As we look ahead to warmer months and I begin to plan future adventures for The Wanderer, I have begun to take stock of just how many epic experiences we encountered. When setting out on a completely ‘Unrehearsed Day’ with only a camera and the courage to experience life as it happens, there is no anticipating what comes next and we were faced with many unexpected moments. Of these, I am still surprised by the one afternoon that entirely changed my outlook on cycling.

In Episode One, my friend Melissa showed me, first hand I might add, the multitude of ways to wander through the Ottawa Valley, one of which was cycling. Bicycles have never been my thing, so after the initial nerves wore off I was able to experience exploring on two wheels for what it truly was; an invigorating opportunity to connect with the roadways leading from one memorable moment to the next, transforming a head full of noise to a calm state of mind. Each breath of fresh air entering my lungs offered a deeper appreciation for the surrounding naturally beautiful green space. From the satisfaction of reaching the top of the hill to the rush of excitement as you soar down the other side; I felt alive.

Immediately looking for my next cycling adventure resulted in an extensive google search and the realization that Ontario’s Highlands are an epicentre for cyclists. The gorgeous natural landscapes seem as though they were handcrafted for exploring on two wheels. Whether you are looking to spin tricks and hone your skills at The Construction Yard, rush downhill through the lush Haliburton Forest, or defy the odds by completing the Tour de Bonnechere 100km loop; whatever your niche of cycling is, there is something for everyone.

Forest Lea: As you I’m sure you can imagine, 30kms of trails winding through a pine forest offers a tight, technical, rocky and rooty ride. Some go as far as to call this “the best riding in Eastern Ontario.
Bonus: You can download the map outlining all four loops right to your smartphone!

Sir Sam’s Ski and Ride: Overlooking picturesque Eagle Lake, 23 kms of cross country and downhill trails traverse through Haliburton’s finest landscape. Don’t be fooled though, the advanced trails are as challenging as they are charming.
Bonus: The ‘time tunnel’ offers an easy walk-on, walk-off ride to the top.

Valley Cycle Tours: Whether you choose the one-day or multi-day package, the guided or self-guided option, or want to contact Cindy personally to craft up a custom route just for you, exploring the Ottawa Valley on two wheels has never been easier.
Bonus: One of their routes ends with a tour and tasting at the Whitewater Brewing Co. Now that is my kind of cycling!

Cycle Haliburton: The Haliburton Highlands are aptly named for their hills and significantly rocky landscape. The beauty and complexity of the Canadian Shield is present in almost all of the routes with the exception of the rail trails.
Bonus: The website guides you to both Mountain Biking and Road Riding options in the area.

As a beginner getting into the scene, it is exciting to think of all the options in my immediate area to explore this new pastime. I would love to hear where your favourite places are to ride; tweet at me!

Happy Wandering,
The Wanderer

Photo credits:
Kris Sieber