SoCycling’s 95km Milton Escarpment Ride

I ride, I ride a lot, and usually, that means I go up Dufferin, then either turn left to Schomberg or turn right to Musselman’s Lake. If I’m feeling crazy and need to mix it up, I go south along the Don Valley Trails to the Toronto waterfront.

It’s safe to say that after many years of the same thing every weekend, it’s beginning to get just a little bit boring.

I want to explore more, but I’m always concerned I’ll pick the wrong route, with either poor scenery, poor roads, or too many cars. While route planning, I’ve tried Strava’s “Global Heatmap” feature, but it seems that the most popular option is not always the best one.

With that I’ve found myself spending more and more time browsing the Internet, checking Strava, looking for cool places and routes that I can copy.  

A few weeks back, I discovered the Find feature on RideWithGps and came across the King City 102km route posted by SoCycling. The King City 102 was an excellent ride through the back roads of Caledon, along gently rolling hills, with lots of farms, horses, and expansive views, definitely a good find, and one to add to the rotation.  

After the ride, I reached out to Lance Donnelly, the routes creator, and he proceeded to introduce me to his site, www.socycling.ca, a repository of about 40 routes throughout the Golden Horseshoe, with detailed descriptions, access to the RideWithGPS files, and everything else you need.

I had planned to ride out to Hamilton this weekend along the waterfront trail, but things changed, and I needed to find something new, and quick.

Not wanting to ride local, I decided to give SoCycling’s 95km Milton Route a try. The route contains two climbs up the Niagara Escarpment, and one slow ride down.

Safety First

After writing my blog post on cycling safety earlier this week, I decided to follow my advice and went fully decked out with a flashing light on the front, and two rear lights, with one on the seat post, and one on my helmet. With the weather hovering near four degrees at the start I was also able to bust out my fluorescent yellow jacket and gloves, it’s safe to say I was probably the most visible person on the road.

The Ride

The route fittingly starts at the home of Canadian Cycling, the Mattamy National Cycling Centre, Canada’s first UCI regulated Velodrome in Canada.  

Coming down Tremaine, the Velodrome is unmistakeable from miles away, and has ample parking for any groups that want to head out.  

I do wish I got a better picture because it is an impressive structure and an excellent addition to our community.

Mattamy National Cycling Centre Milton Velodrome Spectators Entrance and the start of the Milton Escarpment Ride posted by SoCycling
Mattamy National Cycling Centre

After leaving the Velodome you’ll head South down Tremaine, making your way to Bell School Line, past the Burlington Executive Airport, and then onto No. 2 Sideroad, where I got this great photo.  

Sun bearing down at a solo horse at the Trinity Trotters Equestrian Farm
Horse at Trinity Trotters Equestrian Farm

The route then continued west on No. 2 where I encountered my first sight of the Escarpment.

Niagara Escarpment ride, first views of the Escarpment from Side Rd. 2
First Views of the Escarpment from Side Rd. 2

Followed shortly after that by the first of two big climbs of the day.

This first big climb , was spread out over 2km covering 100m of elevation gain and consisted of this climb up Walkers Line to Brittania.

A view from the top of Walkers Line to Brittania, on my Escarpment Ride
View After the Climb Up Walkers Line

Then a final push up Cedar Springs Road.

Escarpment ride, final push up Cedar Spring Road, and the finish of the first major climb of the day.
Cedar Spring Road

Although I didn’t take many pictures, this first part of the ride is beautiful, rolling up and down through the Escarpment, on fast rollers where I hit 50km/hr on six different occasions, and barely felt like I had to pedal back up the other side.  

The first 40k to Hwy. 6 was by far the most scenic part of the trip, with great horse farms, beautiful estate homes, and quaint villages.

I’ve been inspired lately by the Instagram account for @gravelroad.ca, and with his inspiration in mind, I’ve been trying to incorporate some artistic shots into my rides. Some work, most don’t, but I’m happy enough with this one.

Photo of my bike against a red barn, my attempt at an artistic photo, inspired by GravelRoad.Ca's instagram account.
Artistic Bike Shop Inspired by GravelRoad.Ca Instagram Account

West of Hwy 6

After that short photo break, I crossed Hwy 6, whose two crossings were by far the most treacherous section of the trip, and not for the faint of heart.

From there, I continued west to just outside of Cambridge, before turning back towards Milton along Concession 1. The 30k west of Hwy. 6 was relatively flat and fast with my highest sustained speeds of the day. Although flat and fast, it just wasn’t as exciting as the rest, with no sights or sounds sticking out as all that memorable.

The one-note was a little bit of future planning. It seems no matter where I turn this year the talk and the rage is for gravel bikes. With gravel, you get to take the road less travelled, and experience places few will ever go. I didn’t have the bike for it today, but next time hopefully I do, because this road looks fun.

A cool looking gravel road climb I found near Puslinch Ontario on my Escarpment Ride
Gravel Road Climb at Concession 1 and Concession 7 Puslinch

East of Hwy 6 and the Final 33k to Milton

The ride east of Hwy 6 was another good section of the route.  

A couple of highlights that stick out include, passing the Flying Monkey Bike Shop and Coffee Bar at km 81, which would have made an excellent rest stop on any other day. And stopping to check out the Hopkinson’s Corner Pioneer Cemetary, which, being that it was fully marked with heritage signing, looked liked it had the potential to be fascinating, but only a single stone from the mid-1800s remained.

With 10km to go, I made the turn onto Appleby Line for the climb of the day, a 400 meter stretch, with almost 50 meters of elevation gain, not for the faint of heart, but the views from the top were worth it.

A view from the top of the Escarpment, Appleby Road north of Derry, on my Escarpment ride.
View From the Top of the Escarpment on Appleby Road

Of course what goes up, must come down, where the climb up was 50 meters over 400 meters, the road down was about 100 meters of descent over 600 meters. Although this should have bee fun, the road down is winding, narrow, with lots of traffic, and required the breaks to be burned the whole way down.

All in all, another excellent route by SoCycling, if you are looking for somewhere new to try, you should give them a look.

Thanks for reading, 

Cory

P.S. If you enjoyed reading about this ride you should check out my reports on my two highlight rides of the summer the Simcoe County Loop Trail and the Cannonball 300.

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