Late winter cycling in Niagara

With March Break upon us (and nearly over), my family and I decided to take a mini-vacation to the Niagara Region.  Rather than staying near the Falls, we found a little farm near Welland called “The Hoblet” that I’ll talk about later in this post.  As usual, I brought a bicycle to explore the area.

Our accommodations were about 20 km from Niagara Falls, so after our first night, I rode my bike to the Falls to meet my family.  I extended the ride to about 30 km so I could ride along the Niagara River.  My plan was to ride along the bike path from Black Creek to the Falls, but the Niagara Region got about a foot of snow a week before and the path was snow-covered in places, so I ended up riding along the Niagara Parkway.

Along the way, I was reminded of my very first hydrogeology work-term job as a co-op, undergraduate engineering student (waaayyy back in 1987).  My supervisor and I drove from the office in Burlington and took a boat over to Navy Island, where I learned about groundwater monitoring in the carbonate rock of the area.  The island, about 4 km upstream from the Falls, is on the Canadian side of the border.  There was a hotel on the island from 1875 until 1910 when it was destroyed by a fire.  It’s presently uninhabited and I’ve read conflicting reports about public access: one website says there is no public access; another says there are permitted campsites available.

My ride, with Navy Island across the Niagara River in the background.

I continued to Niagara Falls, stopping along the way for some photo opportunities:

The second morning, I rode from the farm to Brock University, where we toured campus.  Along the back roads, I saw two ducks (or some kind of fowl) crossing the road (I didn’t stop to ask why).

Why did the ducks cross the road?

And I crossed the Welland Canal on a lift bridge that was, fortunately, not lifted:

Lift bridge over the Welland Canal.

So back to our accommodations.  The Hoblet in Welland.  It’s a small farm where the owner’s Petra and Mush have animals that they’ve rescued donkeys, goats, pot-bellied pigs.  Before I set off for my ride each morning, I greeted the friendly animals.

Sorry buddy, I have no food for you.
Goat photo bomb!

If you’re looking to visit the area, The Hoblet is a great place.  Small private cabin with one bedroom (room for four), kitchen/bath.  And hey… animals!

One more item… I visited my friend Brandon at Inception Cyclery in Thorold.  Brandon has a cool initiative called the UnRoyal Ride Ambassador (URRA) program, which I’ve been a part of for the last two years… “No Fame, No Glory, Just Awesome Riding”.  Proceeds from clothing sales go to mountain bike trails!

Me and Brandon at Inception Cyclery, Thorold. URRA jerseys in the background!
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