Insane 21 Hours 303 km Bike Trek! From Toronto to Niagara and Back!
I documented my 303 km bike trek from Toronto to Niagara on the Lake to Niagara then back to Toronto shooting with my Canon T50 using Fuji Superia Xtra 400! Watch my YouTube rant below or read my article to find out more about my trek!
The bike treks really started with a hater telling me that I can’t -well not for this Niagara trip but for the one I did the year before. It was one of those moments where I was talking shit and I claimed that I could bike the entirety of Yonge St. after finding out that it’s the longest street in the world, or something like that. I ended up biking past Old Yonge St. to Georgina, Ontario then back to downtown, Toronto, completing a 150km trek. After that was done, I began to talk my shit again -this time I claimed that I could bike to Niagara Falls then back home in 1 day.
So after about a month of completing the Georgina trek, I began my trip to Niagara starting it around 8 am. 30 minutes in, a jogger in front of me did a side step into my lane without checking and I crashed into her. I broke both my elbows and my bike was smashed. Long story short, I had to check myself into the emergency room and couldn’t go to work for 3 months. My attempt had failed.
This year things were different: my approach to the trek was safety driven and I started the journey at 3 am. I biked at my own pace; never attempted at speeding. The early start was also one of my best decisions as the roads were completely empty and the late night/early morning breeze made it an easy ride. I also didn’t use Google Maps to direct my route, at least to Niagara on the Lake and to Niagara Falls. Following Lake Shore then N. Service Road was all I did, and it was mostly a flat ride. Very Easy.
Once you get to Niagara on the Lake and you get close to the Falls, you will ride against some steeper hills but it’s nothing you can’t do. It also means there’s a downhill ride so it balances itself out.
When I got to Niagara Falls I felt like giving up on the goal and to take the train back home, but I told myself that I should at least go to St. Catherines and do it. So I followed Google Maps to St. Catherines, which had much beautiful sceneries, but when I got to downtown, St. Catherines, I said ‘Fuck it’ lets just ride all the way back home!
To my foolishness, I followed Google Maps to a highway where my innertube popped. Luckily, I was only 30 minutes away from Liberty! Bikes in St. Catherines. So I walked my bike back to downtown, St. Catherines to get an emergency fix. I had called 2 bike shops prior to them in which I was rejected. To be fair, Liberty! Bikes also rejected me, but they accepted my plea for an emergency fix with extra cost. I also purchased Skratch Labs Sport Energy Chews there which greatly helped my journey back.
Again, I turned on Google Maps and followed a different route (it was longer but I didn’t want to find myself in the highway again). This time I found myself in a mountainous valley route with lots of hills! At this point, both my knees had blown out -super swollen and very, very painful to peddle. I had to resort to using one of my arms to help one leg peddle while using the other arm to steer the handle bar.
I felt like giving up again when I got to Grimsby, but I ate a Subway sandwich and told myself I can do it. I continued to peddle with my one arm assist technique until I made it to Oakville. There I went into a Pizzaiolo where I got a slice and chowed it down while sitting on a lone bench. I relaxed for about 20 minutes then continued on my trek.
Once I got back on Lakeshore, I got my 10th wind -and peddled with my one arm assist technique all the way back home. It was 11:30 pm. My apartment was dark as both my roommates were out. I went in the fridge and chugged the water jug then jumped on my bed and passed the fuck out. The next day, my entire body was sore and my knee joints were super duper swollen. It stayed swollen for about 2 weeks.
My knees are about 95% healed now. I can go on light jogs and I can bike again, but I can feel that they’re not quite fully healed. It’s the same feeling I had on the trek when I knew my joints were slowly getting unscrewed. For now, I’m going to take it easy on the exercises but I reckon I’ll be back in a few months.
It’s exhilarating to know that you’re capable of feats such as this -for a normie like me that is. I’m even more encouraged now to attempt bigger challenges but do it properly. Since I know the limitations of my endurance and my body, I will pace myself further for future trek challenges. But let me talk my shit again: Next year, I will challenge myself to do a multi-day bike trek to Ottawa and back to Toronto!
-Start early: My ride was super smooth as Lakeshore Blvd. was completely empty, and the ride to N. Service Rd. was also a breeze. By the time I got to Hamilton was when morning joggers started to show up.
-Pack less: I made the mistake of starting the journey with a backpack full of snacks and drinks -5 protein bars, 3 Gatorade bottles and 1 water bottle. It definitely helps that you won’t need to do pitstops and you can continuously ride but the weight really hurts in the beginning.
-Buy good night lights: Don’t cheap out on lights since you will need dependable light sources on both ways of the trip. I use Olight RN800 and they’re worth the money as they last a long time and powerful! The Olight along with my smaller hind light were used at the start of my trip then were charged when the Sun came out then used again once dusk hit.
-Bring a portable charger for your lights and your phone.
-Use pitstops efficiently: Stopping at pitstops will hurt your time and your race against the Sun, so make sure you buy enough stuff but not too much that it will burden you with extra weight.
-Fruit stands: In the summer, there are plenty of fruit stands on the way so utilize them to replace your snack weight!
-Camera: If you’re bringing an external camera other than your phone, bring a light weight point & shoot! A titanium body will ruin your spine!
Burlington Coyotes: In the beginning of my journey, while I was in Burlington to be exact, I came across 3 Burlington coyotes. First when I saw them across the streets, I didn’t think much since I had many coyote encounters growing up in Vancouver. So as the lights turned green, I bike towards them. As I was approaching them -and the 3 coyotes to me, I began to see how different they are compared to malnourished Vancouver coyotes! These 3 coyotes were HUGE, and well fed! The 3 coyotes literally brushed up against my legs as they strut by me. We glanced at each others’ eyes deeply for the brief moment. I believe we were all a bit shook since it was a bizarre occasion for both parties: getting a bit too close. Anyway it was truly a wild experience getting so close to big coyotes such as them!
Hamilton: Lakeshore side Hamilton is super cool. The beaches aren’t very big but the walkway they created and the vibe is incredible. I love the big metal railing structures they have on the beaches and would love to come back to do a shoot by them. The basketball courts by the beach also reminds me of Vancouver.
Grimsby Hippie/Doll Houses: Click here for references because you will definitely need them. You gotta understand how I felt when I came across these in the morning of my trek. I felt like I was going to be a victim in a Hansel and Gretel type scenario when I saw these houses. And at first I only saw one so I stopped to take a photo of it with my phone. Then as I biked a bit more, I was surrounded by them! I messaged my friend who’s from Grimsby after the trek and she told me that these houses are known as “hippie houses”. Upon Googling this phenomena, I learned that they’re also called “Doll Houses”. Neat!
• Liberty! Bikes, St. Catherines: https://libertybicycles.com/
• Jamis Bike: http://www.rbinc-sports.com/catalog/bikes/jamis-bikes
• imuto 20000mAH Portable Charger (recommended): https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B01191S0VY/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
• Olight RN800 (SUPER RECOMMENDED!): https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B08D9435HL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
• Bike Pump (Honestly, it’s compact, but I wouldn’t recommend it): https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B01BVOUI32/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1