Toronto is a city of cyclists. Every corner seems to sport a bike-repair shop or a hang out catered to the cycling community. Urban cycling has become a part of the regular landscape of the city, even in the dead of winter. The war between vehicles and cyclists often leaves me craving a ride that doesn’t include competing with cars or nearly getting your hair buzzed off by some crazed driver passing by. The challenge begins: what is the best nature bike route in the big smoke?
There are many worthy contenders, ranging from a mid-town ride to a waterfront adventure. Enjoy the Ontarian scenery with the Martin Goodman Trail, a good choice for nature bike route of the year. Downtown construction on the route was completed in the summer of 2015. It is a beautiful route along Lake Ontario and spans into the eastern quadrant of the waterfront. It is 56 km long so don’t forget to bring some water and protein bars!
If you are looking for a shorter, but similarly challenging bike route that leads further into the recesses of nature, the Don Valley Parkway is the answer. This parkway extends from the Martin Goodman Trail at Cherry St. and works northward nearly all the way to Eglinton Ave. E. It is a hidden gem in the Toronto landscape because the valley is much lower than the highway and is much quieter than one would expect for a nature route in the middle of the city. The 15 km route includes sightseeing of wetlands, water crossings, and greenery for miles.
If you want to explore the western half of the city, the Humber Valley Trail system is another natural area in the city that has a variety of great biking routes. By taking the Martin Goodman Trail westwards, it is possible to cut northwards onto the Humber trails. It leads into magnificent natural areas in the western half of the city. Both the northern and southern nature routes have their beauties, but the Humber trails are often more secluded and natural than the Don Valley Parkway. This bike path is 27 km long, but can extend northwards quite far into other jurisdictions.
If you are looking for a good mid-town biking option, the Kay Beltline Park is an unpaved trail with beautiful trees. Beginning at Allen Rd., it is nine km and follows Eglinton Rd. The route ends near Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, which also has beautiful cycling routes and then connects back to the Don Valley Parkway. It is a nice alternative to biking along heavy service roads such as Eglinton if you are traveling across town.
The city is full of cycling routes that will fulfill any nature lover’s desire to escape the city without even having to leave the urban landscape. Each of these routes offers something unique about Toronto’s topography, befitting of this unique, quirky, and beautiful Canadian city.
What are your favourite bike routes in the city? Comment below and let us know!