6th day, Saturday, Sept. 9: Orillia-Barrie by bike, and by train to Toronto - Cycling “The Land Between” - CycleBlaze

6th day, Saturday, Sept. 9: Orillia-Barrie by bike, and by train to Toronto

In planning my trip, I decided against cycling into and out of Toronto via the arterial roads of its northern and eastern suburbs. Instead, I chose to take the GO Train from Barrie to Union Station in the heart of downtown, an hour-plus train ride; a few days later, beginning my homeward journey, I would take the GO Train to Oshawa, an hour east of the city.

Bob recommended that I follow the rail trail between Orillia and Barrie. It avoids the busy roads between the two towns, and as it merges with the waterfront bike paths in Barrie, leads directly to the GO station.  After one or two steep climbs on back roads, I easily found the trail, and it proved to be a comfortable and peaceful route to Barrie:

Calm morning on the Orillia-Barrie rail trail
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I covered the 45 or so kms in a little more than 2 hours—it’s amazing what a difference level terrain and no headwinds can make—and met several road cyclists along the way. I relaxed in Barrie’s spacious and attractive park before boarding the 11:00 AM train. There was plenty of space for my bike and myself, the train being at most half full.   

Barrie waterfront, western shore of Lake Simcoe
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Osi the Raven at Barrie, western corner of Lake Simcoe, looking east
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It would be nice to report that my passages on the trains were a brilliant success, but that wasn’t entirely so.  The Saturday train took me to Union Station on time, quietly, and comfortably.  Three days later, the mid-morning train from Toronto did much the same in delivering me to Oshawa, an hour east of the city. 

The advertised fare for the two trips was reasonable—just over $12.00.  BUT.  Having an Ottawa transit card which works on both Toronto’s transit system and the GO Train network surrounding the city, I decided to use my card rather than do the simple thing and buy paper tickets for my two fares. (That would have been soooo twentieth-century.) In the event, the computerized system charged me more than $30.00 for my two rides, not a huge sum, to be sure, but nearly 300% more than the advertised fare.  After my return to Ottawa, I made four phone calls to GO Train’s customer service office, all in vain: no-one was able to sort out the problem, nor even to send me a final message on the subject.  So:  5 stars for the trains, and –10 stars for “customer service”.  You have been warned—just buy the paper tickets.

Today's ride: 45 km (28 miles)
Total: 505 km (314 miles)

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