In 2020 Cycle Canada created a series of shorter three day trips to offer quick get-aways to cyclists who have been cooped up due to COVID-19. One of those new mini-tours is Simcoe Villages. A tour which travels backroads to villages in Simcoe County, where Cycle Canada’s head office is located. Simcoe County is a largely rural area made up of swaths of quality farmland. The region includes the Ontario communities of Alliston, Barrie, Beeton, Bradford, Collingwood and Tottenham. These towns and villages are surrounded by quiet roads and lovely green landscapes that make for enjoyable cycling.
Cycling Rural Ontario
For the second day of this tour there is an extended option that travels from Alliston to Orangeville (in neighbouring Dufferin County) and back. This is an account of that day.
There is some climbing on the ride to Orangeville. Returning to Alliston you will reap the rewards of that hard work.
The tour for day two of Simcoe Villages is 96 km (60 mi) to 105 km (65 mi) depending on where you stay. In Alliston there are a number of very attractive accommodation options, but the main location for our tour is an historic farm inn and spa located on the outskirts of Alliston. The route to Orangeville involves some climbing. Cyclists share the road with motor vehicles and this tour is for experienced cyclists.
(click on photos to enlarge)
Ride Statistics Alliston to OrangevilleNote that return route is different
|Distance (One Way)||39.6 km||24.6 miles|
|Elevation Gain/Loss||511 m / -303 m||1676 ft. – 994 ft.|
|Maximum Slope||11.1% / -8.6%|
Click on image to enlarge
The Hockley Valley Road is well known amongst cyclists and motor cyclists. It’s a gentle climb and a winding scenic road beside the Nottawasaga River and Ontario provincial parkland. The road is 14 km (8.6 mi) long and there is a wide shoulder on much though not all of the road.
Flowers, Bees and Butterflies
As you approach Orangeville on the Hockley Road you will find the Mono Pollinator Garden. Park your bike and take a walk around this interesting and beautiful garden. The design, construction and maintenance of this garden is due to the hard work and devotion of local community volunteers. You can learn more about it here: Pollinator Garden
Island Lake Conservation Area Trails
Located on the northeast corner of Orangeville, Island Lake Conservation Area features a 182 hectare reservoir surrounded by wetland, forest and meadow. The area is named Island not for the islands in the area but for the family name of early European settlers who farmed the land. You will find a well-maintained system of trails over boardwalks and through tree-lined paths. Loop distances from 8-10km.
Duck Synchronized Swimming
Island Lake abounds with wildlife. Taking a break on the boardwalk you will see a variety of bird species, turtles and frogs.
Halfway in Orangeville
Orangeville has recently permitted restaurants to increase their service to outdoor patios. A great use of space and very welcoming place for cyclists.
Orangeville has 54 Tree Sculptures around town. The Sculpture in the photo on the right is “The Musicians” and is located at 11 Second Street, in Alexandra Park, adjacent to the Orangeville Opera House. The Artist is Jim Menken. The sculpture was created for the 10th anniversary of the Blues & Jazz Festival. It depicts two musicians, playing harmonica (Blues) & saxophone (Jazz). You can find a map locating all 54 sculptures here: Tree Sculpture Tour
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