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Albion Hills

April 10, 2011

Ride: 56km—Albion Hills Conservation Area to Caledon East to Hockley

Weather: Sunny, actually warm—gloves came off; leg warmers almost did

Thanks to the guy at Caledon Hills Cycling for the route (he actually recommended a slight variation, but I was a little pressed for time). My son was adventure running in the Albion Hills Conservation Area, about an hour north of us today. Adventure running is North American for orienteering, as best I can figure, and while my son enjoys it very much, it’s not particularly spectator-friendly. He runs off into the woods and re-emerges a couple of hours later a lot muddier than when he left. In the meantime, there’s not a lot to do. Today, I brought my bike. I called Caledon Hills Cycling for suggestions on a possible route—on google maps, all the roads look roughly the same. Very friendly guy and a big help. Terrific ride in beautiful conditions.

I pulled out of the Conservation Area’s parking lot and was underway. It’s remarkable how new roads change everything. Different sensations, a certain caution from not knowing the roads, and excitement about making new discoveries. The main discovery was that this end of the Niagara escarpment is rather different from mine. After I climb out of the valley, there aren’t too many substantial hills to negotiate. Instead, my local drumlins typically demand a short sprint and you’re at the top—frequently without even having to gear down. The bigger ones only need a light shift or two and maybe a bit of a push. The climbs here were a little more sustained. To be honest, parts of this ride felt a bit like Escher’s staircase, as I seemed to be going uphill on all four sides of the rectangle I carved out. But very pretty area and some nice riding. Hockley Rd., in particular, was rather nice: winding road with minimal traffic along the side of a valley.

Since I arrived in Ontario almost six years ago, I’ve not really come to like the area much. I like our neighborhood, but the province hasn’t done much for me, and I continue to refer to myself as an unreconstructed westerner. In many respects, though the bike has been a saving grace. I’ve seen more of the region on the back of my bike on the back roads, and there are an endless array of pretty hamlets and interesting farm lands. I still miss mountains and the sea, but I’m slowly coming around. The Bolton-Caledon-Hockley area made a good case for itself.

From an Egan’s Wager, this was a dead-loss of a day. We put almost 200kms on the car, while the ride made up only 56. To make matters worse, I will be at a conference next week, so digging an even bigger hole for myself. But what a beautiful day! Great day for a ride.

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