We’re spoiled. It feels like spring – and it’s only March. MARCH!
I’ve been taking advantage of daylight savings time for a whole two days now. Two rides in two days, and it feels soooooo good! I wanted to start sharing some of my favourite bike routes in the ‘hood… just to give you a few ideas; or maybe a little inspiration to start planning your own. These are my usual training rides, and I turn to them again and again because they are the best and most beautiful (in my own, humble opinion.) I’ll try to point out some great things worth checking out along the way.
I’ll be updating this post with pictures just as soon as I can steal Liams iphone for a spin; riding with my DSLR seems like asking for trouble.
If I ever only have an hour or so to squeeze in a quick ride, this is my go-to route.
Left Right out of the Fruit Wagon driveway onto County Rd 50. CR50 always feels safe to me – the posted speed limit is 60 km/h, and cars are accustomed to runners, walkers, dog, and cyclists sharing the road. I’m always given the space I need, and more often than not a little wave.
** If you want to look like a local, you have to learn how to give the little nod and lift your fingertips to acknowledge everyone on the road – especially if they drive a pickup truck. Nobody likes a car wave like a farmer does!
The first crossroad you’ll pass is Iler road. It dead-ends into the J.R Park Homestead, one of Ontario’s best living history museums, and a beautiful place for a visit or a picnic. If you turn left onto Iler, you’ll find Cooper’s Hawk Vineyards about 4 km up the road. This family-friendly winery is a gem, they have a beautiful new retail space and tasting bar; and a beautiful natural amphitheater and treed grounds for exploring. Or, stay on CR 50 and head past the Arner townline. You now find yourself in the municipality of Kingsville (Canada’s Sounthernmost town dontchaknow); the road widens, the speed limit drops to 50 km/h, and the name of the road changes to Heritage Dr. You wind past tiny cottages and beautiful beachfront homes, all the way to Cedar Beach. This has to be one of the most underused beaches in the area – if my ride stopped here around sunset, and I happened to find a handsome lad with a tiny bbq and a bottle of wine, I could die happy.
But, the show goes on – there is cycling to be done! Stay on CR 50 (called Heritage Dr in Kingsville) all the way to Cull Dr, a road that seems to lead into suburbia, but it actually leads you to Lakeside Park and is the ‘backway’ into the town of Kingsville. Stop in at Jacks Gastropub or the Mettawas Station for a great lunch featuring local ingredients, or Vern’s for a beer. You can prowl around Kingsville for some of the best small-town shopping around, I find new stores every time I go (and I’m in Kingsville a LOT.)
Coming home, you have a few options. My personal favourite is the Chrysler Greenway. You can pick it up in a few places around town, south of King Street, and it is well-signed. I’m usually riding my Opus Stelle, a cyclocross bike (a road-style bike with a slightly knobby-er tire for all-intensive purposes,) and I love it because I can go pretty much anywhere with it. I have ridden my road bike on the Greenway on numerous occasions, and though it is gravelly, it’s often hard-packed and I don’t mind it (but I also don’t mind wrecking my bike and putting it back together.) If you’re riding a cushy cruiser or a mountain bike, you’re all set. Take the Greenway! The best part is where is crosses behind the Kingsville Golf Course. The sun shines through the trees, and there is a little hill that makes me want to scream a little everytime I drop down it. It’s like a tiny rollercoaster.
Did I mention it is really, REALLY flat here?!
You can ride the Greenway back to the Schwab Farms entrance at the Arner Townline, then jump on the Arner heading south. Cross over Cedar and Fox Creeks and keep your eyes peeled for our resident Bald Eagle. When you can see the lake, it is time to turn right back onto CR 50 and head for home.
*Riders wanting to stay off the Greenway can ride one road north to Kingsville Rd 2 and head back to the Arner townline, or head back around County Rd 50.
**If you’re wanting a little longer ride, take the road or trail all the way back to Harrow…but you’re on your own getting home from there ;)