submitted by Marc Nadeau
The things you find when you go looking. In my search for information on cycling in North Grenville, I learned that there is an official Cycle Ontario bike tour between Kemptville and Jasper – just follow the Rideau! Some people would be home for lunch after a tour like that, but many of us have some work to do before we are ready for such a challenge.
In this quest for information, it was discovered that the municipality has an Active Transportation Advisory Committee. As the name implies, it promotes walking and biking trail development and use in North Grenville. The evidence of its work lies just outside the Municipal Centre where the newest trail is being constructed, heading north along 44. There is also the rail trail that runs through Kemptville and heads south to Beddell Rd.
This sort of development shows foresight on the part of the municipality as cycling is recognized as a growing social trend. It is a force that is changing attitudes, behaviour and expectations as people look increasingly to healthy lifestyle options. For example, real estate listings now post a Walking Score as more people are seeking a living space that extends beyond the property line. We are not leading the charge on this front, but efforts are being made not to be left behind. This is a good thing.
North Grenville has so many assets for cycling that many do not recognize nor take advantage of. We have excellent roads, beautiful countryside, easy topography and welcoming residents. Are we on the map as a community that is bicycle friendly? That answer would have to come from outsiders who know the roads and feel the sense of acceptance while on two wheels. Other municipalities are recognizing this ‘soft asset’ that keeps people coming back, or even better, keeps them there. As one of the satellite towns that rings Ottawa, we would be well advised to build a good bike horn and blow it.
There is an upcoming event that will give cyclists the opportunity to put Peddle Power to cycling in North Grenville. On Sunday, June 11, the fourth Annual Bike Rodeo will be held in Oxford Mills. This is a family event that emphasizes bicycle safety, skills development, fun and exercise. In the coming weeks, more details will be provided about that event. Everyone is welcome to come and visit the event, pass through on a tour, meet other enthusiasts or just be counted. It is time for the public to catch up to the municipality’s efforts. Some day, more of us will be able to do the Kemptville/Jasper circuit and boast of the time it took to ride it. Please put June 11 on the calendar and see you at Maplewood park in Oxford Mills.