Chipping Away at the Caledon-Lakeside Ride

A Great Lakes to Greenbelt Cycling Adventure.

When we learned of the nine cycling loops showcasing the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail and the Greenbelt Route, first thought, that’s pretty cool. A bit more research and a goal became obvious. Next season, we will ride and check all these loops off the list. Discovering that one of the rides we can practically access from our front door and with the fall riding season just around the corner, hey, no better time than now; let’s do it.

The Caledon-Lakeside Ride showcases the Mississauga and Oakville waterfront, the Greenbelt route between Georgetown and Caledon and the Etobicoke Creek Trail. At 173 kilometres, it is recommended as a two-day ride with an overnight in Georgetown. With scheduling conflicts and a cycling partner, aka my wife, who is still building her in the saddle endurance, even an 80+ kilometre day can seem more like work than fun. Determined, we opted to take advantage of the numerous access points along the route to achieve our goal in several day rides.

Ride One

As it turns out, our goal to complete the Caledon-Lakeside Ride started even before we knew it as our last ride from the Ken Whillans Resource Management Area to Glen Williams along the Caledon Trailway is part of the loop. A delightful ride along the rail trail, then on to quiet roads and on to Glen Williams. The road section offers a glimpse into the rolling hills you can expect along the Greenbelt portions of this loop. On the way back, we made a slight detour to Spirit Tree Estate Cidery for a bite to eat and some liquid refreshments to take home with us.

Ride Two 

Ride number two has us back at Ken Whillans Resource Management Area, but this time it’s just a drop off as the plan is to ride back to Lake Ontario along the Etobicoke Creek Trail. Starting on the Rail Trail, then on to country roads, and then south on bike lanes along Kennedy Rd.

We pick up the Etobicoke Creek Trail at the north end of Brampton. From here on, the majority of the ride is along a paved multi-use trail zigzagging through ravines and parks. Following the water flow, the day has a slight downhill slant to it, making for pleasant pedalling even if, at times, it might not feel like it. There are many opportunities to purchase food and drink along the route or stop for a rest. Our only challenges on the day that added a few extra kilometres to the tally were the go-arounds required to bypass construction on the Hwy 401 and QEW underpasses. A 60-kilometre day and a definite pleasure discovering such fantastic cycling within city limits.

Ride Three

The southern section of the Caledon-Lakeside Ride along the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail accessed by Go Train at the Longbranch and Oakville stations. So the plan for ride number three is to cycle between the stations mentioned above, returning to the start via the Go Train. At just over 30 kilometres, today’s plan is a reasonably short one. That said, with many distractions along the way, it is easy to make this quick tour into a full day outing.  Lake views, parks and beaches vie for our attention. Port Credit and Oakville offer up an array of cafes, eateries and patios; luckily, the activity of cycling pairs nicely with the pleasure of eating. Some of our favourite highlights include Lake Promenade Park, Snug Harbour and Tannery Park in Oakville.

A point to consider, this ride can be accomplished in either direction; perhaps the final decision needs to be made as to the direction the wind blows.

Ride Four

Back at the Oakville Go Station. We reconnect with the route at Tannery Park and follow the Waterfront Trail east to Fourth Line. Here we turn north and cycle along bike lanes and trails north. A short hike a bike at Glenorchy Conservation Area Ravine and then on to the Greenbelt’s rolling hills. Today’s effort is fueled by the promise of the ride’s end in the hamlet of Glen Williams in Halton Hills.  A charming town noted for its visual artists, artist’s studios and heritage buildings. The outdoor patio at the Copper Kettle Pub is a perfect spot to celebrate the end of a day’s ride and the completion of the Caledon-Lakeside ride while waiting for our shuttle home to arrive.

Nine cycling loops showcasing the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail and the Greenbelt Route, yeah, that’s pretty cool. The Caledon-Lakeside Ride is a fabulous cycling experience, no matter how you get it done. We might have chipped away at it this time around, but will be back next season for the overnighter for sure.

Check out the Caledon-Lakeside route and download GPS files

Author: Martin Lortz