Don Valley Parkland

August 23, 2010

I almost died to write this story for Saturday’s National Post. I love love love the Brickworks, especially their awesome Saturday farmer’s market, which sells the greatest waffle I have ever eaten in Canada, but man do they ever need better infrastructure for cyclists to get to them.

Right now, unless you take a complicated secret route of ravine paths from Rosedale, you have to bike on the Bayview Extenstion to get to them. I made the extremely foolish choice of taking Rosedale Valley Rd., which is one of those awesome Toronto routes that has a bike lane that doesn’t connect to any other bike lanes – it just spits you out onto the Bayview Extension which is, for all intents and purposes to a cyclist, a highway. With a very busted up and broken shoulder that is not a functional bike lane even though cyclists are technically allowed on the Bayview Extension. And then there are the parts where you have to dodge cars coming off of the Don Valley Parkway. As thrilling as this all was, it’s not exactly ideal.

Of course, once I finally got to the Brickworks in the most terrifying way possible, I realized the less death-defying route I should have taken in the first place. But then I wouldn’t be all hopped up on cyclist self-righteousness.

In other Don Valley secret cycling adventures, this weekend I biked the entire length of the Don Valley Rec Trail, which goes from Lakeshore Boulevard right up to Lawrence. The southern half of the trail is somewhat post-apocalyptic looking (remember that demented Canadian kids’ show The Odyssey? It looks like that), but once you get north of the Bloor Street Viaduct (a bridge whose true beauty is best appreciated from below; riding under it is my favourite part of the trail), it’s positively bucolic. Well, as bucolic as it can be, considering the occasional glimpses of highway. You ride through a bunch of hidden parks, including Lung Cancer Grove. I assume the name is intended to raise awareness of lung cancer, and not as a warning to passersby of the immediate risks of lung cancer within the grove, but you never know in this city.

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