Ten fearless cyclists with an average age of 72 set off last month on a six-day circuit from Kanata to Pembroke and back.
Led by Westdale optometrist John Attridge, the group included Bobbie Robb, Dave Pringle, Brenda Zakrzewski and Joe Oosting of Burlington, Clive and Freda Wright of Dundas, Tom O’Shaughnessy of Ancaster, Sheila Leighton of Waterdown and Sharon Gibbons of Hamilton. The trip was Attridge’s 13th organized bike tour.
Planning to reach Pine Lodge in Bristol, Que., the first night, the group headed for the Quyon ferry. But after pedalling over 45 kilometres, the cyclists arrived in Fitzroy Harbour to find the ferry closed for repairs. The group was at the point of cancelling their evening reservation and changing the trip when a pontoon boat ride was arranged.
The next day the group followed Quebec’s Route Verte No. 1, called the PPJ, a bike trail on the former Pontiac Pacific Junction Railroad. The hard-packed powder trail featured pastoral scenery. North of Fort Coulonge, the PPJ followed the Ottawa River closely, offering more spectacular views. Crossing two huge bridges, the riders arrived back in Ontario at Pembroke.
The fair weather then turned overcast and after a two-hour ride in the rain, the group stopped in Renfrew soaked to the skin.
Luckily the following day it didn’t rain, so everyone enjoyed the splendid views of the hills and the Ottawa beyond. Drizzle continued from Arnprior to Carp. The riders visited the Diefenbunker, a huge four-storey building constructed underground to protect the top government officials and documents in the event of a nuclear war.
The final hour of the trip brought riders back to Kanata under blue skies. They covered over 320 kilometres, had just one puncture, all were safe and everyone enjoyed a memorable trip.
Rumour has it that next year’s trip will be along the St. Lawrence east of Trois Rivieres.