Ontario By Bike Ride – July 2021P2021-10-06T06:17:38+00:00
Ontario By Bike Ride – July 2021
This ride is now over.
The detailed ride itinerary for this ride is available below for download. Enjoy a great route with a self-guided ride experience.
Sarnia Lambton Loop
When: Anytime. It’s a self-guided itinerary
Total Distance: 162km
The Ride: Head to Sarnia Lambton to explore Ontario’s Blue Coast on a 161km looped ride adventure. Enjoy plenty of scenic waterfront riding along the St. Clair River and shores of Lake Huron as well as long stretches of quiet hinterland cruising through southern Ontario’s flat farmlands. Slow down to explore the rich local heritage in Dresden at Uncle Tom’s Cabin and the terminus of the Underground Railway, to the historic towns of Petrolia and Oil Springs, riding by the still active rigs and the world’s first commercial oil wells. Discover Sarnia, a waterfront city perched on the narrows where Lake Huron begins its flow south to Lake Erie, with Michigan a close river crossing away.
Experience Level and Ride Guide: Moderate. Riders need to be comfortable riding on roads with vehicle traffic and limited paved shoulders. The majority of the ride is on quiet country roads with little traffic outside of Sarnia. The route includes segments of paved roads, gravel roads, the paved Bluewater Trail and a 7.5km stretch on the Howard Watson Trail, a hard packed stone dust gravel trail. Thanks to the flat topography of the area, there are limited elevation changes making this a suitable ride for hybrid bikes, mountain bikes and road bikes with wider tires.
Start Time and Location: Dresden, ON, full details to be sent to riders in advance.
Starting from the small farming community of Dresden, the ride begins with a pedal westward along quiet country roads through the farmlands of south western Ontario. Enjoy the scenic views over rows of fields and dotted farmhouses along this easy and flat stretch. Shortly after Wallaceburg, the route starts its meander following the shores of the St. Clair River, and a relaxing 45km pedal upriver towards Sarnia. Savour unobstructed views over parkland and across the river passing through a number of small communities. Get immersed in local heritage making stops at small-town museums and reading historical plaques along the way. As the St. Clair River Trail connects to the Bluewater Trail ride into the waterfront city of Sarnia. Reward yourself with a treat and check out some of the local shops, funky microbreweries, or enjoy a meal and sunset along the waterfront before ending the day at one of the many great accommodations Sarnia has to offer
Day 2: Sarnia to Dresden – 84km
On day two, the ride will continue along the scenic and bike-friendly Bluewater Trail and connect to the Howard Watson Trail, leaving behind the city and heading back into the nearby countryside. Marvel at views over the southern most part of Lake Huron, cycling along the magnificent Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, and consider a swim stop at one of the sandy beaches along the way. Routing south after an easy 25km, the bucolic character of the area will fast reveal itself as you pedal through flat and pretty agricultural lands. Pulling into the town of Petrolia perfectly suited for a lunch break will reveal yet another side to Lambton County. Discover the county’s important place in the history of the oil industry with many wells around the area including North America’s oldest oil well dating back to 1858. Learn more about the fascinating history, with a stop at the Oil Museum in Oil Springs before tackling the last stretch south into Dresden and back to the start.
Getting To/From Start:
The community of Dresden, ON is located approximately 3 hours west of Toronto, 1 hour west of London, or 1 and a half hours north of Windsor.
Arriving Early / Staying Late:
Consider an overnight at certified bicycle friendly accommodations in Sarnia Lambton or Chatham Kent.
Additional Visitor Information:
Use below to find out more about the ride area and plan an extra day or two to see more.
As included in our April enewsletter, find out what you know about Sarnia Lambton and find the quiz answers and interesting trivia below.
What is the average width of the St. Clair River that separates Ontario from Michigan State, USA?
The St. Clair River connects the Great Lakes with water flowing directly from Lake Huron through the south flowing river for 64km. This important shipping route connects to Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River, before flowing into Lake Erie, a 150km long waterway.
This ride route will follow the St. Clair River shoreline for 46km from Port Lambton to Sarnia, on day 1.
What is the historical significance of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, located in Dresdan, Ontario?
Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historical Site is a museum located in the restored home and on the former lands of Josiah Henson. Henson was an important abolitionist who escaped slavery in 1830, coming to Canada and establishing the Dawn Settlement in 1841 around this site, a welcoming community for former slaves and one of the terminus’ of the Underground Railway. Henson’s writings and life helped inspire the 1852 anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by American author Harriet Beecher Stowe.
This ride route starts in Dresdan and will pass by Uncle Tom’s Cabin Historical Site.
In what year and where were the first commercial oil wells in North America dug?
In 1858, when digging a well on his farmland, James Millar Williams struck oil. He went on to refine the oil from his operating base in the town of Oil Springs, forming the Canadian Oil Company. Williams is commonly viewed as the founder of the petroleum industry in Canada.
This ride route goes through the town of Oil Springs, past still active oil rigs and the fascinating Oil Museum of Canada, on day 2.
Who were the earliest inhabitants of Walpole Island and how did it get its name?
Walpole Island is a freshwater delta and the largest island in the St. Clair River, situated at the southern mouth of the river. Inhabited by the Algonquin First Nations for thousands of years, this unceded land is also known as Bkejwanong, the place where waters divide. The name Walpole Island is derived from ‘walpoles’ that were long wooden starves planted in the ground decorated with emblems of the First Nations, for early visitors to recognize.
On this ride Walpole Islands is visible from across the river for 6km as the route follows the St. Clair Parkway a part of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail.
How many international border crossings are there along the St. Clair River?
When the Canada/US border reopens, there are three ways to make the crossing.
The impressive structure of the Blue Water Bridge, a crossing for vehicle traffic between Sarnia and Port Huron, is often regarded as the second busiest border crossing between Canada and the USA. The original bridge opened in 1938, and was twinned with a second bridge side by side in 1997.
Once on Walpole Island, making use of the small swing bridge, there is a ferry service crossing to the USA.
There are two St. Clair Tunnels that cross the border under the river near Sarnia. The one tunnel that is operational is for the exclusive use of trains. The other tunnel is no longer in use.
This ride route will take the trail that passes directly under the Blue Water Bridge on day 2.
Thanks for your interest. Hope to see you on the July Ride!