Posted by: Silver | December 4, 2011

Woodstock to Hamilton

Woodstock to Brantford:
Distance: 49 km
Ascent: 198 m
Cycling time: 3 hours

Brantford to Hamilton:
Distance: 42 km
Ascent: 161 m
Cycling time: 2 hours, 52 minutes

OK, let’s see if I can get all the way to the end of this entry without talking about the weather…

One question I’ve been asked fairly frequently as I’ve made my way around southern Ontario is, “you won’t be going on the highway, will you?” This area of Canada – being one of the very few parts of the country with enough people in it to justify it – has a network of roads very similar to the freeways in the States, or motorways in the UK. That is to say, the sort of roads that a cyclist would not want to be on, even if they were allowed to be. Which, as far as I’m aware, they’re not. But they certainly do seem to be the roads that all vehicle drivers think of first when considering getting from A to B round here, which is just fine by me, as it leaves all the other roads much, much quieter. 😉

Quiet enough, in fact, to hear a strangely unfamiliar noise coming from Ranger’s sparkly new rear wheel. I was in no doubt that John at Courtesy Bicycles had done a good job, but I did worry that maybe something wasn’t bedding down quite right, so I visited The Bicycle Shop in Brantford (yes, that’s what it was called) just as soon as I could – to be told that I had some dead leaves caught under my rear fender. Yeah, like that wasn’t embarrassing at all…

And since I’m not talking about the weather, let me instead wax lyrical about how lovely the Brantford to Hamilton rail trail is. I was able to complete almost my entire journey between these two cities without seeing a single car – or indeed, many other people at all, since for some reason, there didn’t seem to be a huge amount of interest in getting out and enjoying the scenery on this particular day (actually, there was just one reason really, I think, but I’m not talking about that…) The trail really is very beautiful, even at this time of year, and in the fall, I suspect it would be utterly stunning. Just don’t let anyone tell you that it’s paved: it’s not (at least, not for the vast majority of the way). It’s a good surface, indeed considerably less afflicted by potholes than many of the (paved) streets in downtown Hamilton, but it does provide more rolling resistance than pavement – especially when it’s wet with snow…

Damn – almost made it… 😉

At first, I thought this was just a 'standard' war memorial in the centre of Brantford, but it turned out to be in honour of the local First Nations who had sided with the British against the Americans in the Revolutionary War and the war of 1812; the statues were cast from melted down guns, apparently....

No, don't look at the white stuff: look at how beautiful and peaceful the trail is!

Hamilton is built on the Niagara escarpment (yes, the thing that the Niagara Falls fall over), so there are numerous flights of steps to allow pedestrians to get from the lower town to the 'mountain'; these ones were even suitable for bikes - but sadly, not trikes 😦

Interesting rooflines in Hamilton city centre



  1. i’m trying to imagine how you’ll get through or around Toronto. when I motorcycled to Halifax I gave Toronto and Montreal wide berths. everything else was relatively easy – thanks to horse power. GH

  2. Yeah, I’m guessing it’s not going to be easy – but then again, neither is life for the orphans I’m trying to help, so I’m determined to make it through one way or another…

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