A ride in my own backyard! Tour de Mississauga becomes more popular each year, reaching ~1600 riders!! 1st, it’s FREE with a free BBQ at the end! That’s beyond rare in organized rides. 2nd, nicely paved roads. Thanks to our tax dollars! 3rd, impressive organization. 4th, learning new cycling routes in the city. Surprised to discover bike lanes on Mississauga Rd. 5th, the weather is somehow ALWAYS perfect. Someone’s reading the crystal ball correctly! This ride definitely made up for yesterday. It was near perfect!! Today’s route focused on the Southeast quadrant of Mississauga, the last of the 4-year series to explore the entire city.
A quick warm-up ride from home to the Start Line (Mississauga Celebration Square). Clear skies but temperature was chilly (single digits) in the morning. Unlike yesterday, I was dressed appropriately complete with base layer and leg warmers. Much better! 😀
THE RIDE (100km)
The ride was kicked-off with energetic speeches by the organizers & the Mississauga Mayor (Hazel) herself. Probably the best line ever by 1 of the organizers: “There’s 100K, which will be leading the 60K, followed by 30K, and oKay …” (it was amusing at the time! :oops:).
We were off – hundreds of clicking noises as riders clipped into their pedals. Music in my ears! 😀 I was riding in a huge group for the 1st 30km. Surprisingly, there were no cars in our direction!! Cyclists were taking over. Even when we saw cars …. on left turns, U-turns, you name it …. we were breaking all sorts of rules as if we owned the roads & probably driving motorists insane. What courtesy?!
Route was relatively flat with some newly paved roads – SMOOTH! We were flying through it for the 1st 35km, hitting >30km/hr. At 35km, my average speed was 27.6km/hr. Traffic lights eventually broke the group up into smaller groups of 7-8 riders.
All was fine & dandy until we reached my favourite area of Mississauga – Port Credit. Traffic was busy & we were riding in single file. As we neared an intersection, a jerk-face driver yelled at the rider in front of me to “Get out of the way“. He then proceeded to scream at me. Shocked by such action, my friend from behind yelled at him & jerk-face started dropping F-bombs. He then turned onto a driveway to my right. As I rode by his car, I thought he was going to back up & run me over!! Psycho!
At 50km, I wondered where the one & only rest stop was (ride is free after all!). Taking a short break at ~55km, I examined the route map. Sure enough, we missed the rest stop back at 42km!! I later found out many riders missed it too!
I chased down a different group of riders after the rest, eventually leading the pack from 60km to 80km. The bright orange arrows on the road were peeling off at this point (or tampered with)! We had to rely on the clear adhesive glue that was left on the road to guide us. I guess that’s an unforeseen issue when organizers switched to “sticky paper arrows” as opposed to “spray chalk” from previous years!!
Arriving back at Celebration Square, we parked our bikes & waited in a long lineup for lunch. The atmosphere was full of excitement – riders were everywhere chatting & having a good time, band on stage singing some familiar tunes. 2 burgers & some potato salad later, I settled into temporary bliss.
After an hour, it was time to ride home. It’s always tough getting up after a heavy lunch, let alone riding a bicycle! At least the ride helped burn off my 2 burgers! 🙂