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The Story: Bluewater Granfondo

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It was December 2015, on a cold brisk morning, when a few cyclists gathered at a local cafe that the Bluewater International Granfondo (BIG) was born. The goals were simple. Within four years, BIG has had an impact far greater than anyone could have imagined.

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Rail Trails In Kawartha Lakes

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The City of Kawartha Lakes, which incorporates Lindsay and the surrounding area, sits at the cross-roads of two major rail trails in Ontario. Travelling east to west across the entire region, the Great Trail, known locally as the Kawartha Trans Canada Trail intersects the Victoria Rail Trail, which runs north to south and offers plenty of trail riding for those looking to take bike trips in the heart of Ontario's cottage country.

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2019 Ontario By Bike Rides

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Find out more about our Ontario By Bike Ride destinations and schedule for 2019! New destinations and old classics all with the same great value! These small group weekend tours are self-guided, fully supported and always sell out!

Just Bring Your Bike and Ride!

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2019 Cycling In Ontario Guide

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Cycle Tourism Conference 2019

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Learn more about and view the presentations from our recent Cycle Tourism Conference held on March 1, 2019. 

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Celebrate by Bike

Ontario150 flash final1Choose to explore Ontario on one of these 15 world class, legacy cycling itineraries! Read More...

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Ride These Epic Routes

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Explore 3,000km+ of extraordinary cycling
along the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail and Greenbelt Route.


Ontario By Bike Blog

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Read on for inspirational cycling experiences across Ontario. Whether you're looking for rail trails, mountain biking or road riding, we're putting together stories to get you out on two wheels. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get more updates and so we can hear your story. Interested in guest blogging with Ontario By Bike? Shoot us an email!


4 minutes reading time (738 words)

Quick Guide to Cyclocross (aka Tough Mudder on a bike)

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You`ve heard of cyclocross, right? Some have probably seen a growing number of `cross`bikes at their local bike shop and wondered, "Why are there nobby tires on that road bike?". 

We wanted to get some of the fundamentals sorted out for you, so we reached out to John Hauser, Event Chief at The Silver Goose Cyclo-Cross Race based out of Midland, Ontario. We connected with John earlier in September and asked him to share his thoughts and what a beginner could expect on this emerging sport.

What exactly is 'cyclocross'?


I like how Gunnar Holmgren from the Transitions Lifecare p/b Garneau Easton team puts it. “It’s like a mix between road and mountain biking, but completely different”. Haha. I often describe it to non cyclists as bike riding meets obstacle course racing, Tough Mudder on a bike if you will.  The racing itself takes place on a closed circuit track, 3 meters wide and 2.5 to 3.5km in length. The courses have mixed surfaces (asphalt, grass, sand) and typically there are obstacles that force a racer to carry their bike (stairs, very steep hills, and so on). The races are full on efforts lasting 30 minutes to one hour. It’s a super exciting sport for both participants and spectators. If you like any two-wheeled sport, bicycle based or motorized, I’d recommend checking out a ‘cross' event.


Who are typical 'cross riders'? Are they just road cyclists with a high threshold for pain?

In Ontario, the typical ‘cross rider' is any person who rides or races a bike and is looking to extend their season. Roadies, mountain bikers, track racers, bmx’ers. Whether you prefer shreddin’ the gnar, or an epic century ride on asphalt, ‘cross' is going to offer you a great riding experience.

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Do I need to buy a new cyclocross bike?

Certainly not. Mountain bikes can be used in most cross races, and with most road bikes these days accepting wider tires, you could put cross tires on a road frame. Touring bikes also work well for a first time ‘cross' racer. Be warned though, ‘cross' is highly addictive, and you know that old adage about “n+1".

Note: In the cycling world the N+1 rule refers to the number of bikes that a person should own. A rough definition: “While the minimum number of bikes one should own is 3, the correct number is N+1, where N is the number of bikes currently owned.”

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How do I know I'm ready to sign up for a cyclocross event?

Well, cross is the perfect opportunity to delay getting on your trainer. Haha. But yeah, if your “’cross curious” head out to a weekly series near you, or even try an Ontario Cup race. The 'cross community' is an extremely friendly bunch. It’s a community that loves to ride. No one’s going to be a jerk to you at a cross race, and if they are send me their name and address, haha.

If I was signing up for cyclocross event for the first time, what would surprise me the most?

The amount of fun you’re going to have. The atmosphere at a ‘cross event is a recipe for a hearty belly laugh. You’ll have fellow racers standing on the side lines cheering you on, they might even try to offer you a beer, or bologna on a stick. You’re probably going to hear some brass instrument courtesy of someone on the Lantern Rouge team. You might see someone dressed as your favourite superhero riding. Seriously, it’s a blast.

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Where can I ride cyclocross this year in Ontario?

October 21-22, The Silver Goose in Little Lake Park in Midland Ontario. Ha, I wouldn’t be a race organizer if I didn’t plug my own event, right? There are cross events all over Ontario. Ask around your local club, check the Ontario By Bike event listings, or head over to the Ontario Cycling Association website for weekly rides or sanctioned events. 

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Blog Notes:
All photo credits are given to Kevin Morphet, who has stunning galleries of the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Silver Goose Cyclo-Cross Races. Also, a big thanks goes out to John Hauser, Event Chief at The Silver Goose Cyclo-Cross Race, for taking the time to chat about the emergence of cyclocross, his background hosting the race and passion for cycling. 

SilvergooseHere are some ways to connect with the event:

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