Written by: Tara McAndrew
The Global Race to Zero
Guelph is making its mark as a sustainable travel destination as a member of the United Nation’s global Race to Zero challenge. It is 1 of 28 Canadian cities that have committed to using 100% renewable energy by 2050 in an effort to reverse the climate crisis. What does that mean for visitors like you? The next time you’re planning to travel to the Royal City, make sure to explore Guelph by bike.
The city has been improving and adding to the cycling infrastructure with bike signals, multi-use paths, trails, on-street bike lanes, and more to make your trip safe and enjoyable. By taking advantage of over 60 kilometres of all-purpose trails, as well as dedicated bike lanes on city roads, you’ll have the opportunity to see Guelph from a new perspective while improving your mental and physical health!
Breakfast at the Bakery and Winding River Trails
I recently made the trip to Guelph to explore by bike and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get around on 2 wheels. Starting in downtown, I followed Visit Guelph’s sample cycling itinerary. I began my day at Eric the Baker, a cash-only bakery that is guaranteed to lure you through its doors with the most delightful aromas wafting down the street. From there, I hopped onto the Downtown Trail that hugs the winding Speed River. Even with the cloudy skies overhead, it was impossible to erase the smile from my face. The buds on the trees were opening, the spring rush of the river propelled me forward, and the chirping birds offered the perfect soundtrack to my ride.
A Historic Stop at the Goldie Mill Ruins and Riverside Park
Guelph is a delicious place to adventure, with local neighbourhood spots like Park Eatery and Royal City Brewing Company to satisfy your hunger. There’s also plenty of history to discover when biking through the city. I popped over to the iconic Goldie Mill Ruins and learned about its integral part in Guelph’s history as an economic hub from the mid-1860s to the early 1900s. Today it provides a beautiful backdrop in stunning wedding photos and a popular walking and cycling route for the diverse residents of the city. From there, it was onwards to Riverside Park to find the many unique features that inspire people to enjoy the outdoors. While the vintage carousel and mini train were not yet open for the season, I stopped by the windmill donated by Guelph’s Dutch community to commemorate the city’s 150th anniversary in 1977. There’s also a disc golf course, playground, floral clock and gardens, baseball diamonds, picnic areas, a leash-free dog zone, and even a sandy beach area in the park!
Cheers to Local Adventures
Though I’m not a beer drinker, I was curious and excited to visit 2 local brewers, Fixed Gear Brewing and Royal City Brewing Company. At Fixed Gear Brewing they live and breathe cycling culture. They have 3 locations spread around the city, with the Alma Street brewery located at the back end of the same lot as the canteen. You’re going to need to fuel up on your bike ride, so check out the canteen. They have you covered with their famous wood-fired pizzas, named things like Backpeddling and Off the Chain. For the non-beer drinkers, there are non-alcoholic options at both breweries, as well as refreshing ciders and seltzers.
A Successful Day Exploring Guelph by Bike
Each stop on the day’s itinerary was bike-friendly, with racks to park my wheels. The map provided on Visit Guelph’s website was easily uploaded to my phone and a great reference for navigating bike paths and city streets. All in all, it was a fantastic day exploring the Royal City. I will definitely be back soon to enjoy Guelph by bike and to check out the many more sites and food spots the city has to offer.