2021 Intermediate gravel summer update: hot air balloons = great riding conditions

There are lots of reasons for people to ride gravel. One of my top reasons is to get out and spend time in nature in the company of fellow Waterloo Cycling Club members. The main summer months have been pretty good for that. We normally head out into the wind to make returning a little easier. However, we had a good string in August where the hot air balloons indicated calm conditions and we could head out in any direction. This allowed us a good variety of routes through the summer.

When I pick the route for a ride, I normally try to get at least a piece of one of our wonderful double wide trails. The G2G Rail Trail is my favourite. Like in this section, the trees and vegetation are growing into tree tunnels.

This not only gives us some shelter from wind and sun, but it also provides good habitat for many species. I had many sightings including some of my favourties such as Baltimore Orioles and Goldfinches. “Flying” among a flock of Goldfinches is super cool for me.

The Walter Bean Grand River Trail and its offshoots also provide a great escape from urban life close to home.

Evening rides treated us to many interesting sunsets.

For those not familiar with intermediate gravel rides, even though the roads and trails commonly have long straight stretches in the x-y coordinates, many of the gravel roads have lots of fluctuations in the z coordinate to keep things interesting. In today’s ride, we stopped atop one of the rollers, had a snack as we enjoyed the landscape as we measured up the climb in the distance. It was a good one…

Intermediate and rec gravel groups have a tendency to stretch out at different times.

In the summer months when it is warm, these stops give us extra time to socialize to take in more of the sights and sounds. The rolling hills, the long shadows as the summer wanes, the colours.

It is nice to hear that I was able to introduce some of our veteran riders to some new gravel this year.

No balloons flying today. The temperature was nice, but there was certainly a nip in the air first thing this morning. The signs that summer riding is starting to wind down are definitely out there. However, with a few trees starting to turn, we have the anticipation of some enjoyable and colourful fall riding.

Although these pictures may give you some idea of the some of the great scenes out there, the actual experience is so much better. I hope you can join us some time.

If you have photos and thoughts on your summer 2021 WCC gravel rides, please share…


beautiful pictures . Looks like fun, I would like join in the fun!

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Hi Bill, Andy and Rene !!!

It was a great ride and I would like to share some pictures.


At the start(SJAM).

On Rd 100 between Line 37 and Line 40 heading north.

On Line 37 just before Rd 102.
I have to stop to capture this pond…

Exiting from Columbia Forest Trail(north).

Columbia Forest Trail.

Columbia Forest Trail.