p.m., you can take your bike on the subway and ride it back a good portion of the return trip. 

In 1985, I began working with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation at Downsview.  This meant a new temporary residence on Roselawn Ave, near Allen Road.  Cycling to Downsview from there was not a big distance, and I did it a few times.  However, with the increased traffic at rush hours led to safety concerns and I took the bus.  The old radial rail trail was close to Roselawn at Eglinton, and I’ve cycled it many times. 

A bit of a different trail is to take the Toronto Harbour ferries (with your bike) over to the Toronto Islands and cycle there and view the city from the islands.  It’s a nice run.  There is also a trail out to the end of the Leslie Street spit into Toronto harbour. 

Circa 1998, the MTO moved us back to St. Catharines coincidentally.  And over the years when I was working in Toronto, great advancements were made on leisure trails in Niagara as part of the Waterfront Trail from Toronto and around the Great Lakes.  Paved trails are plentiful now from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie along the Welland Canal. There is a rail trail from Port Colborne east to Fort Erie, and you can go north up the Niagara Parkway (trail) past Niagara Falls, into Niagara-on-the-Lake, etc.

Here are some typical trails and sample pics:

1. Cycling past Niagara Falls!

   

 

2. Cycling the Welland Canal trail!

 

 

3. Cycling the Georgian Bay trail (Meaford to Collingwood)

 

 

4. Cycling the Shallow Lake to Owen Sound Trail!

 
 

 

5. Cycling the trail through Welland!

 

6. Cycling the Ft. Erie to Pt. Colborne trail!

 

 

Come and bring your bike for some nifty trail riding!!!!!