Newsletter February 2017

News from Silver Spokes Cycling Club

In early November, Silver Spokes held their annual banquet marking the end of another successful season of cycling. Several observations were mentioned by Club President, Karen Rice.

Perhaps most significant was that the Club conducted an entire season of rides without an incident resulting in personal injury. This is a remarkable achievement since the Club held as many as a dozen rides per week over the five levels of interest, including the Learn to Group Ride Program, and several Special Rides involving considerable distances. Credit must go to Club members for ensuring all could enjoy themselves and return home safely.

Also noted were the individual achievements of club member Geoff Haydt. Geoff brought credit to himself and the Club in race events in Canada and he also qualified for the Grand Fondo Time Trial World Championships held in Perth, Australia. Geoff finished third in his age group and fourth overall, just 15 seconds off an outright win. An incredible accomplishment as Geoff was a recent graduate of the Learn to Group Ride Program.

At the AGM in December, three new directors were appointed to the Executive and long-time member, “Radio” Ron Vanderberghe, announced his retirement. Thanks to Ron for all his support over the many years, especially the Ice Cream Ride.

To promote the Club, Silver Spokes will be attending the Norfolk County Recreation Expo March 3rd 2017. The 2017 ride schedule and the Learn to Group Ride program will be confirmed soon. Perhaps another world calibre cyclist will be discovered. Certainly the Club is anticipating another enjoyable and safe cycling season.

For more information about Silver Spokes Cycling Club, including membership, general guidelines, ride descriptions and safety considerations, go to

Submitted by Rob Martin

Trail Talk

Looking for something to do on the long weekend in February? Join Pathways for People for a walk in the Backus Woods on Sunday, February 19th at 2pm. We will be exploring the trails in the southeast corner of Hwy 24 and the East Quarter Line Road. Kristen Bernard from the Nature Conservancy of Canada will be joining us to highlight some of their work in the area. Check out our website for full details: Hope to see you there!

Canada 150

The launch of Norfolk County’s Canada 150 celebrations kicked off at the Mayor’s Levee on January 11th. One of the biggest parties in the coming year was announced. Picnic Day in Norfolk is Saturday, July 8th.

Pack your picnic basket and be a part of history! Join the Long Point Region Conservation Authority and Port Rowan South Walsingham Heritage Association at Backus Heritage Conservation Area in an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records for the Longest Picnic Table. 150 picnic tables to be exact. Activities are scheduled from 12-3 pm with the Record Attempt at 1 pm. Admission is free with your picnic lunch.

Active Transportation Strategy Becomes Policy

On November 1st 2016 the Norfolk County Integrated Sustainable Master Plan [ISMP] – which includes an Active Transportation [AT] Strategy – was unanimously accepted by Norfolk Council as policy.

The AT Strategy addresses the need for infrastructure to support walking and cycling. Opportunities for improved sidewalk connectivity within neighbourhoods and school zones and better on-road access to trail heads and popular cycling routes have been identified.

An AT network has been identified so when roads that make up this network are repaved, cycling infrastructure, such as paved shoulders, will be incorporated. The recommendations for paved shoulders focus on the key routes that cyclists use when leaving and returning to our communities and where motorist /cyclist interaction is greatest. Throughout the process we also learned that paved shoulders improve safety for all road users: motorists, cyclists and pedestrians alike.

Over the last few years, Pathways for People have worked in a piecemeal fashion pulling together the threads that we would eventually bring forward to the project consultants. We very much appreciate the opportunity to be involved in the process.

In support of the ISMP and AT strategy presented by Gary Houghton, Manager of Engineering, Frank Woodcock of Pathways for People made a deputation highlighting the value of the Active Transportation component.

Some of the main themes addressed in Frank’s presentation included:

Community access and connectivity

  • Safe access for cyclists and motorists in and out of town
  • Sidewalks in neighbourhoods and school communities

Safety for ALL Road Users

  • Cyclists [recreation, migrant workers, commuters] – Supported by our selection of paved secondary roads
  • Motorists – Paved shoulders maintain road edge integrity and provide more room for safely passing – consistent with the 1-m passing legislation enacted September 2015

Local Economy and Tourism Benefits

  • An established cycling network can be promoted as a tourism product
  • Potential to brand Norfolk County as a cycling destination

Frank’s deputation can be viewed at:

The complete Integrated Sustainable Master Plan can be viewed at

Submitted by: Dave Cameron

Waterford Heritage Trail 

As you know Waterford Heritage Trail is part of the Trans Canada Trail and joins trails to and from Port Dover, Delhi and Brantford. We are a linear hard packed gravel trail suitable for walking, running and biking. We are a paved trail within Waterford open to strollers, inline skaters and those using standard mobility devices. But we want more. We want a single-track fitness trail that has a 20-km loop potential. Currently we have a 2-km loop in mind within sight of the Black Bridge.

We contacted local members of the Turkey Point Mountain Bike Club for help in locating a mountain bike trail but we do not have the elevation to entice riders. They suggested a fitness trail which is a single-track trail for hikers, cross country runners and cyclocross bikers.

The piece of land we are considering is within Norfolk County Property. This property is littered with garbage, has been ripped up by ATVs and is open to abuse. We are offering to clear the litter, limit access to a single track and have an ongoing presence on the property. This arrangement would be beneficial to both parties.

We have had amicable talks with County Staff and will soon move our discussion to management level. If all goes well we could be addressing Norfolk County Council in the Spring. 

If you are interested in helping please contact us at [email protected] because we have a job for you. 

Submitted by Frank Woodcock

Accessibility information on rail trails

With funds available through the Corporate Support Services – Accessibility Budget, Community Services has developed a new series of signs for the rail trails in Norfolk County. The purpose of the signs is to provide persons with disabilities with enough information about the trail [e.g. surface, gate openings, ramps, and slopes] so they can make informed decisions as to whether they can use the trail safely. Providing this kind of information meets the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act [AODA] legislation and its Regulations. These signs will be installed in 2017.

Fat Tire Bike Riding comes to Turkey Point

There was a time when mountain bike enthusiasts finished riding and put away their bikes for the season around Halloween. The only way to get some exercise in the saddle was putting one’s bike on a trainer and spin for the winter. Not anymore; enter the latest invention: the fat tire bike. 

A fat tire bike (or fat bike) is an off-road bicycle with oversized tires, typically 3 to 5 inches on large rims, designed for low  pressure to allow riding on soft unstable terrain, such as snow, sand, bogs and mud. The frames are built sturdier with wide forks and stays to accommodate the wide rims required to fit these tires. The wider tires are inflated to low pressures of 8-10 psi for a smooth ride over rough obstacles. The bikes work best on a compacted snow track and tires can be steel studded to improve traction on icy conditions.

TPMBC member Kevin Saunders has created a trail groomer that lays down a perfect 2 foot wide track for winter riding. The groomer may also be modified to create classic x- country ski trails. The club hopes to dedicate 12- 15 kms of our trail system specifically for fat tire riding and keep them groomed for winter riding. Many riders who now ride a fat tire bike proclaim earnestly that, ‘they are a terrific ride and great fun!’

The Fat Turkey Marathon

TPMBC hosted its first race ever held on the Turkey Point Mountain Bike Club trails on Saturday December 17th, 2016.The event was Race 1 in the 45NRTH Ontario Fat Bike Series p/b Cycle Solutions and their first race ever held “down south” on Lake Erie. 96 riders from across Ontario came, raced and braved the snowy conditions. The Long Course was a 1 lap ‘Marathon’ format race of 36kms and the Short Course featured a 1 lap ‘Half-Marathon’ format race of 16kms.

The race started and finished at the Burning Kiln Winery  and race promoter Dan Marshall  commented that the venue ‘provided the most picturesque setting we have ever raced in.’ While Dan ran a smooth organized event, TPMBC volunteers worked hard at grooming the trails, registering participants and playing host to our guest racers. Chilli and hot chocolate was served to riders at the finish line. A special thank you goes out from TPMBC to Karen Mathews and staff at BKW for helping making the race a memorable event!

Race Notes:

  1. TPMBC rider Jennifer Bennett finished second in the Women’s half marathon with a time of 34:39. Good going Jen!
  2. Former local rider Jarrod Forrest came in second overall, and won the men’s 20 to 34 division with a time of 1:36:22 over the 36 km course. The Calabogie, Ontario rider learned to mountain bike in Turkey Point as a youngster.
  3. More women entered this race than had registered for the entire 6 race series last year. Evolution Mountain Bike Camps and Coaching’s Paul Meiklejohn quipped. ‘This just shows the popularity of not only fat biking, but women getting involved in the sport of mountain biking. I have seen this trend first hand with my Elevation clinics.’

Submitted by: Rob Luke

Lynn Valley Trail – History Discovered on the Lynn Valley Trail

For the better part of my life, I’ve spent my free-time treasure hunting and throughout my youth, the trail was my hunting ground! This past summer Jonah and Isaac were doing the same and while island hopping in the Lynn around the Rotary Bridge a discovery was made. Amazingly in the thick clayish mud, the two brothers pulled out a tin resembling a small cash box. When they got it home the box revealed yet another. After clearing the second box of mud and loosening the rusted front, it was open to even more mud – this time filled with coins (my only discoveries were an abundance of spikes and a big rusty typewriter!).

The boys’ mother knew I collected “things” and came over to my grandparents to relay the message of a mysterious box of coins found down the trail. This treasure turned out to be a remarkable collection of Simcoe’s social history and a very neat connection to one of the most famous Lake Erie shipwrecks of the 20th Century. The brothers came up with some theories as to how and when this box of coins ended up in the Lynn. “It was a robbery – the cops were onto them – it was thrown from the train”.  Among a dozen or so American pennies and Canadian large pennies dating from the 1890s, was a grouping of Merchant Tokens from various stores in town.

These rare tokens were used between the 1890 to 1910 period and acted somewhat like the merchants’ own currency. The best comparison today would be Canadian Tire money. The tokens typically were made in $1, 50c, 25c, 5c and 1c denominations and stamped with the store name on the “heads” side. Virtually every town in the province had at least one store using the token system. Today the majority of these tokens are the only things that have survived from the establishment or an entire village – the ghost town of King Lake in Houghton Township for instance. Their value can be rather surprising with examples selling between $20 and $200 each! Some of the tokens found by the brothers were from Richard Edmonds (b.1864) dry goods store. Mr. Edmonds was also Norfolk’s chief liquor inspector thus the tie to the famous shipwreck – The City of Dresden.

The Trail… home to all kinds of treasure – picturesque tree lined streams, beautiful flora and fauna, all those creatures and a box of history!

Submitted by James C.