Sweating Wine Across Ontario
By Aaron Binder
Photography by Erin Burrell
Every time you travel somewhere that you’ve been before it always feels as though a part of you is coming home. Luckily humans have more than one part to their hearts and one piece of that blood-pumping machine yearns for new adventure.
Travelers are like drug addicts in a way, always dreaming of that next big hit and how to achieve it. Traveling back to Niagara would be a euphoric adventure, it always is when wine is involved, but the big question was how to top biking around the area? After mulling it over for a few minutes a single answer became obvious. “Let’s bike there.” said my copilot for this journey, photographer Erin Burrell.
It was settled, we were going to saddle up and pedal the 140 odd kilometres from Toronto to our lodging in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Helping us set up for our journey was Josh, head mechanic at Bateman’s Bicycle Company. He loaded our frames with stronger rear wheels (incredibly important for touring!), paniers and a few words of advice along the lines of “Don’t hit or get hit by stuff”. With the operation on our bikes complete, we were ready to strike out.
Often the most difficult aspect of life to contend with on a bike tour is the weather. Fortunately for us there was nothing but blue skies for the next 12 exits. With an exuberant sun shining just bright enough for us to earn farmer’s tans. We pushed our way past Toronto and onto Lakeshore Boulevard where we would stay for 50 kilometres ahead. Lakeshore is a road-cyclists pilgrimage route, from Toronto to Oakville and back is just around the 100k mark, and the ride itself is actually quite pleasant – wide roads and generally slow traffic abounds.
Rollicking hills punctuate the traverse through Mississauga, just enough so that by the time you hit the smooth, mostly downhill section to Oakville, your legs are thanking the engineer that decided to keep the roads less rolling than the actual hills.
Unfortunately, by the time you hit the Oakville/Burlington border the pace of traffic becomes quicker, the roads narrower and drivers more aggressive. While it’s not biking on Lakeshore in Toronto, by the time we arrived in Burlington we were certainly ready for a lunch break. Our stomachs led us to Burrito Masters. While we had to wait another 4 hours for wine, some spicy steak and chicken kicked our asses into gear.
Tomorrow we get into the boozy details. While it may not be what we set out to sample, whisky at Forty Creek always has a way of turning on your taste buds.