Ride along Laura’s route here!
This is a story, all about how… I became the kind of person who likes to ride their bike uphill.
Before you swipe left, let me explain. This wasn’t an overnight revelation or even a goal that I consciously worked toward. It happened gradually without my realizing, and as a result, it feels authentic, natural and earned. An achievement unlocked.
I ride my bike to feel good, but I have been on so many rides where I’ve felt less-than ideal. One of the standout examples from my time in the saddle was cycling the Green Mountains of Vermont. I learned how to use switchbacks to take some of the edge off, and came up with a set of phrases to repeat to convince myself to keep kicking my legs. One of my favourites, that I use consistently to this day is “keep kicking your legs.”
When approaching hills on my home routes, my repetitive phrase is “you’ve done worse.” And it’s true: there may not be any bonafide mountains in the Bay of Quinte region, but the process for getting to the top of a hill remains the same. There’s often some combination of blood, sweat and tears, followed by resignation…
… And at the top, it’s always worth it. More often than not, I forget immediately the dirty looks I swore all the way up I’d give to the person who suggested the route. I realize that without the climb, there is no vista. I remember how bored I’ve been slogging away on straight, flat sections and I appreciate the variation provided by elevation.
These literal changes in perspective—-viewing my home from a new vantage point with every crest—-have been part of my Stay Home Solution. The combination of intrigue and accomplishment—-along with the promise of cold beer or ice cream at the end—-has kept me engaged and excited to come up with fresh routes to sample and share from my own backyard.
On the Quinte West and Belleville Apples to Apples route, follow some of my all-time favourite back roads combining my husband’s and my home areas. We both grew up on backroads, so don’t be surprised by a bit of loose gravel! This route is not for the faint of heart or the skinny of tire: rubber under 35mm wide won’t have as much fun trekking up Dutch Lane as those with a bit more cushion.
I’ve chosen to start and end this route at Sager Conservation Area, where—-if you still have legs after a few hours on the road—-you can climb to the top of the tower and survey the terrain you’ve just conquered. You’ll find there’s plenty of time during the climb to debate where to refuel after the ride.
My top local pics for post-ride nosh are below:
*If you’re headed back toward Belleville:
Stop at Barn & Country’s food truck on Highway 62 (I’ve been dreaming of their potato salad since they catered my sister’s wedding last September!).
*If you’re headed back toward Trenton:
Grab a baker’s dozen at Wannamaker’s Bake Shop (you have more than earned it!).
Call ahead for take-out from Gogi Korean Grill (and try to resist digging in before you get home).
Apples to apples: used with reference to a comparison regarded as valid because it concerns two things that are fundamentally the same.