One of Canada’s premiere rides wrapped up on Friday, and this year, participating cyclists were the first to experience southern Ontario’s newest bikeway — the Greenbelt Route.
For seven years running, the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure has been a high point of the season, attracting riders from throughout Canada to the verdant, lush countryside of its biggest province. This year, with riders from as far afield as the United States coming to experience the route, set a new standard on that front. More than 130 cyclists registered for the six-day trip, with representation this year from provinces such as Quebec and Alberta, and states like Ohio, New York, Alabama, Maryland, California and Rhode Island. Featuring the introduction of Ontario’s new, 475-km Greenbelt Route, the ride was something of a special one.
The trail network spans seven regions and 27 communities, traversing the changing landscape between Northumberland and Niagara.
Those communities were at the forefront of the Greenbelt Route’s development, too, with funding from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation and leadership from the Waterfront Regeneration Trust putting the finishing touches on it. With more than 1,000 kilometres of cycling trails as a part of the network, connecting the Waterfront Trail and the Greenbelt Route, participating cyclists — the majority of whom completed the 2015 ride — had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be the first to experience its natural beauty.
“For the last seven years,” said Waterfront Regeneration Trust executive director Marlaine Koekler, “the [Great Waterfront Trail Adventure’ has helped build the Waterfront Trail’s reputation as a premier cycling tourism destination. It is fitting that this year, we hosted a special ride to showcase this new stunning addition to Ontario’s network of long distance cycling trails.”
The enthusiasm of participating communities and riders was matched by other officials, too, eager to unveil the fruits of their efforts. Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, joined Koekler in that sentiment.
“We were happy,” he said, “to showcase [the Greenbelt’s] plentiful forests, rivers, welcoming towns, and family farms along this exciting cycle tourism attraction.”