Hamilton Bicycling, Cycling
The bicycle was invented in the 1600s, originally a wood vehicle to be powered by people instead of horses. By the early 1800s, bicycles were consistently being built of metal, with two wheels, and were being driven by one person. The sport of cycling, and more recently mountain biking, has gained in popularity. Many us it as an environmentally-friendly form of transportation.
Cycling provides good exercise, fresh air, and a competitive challenge. It exercises most parts of the body including the legs, arms, hands and cardiovascular system. Cycling is also an Olympic racing sport with track and cross-country events. Mountain biking competitions continue to grow in popularity, combining speed with rugged terrain.
There are thousands of brands and types of bicycles, from touring to mountain bikes, even tandems and unicycles. Costs range in price from under $100 to thousands of dollars. It is important to maintain the bike so it is at peak running condition. Check for thinning tire treads, squeaky brakes, sticky cables or a bent frame. Before each ride, squeeze the tires to make sure there is enough air pressure (the tires shouldn't squeeze much).
Riders should also invest in a CSA-approved helmet, with costs ranging from $20 to more than $100. This means the helmet design has completed the Canadian Standards Association's durability testing. Other accessories include a quality lock & cable, a water bottle, and a tire pump. Many cyclists also want toe clips, to improve peddling efficiency. Serious cyclists also invest in cycling clothing including cycling shoes, spandex pants shorts (usually with soft chamois crotch padding) and cycling gloves.
Hamilton's summer weather and terrain provide good conditions for blading. Just be cautious of traffic or pedestrians (they have right of way on paths). Caution: in wet weather, your wheels and brakes can become very slippery and dangerous.
Hamilton has major shared use recreational pathways:
- Red Hill Creek
- Escarpment Rail Trail (Mountain Face Park)
- Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail (est of the QEW)
- Dundas Valley Conservation Area
- Chedoke Radial Trail
Most of the above are flat or gently sloped, with the exception of the Red Hill Creek Trail.
Recent upgrades to pathway network:
- Sterling Street - on-street bike lanes implemented
- Bike Racks in BIAs - installations complete for 2005. Will begin again in 2006
- Longwood Road North - on-street bike and pedestrian lanes implemented
- King Street East - on-street bike lanes under construction
- Upper Paradise Road - on-street bike lanes implemented
- Stone Church Road - on-street bike lanes implemented