Heritage Ride (65km)
Experience Level: Moderate but experienced.
Route Surface: Gravel roads, dirt and limestone trails, with some paved segments. Gravel, cyclocross, hybrid or mountain bike recommended.
Route Length: 65km
Roll out of Tillsonburg with an easy 10 km warm-up on a forested rail trail, then weave your way on gravel and paved roads with a moderate, gradual climb up to Norwich before rolling downhill for a final return that cruises for 14 km on the Trans-Canada Trail.
The trails guarantee that almost one-third of this ride will be car-free. Gravel roads will see almost no vehicles. Aviation buffs will want to veer a little west on Airport Road to Tilllsonburg Airport – for a peek at vintage Harvard warplanes and a snack at the Skyway Café. Both sections of Maple Dell Road offer light rolling gravel. Mid-ride, you’ll want to stop in at Norwich Deli & Bakery for a variety of Dutch sweets, or hit Ritchie’s for your choice of 30 flavours of ice cream.
Shortly after the 45-km mark, prepare to pull over to the right for a stop at the historic African Methodist Episcopal Cemetery just north of Otterville. Restored in 2007, this is the final resting place for 140 Black pioneers, a number of whom fled slavery via the Underground Railroad. Weaving through Otterville itself, take time to admire the Mill Pond before riding the Trans-Canada Trail back to Tillsonburg. After the ride, consider cooling off at Lake Lisgar Waterpark.
While Oxford’s drivers are some of the most courteous in the province, take special care when riding on Norwich Road and other paved roads. Slow down for passing traffic and agricultural vehicles. Be aware that gravel roadways are maintained at various times throughout the year, and while generally in good condition, may be in varied states of repair which can include fresh grading. As on all cycling routes, exercise caution at all times.
Start/Finish Point: Tillsonburg Community Centre, 45 Hardy Ave, Tillsonburg (View Map)
Stops Enroute (Seasonal hours, check website before visiting):
- Tillsonburg Airport / Skyway Café / Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association - 244411 Airport Rd, Tillsonburg (View Map) - www.tillsonburg.ca/business-and-development/airport/
- Norwich Deli & Bakery - 27 Main St W, Norwich (View Map)
- Ritchie’s Ice Cream & BBQ - 773121 Stover St S (Highway 59), Norwich (View Map)
- African Methodist Episcopal Cemetery – Church Street 1 km north of Otterville (View Map)
- Market by The Falls - 202 Main St W, Otterville (View Map)
- Lake Lisgar Waterpark – 16 Ross St, Tillsonburg (View Map)
Are there washrooms I can use along my ride?
Where can I fill up my water bottle along my ride?
What restaurants can I go to for a bite to eat along my ride?
Additional Information and Resources:
- Tourism Oxford – www.tourismoxford.ca
- Ontario By Bike - www.ontariobybike.ca/southwestontario (Find locations of certified bicycle-friendly businesses in Oxford County).
Cyclists are encouraged to evaluate the route based on level of experience and comfort level on cycling on gravel, and be prepared that dust and gravel may become airborne at all times. By using this route map, cyclists demonstrate they have read and understood the safety rules and disclaimer and agree to be bound by it. It is a suggested route only. The suggested route does not have formal bike lanes and all cyclists ride at their own risk. Road conditions and traffic levels may vary from time of map printing or posting. Caution and common sense must be used when sharing the road with motor vehicles. Cyclists must comply with the Ontario Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990, C.H-8 as amended. Oxford County does not assume any liability whatsoever for cyclists travelling upon a suggested route. Oxford County is not responsible for any loss, costs or expenses incurred by cyclists while travelling upon suggested routes.