This 40 km gravel bike route in Quinte West is one of bayofquinte.bike’s staple loops for a reason. The length is approachable, and there’s a balance of flats to climbs for those who want to dip their toes into some elevation gain (guaranteed to make your post-ride ice cream cone taste even better!) We recommend taking about 2-3 hours to complete this route, and planning to stop at The Grind & Vine for a cold drink and a sandwich after the ride.
We find ourselves recommending this bike route to both visitors and locals alike. It’s a great way to while away a few hours of vacation while also getting in some exercise, and it starts right in Batawa, making it easy to access for folks who live nearby and want to make the most of their time off while avoiding extra travel. Read on below for the full route report.
When we hit the road from Belleville to Batawa on the morning of the ride, we weren’t sure what to expect for rider turnout. RSVPs were strong, but summer 2023 has been full of air quality warnings that we knew would keep some riders at home. Imagine our surprise when we pulled into a packed parking lot at the Batawa Community Centre, full of folks getting geared up for the ride!
The group demographics were varied, from experienced gravel racers and roadies to relative newbies, and even a birthday rider! An all-around great crew of 35 people joined us for this long weekend joy ride, rolling out of Batawa around 9:00 AM. Getting an early start was ideal because it meant we’d cross off the climbs before the heat of the day set in.
UP THE TRENT...
We rolled out onto the Lower Trent Trail, and the group immediately spread out, with riders finding their pace and companions. Adam took up the lead, while I (Laura) stuck with the back pack. We love how this works out: everyone’s able to have the ride they want, without feeling pushed too hard or left behind.
Emerging from the trail at Glen Ross is one of my favourite things to do: there’s something about a water crossing that I just can’t get enough of! When I ride this area on my own, I never miss the opportunity to stop at the Glen Ross General Store near Lock 7 on the Trent Severn Waterway for a scoop of Kawartha Dairy. It’s a great place for a rest and a picnic, but we just stopped for a photo-op (rather than creating a 35-person lineup for the unsuspecting ice cream scooper!) Riders in the group made plans to stop back in later while the lock operator captured a group photo.
...OVER THE OAKS
With the off-road section behind it, we knew we were in for a few climbs. There’s no way around the Oak Hills, so we choose to embrace them: what goes up, must come down, and our ascents made for some incredible panoramic vistas and a chance to cool down on the descent. The nice thing about this route is that the climbing is all over at once: after the hills, it’s an easier flow back to the starting point. With a smaller group, a quick detour West on Frankford Road at kilometre 25.2 offers another potential ice cream stop at What’s Your Scoop (or one to note for later, depending on your ride timeline).
Up the Trent, Over the Oaks is now an established bike route, with conditions that can be relied on since it primarily follows paved municipal roads and a section of maintained rail trail. You can always attempt any bayofquinte.bike route on your own time, and keep in touch with us by joining the club on Ride With GPS to find out first when we’ve got a group ride planned.