Touring - Touring western Quebec and eastern Ontario
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01-28-05, 12:25 PM
At the moment I am living in Ottawa and was wondering if anyone out there has any recommendations for rides and short tours in this region.
01-28-05, 03:10 PM
Here is a nice circle route:
Start at Sydenham, just north of Kingston. Follow County Road 19 east and north past farms, lakes, swamps, forests, and shield. Traffic is usually light. The hills are not too bad. Turn west at Desert Lake Road (I believe this segment of the trip is still County Road 19) a short distance to Holleford Road (which was gravel last time I was there.) Follow Holleford Road south to the abandoned church on the north-west corner, and cast your eyes north and west. The depression in the ground is a very ancient meteorite crater. The crater was formed a half-billion years ago; the meteor was about 100 metres in diameter; and it smacked the earth at 20 km / second. At this point, you are standing inside the crater, and looking around you can get a strong sense of the original size of the crater and where its rim was. (Millions of years after the impact, the entire area became an inland sea. After a few hundred million years, the crater had filled with sediment, so you do have to look.) If you turn right at the church, there is a historical plaque about 100 metres down the road that describes the crater.
Check a map to find a route back to Sydenham. There are many. But if you continue south past the abandoned church, the road twists and turns for a couple of kilometres, and shortly before you reach Sydenham, there is a real screamer of a steep hill, downhill all the way!
Total time at a leisurely pace, with a stop at the crater and a few breaks: about three hours.
01-28-05, 04:06 PM
Le P'tit Train du Nord is a wonderful rail-trail in the Laurentians. It goes from St. Jerome in the south to Mont Laurier. When I did it a couple of years ago, there were a couple of shuttle services which would ferry you and your bike from one end to the other for an inexpensive price. There are large free parking areas at both ends of the trail. It's 200 km long and unpaved, but the surface was excellent and I had no problem riding it with my folding touring bike. There are lots of places along the trail for food & lodging.
01-29-05, 04:12 PM
Two years ago did a nice trip in the area:
Day 1 Gananoque to Kingston with side trip to Howe Island - 54 km
Day 2 across Wolfe Island to Cape Vincent NY, then to Alexandria Bay - 61 km
Day 3 across 1000 Islands bridge back to Canada, then to Brockville - 63 km
Day 4 cycled a loop north of Brockville - 62 km
Day 5 Brockville to Gananoque - 44 km
Had wanted to do Alex Bay to Brockville via Prescott/Ogdensburg bridge, but bikes are not allowed. Winds can be strong in the 1000 Islands area so be flexible unless you are a masochist.
01-29-05, 08:23 PM
Brian Hedney has a website about scenic ways to travel Toronto - Ottawa and Toronto - Montréal : http://hedney.com
And if you want to ride from Ottawa to Montréal, I have a short description here:
02-02-05, 03:50 PM
Thanks for the great tips and links. I am really looking forward to cycling this region this season!
02-02-05, 08:15 PM
From Morin Heights in the Laurentians there is a trail on a disused rail route going West for about 60 km. I think its called Route Aerobique. The grades are a bit steeper than Le Petit Train du Nord, but it is less traffic. The scenery is beautiful. The last 5 or 10 km are of crushed quartz, which is too soft for tires under 35 mm.
If you do the route along the St. Lawrence from Cape Vincent to Alex Bay, be reminded that crossing the Thousand Island Bridge back in to Canada is a harrowing experience. You have a narrow walkway, barely wide enough for your body and bike. It's scary! Well, at least I thought so.
I would go to Kingston via Gananoque, take the ferry to Wolfe Island and bike around the Island. Or...go on over to Cape Vincent via ferries and bike up to the Lighthouse or go down along the St. Lawrence river. Then return via the ferries. Have fun!
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