by Fred Geuer
It’s not for nothing that Almonte is gaining a reputation for being the bicycle town in the Ottawa Valley. We are lucky to have beautiful and varied cycling routes, good infrastructure that is improving all the time and great people involved in all aspects of riding. Daily you can see people out and about enjoying their bikes. Some ride for fun, some for convenience, some for exercise. They are four years old, they are seventy. They come in all shapes and sizes and ride every kind of bike imaginable. Many live in the area but hundreds also find it rewarding to come here from afar. Understandably along our stretch of the Mississippi River Valley groups of like minded individuals have banded together to enjoy riding and each other’s company.
If this kind of activity peaks your interest you might consider joining one of the following groups.
The Rusty Spokes is a veteran bunch of loosely organized riders from the Carleton Place and Mississippi Mills area. They specialize in taking leisurely backroad tours and having fun. Call Bernie MacDonald for the low down if you are interested. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Another like minded group is the RIMM Rovers, they ride out of Almonte, enjoying the same leisurely pace. You can reach Cathy Solowjew (email@example.com) or John Peters (firstname.lastname@example.org.)
A third group in the area is the Almonte Bicycle Club. Established in 1985 this group of road cyclists is more structured and has been running two cycling programs in the area for the past 29 years. On weekends and occasionally through the week they organize backroad tours that might be a bit faster but not too fast and longer than the other rides mentioned above. A stop at a restaurant is usually part of the plan. For the more athletic road cyclist, the club offers 15km and 40 km time trials. Most members come from the Mississippi Mills, Carleton Place area but also from Ottawa, Arnprior, Calabogie and even Petawawa. This group represents a wealth of knowledge of all things bicycle. They are always ready to welcome new members and the more members, the more variety of rides they could offer. You can get more information about these good folks by visiting their website at http://www.almontebicycleclub.ca.
If mountain biking is more up your alley, you are in luck there too. There is an eager group of riders in the Almonte area that would be happy to show you the best trails in the area. A good place to get connected would be through the following web site; http://www.almonteoutdoors.ca.
To keep us all going we are lucky to have one of the best bike shops in the Ottawa Valley right here in Almonte. Bill Barrie at Almonte Bicycle Works will keep you running smoothly all year round! Bill has a wealth of information about local riders and conditions as well, a valuable resource indeed.
For the past six years a dedicated group of cycling enthusiasts from the Almonte area have declared June as Mississippi Mills Bicycle Month. As such they have been responsible for selflessly organizing many bicycle related events, from movie nights and travelogues to workshops, tours and races. Check out this year’s list of activities at mmbm.ca. Go to the events button. The Tour de Mississippi Mills is on June 21. You can meet like minded riders while completing loops ranging from 18 km to 100 km. There are also events planned for birders, gardeners, foodies, star gazers, mountain bikers, and a bicycle rodeo. The Silver Chain Challenge is one event everyone can get behind. Mississippi Mills is undefeated in this challenge to date but riders in Renfrew County have sworn to take the trophy this year. Sign up, log your kilometres and help us win again!