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The Rideau Lakes Tour

Jun 11 2012

RLCT 2012

It has been several years since I have participated in this very popular cycle tour named the Rideau Lakes Tour organized by the Ottawa Bicycle Club. I did not realize how much I missed participating in it until this past weekend.

Participants can register for one of four tours ranging from 100km to over 200km and all ending at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. The Tour I have been doing is the Classic Tour. This is probably one of the most popular of the tours and it is supported and well indicated with signs and organized resting areas. The Classic begins in Ottawa at Carleton University and after signing in and getting your bib number and then dropping off your over-night bag, you are ready for the adventure.

Police on motorcycles help guide you through some intersections and ensure everyone's safety. With over 2000 participants, this is important. The Ottawa Bicycle Club also had some of their members out as officials on the course helping other cyclists and ensuring we are following the rules of the road.

There are several organized stops on the way to Kingston with washrooms, food and drinks for sale. These stops give you a chance to rest and catch up with friends and maybe make a few!

The first organized stop is in the little village of Ashton where there are washroom facilities, food and drink. The prices for the food for sale here are very reasonable and the baked goods are delicious!

One of the major stops is in the beautiful town of Perth at the Last Duel Park where you can purchase sandwiches and delicious baked goods. Water and Juice are provided for free by the Ottawa Bicycle Club. Perth is also the start of the Century Tour for those who did not wish to do the extra 77km from Ottawa.

The next stops are in the beautiful town of Westport and then another about 28km before Kingston where you can buy hot dogs and drinks. It is this part of the course that tends to have more hills and is more challenging because you have already been cycling for so long.

The weather was pretty good on Saturday but after my last stop before Kingston, it started to rain, but it did not get cold. It was actually a little refreshing so that was nice and the rain did stop before I made it to Kingston. In Kingston we hit every red light on our way down Division Street to Queen's University. I needed the rest anyway. :)

I arrived at the finish at around 4:30pm. Once you sign-in, you receive your keys to your dorm room and your souvenir shirt and then you can collect your overnight bag. Depending on what you asked for when you registered, you would have a single room, a double or a larger room with more people. I went for the single room and ended up at the Chown Residence. This is an older building and made the other residences look like a high end hotel but it was fine for me. I appreciated it. My father attended Queen's University years ago and it gave me a small glimpse of what spending the night at the University must have been like back in the day... and to this day as well!

A nice tradition is to meet up with friends at the beer tent for a rewarding drink in the courtyard. After a quick shower and getting my room in order (your bike stays with you in the room for companionship!), I headed to the cafeteria for a very big and delicious meal. You can imagine the appetite that you might have after cycling all day. Hundreds of cyclists had a great big feast on Saturday night at Queen's University. Very good food and drinks. Lots of variety to pick from. The same can be said about the deserts.

After the nice meal with my friends we decided to walk around a bit to settle our meals in our bellies. It is just a short walk to the edge of beautiful Lake Ontario where we can see Wolfe Island. Kingston is a beautiful city and also the host of a popular triathlon, the K-Town Tri.

Saturday night during the Rideau Lakes Tour is a quiet one. Everyone is in bed early. No big parties here. One guy that was with us went to his room for the night at 8:30pm. Maybe I should have...

 

 Sunday morning starts with a big breakfast. Lots of fruits, drinks, eggs, waffles, muffins, breads..... A real treat. You will need the calories, so eat up! Once you return your keys and drop off your over-night bag, you are ready to take off.

Leaving Kingston and heading into Westport going over all of the hills was easier on Sunday morning because I was rested, and we are dealing with the hills right off the bat and there was a slight wind on our backs for a nice push home. The sun was out and it was a hot day and some riders knew this and left as early as possible. With breakfast being served starting at around 5am some riders can be on the road before 6am.

It was a beautiful day to ride home and a beautiful weekend to be on the bike and do this popular tour with friends. When the long journey is finished, you sign in at Carleton University and then pick up your certificate that you can proudly show off to everyone. A beer tent is waiting for you with burgers when you are ready to enjoy them before you head home.

Several days have now past since the Tour and my legs are still feeling the beating I gave them. I actually love that feeling.

 

Written by Jimmy Kelland

 

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