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Posted: June 5, 2007

CyclingArticle and photographs by Allsion Kennedy

There are endless opportunities for cycling enthusiasts in Grey and Bruce counties. Whether you enjoy a leisurely cruise along a paved road or pounding down a challenging single track trail, there is a route for you.

In terms of road riding, the most developed and well known option for more experienced cyclists is the Lake Huron shoreline route. This tour is broken down into nine identified sections and takes you past many of Lake Huron's main attractions. Families or more leisurely cyclists may want to stick to shorter distances and map out a condensed ride.

The Kincardine to Point Clark Lighthouse section is 20 kilometres one way and can be picked up on Queen Street in the town of Kincardine. The ride finishes at the Point Clark Lighthouse and Museum. Check out the museum, pack a lunch and make a day of it.

Alternately, you can begin in Kincardine and head north towards Inverhuron. This is another 20 km one way ride, winding up at Inverhuron Park and Bruce Nuclear Power Development. You can visit the power development's information centre or take a break at the park in Inverhuron.

From the Nuclear Information Centre, it is a 26 km one way trip to Port Elgin. The suggested route takes you past MacGregor Point Provincial Park. The park itself has a wide range of cycling possibilities. End your trip here or carry on to Port Elgin, passing the Canadian Auto Workers Centre en route. A bicycle trail through the bush just off Izzard Street delivers you to the town.

It is a pleasant 8 km one way ride from Port Elgin to Southampton. Take the breathtaking Miramichi Bay Road into Southampton and then choose the Saugeen Rail Trail as your return route to Port Elgin.

A 19 km ride from Southampton and you will arrive in Sauble Beach. The first portion of this ride, along Shore Road, provides beautiful views of the rocky lakefront. End your journey with a day at the beach.

Once in Sauble Beach, there is 12 km loop that provides you with a tour of the town. Cruise along Lakeshore Blvd. just beyond the dunes, wind past Sauble Falls Provincial Park and return to the downtown area via County Road 21.

There are three inland routes that all originate from the Lake Huron shoreline route. If you are beginning in Kincardine, take the inland route through Ripley and Holyrood and back again for an 80 km return all day trip.

From Port Elgin, take a side trip to the town of Paisley, located along the Saugeen River. Paisley is a beautiful town with plenty of neat shops, great picnic spots and views of the Saugeen. It is a 56 km return trip.

If you're feeling really ambitious, choose the 100 km round trip Century Ride. This loop takes you from Kincardine to Holyrood, through Kinloss, Chesley and Paisley before heading back to Kincardine along Highway 21.

In addition to the Lake Huron Shoreline route, many communities in Grey and Bruce have scenic cycling trails mapped out. Visit the local tourist information booth for suggestions about great spots to ride.

In recent years, many towns in Grey and Bruce have taken advantage of the old CPR and CNR rail lines to promote community based rail trails. These include the Georgian Trail, which runs from Collingwood to Meaford, the Saugeen Rail Trail, connecting Southampton and Port Elgin, the Georgian Bluffs Trail (Keppel/Sarawak) and the Hanover community trail system. These trails provide a great opportunity for cyclists to get away from motorized traffic and become more comfortable with off road riding.

Mountain biking or trail riding has become very popular in Grey Bruce and there are increasingly developed trail systems throughout the area. The trails range widely in difficulty from challenging single track with rock and log obstacles at Kolapore to the cardio testing hills of Whipering Pines in Hepworth.

It is important to know what you're getting into and to pack properly for a day of biking in the bush. Visit your local cycle store and ask for suggestions about trails in your area. Shops like Jolley's Alternative Wheels in Owen Sound are an invaluable resource. They have accurate maps available onsite, are knowledgeable about organized group rides in your area and can help make sure you have the proper repair kits to make you self-sufficient in the woods.

Many hiking trails do not allow cyclists. Be sure to check at the trail head for signs indicating this, or check our trails database to research the recommended trail use for the area you are planning to visit.

Some of the best off-road trails in the area are: the Sauble Beach cross country ski trails; the trails at Whispering Pines in Hepworth; the challenging but well maintained and mapped trails at Kolapore; the 15 km of trails at MacGregor Point Provincial Park and the trails that connect Inglis Falls and Harrison Park in Owen Sound.

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