The EC Way Challenge Loop – A 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 developed. The original route is posted at https://www.facebook.com/ShareTheRoadEssexCounty and the 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 is one rider’s account of their ride.

Written by Charles

The alarm rings, it’s 4:00am on a Wednesday in July. Forecast for today is sunny, 34C, winds 25km/hr out of the west. Breakfast prepped and kit laid out last night. Water bottles frozen in the freezer, bike lights and Hammerhead charged and mounted, bike checked, tires inflated, banana and cash in back pocket.
Out the door and in the saddle at 4:30am (good choice to avoid most of the heat of the day). Direction chosen, today will be counterclockwise.
Ride south to Lakeside Park Kingsville and head east on Park St., meander through subdivisions to Pelee Island Winery and right on the Cty Rd 20 bike lane. From this point the only light is from the bike light, the moon and maybe one passing vehicle, oh and the famous Pigeon Bay Borealis!

At around kilometre 30 the sun is just rising, and soon I won’t be dependent on my headlight to navigate.

And at kilometre 37 on the turn at Settler Side Rd in Comber, the sun is up in earnest and if you’re lucky like I was this day, there is a lunar eclipse! (another bonus for not wasting the day sleeping in!!)…. we are now 1/4 of the way around the ECWay.

Rochester Townline, Trepanier Rd, the scenic Ruscom River Rd , Rochester Place to the first pit stop in Belle River at about kilometre 60, to refill a water bottle, potty break, then back on the road!
Russell Woods, Beach Grove, Tecumseh, the 82km halfway point at Lauzon & Little River Rd, the winding Ganatchio Trail, the National Cut to the Detroit River.

From the river’s edge to historic Old Sandwich, I survive without a blowout or bent rim and on to Malden Park. Final pit stop to refill bottles, break out the banana and decide whether or not to climb massive Mount Landfill, this morning it’s a yes!

Now we head south and the wind is picking up for the 6 ‘bumps’ of the 8km Herbie G (multiuse path along the Herb Grey Parkway) but it is a cross wind, so quite manageable. The last 60 km is ahead, we turn left on South Talbot for a brief tailwind, must decide to either turn right on Holden and take the paved way home or proceed to the Chrysler Greenway. The wind is continuing to strengthen and I decide to take the gravel Greenway to find some wind block, riding through McGregor, past Wildwood GC to Harrow and exiting the trail. Down Erie St to the Dunn Rd with its smooth surface bike lane, fighting the crosswind to keep the bike in a straight line.
And finally Colchester! Turning left now with a strengthening tailwind( the reason I decided on a counterclockwise route), should I stop at the convenience store? No, I got this!…sailing by 4 wineries and orchards for the last 20km, telling myself, “finish like you started!, what do you have left in the tank?”….and there it is, Lakeside Park, 6 hours, 165km later.

And it is only 10:30am! Roll home, wipe down the bike, shower and take on the rest of the day…this ECWay loop #32 is complete, another one tomorrow?…probably.
If you haven’t ridden the entire complete EC Way, then challenge yourself…if you have, then ride it again and again and again!

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