Saturday, July 18, 2015
Rail Trails: Uxbridge to Lindsay, Beaver River Wetland Trail
Had a great ride today!
This is the route: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6664138
Uxbridge to Blackwater Junction: 0km-15km
Kilometers 1-15 were on the Uxbridge-Lindsay rail trail. This section followed the Beaver River Wetlands, very pretty and natural.
Blackwater Junction to Sunderland/Cannington/Woodville: 15km - 32km
Blackwater used to be a real railway junction - at this point you can either travel north up to Cannington/Woodville or east toward Lindsay.
We followed the Beaver River Wetland Trail north first. This trail has been massively improved since I last rode it - all but about 5km is nice hardpacked small gravel, very well groomed and flat. The other 5km is the old rail bed, which has suffered from some serious frost heave... we were on mountain bikes so no trouble at all, really not that bad.
Sunderland is the only tricky part - the trail sends you off onto Highway 7 and you have to go through the Esso/Co-op parking lot to get back on it. Poor sign-age to tell you how to do this, so bring Google or just poke around...
The other somewhat annoying thing is the north end of the trail ends abruptly before you get to Woodville... you're punted out to roads as the trail is fenced off (private property apparently). You can choose to go north Woodville to refuel, or skip it like we did. Sorry Woodville, fix your trail.
Woodville area to Oakwood (road): 32km-52km
This isn't trail, it's just a road link we made to get to the other rail trail... but gave the opportunity to restock on Gatorade and ice cream at the corner store in Oakwood. Mmm, Kawartha ice cream! Roads were generally not too busy and nice country (if you like farms).
Oakwood to Uxbridge: 52km-84km
This stretch of rail trail runs all the way to Lindsay, but we picked it up mid-route just south of Oakwood.
Back to very well groomed rail trail, really nice. I thought this part was just going to be us out in the open surrounded by farmland - I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of variety. Farms gave way to forest which eventually turned back to the marsh, as we returned to the Blackwater-to-Uxbridge section we had started on.
Review and Unsolicited Advice
The trails were mostly really good. We rode mountain bikes this time, but a cyclocross or hybrid would be more than capable.
I was struck by how removed all of these rail corridors are from humanity. You pass the odd house or farm and cross roads here and there, but there are very long stretches when it was just us, the bikes, and nature. Serene!
They do slow you down more than you might expect. I can usually keep around 30km/h on the road bike solo over a long ride, but we averaged just 22km/h. We weren't hammering it, but I honestly don't think we'd have gone that much faster - the trails are sometimes a bit soft and it really slows things down. Not to mention mountain bikes aren't that fast to begin with!
I'd say the Blackwater up to Woodville part was probably the most interesting, followed by Uxbridge to Blackwater. The Blackwater-Lindsay stretch was better than expected but nothing too exciting.
Finally if you like rail trails I would highly recommend the Victoria Rail Trail, especially starting up in Fenlon Falls and heading to Kinmount - that is even better IMO! And if I ever get the time I really want to follow it up to Haliburton. Next adventure, maybe.