COVID-19 Hasn’t Slowed Down Chatham-Kent’s Cycling Community

Whether it’s along the Thames River, Highway 3, or one of many other routes across Chatham-Kent, you’re likely to see a steady stream of cyclists during the summer months.

Cycling in Chatham-Kent, with miles of scenic highway is a popular sport and activity, and it’s one of the few activities this summer that hasn’t been slowed by COVID-19.

“What I love about cycling is the great cardio workout you get without a lot of wear and tear on the joints,” said Phil Hime, one of the areas most accomplished cyclists. “The adrenaline rush when you’re lined up with 200 other people all trying to cross the finish line first.”

Hime raced for Windsor Bicycle Club as a teen, then Toronto’s Bloor Cycle, before representing Team Ontario and Canada’s National Cycling team.

Although those days are behind him, Hime loves riding through Chatham-Kent, particularly around the Thames River.

“My favourite route is around the river from Parry Bridge to Prairie Siding Bridge, but my favourite section of road would be River Line between Maple City Golf Course and Kent Road 15.”

Hime is one of many Chatham-Kent cyclists you’ll see on the roads throughout the Municipality.

Another rider, Rand MacIntosh, began biking to Rondeau Park as a teen, but got more serious about his riding 20 years ago, and even more so recently.

“I had cancer surgery 8 years ago. Retired 3 years ago, and decided to take control of my health and got serious about biking,” said MacIntosh. “This year my goal was 6000km. So far I am over 5100km. Who knows how many I will ride.”

MacIntosh is a huge advocate for cycling in Chatham-Kent, saying the Municipality has much to offer for those who love to be on their bike.

“There are many roads around CK that can get you close to nature,” said MacIntosh. “Gravel road north from Jacob Road will take you along the marsh to Mitchell’s Bay. Or take McNaughton east for a nice gravel trip.”

“If you enjoy paved roads riding from Highway 3 through Erieau to Rondeau is enjoyable. A longer ride would take you across past Rondeau Park to Ridgetown.”

If you asked a 100 cyclists in Chatham-Kent what their favourite route is, you would get many different answers. Along Lake Erie, through the vast farmlands, along the Sydenham or Thames Rivers, to Lighthouse Cove or Mitchell’s Bay.

However, as MacIntosh said, in Chatham-Kent, the route isn’t important as there are so many beautiful locations. For him, and many other local cycling enthusiasts, it’s simply about the ride.

“The destination is not important, it is about the ride.”

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