An impulsive bike trip at Port Dalhousie, St. Catharines with the squash gang. The original plan to tackle the hills at Milton was scrapped when I got invited to this outing last Wednesday. It won’t be a training ride but I couldn’t pass up on the social aspect of a group ride, plus I have a soft spot for these rural communities.
We met up at Lakeside Park at 9:30am – 8 of us of all ages.
We were initially cycling along vineyards, farmlands, & other agricultural lands. Like last year, we were relying on Mustafa – our sole “GPS-equipped” guy. None of us were given maps. The person with directions should naturally be in the front but we fail to let that happen. Paul, Luch, Hussein, Anna, & I always seemed to be leading the pack. We’d keep going straight until we were lost, find a tree, & wait for Mustafa. My motto to them was “Just keep going ’til we hit the water!”
The route was relatively flat but I enjoy a little challenge. Whenever Mustafa gave me a choice, I chose the route with an uphill amidst all the groans in the group. Little did I know we’d eventually hit a nasty hill on Effingham St just North of Tice Rd. I wish I had a Garmin – what was its gradient?! It was long & steep. I was already on the 2nd lowest gear one-third up the hill. As I watched my speed dropped to 8km/hr & bike swaying with my efforts, I thought I wasn’t going to make it. There was no other choice but to power through since walking up is shameful. Once I reached the top, I immediately stopped – gasping for breath, legs trembling, heart beating out of my chest. I couldn’t believe such a hill existed in this area! I calculated it to be 12.3% gradient. Height of hill = 162ft (incr. from 660ft to 822ft elevation). Horizontal distance = 0.25miles or 1320ft. The little ones hit the wall at this point & we needed to find civilization to get water. Gas station to the rescue!!
Onwards to the Welland Canals Trail until we hit a “No Exit” road. Thankfully, a farmer on a tractor drove by. He told us the trail was at the end of the road & we could even catch a ferry there!! See, we are “cycling ’til we hit water” after all!!! 😀
The Welland Canals Trail is amazing. The path was smoothly paved with minimal human traffic. We cycled a good 35km on it, right alongside the canal. Gorgeous scenery & the water was so green! The Welland Canal is part of the St. Lawrence seaways, allowing ships to bypass Niagara Falls when traveling between Lake Ontario & Lake Erie. We were lucky enough to watch the vessel go through once the water leveled out.
Minimal traffic on the path means practicing another skill. I’m proud to say: “I learned how to cycle Hands-Free!!!!” 😀 But I wouldn’t be doing this on the road anytime soon – only trails. Still a bit shaky.
Back at Lakeside Park after the ride, we set up the BBQ for lunch. The burgers were delicious! The park was quite crowded by then especially with the beach there.
It was a nice & easy ride (except for that hill). I had fun riding with the gang & checking out the city. We will be heading out to Collingwood in July for an overnight bike trip!! Stay tuned!!! 😀 (See post HERE)