Toronto - Niagara and Back on a Bicycle
29 Apr - 02 May 2005
I've got a week off from work and school and decided to use the time
to get away from computers (my career) and get back into shape after
a winter of laziness. The idea I got was to go to Niagara Falls and
back on my trusty mountain bike.
I managed to figure out how to set exposure and shutter time
manually on my digital camera, so this time the pictures are a bit
better. Click on them for a larger version (the originals are
1600x1200 but i figured that's too big for the web).
I also tried to keep a journal. The entries are probably not
interesting to you (maybe only if you plan to do this also).
09:30 Bathurst and Finch, that's around where I live. It's a
beautifull sunny day with no clouds and little wind.
11:00 Bathurst and Bloor, Cyclepath. I asked the very good mechanic
there whose name I will have to ask next time to straightn my rear
wheel and adjust the gear shifter. He did that and even oiled the
chain for me for 15$. Bike ran like new.
This is taken from the pedestrian bridge across the QEW looking
11:30 Stopped for a tea, weather is still perfect.
13:00 Stopped at a subway to get lunch, ate it in a park on the
lake. Realized i don't have my U-lock for the bike. The dude at the
bike shop must have taken it off and forgot. Bought a padlock (which
I lost later that day, must have fallen out of my pocket).
These two are different places somewhere in Missisauga:
Note the path in this one. The Lakeshore trail, which I think goes
from Ottawa to Niagara often goes off road and onto a
cycle/pedestrian path. It's quite nice but don't expect too much of
it. The trail is poorly marked (not enough signs) so even when there
is a path through a park you may very well miss it.
Some beutifull tulips on the east side of Oakville:
Lakeshore going through Burlington is very pretty; lots of big, well
18:00 Am at Brant and Lakeshore. Want to go across to Hamilton
tomorrow because I'm tired. Went up and around and back down looking
for a motel but no luck. The price at Travelodge doesn't suit my
pocket (150$ for the night). Instead of circling around some more I
went forward towards Hamilton.
What do you know, that bridge going over the lake is just for the
QEW, pedestrians go on land. I was hoping to make a picture or two
from up there. I just went over a little bridge which I think can
(or once could) lift to let ships through.
19:00 Looks like about an hour of daylight left. Am seriously
planning to sleep outside. The wind will be terrible at night.
19:30 I can't believe my eyes, just as I lost all hope, there is a
motel in this middle of nowhere. That was 55$ happily spent. The
place is all run down but it's amazing they stay in business at all,
there can't be many nutters like me going around and there's no
high-traffic road nearby.
Later I figured this must be somewhere not far north of QEW's
interchange 89 on Beach blvd.
20:00 (looking in the mirror) Oh my god, I am an indian. The sun
burned me well, looks nice actually.
08:00 I'm on the road again. Looks cloudy, hope it
08:30 Decent breakfast at QEW and Centennial.
10:00 All of my muscles hurt but I think I'm making good speed.
12:00 Ontario street (Beamsville). I've been really lucky with the
weather so far.
13:00 Lunch at a Subway, it's getting windy.
Most of the way on N Service road is really dull with the highway on
one side and a concrete barrier on the other.
These are two horses (beind a wooden fence) quietly eating grass. I
talked to them a little and they came close and let me touch them.
Nice animals. One of them kept trying to eat my coat:
14:00 Very annoying wind right in my face. Can't wait to turn south.
Heey, look here. This is a real wooden ship, in one piece. Even the
sails are still on. Amazing. I should have recorded where this place
Got to the Wellend canal on Lakeshore. Went south from there. The
canal looks abandoned, no constructions on the side, no ships. but
abandoned it is not.
Decided to go across on Queenston Taylor road. Just started crossing
the bridge when some bells went off. Huh? I quickly realize it's a
raising bridge, then see a huge ship approaching. I am on a bridge
that's about to go up. I am honestly not making this up. Went back a
little, a little more, then saw where the crack in the bridge was
and went behind that. Bridge went up. Wow, I've never even seen a
bridge being raised, never mind be on one when it happens. Made some
When the ship passed, someone asked me over a loudspeaker to go
behind the gates so the bridge can go down. Yeah, now they tell me
:) This was the coolest adventure on this trip.
Despite the proximity of Niagara Falls, this part of Ontario is all
a big middle of nowhere. Lots of vines, some industrial complexes
but generally speaking just long stretches of nothing.
Made this picture just to remember about climbing this hill for 15
18:30 Found a motel. 'Northway' on the QEW and Mountainview road.
This place is cheap and really nice. For 57$ (incl. tax) I got the
cleanest motel room I've seen in my life with the usual TV, fridge
and clean towels, but also a coffee maker, tea bags, coffee, sugar
and even a hair drier :) I fullheartedly recommend this place. It's
on the east side of the highway.
Went out early. Breakfast at a bus drivers' restaurant in the north
of Niagara Falls. The clouds in the pictures went away after an hour
And the Horseshoe falls:
I wanted to capture the awesome quantity of water falling down here,
unfortunately it's not so impressive in a static photo:
This is some alley starting from the Niagara parkway:
Stopped for tea. I consider this the point where I tured back.
Looking north from a bridge across the Welland river at the
intersection of Niagara parkway and Portage road:
From here I took small and medium highways back to Victoria street
(highway 24) and South Service road. This is some place on the way:
S. Service road is a little better then N. Service road but only
because it doesn't have a concrete barrier on the side opposite to
the QEW. This is the last photo I made since there was nothing else
worthy there, my good mountain bike:
The rest was pretty uneventfull anyway. By the end of the day was at
QEW and Centennial, arrived home at about 16:00.
General points of interest:
- Most roads on the way have a speed limit of 80km/h and no
shoulder. This can make it stressfull.
- Smaller roads are much more pleasant since they have almost no
traffic and the scenery is better. But there are problems going
on them: 1) You will have trouble getting food and drink (no
traffic = no business) and 2) there are a lot of hills, I guess
when they build a serious highway they either level the land or
choose a path with few hills
- I think May might be the best time of the year for doing this
(except maybe October). Though the sun is high the temperature
is quite good. In fact i had to wear a coat most of the day
despite the sun (it's cooler when you ride).
- Unless you know a way to prevent it, be prepared to get badly
burned by the sun. I lost a layer of skin on my face and the top
of my hands. it doesn't hurt though.
- You don't need to be extremely fit (look at me :)), just be
dedicated. Four days for 300 kms isn't so much and you can
easily make it 6 days rather then 4 if you like.
- I went with 475$ in my pockets (didn't trust to keep it all in
one place) and returned with 175. Most of the money was spent on
motels for the night, the rest on food.
In conclusion: I had fun, used a lot of my muscles and little of my
brain, got away from everyday life troubles and returned perfectly
relaxed. Everyone should do something like this once a year.
- Small backpack
- MapArt Ontario Road Atlas
- If you can find this information (I couldn't): a list of
motels along the QEW
- Tools for fixing the bike just in case: (2 wrenches for the
wheels, flat screwdriver, cross screwdriver, a spare tube, air
- Good raincoat
- Notepad, pen, camera
If you have questions for me, please use this
Other trips of mine.