A great way to kick off the weekend, the Saturday morning rides promise plenty of interesting scenery in and around Toronto. You'll explore the many picturesque pathways, including those of the Martin Goodman Trail, Don Trail, Taylor Creek Park, Leslie Street Spit, Humber Trail, Sunnybrook Park, Edward's Gardens, the Gatineau Hydro Corridor and more. With a prompt 9:30am departure you'll miss the throngs that crowd onto the pathways in the afternoons. Rides typically start within Toronto boundaries, close to a subway station, or transit, and they return to the start point.
The Urban Roller pace is brisk enough (19 to 23 kph average on the flat) to help maintain or increase fitness levels and also allow for some friendly socializing. This group aims to make the ride enjoyable, sociable and friendly for new-comers, or old hands. For the most part we try to keep to quieter streets and paths. An effort is made to keep the group together, with regroup points to let people catch up.
Saturday morning rides usually have a sweep, that is someone who rides near the back of the group to try to make sure that we stay together as much as possible. However, if a rider cannot match the pace of the group even with the regrouping stops, we will suggest some options. The sweep is required to support, and stay with, the main group and keep them on route. Please be realistic in assessing your abilities, especially if it is your first time riding with TBN.
Generally the pace on the rides increases as the season progresses and riders become fitter.If you are not certain about your ability level, try a few Leisure Wheeler rides first. Then, if you find yourself wanting more of a challenge, move up to Urban Roller. This way, you won't be exhausted and drop off the back of the group on your first Urban Roller ride. If you aren't enjoying yourself, you won't want to return, and we want everyone to have fun and stay with TBN! Of course, if you find us too slow please check out the TBN Tourist
Non-members are always welcome - see the link in the first paragraph above (top of this column) to register and pay the $5 fee.
Completed between 12 and 1 pm, the Saturday Morning Rides allow ample time to get your Saturday errands done, or you may instead choose to relax over a coffee or lunch with some of your biking buddies. The start point of the ride varies each week with about 12 different ride-routes in different parts of the city. Because of this, be sure to check this website the week of the ride. Non-members are always welcome - as long as you pay the $5 ride fee, sign the ride waiver and wear a helmet.
Below there are some tips about our rides, shared from the Sunday Urban Roller page which you should check out too (under "programs" click "cycling") .
Before the Ride
Here are a few tips for new riders, and some of our regular ones too. Please make sure that your bike is in good mechanical condition. It doesn't have to be the latest all-carbon-fibre model, but the tires should be pumped up, the chain oiled, and the brakes in working order. It is a very good idea to carry a patch kit or spare tube and a small pump in case you get a flat. Everyone gets a flat sooner or later. On a similar note, carrying a cell phone is also a good idea in case of a mechanical problem that can't be fixed on the road, or an actual emergency. Bring a water bottle and a small snack in case you get hungry before lunch. Of course, you will need to have and wear a helmet to participate in any TBN ride.
You can find a printable "cue sheet" with the turn-by-turn description of the route on the website page for the ride. Please print it out and bring it along with you. There's also a link to a downloadable Ride with GPS map if you're so inclined.
At the Start
It is a good idea to arrive at the departure point at least 15 minutes before the 9:30am departure time (on Saturdays). This gives you a chance to meet the ride leader and assemble your bike if it was packed in the car. You can also take the opportunity to introduce yourself and chat with the other riders. After all, we ride in groups to meet other people!
Sometimes Rides are Cancelled
Rides are scheduled in advance on the TBN website. If there are any changes to the schedule they will only be noted on the website, so always check to confirm that a ride is happening. In the event of bad weather, check the website after 8 am on the morning of the ride to see if it has been cancelled.
For more information, please contact Patsy Cook or Mick O'Meara, Saturday Morning Ride Coordinators, at firstname.lastname@example.org.