If you’ve gone on a cycling holiday, then you already know the facts: Bicycles are one of the greatest inventions of all time, and travelling is one of life’s most rewarding experiences. Combining the two, especially on a cycling tour, is something close to nirvana. Here, in no particular order, are seven more reasons to get out there and ride somewhere new.
1. New Bike!
The only equation you need to know when it comes to cycling is this: N+1 = the correct number of bikes you should own—with N being the number of bikes you own now. That means there’s no better time to buy a new bike than when planning a cycling holiday. You’ll need the latest and greatest technology to tackle the hills of Lake Superior Provincial Park, the gruelling trails at Sault Ste. Marie’s Hiawatha Highlands in Algoma Country, or the lovely long roads of Manitoulin Island.
2. Three Types of Fun
Sure, you can’t measure the value of fun, but do keep in mind that there are three types of fun. Type I Fun is enjoyable in the moment and every step of the way. Type II Fun may be miserable in the moment, but is more fun in retrospect. And Type III Fun isn’t actually fun at all, although it can bestow a bewildering sense of accomplishment afterwards.
Cycling holidays often encompass all three types of fun. For Type I Fun, think cruising down the easy Groove Trail at Collingwood’s Blue Mountain; Type II Fun, think battling a headwind along the Lake Huron-North Channel section of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail; for Type III Fun, look no further than suffering through the Crank the Shield multi-stage mountain bike race.
The esteemed Dalai Lama is reported to have said, “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” Sage advice, from a sage dude. Ever pedalled through Sleeping Giant Provincial Park or Thunder Bay's other great trails? Rolled quietly past the wildlife in Algonquin Provincial Park? Or enjoyed the vineyards and wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake from the seat of a bicycle? No? Then what are you waiting for?
Ever notice that cyclists tend to hang out with other cyclists? There’s a good reason for that: the quality of experience you’ll get while riding with others creates lasting friendships. So whether you’re planning a cycling trip with a new friend, an old friend, or with people you haven’t even met yet, there’s a good chance you’ll be making friends for life. Check out these events for great group gatherings throughout Ontario.
The Japanese created Shinrin-yoku (which literally means forest bathing) back in the early 1980s. Some studies claim it reduces stress, blood pressure, and a host of other ailments. You know what else the Japanese created? The Shimano XTR Drivetrain. Coincidence? We don’t think so. Because we know that riding in places like Thunder Bay’s Trowbridge Forest, Sudbury’s Walden Trails Park, and Kenora district’s Club Minaki trails always make us feel energized, relaxed and happy. For cyclists, forest bathing = forest biking.
For most people, the freedom and joy of rolling away on two wheels begins in childhood. Kids love bikes, enough said. So, what better activity to plan your next family holiday around than cycling? With their gentle grades and zero traffic worries, rail trails are ideally suited to young riders—and Mom and Dad will enjoy the scenic cruising, too. For a unique twist on a popular park, ride Algonquin Provincial Park’s Old Railway Trail, which connects six park campgrounds along its 16-km length. There’s even a stop for ice cream!
One final, oft-celebrated reason to take a cycling holiday is the beer you’re allowed to enjoy after your ride. It’s a simple equation: you burned the calories, you earned the pints. And if you’re travelling, think of all the new brews you can try. There’s a new Ontario micro-brewery popping up every 13 seconds these days, so chances are good that you’ve yet to discover your favourite draft. Ever had Manitoulin Brewing Company’s Bridal Veil Pale Ale, Stack Brewing's Shatter Cone, Lake of the Woods Brewery’s Big Timber or OutSpoken Brewing’s Split Shot? No? Then you’ve got some travelling to do.
So, there you have it. If you needed another reason to go for a spin somewhere new this season, pick any of the above and get pedalling!