My younger son had a hockey game in Perth yesterday so I naturally decided to explore some bike routes home while my wife drove back. I originally had a route plotted through GPSies but on the drive down I noticed the final bit of Hwy 10 from Franktown to Perth had a nice shoulder. So I called an audible and modified my plan to start with this quicker leg instead of a more southerly pre-planned route. My son’s game didn’t end until 3:30PM and sunset comes quickly in October so I didn’t have much time for lengthy/slower routes.
After about 20km I pulled off of Hwy 10 and picked up some local country roads & gravel. The plan was to take Pinery Road for the majority of the distance between Hwy 15 and Dwyer Hill Rd.
Eventually I made it onto Pinery Road which started with nice hardwood and slowly changed to more spare terrain that is common around Marlborough Forest.
Just past the 1/2 way mark I was on Dwyer Hill Rd and took it south for a couple of km to jump into Marlborough Forest. Unfortunately there’s no shoulder here so traffic can come buzzin’ by pretty quickly…
Marlbrough Forest is an interesting region with lots of history of Irish settlement in the early 1800s. Interestingly and unbeknownst to me at the time, this picture was taken a short distance from an old pioneer cemetery used from ~1820s up to 1860s. Supposedly this region is haunted.
This is my second outing into Marlborough in the last month, after 10+ years of ignoring it. I’ve revisited the area trying to find a rideable East-West route that’s further north of Paden Road. The next feasible northern option (read: quiet gravel/paved road or paved shoulder) is Copeland Road just north of Hwy 10/Franktown Road but it doesn’t go as far East as Richmond.
Unfortunately, I was quickly reminded why I dropped it from consideration years ago. Much of it is too rocky/muddy for high speed travel on a 35c gravel tire (down to 6kph in areas). The region also tends to be quite seasonal with insane bugs in the spring/summer due to the plentiful wetlands, and in the fall there’s lots of ‘relaxed’ hunting.
The final nail in the coffin was when I realized that a middle ~1km section of Klondike Road within the Forest is still too rough & wet for reliable biking, or even dry hike-a-bike for that matter.
The left picture shows the western portion of Klondike Road within the Forest that is passable. The right picture is 2-3 km further east on Klondike. Note that this it the best it gets, in the spring the water is 1-2 feet higher.
After ~2:40 ride time and 70.5km later I made it home – just before dark.