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A pre-trip trip: cycling Manitoulin Island

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Manitoulin is located on the north edge of Georgian Bay, Ontario. It is an extension of the Niagara Escarpment and blessed with beautiful sand beaches and high limestone cliffs. Manitoulin Island is the largest island in a freshwater lake in the world. It is also our destination for a family bike trip as part of a pre-trip to the Dempster Highway . . . In fact, it is not just my family….there are seven families involved in this 3 day tour.

This will be a good opportunity to fine tune the unknown, test out equipment and to feel a loaded bike beneath me. Also it’s good family time.

We will be quite an entourage; with 25 riders in all varying in age from 10 to 54 it will be an eclectic mix of riders. We will be celebrating Canada Day at Providence Bay and heading out to Worsley Bay the next day. Some will take the lower south shore route of about 35 km while others will take the hilly north route of about 67 kilometres. The next day we will take a day trip to a provincially significant wetland and beach, the beautiful, but poorly named, Misery Bay.

It has been over 20 years since I was last on Manitoulin but it is an excellent location for biking. The traffic is light and slow and the roads are paved throughout. The only time the roads get busy is after the ferry pulls in…I imagine that this is also the case on many island communities. I look forward to riding in such a cycling friendly area.

The Active Transportation initiatives that are sprouting up around the country support this type of venture. Some areas of this country support the biking community by providing designated bicycle lanes and promoting cycling. They see the benefit to the health of the community and the economic advantages that follow. The community that I live in has yet to recognize that value but it is through the lobbying of the local governments that this will change and biking will be incorporated into the communities future planning. Even the little things…like convincing local business to have bike racks installed helps promote these ventures.

Happy Canada Day and good Biking!

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