As you can read here, big Monday adventure rides have become a bit of a thing for me. Usually solo, on each of these rides I go pretty far afield and try to find a few new-to-me roads or new-to-me link ups. As I have been doing this for a while now, the reality is that I have to go a long way to find new routes so part of the adventure is finding and pushing my own limits. Suspending my disbelief, you know? This particular route took me up though Apsley, then east to explore the Old Hastings Road, which is a little piece of Ontario’s history.
Q - In terms of both preparation and execution do you have any advice for a rider who wants to try pushing themselves like this?
A - I have been asked this many times so I actually did a post about this recently that you can find here. Additionally, it is really important to keep moving. Stopping too often or for too long really adds up on these big days. Think about it, a 10 minute stop every couple of hours doesn’t sound like much but on a 10 hour ride that is almost an hour off the bike, which could be the difference between getting home in daylight and being caught out in the dark.
Q - Do you have a favourite food for these big rides?
A - I really like to eat what I call “real food” although I may be judged for these choices! Seriously, sugary energy bars and such become intolerable for me after too long so I like more savoury foods. My go-to’s are peanut-butter/tortilla roll-up as well as a block of cheese and/or some good sausage, which I will substitute for pepperettes in desperate times.
Q - Back to the ride; how did it go?
A - It was pretty incredible. The whole point of the ride for me was to explore the Old Hastings Road. The road was built as part of the colonizing efforts of the mid-1800’s. As evidenced by the abandoned gas stations, etc. it survived until the early days of the car but it was replaced by Hwy 62 as a north-south route in the more recent past. Now, it is just a beautiful place to ride a bike. Built long before roads were designed to be driven at speed, this route winds and rolls all over the place. So Fun!
Although I had ridden it before, I also went out of my way to ride the Devil’s 4 Mile Road, which is north of Cordova Mines. Do yourself a favour; find this road on a map and go ride it! It is another gem of a road with a deep sense of history.
Every time I ride these places I am reminded of how hard it must have been for the early settlers. Stone walls overcome by forests and tiny homes broken by time and weather all serve to remind me that I’m not so tough after all.
Q - What’s next?
A - I am really having fun exploring close to home these days but multi day adventures seem to be calling to me so the time seems right to plan something big. A few of us here at Wild Rock have been percolating the idea of developing a long bike-packing route that explores the Canadian Shield lands of Central Ontario. Late this month we are going to give it a whirl. The route will be about 800km long and explore abandoned roadways, remote roads and crown land. We are not yet sure if it is rideable but there is only one way to find out!
Kieran rides a Cervelo Aspero equipped with Shimano GRX components.
For more stories, routes and inspiration follow Kieran on Strava and Instagram: @kieranwro