EC Challenge Loop – A Longer Day in the Life

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In the spring of 2020, this 100 mile mixed surface loop in Essex County was put together as a local challenge. The “E” in EC Way is for Enjoyable and the “C” is for Comfortable. Some people ride it in a few hours, while other people ride it over the length of a summer’s day. And others yet divide it into shorter segments and complete it over a weekend or several days. A revised version of the route that is suitable for road bikes was also developedThe original route is posted at and the pavement-only version is posted under Paved Routes  on this site (note: the pavement-only version does include some busier roads that some riders may not necessarily find as “E” and “C” as the original route).

Here’s another rider’s account of a day on the original EC Way loop.

Gorgeous spring days are made for riding bikes. A pre-dawn start to the day added to the excitement of undertaking this loop with my fatbike. 3.8″ wide tires are a LOT of rubber to push for 100 miles, so I thought I should get an early start. The weather forecast was as close to perfect as I could hope (moderate temperatures and winds). I packed some wraps and some sweet and savory treats for my fuel for most of the day.

Heading out in a counter-clockwise direction, I rolled along the paved multi-use path between Kingsville and Leamington in the early morning peace. A few early bird runners and dog walkers shared the path with me. The Andrew Murray O’Neil Woods, near the south end of the Leamington-Comber rail trail, is such a delightful wooded oasis to ride through, and a great place to take a snack break.

As I rode north, I met a few local riders headed south, embarking on their own riding adventures. Everyone agreed it was a wonderful day to be on bikes.

I expected this to be a slow ride due to the nature of the bike (more accurately, due to the width of the tires), so I brought more food than usual with me. But a stop at the Comber Variety store for a chocolate milk couldn’t be missed. Another snack break along the calm waters of Lake St Clair at the end of Rourke Line set me up for the next leg into the more urban areas of the route. Tri-bikes, hybrid bikes, kids on bikes…it seemed like everyone was out riding along the bike lanes on Old Tecumseh Road. In Walkerville, a stop at the Taloola Cafe for a sandwich, a drink and dessert (not necessarily consumed in that sequence) was in order. I took my lunch down to the Detroit River and stretched out to enjoy the spring sunshine.

I took advantage of the facilities in Malden Park to refill my water bottles, after enjoying the view from the top of Mt Malden. From the Herb Grey multi-use path, I ducked into the Spring Garden woods for a short change of scenery. No deer greeted me this time (at least not that I could see).

The south wind became apparent as I rolled onto the Greenway at the Rotary Centennial Hub. Now I wished I had tri-bars on my bike!

Since I hadn’t stopped for ice cream at Stop 26 in Tecumseh, I was long overdue for an ice cream break at Danielle’s in Harrow. A simple soft serve for the win. At Colchester, I was glad to see an acquaintance out working on their yard, as it gave me a chance stop and chat…..and to rest my backside. I didn’t stop at any of the wineries along County Road 50, fearing that if I stopped now, I might not get rolling again.

I was day dreaming about what type of pizza to order from one of the local pizza places in town as I finally made it back to Kingsville. That was the furthest I had ever ridden my fat bike in a day, as my legs and backside would remind me for the next 24 hours. But it was a wonderful day on a bike. Great weather, a wonderful route, and such a joy to see so many other people out enjoying riding bikes on a spring day.

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