84km of lovely hills, gravel and country roads
This ride was Instagrammed back in late spring 2017 when it was first ridden, but I thought I’d document it properly for anyone looking for inspiration for a really, really nice mixed surface ride with a bucketload of climbing as well.
NOTE: this ride now has a permanent home on the Longer Routes page.
You can ride it either direction of course, but heading out Hwy 7 early is preferred, it’s not usually all that busy heading south until later in the day. I’ve done the whole 1.4km without being passed by a single vehicle.
Of course, it’s busy during the afternoon on weekends with cottage traffic and crazy busy all afternoon on a Sunday as people head home from their cottages. That’s the time to avoid it like the plague. There’s a good sized gravel shoulder for those really averse to riding with traffic.
Heading out the Hwy 7 way, The hills on Morton give you a good warm up with views of the Bethany Hills ahead and the Otonabee River valley behind. After the long climb past 10, it’s gravel all the way to Dranoel. South of Hwy 7a on Dranoel you're back on gravel again.
Ignore the “Not a through road” sign at the intersection of Dranoel and Syer, that applies to cars, and continue south. Dranoel is heavily shaded from here on, and can be a bit juicy if there’s been rain.
Keep your eyes pealed for the “Not an assumed road” sign on your right, that’s your passthrough to Ballyduff.
Gray and Pit are gravel, as is Beers Rd. past the gennies except for the steepish climb up from 7a.
Lifford has the steepest hill in the region, the grade pushes 20%. Fortunately, you’re heading down, but even then, there’s still a “Whoa! Where are my brakes?” moment when you go over the top.
The Bethany General Store is a nice example of a real traditional general store, rather than being a variety store with pretentions, as so many are. Worth a stop.
Dranoel! Again! Ah well... It’s just as nice the second time.
Gravel lasts on Syer until just west of Tapley 1/4 line, one more hill up regional 10 to cross the 115 and then it’s a mostly flat cruise back into town past the airport on quiet, paved country roads to finish off the ride.