Sherman Access

Unlike the previous posts on this blog, today’s featured spot I do not encourage you to try.  That being said I believe that many people have imagined hitting this hill at one point.  The video embedded below features Eric Peters and Ben Boudreau riding down the Sherman access during a lane closure in 2011.

 

 

The route starts at the edge of the Hamilton Mountain in the Sherman Cut, right next to Juravinski Hospital.  After clearing the cut the riders turn left through the closed road barricades down the Sherman Access towards Charlton Avenue.

 

 

First things first, yes this run looks extremely fun.  Unfortunately I’m not able to say for certain because of how dangerous a run like this is.

At beginning of the video the riders notice a car behind them and the tail rider broke off to distance the car.  The vehicle then passed by them in a solid line at high speed.  After passing through the Sherman Cut the riders enter a closed lane which offers them some protection from the traffic. At this point in the video Eric and Ben fly past knocked over traffic pylons and looks rocks avoiding them skillfully.

At 3:15 they turn the camera around to reveal a steep portion of the access snaking back around the wide corner towards the east.

After taking the turn they slide through the intersection at Sherman and Charlton quickly scrubbing off the speed from their descent.

I know how attractive this all sounds and how easy the riders made this stunt look, but a quick google search of ‘longboarder killed Hamilton’ reveals that actually trying this one for yourself is probably not a good idea.  I think its safe to file this run under ‘the bad’ and ‘the gnarly.’

 

 

 

Advertisements

Parking Garage (Across from the Farmers Market)

The parking garage located on York Blvd. across the street from the farmers market is a great place to skate year round.  The 6 level parking tower is mostly empty at night aside from a few city vehicles on the higher floors (Do not try taking the elevator I got stuck).  Instead take the stairs located to the right after entering the building from York.

The garage has security stationed on the bottom level and cameras throughout the structure.   In my personal experience security will not bother you on the top floors, they don’t get paid enough.

At the top of the building is an open level of parking with a great view of the Hamilton City Centre, First Ontario Centre, and the taller buildings in the financial district.  There is plenty to skate at the top including curbs and banks.  The real reason to skate this garage is the series of ramps leading from the very top of the building all the way down to the bottom.  Security staff usually leaves pylons in the ramps and small rocks have collected on the floor so be careful rounding the corners.

If you don’t mind the risk of having to clear out quickly or shamefully apologize this spot is highly recommended to kill some time downtown.

Burlington Waterfront Trail & Spencer Smith Park

ezgif.com-optimize

 

Similar to Hamilton Waterfront Trail, its Burlington counterpart is held in high regard as a hot destination for long boarders looking for place to cruise.  The most popular portion of the trail for riders stretches from Spencer Smith Park all the way to the Burlington bay Canal.  Similar to Bayfront Park this stretch of trail is well paved and usually fairly heavy with foot traffic.

Parking

Parking is available at both ends of this run.  Spencer Smith Park has street parking as well as a designated parking lot.  When the trail is extremely busy free parking is also available along Beach Blvd. near the canal and lift bridge.

Spencer Smith Park

Spencer Smith Park is great place to hangout and take a leisurely ride with lots to see and do.  This downtown Burlington Park features a large promenade and the Brant Street Pier.  Most of the trail in this area is paved, some sections nearing the lift bridge are packed dirt.  Public washrooms are also available at the park.

(Note: The area is usually crawling with children, so be mindful of kids running out in front of you.)

Connections

According to the Waterfront Regeneration Trust Waterfront Trail official website leaving the Park heading West the trail splits at Maple Avenue and Lakeshore Road.

To ride along the beachfront head South towards the lift bridge.  After crossing the canal, it is fairly simple to follow the trail along the seawall.  Something to check out in this area is a disused go-kart track between the trail and the road.  The track surface remains in good condition and makes for a good place to have a push race with your buddies.

If you’re feeling hungry the best place to eat is Hutches on the Beach.  Lines are almost always outrageous but, the food is great.

The Northbound trail will take you into a residential area that runs along the Burlington Bay and towards the Hamilton Harbour.

Conclusion

What the trail lacks in amenities such as fully paved trails, drinking fountains, and cheap places to eat, it makes up for in the natural beauty you get to experience as you ride it.  With Lake Ontario on one side and rows of beach condos on the other it really makes for an enjoyable cruise.

 

Hamilton Waterfront Trail & Bayfront Park

IMG_1389 2

The Hamilton Waterfront Trail is considered by many to be the premier longboarding route in the city.  So I figured there was no better place to start.  The seven and a half kilometre footpath is well paved and appropriate for any rider.  From those just starting out to more experienced boarders.  In order to avoid heavy foot traffic on the trail avoid riding on weekends.

Parking

The Waterfront Trail is accessible from several locations, however the best place to start is Princess Point otherwise known as Coutes Paradise.  Parking, as well as a bus stop are available at the foot of the hill on Longwood Rd.

The Hill

More experienced riders commonly start at the top of the Longwood hill riding East through the parking lot and across the wooden bridge.  The hill is quite long with a light grade, making it perfect for carving and sliding.  However this means avoiding traffic including local residents, and busses turning around in the loop.

ezgif.com-optimize (1)

403 Bridge & Dundurn Park

After crossing the bridge the trail follows the scenic waterfront around Coutes Paradise to the 403 overpass.  At this point you will encounter two narrow steel pedestrian bridges and a set of stairs.  Exercise caution crossing these bridges because of regular construction and water on the bridges making them slippery.  If you are looking to do some exploring, the stairs will lead you up towards Dundurn Park and several beautiful lookouts over the conservation area.

Bayfront Park

Continuing East down the trail leads to the bustling Bayfront Park and the Hamilton Harbour.  Bayfront Park has plenty to offer in terms of skate spots, scenery, concessions and it marks the halfway point of the ride.  This section of the route includes small hills as well as flat spots and takes the form of a loop. The park commonly hosts food trucks, events, festivals and has permanent drinking fountains for rehydration.  At the far end of the parking are indoor bathrooms.

(Note: Foot traffic in this area can be heavy, stay alert.)

Pier 4

To access the next portion of the trail ride through the yacht club, towards Pier 4 Park at the East end of the parking lot.  The Pier 4 Park is another walking loop along the water which includes the pier itself.  While the park is beautiful, it is also very open to the elements making it hard to push on windy days.

The final section of the ride takes you briefly off-trail along the sidewalk in front of the Bay City Music Hall.  Turning left immediately after the police docks brings the ride down a small hill towards your destination.

The Discovery Centre

The Discovery Centre includes a Williams Cafe to rehydrate or grab a bite to eat.  Keep in mind the prices are quite high.  Behind William’s is an outdoor roller skating rink.  The rink is sometimes occupied by people skating or dancing, but when empty offers a great place to cool down or do some flatland riding.

Conclusion 

In conclusion, the combination of surfaces, flat and steep trails, parking and concessions ensures that Hamilton Waterfront Trail really does live up to its reputation as one of the best places to longboard in Hamilton.