Rural meets Urban – August 15, 2016

Weeklong Tour 2016

RIDE REPORT BY ROSEMARY LYSAGHT

This year’s weeklong cycle tour (July 23 – August 1) was a tale of two cities – Kingston and Montreal – with a whole lot of rural in between.   A record 17 riders took part this year, 11 of them camping and the others choosing motel or B&B accommodations.  This year also saw our first international participants – a delightful couple, Andre and Frankie, from Florida who joined the tour on the urging of KVC member Gordon Smith.

The ride started at the Cataraqui Recreation Centre on a warm Saturday morning, and the group began its meandering route to Mallorytown via Sunbury and Lansdowne. Mallorytown proved to be one of our best campgrounds, with quiet sites, cooking facilities and even an entertaining evening Bingo event. (Some of the campgrounds proved challenging due to the proximity of highways and train lines – but somehow most of us seemed to sleep through the noise.  Could it have been a “good tired” at the end of a day long cycle?).  Days 2 and 3 took us on quiet rural roads to the small towns of Winchester and Alexandria. On the way to Winchester, we passed through one of our riders’ childhood hometown; and it just so happened that the owner of the Winchester B&B where we overnighted (campers on the grounds) was her childhood friend. A highlight of Day 4 was a perfectly awesome lunch at the Vert Fourchette in Vankleek Hill (not to be missed) followed by beer tasting and a tour at Beau’s Brewery. For the rest of the day we rode tailwinds into our next destination, Rigaud, Quebec, where our camping and motel groups separated for the night. Day 5 started with a beautiful ride along the Ottawa River, followed by a ferry crossing over to Oka, PQ. Later that day we left the quiet rural roads behind as we navigated our ways through Montreal to our lodging at the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM) (not recommended in a hot summer – no AC, and lots of student noise if your windows are open). Most of our KVC group negotiated the traffic together, and found that the route actually followed designated bike-ways. This was a stark departure from our country daydreaming.

Day 6 was a rest day in Montreal and our resourceful cycle-tourists used the time in a variety of ways: a tour of the Marinoni bicycle factory was enjoyed by 6; several toured Old Montreal; some took a bus tour of the city; others climbed Mont Royal for a view of the city; and several checked out the outdoor festival venue of Just For Laughs, which was on full force during our visit. It was a great break, and due to the timely visit of Gordon’s wife Marilyn, 3 riders hopped a ride back to Kingston at that point.

The return ride for the rest of the group was literally a breeze – tailwinds helped us the whole way. Highlights of the return ride were riding bike routes along the waterfront through the west suburbs of Montreal; riding the off-road paved paths for the Waterfront Trail; a visit to the Ontario Power Plant in Cornwall, where we learned the history of the St. Lawrence Seaway; cruising the Long Sault Parkway; visit to Blue Church (eventually final resting place for one of our participants); our last group dinner in Brockville on the upstairs, dockside patio at Bud’s on the Bay; our final picnic in the park in Gananoque; and finally, that rewarding clink of glasses at the Kingston Brew Pub.

The most common question from people not on this tour, on our return was, “wasn’t it awfully hot”? Yes, it was hot. It was sunny most days. But we had tailwinds, so most riders were finishing off their days earlier than they otherwise might and found cold beverages. There was a lovely breeze most days, at just the right angles to cool things off.  Advantage of the hot weather? We found virtually no mosquitoes when we camped. It rained only one day while we were riding – the final morning, and it was a gentle rain that persisted only until the morning coffee break. Too much heat? Nothing that ice cream, ice water and a cold beer couldn’t handle.

Trip by the Numbers:
– 10 days total
– 9 days of riding (one rest day)
– Total of 714 km (not counting evening rides around town, etc.)
– 17 riders at the start, 14 at the finish
– 6 first timers: Maggie Cowtan, Jeremy MacLaverty, Gordon Smith, Lisa Kelian, Frankie and André
– 7 morning coffee breaks in charming rural cafés
– 3 ice cream stops (that we will admit)
– 2 birthdays (Vicki Ryckman & Jeremy McLaverty)
– 1 campfire ( no smores)

Check the KVC Facebook page for photos and comments related to the 2016 Weeklong.

Stay tuned for information on next year’s weeklong tour. Got an overnight tour you want to organize? Contact the Tour Director.