Thursday, April 15, 2010

ROUND ALGONQUIN PARK

By Luke Lester

Close to the end of this season I got the chance to do yet another story I have wanted to do for a while. Winter was winding down and I really needed to get away from the office for a few days with my pals for a multi day ride.

Ontario is home to a very unique multi day loop ride called the RAP tour. RAP stands for Round Algonquin Park and as the title suggests, the ride consists of 900 kms of some of Ontario’s best trails.

This ride started in my back yard with two of my oldest friends, Joel Potter and Stefan Bjelis. First part of the trip was a long stretch towards Pembroke Ontario and took us across the lakes, then on to the town of Whitney. This is part of a single day loop I ride all the time, but once we got past Whitney, I was in unknown territory. Good thing the OFSC does such a great job of signing the trails and the maps for the RAP tour are so detailed it was a lot easier than I thought.

The second leg of the trip is the route along the top of Algonquin Park from Pembroke to North Bay. It was by far the fastest and least populated. We rode perfectly groomed trails for well over 300km and saw very few other riders.

This part of the ride seems the most remote, but is actually extremely well serviced. We even found a cool little cafĂ© called the Gingerbread. Make sure you stop and check it out if you’re ever in the area.

We rolled into North Bay with no issues at all and had a great stay. We took off the next morning well rested and ready to get home. This was also going to be the most technical in terms of mapping and the longest because of the more complex trail systems we were following. Fortunately we had no issues heading south from North Bay towards home.

We did run into a few minor trail closures but the clubs had done a great job of working with what they had. Up to this point we had been riding nothing but HUGE snow. North Bay lacked an abundance of white stuff, but the clubs know how to spread that snow out as far as they need to.

We finally rolled back home late that evening and finished the ride off with some stories, complaining about sore muscles and an overall sense of achievement.

The RAP tour will test your ability to follow your map, trust the signage and not look back. It will also give you a great opportunity to spend 3-5 days worth of quality time with your friends and riding buddies. Ontario’s RAP tour should be at the top of your list next season.

Visit GoRideOntario.com for more.

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