Unique Cycling Trails to Explore in Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge
Any of Waterloo Region’s locally-owned, independent bike businesses will tell you that there is an alarming lack of bicycles on the market right now. With the pandemic now in its second year, cycling has re-established itself as a highly popular sport for physical fitness, mental wellness, and moving around securely in our community.
A superb collection of cycling and mixed-use trails connect the cities and townships of Waterloo Region, allowing you to discover new restaurants, cafés and breweries while getting some exercise in the process. From challenging trails like the Hydrocut to concrete roads like the Iron Horse Trail to protected bicycle lanes that run through Kitchener and Waterloo, there’s something for bikers of all abilities.
In celebration of the release of the Waterloo Region 2021 cycle map, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions for your riding travels.
On the Spur Line Trail, there is a bakery tour.
Carbohydrates are essential for Tour de France riders, and if it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for us. Make a point of stopping for a cup of coffee and a treat at Smile Tiger Coffee Roasters, which is conveniently located near the Downtown Kitchener GO Railway Station. As soon as you’ve refuelled, hop on your bike and ride toward Waterloo.
Turn right into Wellington Street and you’ll arrive at the first stop, LenJo Bakes, which is located at 132 Ahrens Street West. Return to the Spur Line and enjoy one of their famous cinnamon buns or gluten-free macaroons before continuing on to your next destination.
As you make your way across Roger Street, you’ll come upon the oasis that is Cafe Pyrus. Cafe Pyrus Outpost, which is conveniently located near the Spur Line, is the second site of the renowned downtown vegan eatery and bakery, Cafe Pyrus. The Outpost provides great baked products, including a variety of vegan and gluten-free alternatives, as well as coffee. Milky Way Farms has a little vegetable market at the Outpost on Saturdays, which you may pre-order in advance for pick-up the following day. As an added bonus, it’s a great reason to purchase a bike basket!
Get back on your bike, and you’ll arrive at the CE Food Experience, which is located just before Moore St. They’re a fantastic local artisan bakery that offers a variety of sweet and savoury alternatives to suit any palate.
Take advantage of our penultimate stop on the Spur Line, which takes us into UpTown Waterloo for our final stops before heading home. First and foremost, for those who prefer classic baked goods, Seven Shores Cafe on Regina Street is a great place to get a muffin or a scone. Pick up some edible cookie dough from The Crumby Cookie Dough Co., which is located directly next door to the Seven Shores Cafe, for those who enjoy baking but believe that the best part of baking is licking the bowl.
On the Way From Waterloo to St. Jacob’s, a Short Note on the RIde.
Start on the Avon Trail in Waterloo, near University Avenue and Bridge Street West, for an exciting ride that will reward you with a delectable reward at the conclusion. Continue north on the route, which will take you through a magnificent landscape. The Avon Trail connects you to the Heath Valley Trail, which takes you into St. Jacobs and the surrounding area. At the conclusion of the route, you may have a refreshing drink at Block 3 Brewing or the Village Biergarten, as well as a peanut butter bar at the EcoCafe.
Cambridge’s Grand River is Looping Around the City.
The Cambridge to Paris Rail Trail allows you to stroll through historic downtown Galt while following the Grand River. This 9-kilometre route begins on Water Street in Galt, where you’ll ride south along the Grand River’s bank to your destination. Take Footbridge Road down to the Grand River and cross it after passing Churchill Park. After that, return north on West River Road until you reach Galt. To explore the parks, turn right along First Avenue and head to Hancock and Waterworks Parks. You may eat a picnic next to one of Ontario’s historic trees, a 130-year-old oak tree, at the Cambridge Sculpture Garden, after riding via Waterworks Park to Grand Avenue and then on to the Cambridge Sculpture Garden.
Introduction to the Breweries (and Brews) on the Iron Horse Trail
When you look at the amount of breweries that can be found along the Iron Horse Trail, you almost believe it was done on purpose. Stop by Short Finger Brewing Co., which is located on the corner of Kent Street and Hurst Avenue, and say hello to Rob and the rest of the staff. Try a glass of one of their locally brewed beers, such as their continuing Lando series, which is a constantly changing beer that is matured in different types of barrels and on different fruits with each new edition. Also available are homebrew materials, should you like to try your hand at creating your own hoppy concoction.
Return to the Iron Horse Trail on your bike and enjoy the scenery. Cycle past the gorgeous Victoria Park before arriving to Red Circle Brewing, located within Catalyst 137 on Glasgow Street, for our next destination. In addition to its “core four” beers, which are named after local landmarks, the brewery is also recognised for its Iron Horse American IPA, which won bronze at the 2019 Canadian Brewing Awards.
Then, when you’ve refuelled, make one more stop in Belmont Village at Arabella Park Beverage Bar for some chip truck fries and a beer from their continuously changing draught beer wall, which features 18 different beers and ciders to sample.
Going on a Bikepacking Adventure with Inspiration from a Buttertart
Every year, cyclists from all over Ontario come together to take part in the BT700 Grand Depart. It’s a 760-kilometre loop that begins and ends at the EcoCafe St. Jacobs and travels across Southwestern Ontario. The route takes riders north through cottage country, west via Owen Sound towards South Hampton, and finally south along Lake Huron to return to the starting point of the trip. It’s the cannonball run of cycling tours (but there are butter tarts along the way), with no registration fee, no assistance, and no prize money. If you are unable to attend the Grand Depart, the route is open-sourced and may be ridden at any time throughout the year.