‘Sweet Beginnings’: Experience Mississippi and Ottawa rivers by bicycle

A new cycling initiative is launching in Almonte Saturday as Cycle MORE encourages folks to hop on a bike and go for a cycle on a 200-kilometre loop that encompasses the Mississippi and Ottawa rivers. Photo credit: Pixabay.
Posted on: June 28, 2024

Official launch of Cycle MORE is Saturday at Hummingbird Chocolate in Almonte


Cycling is a fast-growing activity for the entire family and it injects millions into local communities as a tourism draw.

That was the message of Cycle MORE (Mississippi and Ottawa Rivers Experience) to Lanark County council on June 26 during a regular meeting of the economic development committee.

“We’re not talking about old guys like me in Spandex, we’re talking about young families, we’re talking about seniors on e-bikes, we’re talking about people who have money and want to do staycations,” Jeff Mills said.

Cycle MORE is a 200-kilometre inter-provincial, safe cycling loop that connects the Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail, the Trans Canada Trail, Ottawa and Gatineau Cycling Routes and country roads in West Carleton. It also connects urban users to other country trails.

Cycle MORE is an exciting new cycle route being introduced this bicycle month for cycle tourists, seasoned cyclists – and especially for local riders of all abilities and ages who are looking for new experiences.

Mills said it offers a strong economic impact that supports a broad range of local businesses and points of interest.

It is all about the experiences that cyclists can have along the way. This is a spectacular route that takes in beautiful waterways, the greenbelt paths and farm backroads, as well as the unique heritage and culture of small-town Ontario, Mills noted in a media release.

“We’d love to see some support,” he asked of a county council. “We’d love to work with you because we see this as augmenting what you’re already working on with this loop trail,” as the group looks to be included in the Ontario by Bike promotional materials next year.

Cycle MORE was seeking financial help to continue building its website and social media presence.

Trail maintenance on the OVRT is important, Mills noted.

“We have to provide the best product possible,” he said, by having a surface that is good for bicycles to travel upon. He also asked the county to encourage the City of Ottawa to pave the shoulders of the sideroads.

“If you have any ins with the city we’d love to have some help to encourage the City of Ottawa to get their roads up to the standards that are happening here in Lanark County,” he said.

Mills asked members of council to attend their launch on Saturday, June 29 at 8:30 a.m. at Hummingbird Chocolate in Almonte, dubbed “Sweet Beginnings.”

“Deputy Mayor Rickey Minnelli (Mississippi Mills) is coming out on his e-bike and we’re happing to have him,” he said, and others who would like to support the event, Mills said.

Coun. Andrew Tennant (Carleton Place Deputy Mayor) asked for specific data from users, if that was available, to discover where they travelled during their cycling expeditions through the area.

“If we’re putting money anywhere, I’d love to know how many riders are using this particular trail, accessing this particular service … if this community can help me make decisions it’s individuals posting where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing so we have that data and can make decisions based on that,” he said.

Mills said they could post some online surveys, and by working together they could find the data that both groups are looking for.

Coun. Rob Rainer (Tay Valley Reeve) said he’s a “bit of a cycler” but feels he’s taking his life in his hands when he goes out on the bike – be that a county or township road.

“Just by the grace of God I have not been struck by somebody,” he said. “I’m fully in favour of supporting this activity, but also making it as safe as possible. Maybe investing in a little bit of signage that encourages people to slow down, and if they can, move over … kind of promoting that ethic.”

Most drivers are good at respecting cyclists, Rainer said, but it’s that minority who are putting people’s lives at risk.

“The more we promote this activity the more we have a responsibility to make sure it’s as safe as possible,” Rainer said, as road signage would help to “promote the ethics of safety. And general courtesy and respect for people.”

Coun. Krista Lowry (Mississippi Mills Mayor) said more people are putting more miles on e-bikes. She noted it was a great opportunity to pair up with the Sip and Savour tour of Lanark County.

Mills noted that they have been working with the tourism team at the county in that regard.

“People that cycle and stop spend more,” he said, as cross-promotion in tourism is beneficial.

Cycle MORE provides a scenic and bike-friendly route from Parliament Hill along the Ottawa Canal and Experimental Farm, onto the TransCanada Trail to Carleton Place, through Almonte and Pakenham, circling through Ottawa’s western rural neighbourhoods and the village of Carp, heading back into the greenbelt, and along the bike paths on both sides of the Ottawa River. Riders are encouraged to start their adventure anywhere that is convenient along the loop.

This cycling initiative is sponsored by Mississippi Mills Bicycle Movement, the Municipality of Mississippi Mills, and CG&A Communications. Cycle MORE is looking for sponsors and partners for events through the 2024 cycle season. Those wanting further information or interested in supporting Cycle MORE are asked to email MORECycleRoute@gmail.ca.

Hometown News
Author: Hometown News