In the midst of Brampton lies the 9 km long Chinguacousy Park path, a trail worth cycling on any sunny day to wash away your worries.
In the middle of the summer on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, we were cruising the length of this fine trail. All was good, except for one thing — where are the cyclists, I kept wondering?!
This was an odd occurrence considering the path was accessible to many locals, easy to ride, scenic and long enough to make it a good outing. Yet there were few bikes to be seen. Exactly why is a mystery, as I have travelled enough routes to recommend this one.
The Chinguacousy (native for “land of tall pines”) path runs north/south following a creek with a paved trail linking numerous parks. Halfway along it connects with the large main Donald Gordon Chinguacousy Park that has ponds, gardens, petting zoo, refreshments and washrooms.
Parts of the way you can cycle alternate paths back, rest on benches and see neighbourhood backyards.
So why the lack of interest among cyclists? I would speculate a few things are not up to par on the trail which may keep some cyclists away.
The need for more signage/maps was evident. We had to check our position too many times, especially at three-way junctions. So many spur trails lead elsewhere, which is good to connect with streets and other parks, but bad when you do not know where they go.
Paths were overgrown, bushes and trees need trimming. Almost every creek bridge requires repair. Many of the road crossings were awkward and a tad unsafe; curb cuts would help.
I sent an email to the city raising these issues and suggested painting a line down the middle of the main path as a quick fix. I saw some maintenance is being done to this route, but they did not indicate any significant plans in their standard reply.
Perhaps the lack of cyclists and even walkers out is due in part to rather sterile parkland landscaping. Parts of the path follow the water in a dull straight line, whereas these days trails meander.
Even the poor creek has been turned into an ugly de-naturalized cement channel. Creek crossings and tunnels use parts of this cement barrier. Effective, yet not too friendly for novice riders. You could end up getting wet if you ride off the concrete bench. (And avoid these tunnel flood zones after a big rain.)
So there you have it, a decent Park ride in the middle of Brampton with no one on it. It can be all yours for the day, at least until the city makes it more inviting and your friends find out it’s worth riding.