Route Sharing Bicycle Rides
In an effort to have a semblance of outdoor club activities during this time of physical distancing we are test driving some creative options. For cyclists we are asking members like you to share details (roads, length, quality of surface, amenities, notable features, etc.) of a route you like, as we have done with the Pinery route we enjoyed recently. We hope to post one route per week and have members ride it when it suits them, observing physical distancing guidelines and all forms of personal safety. At the end of each week we’ll host a Zoom meeting to connect and talk about the shared experience, along with other topics and ideas. For now as an example, we offer you the Pinery Leisure Cycle. We ask that you give it a try by Sunday while entrance to the Pinery is free, traffic there is almost nonexistent (delightful!) and we can make an assessment of the format before we post the next route.
"Pinery Leisure Cycle"
Timing: Complete by end of day, Sunday, May 31.
Zoom Meet-up: Monday, June 1st, 7:00pm - 8:00 pm.
Distance: 27 kilometres Level: Easy
Location: Pinery - 9526 Lakeshore Road, Grand Bend
Parking: Lambton Heritage Museum - 10035 Museum Road, Grand Bend...actually on Lakeshore Road just east of the Pinery.
Road Surfaces: Asphalt of varying quality, mostly good to fair but sometimes awful; also sections of hard packed crushed stone mostly in good condition but with some loose bits and some minor washed out sections.
Map. Pick one up at the park entrance office from the self-serve newspaper box (use a cloth or gloves to avoid touch). Their map is better than this one http://www.mobilemaplets.com/showplace/1917
Staff are onsite.
There are some emergency phones on site.
Note that all buildings are closed and there is no drinking water available within the park. There are also no garbage cans so be prepared to take away everything you bring in.
Pros: Beautiful park with mostly good roads and paths through woods, along a wide, slow river, several optional hiking trails, beach access, almost no traffic, pretty flowers, small mammals, birds. Map is very good and useful.
Cons: All buildings are closed and there is no drinking water available within the park. There are also no garbage cans so be prepared to take away everything you bring in. The bike trail through the woods is not conducive to passing other riders at a two meter distance.
This is a route for leisure and observation. Take your time and enjoy nature in many forms. The route is short but you can make a morning or a day of it with picnicking, swimming, hiking, exploring, lounging.
If you get disoriented, remember the lake is to the north.
Where the pavement is very bad on the main road, where it is closed to traffic the crest of the road is the best place to ride.
Challenges: Even in our small group of three it was hard to remember to stay six feet apart and not touch one another’s items (ie camera, map). Be constantly vigilant.
What to bring:
BONUS ACTIVITY: Photo scavenger hunt. While on your ride notice and take photo of:
Standing tree stump
Tree without its top
Something that makes you happy.
My photos, for an example, are at https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipP13JfNuw-qodXSOm8fWhw42h86iLHxsWG6AIjCVB8RHqoAkCjqfRIQjuIergszfA?key=MEk0RFJEdkpvVzNEa0ZGbDhBUklZZWpQaEVpTTBn
After your ride upload your photos. It’s easy...if I can do it you can do it.
Much of this bike route is on the Savanna trail, marked on the map in purple dashed line. It is the only bike trail in the Park (others are for walking only). The remainder of the route is through camping areas, along roads and side roads to the beach.
Follow the Savannah Trail around the east section of the park all the way back to the Visitors Centre. Have a look around then take the trail towards the lake and visit the beach.
Return from the beach and take the first road right leading into the Dunes camping area and continue west. It is not a well marked turn.
You’ll pass into the Burley camping area through an open swing gate which you may not even notice. Before long there will be another lovely beach access on the right. After that stop, continue west and the road will turn south to continue along the west side of the park and to cross over the Old Ausable Channel.
The road turns east just before the entrance to the Riverside camping area. Head in (north) until you come to the east/west road. Turn right (east) to ride through the camping area to get to the park store.
On the far side of the store, near the (closed) toilets you’ll find an entrance to the Savannah trail. Take it until it brings you to the main park road. Instead of crossing the road, turn right and follow the road first east then south (right turn) to the park office/entrance/exit.
Park at Lambton Heritage Museum (10035 Museum Road, Grand Bend) which is just east of the entrance to the Pinery.
Ride bike out to Lakeshore Road, cross carefully, also cross the ditch and turn left (west) on the paved Rotary Nature Trail.
Turn right at the entrance to the Pinery (9526 Lakeshore Road, Grand Bend)
Ride to the office to collect a map.
Continue into the Pinery a short distance (1 km?) on the main road until you see the Savannah Ttrail on the right side of the road. After you turn in, stay to the left and you’ll soon come to the trail head which heads towards the lake.
Follow Savanna Trail until it meets the park road at the Old Ausable Channel. Turn right and follow the road, which is now the trail shared with one way traffic...except it is currently closed to traffic.
Pass/stop at Riverside Trail.
Pass/stop at culvert over Old Ausable Channel.
Pass/stop at Hickory Trail and Bittersweet Trail.
Pass/stop at Wilderness Trail.
Continue past day use beach areas numbers 1 - 7.
Before day use beach area #8, turn left to follow Savannah trail through the woods again. You will pass stop signs at many little roads/trails. The roads are for group camping, hiking trails and a maintenance road.
Note: The last little trail in this section is to the canoe launch. It’s a nice side trip option. The road is unremarkable and the only way to know it is that it is the one after the paved service road. Turn left on the canoe launch road to get to the Old Ausable Channel.
After the canoe road, continuing west on the Savannah Trail. When you arrive at the main park road turn left, then right into the parking lot for the Visitor’s Centre and Cedar Trail. Have a look around.
Find the asphalted Savanna Trail just east of the Visitors Centre (don’t go back to the road) heading north. Follow it as it winds past an outdoor theatre towards the beach (through part of Dunes camping area). The pavement ends at a beach parking area. This is a bit vague as it’s hard to describe. Watch for the beach sign.
Coming out from your beach visit, turn right at the first paved road. It will take you west through the Dunes camping area and into the Burley camping area. The only indicator between the two is an open yellow barrier which you may not notice.
There is another nice beach access in the Burley camping area, on the right side of the road. Watch for the sign.
After you return from the beach, continue west (turn right on the paved road). It’s not long before the road turns south. Follow it to the Old Ausable Channel.
After visiting the lookouts and noticing the turtle crossing and fish, continue south across the Old Ausable Channel.
Moving along, the road soon swoops east. When you get to the Riverside camping area office, head in, go through the traffic barrier and continue north towards the road that runs east/west along the Old Ausable Channel. Turn right (east) to travel through the Riverside camping area. When you come to the main camp road, cross it and you are at the camp store.
Go past the store and across the parking lot. Near the bathroom you’ll find an access to the Savannah Trail again.
Follow the Savannah Trail easterly until it bends north and brings you to the park road again. Turn right (east) on the road and follow it as it turns right and continues south to the main gate.
Turn left (east) out the gate onto the Rotary Nature Trail. When you see the Lambton Heritage Museum carefully cross Lakeshore Road to your vehicles.
Download/Print Route Instructions
Of course you can modify any part of this to suit your preferences. I hope you enjoy your outing as much as we did, and we look forward to chatting with you.
Now, we’d appreciate it if you could provide similar instructions for a route you like to ride.