One of my goals when I moved to Guelph was to find a community of cyclists to ride with. But for the first few years here that didn’t work out as planned. It’s true, as we all know, that moving and making new friends is hard as an adult. It wasn’t just that though.
First, work was very busy. This is a very big job.
Second, the one road cycling group ride that looks my speed-ish is Tuesday evening and conflicts with Snipe racing at Guelph Community Boating Club.
And then third, the pandemic hit!
So I was very happy to be included in an invitation to ride with people I met through the Guelph Coalition for Active Transit. We’ve now got a Whatsapp thing going on so when anyone is riding and wants to invite others along they can do so. Nice!
Last weekend we set out from Riverview Park to ride to St. Jacobs, mostly on the Guelph to Goderich trail. Getting to the start of the trail can be a challenge though. I’ve only ever done it on busy city streets but this group preferred the less travelled path. We got there via a rocky trail which pushed the limits of my gravel bike and a single track trail that pushed my limits as a rider. I was slow and careful but everyone was patient. It was only about 5 km. I enjoyed the conversations about plans to groom the trail and make it official. That’s a great idea as it would make the G2G trail accessible to more riders, including me!
Here’s our route map:
We got off the G2G trail in Elmira and biked on the road to St Jacobs, after a quick stop for drinks, snacks and a bathroom break. Yes, the road was busy but on the bright side the roads in Mennonite farm country have a very wide shoulder lane for horses and buggies. The pace was lovely, relaxing, and definitely conversational. Many photos were taken! Thanks for letting me use them in this blog post.
When we got to St Jacobs we stopped for picnic table lunch at the beer garden. Some people stayed for the music festival that was being held there and I rode back with another rider who needed to be back quickly. More plans for the rest of Saturday. My plans included showering before going to the first opera staged at the University of Guelph.
An aside: Congrats to Theatre Studies Professor Troy Hourie who opened the University of Guelph’s first opera as part of Professor Hourie’s and Professor Kimberly Francis’s Experiential Learning course, ‘Mediated Scenography for Opera.’ COA students Ben Rosenberg, Megan van der Merwe, Chelsea Evanson, Cassandra Friesen and Alannah Troyer collaborated with Musique 3 Femmes (A Montreal based experimental opera company) on a new opera called ‘Plaything’ by Anna Pidgorna and Maria Reva. Featuring Kristin Hoff and Rachel Krehm, and directed by Sheree Spencer. Here’s a peak at the show.
Back to bikes and bike riding! On our way back we passed on the technically challenging bit and stuck to the city streets.
The total trip was about 80 km. I was happy with my bike at that pace and I think I made the right clothing choice in terms of compromising between technical bike clothes and street clothes. (Last year I got it wrong riding in dresses rather than bike kit and I’m happy to have found a compromise.) Glad I had my arms covered to avoid the sun.
Fun times, great company, and will definitely do this ride again and ride with these folks again!