The day dawned overcast with a light rain. We faced the disappointment of knowing that John would not be able to ride with us today, due to his damaged ankle, and the concern that he might not be able to ride again, during this trip. It was our third long-distance ride day in a row. None of us have ever cycled these types of distances before, particularly day after day.
We had our breakfast in a lovely common room on the fifth floor of the David C. Smith residence at Queens University. The plan had been to leave at 8 AM, but I asked the group if we could push it to 830 because I just didn’t seem to be able to get myself in gear.
The group agreed, breakfast was eaten and cleaned up, and Rani did a coffee run to the lobby for complimentary coffee. It’s wasn’t very good, but I drank it anyway. The trailer was parked a block away and by the time we packed it up and took our group photo it was 9am.
Part of what slowed us down was deciding on a route to take. The route planned by John and Jim followed Highway 2 to Belleville missing the entire Waterfront Trail. It was 86 km long. David suggested taking a route along the waterfront trail to the Glenora ferry, which completes Highway 33, from the mainland to Prince Edward County. This suggested route was longer at 105 km and hillier. We decided on the longer route but without a lot of enthusiasm.
The Waterfront Trail leading out of Kingston was quite disappointing and challenging for the first 25 km, particularly after riding the Thousand Islands Parkway yesterday. It’s annoys me that the Waterfront Trail is called a “trail” because with the exception of parts like the Thousand Islands Parkway and the Martin Goodman Trail, it consists primarily of signs on roads and many of those roads are unpleasant to cycle on.
At one point, we turned onto Coverdale Road, to be temporarily confused by the Waterfront Trail (WT) sign being placed after the turn, but when we figured out which way to go, we were very relieved to find a lovely curving pathway 9Picture below) that unfortunately lasted only a few hundred metres before ending at a crazy, busy road with no crossing. (Picture above, just after crossing and starting to ride)
We are a very confident group of cyclists who ride for utilitarian purposes as well as recreation, thousands of kilometres a year, some of us CanBike trained, but we found the so-called Waterfront Trail stressful and unpleasant until we reached Bath.
We encountered very busy roads with large, fast motor vehicle traffic, with paved shoulders that appeared and disappeared with regularity, with cracked and crumbling asphalt, that was littered with detritus, including a nail that punctured Nelson’s tire 17.5km into our ride.
Nelson decided to use a new tube and patch later. Unfortunately, something went wrong with the new tube and he had to patch the old one and try to repair a second time. Here’s what he found in his tire.
I have been surprised at how few other cyclists we have passed – perhaps 20 or fewer each day. We did see at least five today heavily laden with bags and one incredibly interesting tandem bike/recumbent pulling a trailer, which I unfortunately missed photographing.
Once we reached Bath things improved, but it wasn’t until we were past the road for Napanee that traffic thinned and the road surface improved to the point where the ride became pleasurable. From about 25km west of Kingston until Glenora, it was lovely, as was the road to Picton once we crossed to Prince Edward County.
We discovered, on a temporary sign 20km from Glenora, that the ferry is not carrying trailers now, so John and Jim set up the picnic at the ferry dock. Highway 33 is discontinuous at Glenora and requires a free ferry crossing. With high water levels this year, they have had to weight down the ferries with a large tractor trailer which doesn’t allow other large vehicles to be loaded. (Note: the next 7 images are in reverse order and I can’t figure out how to fix it on my iPad).
North of Picton we once again encounter varying road conditions, from quiet and serene tree covered roads to Highway 62 leading to the bridge to Belleville and the 401, which had narrow shoulders and vehicles traveling at probably 100kph (limit was 80).
Before going over the bridge, David and Dayle had slowed and told us not to wait. We were following David’s route in RidewithGPS, which I purchased for the month, and which provides me with turn by turn navigation. Unfortunately, it let us down just after the bridge, through a combination roadworks and of me being tired and having trouble interpreting it. It also took us of north of Loyalist college where we are staying versus John and Jim’s route along Highway 2. David and Dayle ended up arriving first by not getting lost and by following Highway 2, which was a harrowing ride at almost six in the evening.
We arrived second having travelled 4km further than necessary and completely exhausted, although we did see this lovely view which we wouldn’t have done if we hadn’t gotten lost.
It was a day of highs and lows – literally and figuratively. More hills than other days. Disappointments that didn’t occur on other days. I found about half of the riding today punishing and unpleasant, partially due to tiredness, but mostly due to poor infrastructure. I could not recommend this ride in its entirety, to any but the most intrepid cyclists.
This was my second cycling trip in Prince Edward County. I didn’t understand on my first why it advertises itself as a good cycling destination. In retrospect, I thought that perhaps it’s was my lack of stamina and experience at the time, however, having revisited it, I still see it as overrated as a cycling destination.
We are hoping for a better day tomorrow, although most of the route is along Highway 2, so I am uncertain how it will be. At least it will be shorter at just under 80km.