Wednesday, May 27, 2009

London, Ontario: A river runs through it

My butt is sore, but the rest of me is happy! I’ve just spent two sunny days astride a Raleigh Tomahawk mountain bike, pedaling the paths that line the Thames River in London, Ontario. Two branches of the river flow from the east, right into the heart of the city, where they join and then continue westward as one. The riverside paths follow a cornucopia of parks, playgrounds and nature, and it quickly became clear why London is called the Forest City. As I discovered, the Thames-side trails are as good as any inner-city bike paths in North America, and a great way to explore London.

My friend Marty Rice and I started in the west end at Story Book Gardens and Springbank Park. We dodged around mothers pushing baby carriages and geese shepherding little fuzzy goslings across the path. We stopped for gelatos at the recently renovated Wonderland Gardens, where Glen Miller and Guy Lombardo once played on sultry summer evenings. A plaque marked the site of one of Canada’s greatest maritime disasters, the sinking of a pleasure boat with the loss of 182 lives. The paths also offer views of the city’s underbelly: we looked into back yards, passed old pumping plants and at the Labatt’s brewery the smell of hops hung in the air. We hopped off the bikes to wander through the gardens of Eldon House (London's oldest residence), to stroll about the elegant grey limestone buildings of the University of Western Ontario and to savour a hot dog at Grandpa’s Chip Wagon. With the sun sinking low and our legs pleasantly weary, we gingerly dismounted and headed for a pub.

-If you Go
-Bike rentals: Herms Sport Exchange:
-London information and bike maps:
-Accommodation: Residence Inn, Marriott:, or University of Western residences (May to August):

No comments:

Post a Comment