Friday morning began with about twenty-one committed, dedicated and courageous cyclists pedaling away from Hamilton City Hall under overcast skies, escorted by four police cyclists. With fresh energy and enthusiasm, the group made their way up the escarpment along the Escarpment Rail Trail. There at the top we made our first repair, replacing a leaking inner tube.
A pleasant ride along the Chippewa Rail Trail took us to Haldibrook Road, followed by country roads into Caledonia for lunch. By noon the rain caught up with the riders with heavy downpours. Fortunately, the rain eased a bit. With light drizzle to help cool us off, we crossed Indian Line Road and made it to Cheapside for our first staging point.
Our first protest point was the Esso (ExxonMobil) Nanticoke Refinery. Under dark skies, mist and drizzle, the refinery presented a rather ominous scene. With our 350, Pedal the Planet, Don't Peddle the Planet, End Dirt Energy banners in full display we lingered for ample photo opportunities. Next stop was the OPG plant just a short ride away. Again we did the photo shoots and answered the inquiries from the friendly workers leaving the afternoon shift.
With mission accomplished, it was an easy ride to camp. The enormous gazebo with the massive fireplace at the Haldimand campsite was a welcome sight. All tired, cold and hungry, we all gobbled up the hot and spicy veggie chilli and bagels. With a hearty sing along, guitar accompaniment and a glass of wine we socialized and celebrated before calling it a night. Strong winds off lake Erie faded into sweet dreams of the tired riders.
Saturday morning, 6:30am. What a lovely day awaited us. Mist still hovering over the OPG chimney stacks provided an eerie contrast to beautiful sunrise in the east. With coffee and hot chocolate to wash down the oatmeal porridge, we were ready for the ride back to Hamilton.
We stopped for lunch once more at Caledonia, relaxing on the banks of the Grand River for an hour. The ride back to Hamilton was easy going, with pleasant sunshine and downhill all the way. We came to the end of the bike trail at Corktown then made our way through city streets, finally to a round of applause from the waiting crowd at Gore Park where the 350 Moving Planet rally was underway.
We are proud of all our riders and organizers. Well done!
Special thanks to our sponsors Environment Hamilton and Mountain Equipment Co-op.
Hamilton 350 Blog
Hamilton 350 Blog