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Travellers’ Tales – Ontario Cycling Stories from the Road and Trail

Travellers’ Tales is a new section on our website and in our annual print magazine where we share cycling stories from readers. The first story ‘Biking the G2G Trail’ was included in the 2024 Cycling in Ontario / Le vélo en Ontario guide.

Do you have a great Ontario ride or tour story you would like to share with us? We are collecting stories from the road and trail all year, for possible inclusion in next year’s Cycling in Ontario Guide. Now’s your chance to inspire others to explore more of Ontario by bike! See bottom of page for more details.

Biking the G2G Trail

Last summer Lillian Lahe from Pefferlaw and her niece Tiia enjoyed a cycling adventure on the G2G Rail Trail. Beginning in Guelph, over three days they logged 142km, including the five detours that were all easy to navigate.

Since our trip was during the spring, we were greeted by blooming and fragrant lilac bushes.

Day 1 – 45km – Guelph to Millbank (Kissing Bridge Railway) 

We found this section of the trail to be the most interesting and best maintained with small towns of West Montrose, Wallenstein and Linwood. Since our trip was during the spring, we were greeted by blooming and fragrant lilac bushes. It wasn’t long on the trail till we encountered horse drawn carriages carrying Mennonite families, creating a very calming ride as we stopped at concession roads to let them pass. West Montrose featured the West Montrose Covered Bridge. Often called the Kissing Bridge, it provides a great selfie opportunity, with the feeling of moving back in time. In Millbank we went to Anna Mae’s for dinner and picked up supplies for our next day’s lunch at the General Store.

Day 2 – 53km – Millbank to Blyth (Perth Harvest Pathway) 

We noticed that there was a different feel to this section of the G2G, featuring more open spaces, sun and exposure to the west headwinds. At our rest stop at the store in Moncton, we met local cyclists who explained that the holes on the trail we had to dodge were made my gophers, and that they pop up overnight, despite frequent maintenance. We later arrived at Blyth, a quiet town offering a grocery store to stock up on water or snacks, LCBO, and the famous Cowbell Brewery, an opportunity for a delicious dinner and beer. Here we had booked ‘luxury’ accommodations and were able to walk to all we needed, a great feature, since we were not in the mood to get back on our bicycles after our second day of cycling.

Day 3 – 27Km with 14 Km detour) Blyth to Goderich (Auburn Trail) 

The 14km detour to cross the Maitland River was the most significant yet and quite hilly. It was well marked, but did involve cycling along a highway at one short point, and a section more suited to mountain biking on the connecting Maitland Trail. Entering Goderich we were welcomed with a beautiful beach providing a perfect place for a swim, rest and lunch celebration at the Beach Street Station. Having booked with 519 Tours a van that could accommodating up to 8 bikes showed up to taxi us back to Guelph. Being able to avoid returning by trail was a luxury and perfect ending to our cycling trip.

For more information visit www.g2grailtrail.com

A Mix Up and Max Out South of Algonquin

From Cary Weitzman, Peterborough. Wanting to enjoy peak fall colours not too far from home, we created two looped routes south of Algonquin in Haliburton and near Bancroft. With lots of lakes they’d be great summer rides too.

Wilberforce Mixed Surface Loop

Starting from Wilberforce this was a fun and challenging loop, perfect for us gravel riders looking for a short, satisfying 45km introduction to the Ontario Highlands region.

From the small village of Wilberforce we enjoyed lakeside views skirting the shores of Dark Lake followed by a great road ride on the smooth shoulders of Loop Road. We then rode along quiet and scenic Elephant Lake Road. Eventually, a left on to Sumcot Road for a steep climb followed by a wonderful 12km of gravel, ups and downs with cottages and lake views sprinkled along the way.

Once the gravel ends you face quiet, lonely and excellently paved Burleigh Road, more hills and another serious climb of 1.5km with a max grade just under 15% and a few more lake views as excellent distractions. Eventually, all good things end and the ride finishes with an exhilarating descent back into Wilberforce.

Serious climbing and descending? Check. Kilometers of beautiful gravel? Check. Quiet well-paved roads? Check. Wonderful Haliburton Highlands scenery? Check. A public beach just south of the beginning/end point for a post-ride dip? Check.
Checks all the boxes.

Route Map: www.ridewithgps.com/trips/135292579

Bancroft Colour Ride

Northeast of Bancroft it’s hilly. Really. Really. Hilly. Like “Holy @^#$, am I in Ontario?” hilly. But it’s also wonderfully scenic and totally worth the effort as we found out on this 53km, 920m elevation loop. Lakes, hills. Hills, lakes. If you’re not having a view of one, you’re enjoying the other.

Bancroft clings tightly to Highway 62 and you quickly leave it behind for the Hastings Highlands. Riding just a short distance up Snow Road, it feels as though you’ve been climbing in the hills for hours, The pavement tends to be rough in places, a reason to ride on fatter tires, we were on 42mm and 48mm and happy to have them. Musclow Greenview Road is the exception, but with big, relentless climbs you won’t have much energy to focus on the quality of the asphalt.

The gravel roads on the other hand were in excellent condition, Category 1 Gravel, Hero Gravel, whatever you like to call it. East Loop Road is a pleasure from end to end, as is Mountney Road. Where the pavement is not great, the views more than make up for it and the gravel offers great surfaces together with views. It all ends as it begins, on quiet rural roads right up until the final descent back to Hwy. 62 and Bancroft.

Route Map: www.ridewithgps.com/trips/136253377

Do you have a great Ontario ride or tour story you would like to share with us?

We are collecting stories from the road and trail all year, for possible inclusion in next year’s Cycling in Ontario Guide. Now’s your chance to inspire others to explore more of Ontario by bike!

Please submit no more than 250 words describing the ride. Also include 1 to 3 high quality photos, and route maps if possible. Email info@ontariobybike.ca with the subject line “Travellers’ Tales” before November 1, 2024. We’ll connect back with you if story is selected and for any additional info.

We suggest you submit the writeup in the style of how you would share the story with a friend – focusing on the highlights, the challenges, and what made the journey, scenery, and destinations unforgettable. We would also love to hear about the interesting and unique stops you found along the way.

Also see more info about our 2023 photo contest HERE.

Published On: January 29, 2024Categories: News

About the Author: Ontario By Bike