News

Great Waterfront Trail Adventure passes through county

By Monte Sonnenberg, Simcoe Reformer

A total of 150 cyclists from Canada and the United States rode through Norfolk Thursday on Day 5 of the annual Great Waterfront Trail Adventure. Among them were former Cobourg mayor Peter Delanty, left, and Lorraine Koehler of Etobicoke at right. At centre is Waterford Heritage Trail president Terry Bonnett of Bloomsburg, who greeted the riders as they passed through Waterford on the Black Bridge. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

A total of 150 cyclists from Canada and the United States rode through Norfolk Thursday on Day 5 of the annual Great Waterfront Trail Adventure. Among them were former Cobourg mayor Peter Delanty, left, and Lorraine Koehler of Etobicoke at right. At centre is Waterford Heritage Trail president Terry Bonnett of Bloomsburg, who greeted the riders as they passed through Waterford on the Black Bridge. MONTE SONNENBERG / SIMCOE REFORMER

WATERFORD - 

A major summer cycling tour through Norfolk this week will likely generate positive word-of-mouth about the county’s trail system.

A total of 150 cyclists from across Canada and the United States enjoyed the ride Thursday from Port Dover to Hamilton by way of the Lynn Valley Trail and the Waterford Heritage Trail.

The riders were on Day 5 of the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure, a 550-kilometre odyssey that began at Point Pelee National Park Sunday and ends Friday in Toronto.

This is the 10th year for the adventure. The sold-out ride is organized to showcase the 2,100-kilometre Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, which runs from Lake Huron to the Quebec border by way of Grand Bend, Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

Riders began their day in Norfolk at 6:30 a.m. with a breakfast at the Port Dover Arena. They enjoyed the wild areas and agricultural diversity of Norfolk before getting an eye-full of the Waterford Ponds and Nanticoke Creek from the Black Bridge in Waterford.

By all accounts, it was another satisfying day on the tour. Before embarking for the Brant-Norfolk county line, riders gave Norfolk high marks for its scenery and the resources it has devoted to its trail system.

“It’s interesting how the trail changes from county to county,” said rider Jim Ivey of Oakville. “You can tell the counties that have put a lot of effort into it.”

Ivey says the Norfolk trail network has what cyclists are looking for. That includes lots of pavement, few stretches of gravel, and airy thoroughfares where the weeds and brush are cut well back from passing traffic.

Terry Bonnett of Bloomsburg, president of the Waterford trail association, spoke to cyclists on the Black Bridge about the significance of the structure and Waterford’s days as a major hub for trains running between Detroit, Brantford, Hamilton and Buffalo.

“We have trails similar to this, but we don’t have your fantastic scenery or the richness of your agriculture,” said cyclist Peter Delanty, former mayor of Cobourg and warden of Northumberland County from 2000 to 2010.

“And such a rich history. To think there was a time when 170 trains a day would pass through Waterford. That’s fantastic.”

Ride participants got the royal treatment while in Norfolk.

Some camped overnight Wednesday on the grounds of the Port Dover Arena while others stayed at Long Point Eco Adventures north of Turkey Point. Cyclists staying at the latter were shuttled into Port Dover with their bikes around daybreak.

Breakfast included apple cider doughnuts – the official doughnut of Norfolk County – from The Apple Place, homemade sausage from Nigh’s of Jarvis, and home-grown tomatoes from Matz’s Fruit Barn of Port Dover.

There were also stops Thursday in Mount Pleasant, Harmony Square in Brantford, the Mohawk Chapel, Kana:ta Village, and the Heart’s Content Organic Farmstead.

MSonnenberg@postmedia.com