cycling · fitness

Urban bike adventures, Part 2: Sprinting on the Leslie Street Spit


See Urban Bike Adventures, Part 1, here for the story of our Saturday ride.

On our second day of weekend urban riding Sarah and I headed out down to the Leslie Street spit to do some exploring and some sprinting.


What’s the Leslie Street Spit? Friends of the spit describe it this way,

The Leslie Street Spit is North America’s most remarkable public urban wilderness. It is a 5-kilometre long peninsula, built by lakefilling, that juts into Lake Ontario close to downtown Toronto. Started 40 years ago, it was intended to be a breakwater for harbour expansion, which was not needed due to a decrease in lake shipping. Now, the Spit – as it is lovingly called by the people of Toronto – has been transformed by nature into an extraordinary wildlife reserve, where humans can find a car-free refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a quiet time amid unmanicured vegetation.

The strava file for Part 2 is here.

Speed bumps limited our sprint efforts on our way out. But it was still glorious to be out on wide pavement without cars. The whole area felt a bit like an urban oasis. I loved the birds and the wildlife yet also having the iconic Toronto skyline in the background.

On our way back we found an off shoot of the main road with no speed bumps so we did some sprint intervals. I love going fast.

Sarah writes :
I had never really sprinted on a bike before, besides hustling to catch traffic lights as they turn yellow (shhh!). So it was a different experience for me to learn how to do that over a longer distance.
Sam explained that sprinting involves finding the magic recipe of big gear and big cadence, and that there are two kinds of sprint, standing start (i.e. stopped) and [rolling] start, where everyone is moving. We practiced the latter, with me pedalling furiously to try to stay on Sam’s wheel, and then eventually peeling off as I lost steam and wasn’t able to draft behind her anymore.

My body recognized working hard like I was trying to maintain momentum going up a short hill, but it’s much more rewarding to have it make you go fast! I wonder if I can do all of my interval training as sprints rather than hills?
That is my amused face at the 20 km/hr sign
Swimmers take note
Look, look, the CN Tower in the background! (I’m easily excited by urban landmarks.)
In the middle of the city but surrounded by nature. Love it!

2 thoughts on “Urban bike adventures, Part 2: Sprinting on the Leslie Street Spit

  1. It makes for a very peaceful ride there. I used do the Spit. Of course, I passed by the Spit entrance on my way to and from work between downtown Toronto and Scarborough along the Waterfront Trail. There’s wonderful community gardens right by the spit.

  2. Looks like a lot of fun! I love urban bike adventures. When I was training seriously, I did sprints either on the trainer or on the road once a week. Also, sometimes we did some sprints on Fridays as openers before a race weekend, so they can easily be incorporated into a training week (Sam knows all this, of course, but just adding my $.02 USD).

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