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​Gym Shorts: Cycle your way to feeling great

November 2, 2023

When it comes to exploring Ontario or your town this fall, why not do it by bicycle?

I’m an avid cycler. If you’re looking for some physical activity to do that provides you with an excellent work-out routine, gets you outside in the fresh air and does wonders for your mental health, then consider cycling.

With biking you can do it for pleasure like I now do along the “KIPP” Trail (Kincardine to Inverhuron Provincial Park), that starts at the north end of the Town of Kincardine. Or you can bike with a friend, in a group or go on biking tours. For the more competitive person, there’s also racing.

I typically start biking in April when there is dry weather. With my knee replacements, this has always been among the best exercise I can do. The knees love it. It also helps remind you that you do not miss the TV or being on the cell phone! It is just like being a kid again.

If cycling is something new for you, then be mindful of your surroundings and start out small, increasing the length of time with each outing. Don’t overdo it and dress for the weather conditions. I never bike in the rain and I always wear a helmet.

Did you know that if you’re on an electric bicycle, according to the Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO), you must wear a helmet? I have my lights on and wear something bright. Don’t forget a bell. Safety is just as important as the exercise. You can find more information on Ontario’s bicycle safety here.

In 2022, I participated with my daughter, in the Port Albert 3-Port Tour. Something I did not know was on my bucket list. I am not the competitive kind of person when it comes to sports. However, my love for biking and encouragement from Rebecca, took me down this road.

I took my time as I cycled through, and enjoyed, the beautiful surroundings of the Port Albert area. I will always have the memories of the rolling, lush green country side that reminded me of Ireland. The smiles, waves and cycling tips from other bikers, were also bonuses.

The smell of the hot pavement permeated the air, and let’s not forget the dead raccoon on the side of the road that also invaded my senses. Hard to miss when I finally figured out what that smell was about!

But I have to say I will never get the image out of my head of that sea of butts in front of me (remember this was my first cycling tour)! Nor was I intimidated by the fact that the one of the Emergency Response Team trucks supporting the Tour stayed behind me for the duration of the 50 kilometre tour. I was, after all, the last one out of the gate and the last to cross the finish line.

If you are interested in learning more about cycling through Ontario or just the Grey-Bruce-Huron regions, visit the Ontario By Bike website. The site provides maps and tips, and covers recreational trails, rugged mountain-biking terrain or paved road riding. It offers routes suitable for any kind of rider. The maps provided represent a business or location that has been certified as bicycle-friendly.

Enjoy the ride!

As a reminder, you should always consult first with a medical professional or coach before starting a fitness program.

Biking along Huron Lake’s coastline on Boiler Beach Road

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