I rode at the Cambridge Tour de Grand this past Sunday, June 11, and really enjoyed the experience.
The event is billed as a scenic ride (or rides, there are a number of routes of different lengths) through Cambridge, Ontario, and surrounding countryside for cyclists of all ages and abilities. While I had known about the event for a few years I hadn’t taken part until now.
Last year, there were almost 3,000 participants (I haven’t seen any confirmed numbers for this year yet) which means there are always other riders around on the routes – it’s not too busy but you’re likely not going to be riding on your own for any of it, which makes for a fun atmosphere I think for this kind of event.
There are a selection of gravel and trail routes from 10km to 76km, and road routes from 40km to 160km – 11 routes in total to chose from depending on riding style and ability. I chose to ride the 100km road route, the second longest. The event provides very good route maps for all routes, including GPS routes for some of them, although the signage for the whole of the route I rode was excellent and I didn’t need the route map once.
It’s definitely ‘rolling hills’ as there really aren’t any flat sections, it’s up and down from start to finish but the hills are short and it makes for an interesting and scenic area to ride through.
There were also three refreshment stops on the 100km route staffed with plenty of volunteers, drinks and snacks and lunch is included when you finish the ride.
I completed it in 3hrs 7mins riding time, although I did pause at each refreshment stop for a total of 3hrs 20-ish minutes – it wasn’t a race and it’s enjoyable to stop and chat with volunteers and other riders. Saying that, it was still a pretty fast ride with some strong riders to back-and-forth with, particularly the first third up to the first refreshment stop. On the off-chance someone reading this should recognize “Colombia” in the picture below, tell him the recumbent guy says hi – we were playing tag for quite a while!
I did see other recumbents at the event, I counted at least five including myself – a Catrike, an ICE trike (a VTX, I think, looking nice in white), a TW Bents trike (an Artifice, maybe) and an Ultra Swift trike (not a trike I’d seen before), plus my Bacchetta Corsa. So I was the only two-wheeler I saw.
Proceeds from the event are used to fund the Helmets for Kids program, providing bicycle helmets to children and young adults at no cost through partnerships with the Cambridge Neighbourhood Associations. The Cambridge Tour de Grand has purchased over 1,750 helmets in the past five years.
The weather was a little windy and a lot hot! But I really enjoyed the event and I hope to ride it again in future – perhaps I’ll find some other two-wheeled recumbents to join me next year.