Who doesn’t like to take a leisurely ride in the country, sometimes getting lost along the way? I know I do… If I’m in my car.
When I’m on a motorcycle it’s a different story. When my wife Theresa and I take our bike out for a cruise, we like to plan the trips a bit better. Having only a 250 km range before filling up does cause some limitations. After all, it’s an awful feeling being stranded in a remote area with no gas in the tank. Trust me, I know.
Luckily, Lennox & Addington County has taken most of the guess work out of planning a motorcycle ride in the area. A few years ago another rider friend of mine asked if I had ever heard of the L&A Rides website. I had not, but from what he had told me about it, I was intrigued. So when I got home I hopped onto the computer and navigated my way to the site and clicked. Well, hello there my new favourite motorcycle page!
On the screen were links to 6 different rides within the boundaries of L&A County, complete with route descriptions, directional information, and of course, details on where all the gas stations are. Each route also had a link to upload to my GPS… are you kidding me? I quickly downloaded all 6 routes in preparation for my next Sunday ride.
Theresa and I decided to go all out and start with the “Shield Ride” and its 186 km of hills, turns and rustic natural views. Sunday couldn’t come quickly enough. We packed up some water and snacks, filled up the tank in our hometown of Napanee and headed north along County Road 41 to the beginning of the loop in Kaladar. We topped up the tank at the Shell and headed to Addison’s Restaurant just up the road near Northbrook for some breakfast. The place was packed and the food was delicious.
After finishing breakfast, we chatted with some fellow riders in the parking lot that were riding the loop in the opposite direction. We’re told that the roads are in great shape and the morning ride was spectacular. So off we go, continuing north through Northbrook.
There was very little traffic on the road, allowing us to cruise along at a slower pace and enjoying the scenery. The curves and hills along this stretch of road are breathtaking… nothing but trees, lakes and rock formations to keep you company.
The next village we reached was Cloyne, another small gem along this twisty highway. This was our next stop of the day so we pulled in at the general store. Stepping into the store was like being welcomed home. The cashier, a gentleman with a few years of seniority on us, greets us with a “Hello, how’s the ride today?”
It caught us a bit off guard, but then he explains he heard our motorcycle rumble in. We told him the ride was great so far, and when he asked where we were heading, we told him of our planned route. He responded “Well folks, the ride is about to get a whole lot better.”
He tells us we’ll soon be approaching Bon Echo Provincial Park a few kilometres up the highway and mentions that there’s a hidden gem at the north end of the park boundary that bikers love: a dead end road called North Mazinaw Heights Road. It’s only a short detour off our planned route and when he said “it won’t take long and you’ll thank me later”, it seemed like an suggestion we couldn’t refuse.
We purchased some snacks, thanked the gentleman, and off we went. It was only about 8km down the road that we saw the Bon Echo Park sign. We slowly passed the entrance and were tempted to stop in, but decided to push through. Upon exiting the park boundary, and just like the man had said, we saw the sign for North Mazinaw Heights Road. On went the right signal, and turn we did.
We crept along this quiet back road cruising at about 40 kph. We don’t know why this road isn’t on a top 10 list of the most amazing views in Canada. We pulled off a few times and took many photos of the large granite outcroppings, pine trees, and Mazinaw Lake. It was quite an amazing view. Sadly, we had a schedule to keep and put North Mazinaw Heights Road behind us.
Still amazed with every kilometre, the views are spectacular and the smells of nature are wonderful (sorry car drivers, you’re missing out).
After a lunch stop in Denbigh and a bit of a rest at a beautiful waterfront park, we continued our journey. The loop continued along Buckshot Lake Road to Plevna and Highway 506 before the route eventually took us back to Highway 41. After a short time we turned onto Flinton Road to a small quaint hamlet named Flinton. Three words riders… Flinton Conservation Area. It’s a great spot to stop and cool off, and a beautiful view of a waterfall. After Flinton the route carries on to Highway 7 and east back to Kaladar where the loop started.
While it was an 186 km ride that could have been completed in 3 hours, it turned into a 9 hour day full of fun adventures, friendly stops and scenery galore. We can’t wait to take our next L&A Ride.
The Shield Ride