Lanarkist

New cycle route encourages Lanark County residents, tourists to ‘CycleMORE’

Photo via Pexels

With those long-awaited summer days just around the corner, many avid cyclists are eager to hop on their bikes and take advantage of the diverse trails and routes throughout the region. Just in time for summer, MORECycle Volunteer Coordinators Chris George and Jeff Mills are thrilled to announce a brand new route called The Mississippi & Ottawa Rivers Experience (MORE) Cycle Route.

This is a scenic 180 km loop cycle route that has been specifically developed for cycle tourists and local riders of all abilities and ages to enjoy. An inaugural ride for the route will be taking place on Saturday, June 29 to celebrate the end of ‘Bicycle Month’ celebrations and Canada Day weekend.

This route has been a dream for Chris George and Jeff Mills since 2017, and upon Jeff’s retirement last year, the pair figured now was the perfect time to make this dream a reality.

Lanarkist spoke with organizer Chris George to hear more about what riders and tourists alike can expect from this new route.  He emphasized that the goal of establishing this route is right in the name itself, He wants it to be an experience.

“It’s about the whole community and the experience. It’s about people exploring our area, having adventures and showcasing what we have to offer. We’re hoping avid cyclists will do it but we’re also hoping their kids will do it too. The route is safe and accessible for all different types of riders”

He explained that “ it’s about just getting people out on bikes and realizing that if you cycle safely from Almonte to Pakenham, for instance. It’s so beautiful. You get to Pakenham and get your scoops of ice cream and feel great about the experience while cycling back.”

Hummingbird Chocolate Factory in Almonte will be hosting the inaugural ride event and George playfully quipped, “It’s going to be a sweet start to the day!”

He explained that they have identified five areas that are ideal for starting their ride or just hopping on the route wherever they want to, with the aid of provided directional cue sheets. 

The five key starting points have been identified as The Junction in Carleton Place, the Old Town Hall in Almonte, the Farmers’ Market in Carp, Parliament Hill in Ottawa and Andrew Haydon Park in Ottawa.

This MORE Cycle Route takes advantage of the pre-existing infrastructure in the region, including the Ottawa Valley Recreational Trail (OVRT) and the Trans-Canada Trail, which connects Carleton Place to Stittsville. 

George clarified, “We don’t expect most people to do the entire route. It’s a great challenge for experienced cyclists who want to take it on but it’s also for cycle-tourists who want to turn it into a multi-day journey and for local residents.”

He continued, “One of the key things for the City of Ottawa when we were talking with them was to provide an opportunity for friends and families who might not be able to make that trip out of the country or province this summer. This is a perfect stay-cation for local residents.”

One of the main objectives that the coordinators had in mind when creating the MORE cycle experience was to enable traffic and support for local businesses within their region.

“Cycle-tourists who come to our communities spend more than regular tourists, they stay longer and do more things than regular tourists wouldn’t do,” George says. “The stats are there to back up all those points.” 

George added: “We’ve been thinking about all of the different types of attractions we could highlight. When someone cycles into Carleton Place, there’s so much to do in Carleton Place! They could stay there for hours and then maybe stay overnight or may want to carry on to Almonte.”

MORE’s website and social media pages are still in the development stages but will be launched to the public within the next few weeks. In the meantime, George advises anyone interested in learning more, or becoming an ambassador or sponsor for the event to contact him directly at MORECycleRoute@gmail.com.

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