The Great Waterfront Trail Adventure participants experience all kinds of weather, from extreme heat to extreme rain to extreme cold in their five day journey from Brighton to Cornwall, but they were still all smiles when they left Iroquois early Friday morning towards their final destination.
Cyclists, 150 of them, participated in the journey offered by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust and partner CAA.
Their final overnight stop was Iroquois, where many camped at the Iroquois Municipal Campsite, while others stayed at the McIntosh Inn, Morrsiburg.
Great Waterfront Trail adventures have been taking place for seven years, but this shorter adventure focused on the St. Lawrence River and its communities, is a first. Marlaine Koehler, executive director for the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, said they are committed to continuing this and similar rides in future.
This ride covered about 300 km of the Waterfront Trail which spans 1,400 km.
While 90 per cent of the cyclist on this trip are from the Greater Toronto Area, there were participants from five states and two provinces.
“Our demographics aren’t the hardcore cyclists, it’s more people who want to enjoy a holiday by bike,” said Vicki Barron, also of WRT. “A lot of these people have never been off the 401, and they are very impressed by what they seeing and many will come back.”
“Iroquois, quietly, is a real gem. The Seaway story is compelling, and the history of the area is well told through its historical plaques,” said Koehler. She, and the other cyclists thoroughly enjoyed the meals, hospitality and scenery of this community, including the Iroquois Locks and the passing ships, seen during their short visit.
“We’re bicycle friendly, and we’re looking forward to having you back,” said Mayor Byvelds, pointing out the Cornwall and Counties Tourism Cycling maps that are part of an initiative to bring more cycle tourists to the area.
“This whole trip has been delightful,” said Eugenia Sowicz of Reading, Pensylvannia. She does about two of these large cycling trips each year, with this being her first to this area of Canada.
While she loves cycling, she says she is not th strongest cyclist, so this trip was perfect for her. Tuesday, the tour passed through the Kingston area facing hurricane-type weather, but that day, Eugenia opted to board the shuttle to Napanee, where they enjoyed a delightful day, rather than facing the elements. “We had a terrific time learning about the area’s history and geography, even though it was raining,” she said.
Even though many of the travellers opt to camp, they don’t have to worry about camping gear, as a tent service is available, whereby they ride from stop to stop, when they arrive, a fully assembled tent and filled air mattress are waiting for them. Their luggage is also shuttled from place to place.
Comparing this ride to others she has completed, Eugenia says this one was extremely well organized, the staff were tremendous and the people in the communities they visited were wonderfully welcoming. She really liked the community aspect of this ride. “Because we are travelling right through the community, the experience is really local. It gives us an opportunity to support these local economies, and I love that. You really get to experience the flavour of the whole region.” She said that this area is definitely an area she will come to visit again.