Mostly all good, but the gravel alternate routes currently suck.
Having a thing to attend in Hamilton this past weekend, we packed enough for the weekend, rode down to the Oshawa GO Station and took a train to the other end of the line. It was a good opportunity to check the state of the route to the west and note anything new.
Bottom line as things currently stand: It’s all pretty good, exept the alternative dirt routes. After 5 years of being a pleasure to ride, they’re really, really terrible. Hen’s egg sized aggregate mixed into 2-3" of deep soft Ganaraska Forest Sand. If you’re a fan of events like Paul’s Dirty Enduro then you may get a kick out of riding the roads right now. Otherwise keep to the paved route until further notice. County 20 is still unpleasant to ride, with only a foot or so of pavement outside of the white lines and big trucks. There needs to be a way to avoid it without adding 30k to the route. I’m a keep looking.
We took advantage of the recent Airport Road reconnection that isn’t officially open, but is rideable, to bypass Millbrook, leaving Pontypool as the midpoint supply stop and Pontypool delivered. The local grocery store had pizza in the oven, but it was 10 minutes from done so we opted for fresh apple turnovers. They were good!
Tyrone Mills was a crazy happening place on Saturday afternoon, but we had to buzz past it without stopping to stay on schedule.
We’ve all been waiting for it for years.
It. Has. Arrived.
Officially opens late summer, but it’s already covered with hundreds of bike tracks.
Late summer 2016 paving news...
You never know what you’ll get when road crews venture out to do some “improvements” in the region. Usually things end up worse, sometimes better, but truly, it seems to be a random crap shoot. Which county or township is responsible for any given section of that road? What’s the current management fad for road maintenance? What crew have they sent out to do the work (some obviously giving less than a fuck about the quality of their work, while others not giving even the tiniest amount of fuck)?
Hence my name for the process “Road Surface Roulette”.
I can report that Division Rd. is now fully paved between PTBO and Norwood, that annoying section of dirt east of Hwy. 38 having been chipsealed at some point this season. That’s mighty good news for anyone riding the northern route out of town.
Highlighting just how truly random the whole business is:
The surface from Cameron Line to 38 is perhaps the finest, smoothest chipseal I’ve ever seen, it’s better than most paved surfaces! On the other hand, the surface east from 38 is almost the worst chipseal surface I’ve encountered, even worse that the section east from Hwy. 28 that needed extensive cold patching less than a year after it was done.
Anyway, enjoy the freedom to ride to Norwood without being dusted, there’s a new ice cream joint on the main drag.
Checking out the state of the unpaved.
It being a stinking, sweltering hot day today I chose to ramble about on the dirt roads to the southeast of the city and see how they’re doing.
Hastings to Presqu’ile Provincial Park
Ridden in its entirety from PTBO down to the Lake today. It was proclaimed a delightful route by all 4 who were riding.
See new permanent page for details.
Waterfront rest stop at the other Little Lake, near Brighton ON
It’s spring and the various counties have re-gravelled various dirt roads.
This year, they’re apparently operating at random rather than employing last year’s Scorched Earth policy, so while some roads have gone quietly into that dark night, others have survived.
Sweeny, the short dirt link from Old Norwood to Division just east of PTBO on the No-Trail route is a casualty. Providence, one concession to the west is still fine, so I’m re-routing up that road for the time being. Sweeny should recover enough to be ridable again in a month or so. I need to make a point of getting out Division towards Norwood to check the state of that longer dirt section.
A Tricky Challenge
The Province’s short sighted decision to NOT pave full shoulders on Highway 7 has always been a huge detriment to cyclists all along its Ontario spanning route.
I’m not saying that they should be added just for the benefit of cyclists, but there are established and tested engineering reasons why full shoulders have significant benefits and, in the long term, greatly decrease the costs associated with all roads in climates that include real winters (much of the research on this was initially done in Sask and Alberta).
Of course, like many things infrastructural, the payback period for the additional upfront expense is much longer than any single governments term in office. Decades longer. So, ain’t never gonna happen with the current breed of Canadian politician we’re growing these days.
Ooops... sorry. Little carried away there. Back to the subject at hand. Bike touring.
Now that fall has arrived, it seems like a good time to revisit the state of the dirt roads in the region.
Thankfully, the mess of this spring has mostly been packed down at this point and the majority of the dirt roads in the county have returned to their smooth, hardpack state.
PROVIDENCE LINE SOUTH OF HWY. 7
A lift down to Bowmanville today provided me with the chance not only to be able to pick up a new bottling spigot at The Brewer’s Pantry in time to bottle the Saison that’s been percolating away through this heat wave, but also to ride back along the western section of the route to check current conditions...