KINGSVILLE — A group of local cyclists with a deep knowledge of county roads, trails and bike lanes has created a website to guide riders on where to go, what to see and where to stay.
So far there are nine routes on cyclekingsville.ca, with more planned. The routes are a mix of short and long, easy and difficult and appeal to both novice and expert cyclists.
“There’s a small group of us that really enjoyed riding our bikes around Essex County the last year or two because normal outlets for cycling internationally were unavailable,” said Kingsville cyclist Jennifer Kilbourne.
“And then as we travelled the back roads of Essex County we realized there is a lot of cool stuff here.”
While the routes are primarily aimed at local cyclists, Kilbourne hopes the site and its routes will draw riders from outside the region and boost local tourism.
She said Essex County has one cycling attraction the rest of the province can’t offer — its flat terrain.
“Anyone who has been on the Niagara region wine tours by bicycle knows the hills can be quite forbidding. We don’t have that problem,” Kilbourne said.
The site is user-friendly and includes maps which identify washrooms, parking areas, water stations, wineries, brew pubs, restaurants, ice cream shops and local scenic sites. Users call up the site, download the app, pick a route and allow GPS to guide them through their journey.
For one of the longer rides to Rondeau Provincial Park in Chatham-Kent, the site provides overnight camping locations.
Kilbourne said cycling has undergone a boom during the pandemic as people look for safe outdoor activities.
“We should have started this (site) 18 months ago,” she said.
Charlie Morgan and David Kfrerer are the two other founding creators of the site.
Morgan said the routes were chosen for their safety.
“Yes, that’s very important,” said Morgan.
“For Essex County it’s obviously the amount of traffic so when we design a route we try and keep that in mind.”