Guest blog by Louisa Mursell
I am always looking for ways to inspire friends and family to get on their bikes and ride more, sharing with me one of my favourite pastimes, exploring Ontario by bike. I have had some success by enlisting them to join me and sign up to participate in a variety of cycling events, the trick being to carefully select the ride distance and start location that best suits our joint availability and shared experience level.
One of my fondest memories and recent cycling events was with my 14 year old son last fall. What started out as grand plans to invite the whole family for a day out and cycling adventure, was smartly whittled down to just the two of us setting out early one morning to get to the start location in Cobourg for the 2013 30km route on the Kawarthas Northumberland Classic.
No matter what the size, it is always exciting to gather with a group of other enthusiasts pre-ride at the start point. Although this was a purely recreational ride, the start time anticipation always sends a hum through the air, one that builds the larger the start crowd, and likely tips the scale if it is a race type of event with riders jostling for start positions. On this sunny Saturday morning as we unloaded our bikes from our rack and gathered about we were happy to greet other riders who were all as keen as us, to get started on our ride through Northumberland County.
Heading out from town, I was initially a little nervous for my son as we had to pedal down a busy thoroughfare, but patient police marshals were on hand to stop traffic as 150 or so riders passed through a number of intersections on their way to the nearby quieter country roads. With a combination of some bike lanes and road riding, we were soon passing a variety of suburban and then country homes, with an interesting array of country gardens and farmland, noticing details that we would likely never have spotted in a car.
As is often at cycling events, the route was marshaled and well signed at intersections and turns, making the ride all the more enjoyable as little thought had to go into following directions.
Rolling through flat farmlands, the ride soon became more varied, with lovely twists and turns along alternately tree lined or farm field quiet country roads. Conquering a number of challenging hills we were well rewarded with spectacular sweeping views and speedy pedal free descents. After a couple of carefree hours of pedaling and stopping to enjoy the scenery we were pleased to see that we had looped back towards our finish point with views of Lake Ontario and Cobourg in the distance. Upon completing the 30km ride, which may not seem long to many, we were so pleased with ourselves. Not only was I proud of my boy, but he was so thrilled with himself for completing the challenge and enjoying a day out, riding the furthest distance he has done to date.
What were his memories of the day: “nice views, big hills and cool forests. It was tiring but worth it. The route was a good length and perhaps next time I could go for a longer distance.”
There will definitely be a next time. I am already looking at cycling events for 2014 and I look forward to selecting one together so we can enjoy another great day out and challenge exploring Ontario by bike.
For more information on:
Cycling events in Ontario visit: http://www.ontariobybike.ca
Northumberland County cycling routes and bicycle-friendly businesses visit: http://www.ontariobybike.ca/kawarthas-northumberland
Norhumberland Tourism and visitor information visit: http://www.northumberlandtourism.com
Cycling in Explorer’s Edge http://explorersedge.ca/stories/rocks-roots-and-roads-bike-the-edge/