When my adult son comes to the County, he always brings his fancy bike, spandex suit, and a cycling app, Strava, on his phone. He plans a route and broadcasts a link to his trip that can be tracked in real time. Where is he? How fast is he going? What is the elevation of his ride? (I think, if you really want to know, you can check his heart rate and caloric output as well.) Speaking of elevation, Laurence was pleased to report some statistics: he is ranked 104th of 1450 cyclists on the “Lake on the Mountain Climb,” and third among 1871 riders on the “Bridge Street Climb.”
Yes. 1871 cyclists have tracked their time up the town hill. And yes, again. Cycling is a thing here in the County.
Take, for example, long-time Cressy resident Rob Legge. He placed thirty-third in his age category for Canada at a race in Italy last year, and won at another qualifier in Alabama. He is now headed to the World Medio Fondo Championships in Scotland this August. A Fondo, which loosely translates as “Ride,” is a long distance road race. The Medio Fondo in Scotland covers 85km of spectacular mountain scenery. Mr. Legge will compete in the 75-79 age category.
Mr. Legge is proud to represent Canada, and the County, in these competitions. Having cycled here for more than two decades — a typical workout is 100km — he knows all it has to offer — both for cycling tourists who come here to ride, but also for County residents who wish to take their experience on this terrain to other places. As Mr. Legge puts it, “train here and face the world!” The rolling hills are a perfect match for what he will encounter on the Medio Fondo in Scotland, and, likewise, Chuckery Hill, he says, set him up well for the Alabama mountains.
Mr. Legge also takes the County spirit into local Ontario rides, such as the Princess Margaret Ride to Conquer Cancer this month. Over the past six years, Team Myderwyk, of which Mr. Legge is a longstanding member, has raised over $250,000 by cycling from Toronto to Niagara Falls: this year’s ride, just finished, raised $95,000.
Back at home Mr. Legge is a member of the PEC Trails Committee, dedicated to maintaining bike trails across the County. He is not at all surprised that the County has become a popular cycling destination, given the beauty and variety of the countryside, and, yes, the availability of wine along the way —“but please wear a helmet!” he exclaims. He’d like to see paved shoulders, like those on the refurbished Highway 62, on all the roads. While 99 per cent of County drivers are courteous, he notes, cyclists need to be careful, and ride single file when there’s traffic. A proper shoulder with a white line would really help. He also worries that the Millennium Trail might be compromised by new housing developments seeking to add more road crossings at various points.
The Bloomfield Bicycle Company, which is run by kt misener and Rick Willing, offers maps with well-planned routes (available in paper or online), and runs a Club that organizes rides, as well as bicycles, repairs and advice, including about where to rent a bike, and other cycling businesses.
misener and Willing organize regular rides throughout the County. They have seen many changes to its cycling culture, including the Millennium trail, and, recently, the road shoulders on Highway 62. They note that awareness on the part of drivers that cyclists are legitimate road users is now the norm. More cyclists will only improve the experience of the roads.
Favourite places for cycling include Green Point, Sandbanks, Point Petre, Long Point, Point Traverse, Stinson Block and Huyck’s Point Road. Along the way are lake views, treed avenues, and open fields; and there are stopping places all over, at wineries, breweries and farmers’ stands, as well as amenities in all of the towns and villages on the map.
Whether you’re on Strava, a lover of fresh air, a cultural explorer, or a local commuter, the County has much to offer to the cyclist. Just ask our local cycling superstar, Mr. Rob Legge.