A quick look at a map will tell you the most direct route from Chinatown to Hintonburg is straight down Somerset and Wellington St West. However there are a few nasty spots along that artery. Here, as travelled today on day two of my 30 Days of Biking pledge, are my preferred routes there and back.
One of the many reasons living in Chinatown is so great is the wonderful selection of produce stores and restaurants. There is also a lot of quick turnover street parking along the stretch between Bronson and Preston, and not much room on the road to share with traffic, lest a door on a parked car swing open. I am very vigilant when I approach parked cars. I check to see if there is anyone sitting in the passenger seat, making sure there is sufficient time to stop, just in case. School of hard knocks. I’ve been doored. It sucks. Once beyond Preston there is reprieve with a recently introduced bike lane on the bridge over the train tracks. Unfortunately the bike lane ends on the other side of the bridge like so.
From then on Somerset/Wellington West becomes very narrow, busy and dangerous, with lots of on street parking. I avoid it all by taking this short flight of steps, immediately to the right of the sign shown in the above photo.
I then ride along quiet Breezehill Ave, cross Bayview Road, and turn right on Garland to Armstrong. Armstrong is a great east/west street that runs parallel to crazy Wellington. Nice and calm.
I turn onto McCormick St to get to the Royal Bank on Wellington. This takes you past Right Bike, the wonderful bike sharing group, whose headquarters happen to be on McCormick.
My route back is indicated in red on the above map. Garland is a one way heading north for cars, but there is a lane for cyclists heading south. There is also a new LCBO at the corner of Garland and Somerset, which I took advantage of and popped in to buy a bottle of wine to have with supper!
one of the most treacherous spots along Somerset is the south west corner at Preston St, as so vividly described in this bloggers post. For some reason, perhaps because of the extra turning lane at this corner, drivers become goofy dangerous and impatient to turn south onto Preston. When riding home with my kids from Devonshire school on Breezehill I would avoid the corner by turning right onto the Public Works laneway, that turns into a mini underpass below Somerset through to City Centre. The underpass is quite narrow so extra caution is required to make sure no cars are coming the other way.
I then take a combination of quiet streets, as indicated on the above map, over to Primrose. There’s a pedestrian light to get you across busy Booth St. Now the minor hick with this solution to avoiding the corner of Somerset&Preston is having to carry your bike up this set of stairs. If you’ve ever lived in a second or third floor apartment this should be easy-peasy.
At the top of the stairs there is a lane that takes you up to where Primrose continues.