Holidays and travelling are all about feeling the flavour of the community by taking in the scenery, the arts, the food, the nightlife and meeting the people, maybe even a few celebrities. We often want to do something wild to tell the folks back home. Mississippi Mills, just 25 minutes west of Ottawa is offering all that during Mississippi Mills Bicycle Month.
Guided rides tour the peaceful back roads, past flat fertile farmland to rocky Canadian Shield with rolling hills and vista. If birding is your interest, you will want to join the Birders on Bikes as they hope to surpass last year’s sightings of 42 species. Want to push yourself a bit? The 100-km Tour de Miss Mills travels through four hamlets, crosses the Mississippi River four times and the Indian River three times, passes the Blakeney rapids, the Mill of Kintail and the Pakenham five-span bridge.
Olympian cross country skier Perianne Jones will lead a ride for aspiring athletes and another for more serious contenders. The early-summer blooms will look even more enticing on a relaxing two-hour tour of ditches, fields and private gardens through the eyes CBC gardening guru Ed Lawrence.
You won’t want to miss Spin, a theatrical song cycle starring the bicycle as muse, musical instrument and agent of social change. Rounding out the offerings are bicycle-themed movies, lectures and a bike polo photo exhibit.
The self-guided Slow Food Farm Gate tour invites you to visit up to a dozen farms and food producers to see their operations and taste samples of delicious locally-produced food. Some products will be for sale. Suggested loops range from 3 km to 32 km.
Throughout the month, Ramsay Women’s Institute will be serving up smoothies with their pedal-powered smoothie maker.
Ah, the nightlife – this is not for the feint of heart. Just as the countryside begins to settle down, the night riders come out. The night is dark and the skies are bright. The reward is a session at the Mill of Kintail with amateur astronomers from the Ottawa Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and/or the Ottawa Astronomy showing double stars, star clusters, nebulae and galaxies through their telescopes. Last year’s stargazers ride was lit by fireflies and accompanied by Lanark County bull frogs. Who knows what will lurk in the fields and gullies this year!
If the stargazers ride isn’t daring enough, you’ll want to try your hand (your wheel?) at bike polo. Enter the tournament or just come out for a pick-up game during the week.
Whatever events you choose, you will be welcomed by friendly like-minded folks of all ages who want to showcase their community and celebrate the bike in all its glory. See you on your bikes!