Hills of Hockley 200km Brevet — Ride Report

Up we go!!!

Ride report by Marty Cooper, Photos by Marty Cooper and Tiago Varella-Cid

Eleven riders, Eric, Erin, Jocelyn, Ken, Marco, Paul, Regis, Simon, Tiago, Uli and myself braved cool, single digit temperatures and incessant rain for Toronto Chapter’s first brevet of the season, the Hills of Hockley 200km. Ken, Paul and Uli were riding their first brevet.  Unfortunately, Simon dropped out early in the ride with a broken spoke.

The perennial first brevet of the season, Gentle Start 200 was cancelled the previous week due to freezing rain.  While the Gentle Start is far from gentle, the Hills of Hockley is true to its name and features the most climbing of any Toronto Chapter 200k.  

The ride began in Vaughan and headed in a northwesterly direction towards the Forks of the Credit and the first control at 85km in Belfountain. We rode north into a 20k/hr NE headwind that stayed pretty constant through out the day, at times becoming a tailwind.  

April adventure.

The rain too was constant, starting out as drizzle and building to rain and then driving rain. Like the Inuit who have multiple names for snow, I spent the day creating my own rain vocabulary, the names of which were preceded by various unprintable expletives.  Despite all the protection offered by the best quality rainwear (Showers Pass and Gore) and full fenders, within a couple of hours I was completely soaked. Fortunately the combination of sustained effort, i.e. climbing and a heavy wool jersey and baselayer kept me reasonably warm.   

On Forks of the Credit Road approaching Belfountain we passed under the tramway that once ferried pink and purple sandstone from the quarry to the railhead, where in the late 19thCentury they were transported to Toronto to be used in the construction of Old City Hall and the Ontario Legislature building at Queen’s Park. Just pass this location we experienced steep but short stretches of climbing (approx. 12%).  This area is among the most scenic in Ontario. The only advantage the rain and the early season brought was little vehicular traffic.  The Credit River and its small tributaries were gorged with rainwater and many were overflowing their banks. There were also large amounts of water pooling on the road.  

Credit River

The first control was Higher Ground Coffee Company and it did not disappoint. Tiago and Jocelyn had arrived in advance and reserved a very nice seating area with a couch that no one dared sit on for fear of not being able to get up. I left the control with Marco in a driving rain as we pushed on towards the next control at Hockley Valley some 40km distance.  Ironically, cold drenching rain with wind forced us to increase the pace in order to generate heat.  Despite the ordeal, I enjoyed pedaling past the colorful, eroding red and yellow Queenston shales of the Cheltenham Badlands that my mother-in-law used to call kishkas, which is Yiddish for intestines. 

Jocelyn looking very dapper in the new RO jersey!

The second control was the Hockley General store and when we arrived a fire was blazing in their wood-burning stove.  Soon it was covered in and surrounded by wet and steaming cycling clothing and soggy cyclists.  Hot, hearty food was available to help to restore the spirit.  Reluctantly we donned our wet but warm clothing and headed out on the last leg of the journey. Eventually tailwinds and a partial leveling of the terrain brought us through Bradford into the Holland Marsh, where the rain finally subsided and towards the south a thin blue line of sky was opening. The end was near and the memories of the day were already being seen through rose-colored Oakleys.  

To borrow from Arthur Reinstein’s paraphrasing of Shakespeare’s Henry V:

“And randonneurs in Ontario now a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That rode with us upon the Hills of Hockley.”

Chapeau to all for persevering a challenging and rewarding randonee. Special thanks to Erin for doing a great job organizing this truly epic event.

Erie Oh! 300k Brevet — The Huron Chapter’s 2019 Entertainment Series Begins!

Huron Chapter’s Entertainment Series officially started this past week-end with the Mini-Putt Competition happening at Colasnati’s Control 76km into the Erie Oh! 300km Brevet. 

John Cumming was close … right to the end … but missing the fairway on the ninth hole … cost him! 
A Double Bogey!

 One of the Gold Fish had Chappy’s Ball for Lunch … Ending his Round!
Charles Horslin found out that it was not the MOST Putts that WON but the LEAST!

Tim O’Callahan was able to get his second Birdy and TIE for the Lead!

Congrats to Tim O’Callahan and Brenda Wiechers-Maxwell for finishing FIRST! Yes they TIED! Brenda had taken the lead with Birdies on the 4th and 6th holes but Tim simply stayed focussed completing two birdies in his last two holes for the tie! They both will be aggressive in the Creemore Classic Bowling Championship and the Go-Cart Championship to set themselves up for 2019’s Entertainment Series Title!

Congrats to Tim O’Callahan and Brenda Wiechers-Maxwell for finishing FIRST! Yes they TIED! Brenda had taken the lead with Birdies on the 4th and 6th holes but Tim simply stayed focussed completing two birdies in his last two holes for the tie! They both will be aggressive in the Creemore Classic Bowling Championship and the Go-Cart Championship to set themselves up for 2019’s Entertainment Series Title!

Tim O’Callahan, Brenda Wiechers, Charles Horslin, Chappy and John Cumming

15 Randonneurs showed up for 2019’s Erie Oh! 300km Brevet. Congrats to Carey Chappelle, John Cumming, Jerzy Dziadon, Dick Felton, Chris Greig, Charles Horslin, Bill Lattuca, Gordon Ley, Tim O’Callahan, Tiago Varella-Cid and Brenda Wiechers-Maxwell  for successfully completing this 300! 

The ride started at 7am Saturday, Weather Forecast … second to none! 15’C and SUNSHINE for 12hrs! To top that off, a strong tailwind existed from the start for approximately 190km! At one point Chappy pedalled by Charles Horslin at 42km/hr with no hands on his bike! 
Tim and Brenda played the Team Leaders for this group. We had six Randonneurs who stayed together from beginning to end. SECOND TO NONE! Tim would drop from front to back to encourage our team mates and Brenda would set our pace based on what it would take to keep us together! In tail winds Tim had us pacing at 47km / hr! Head winds were where we appreciated having a Team … averaging 22km / hr!
Arriving at the Erieau Brew Pub Control, everyone enjoyed lunch and had a good laugh after Charles scratched his ear and found the misplaced Mini-Putt Golf Pencil!

Chappy wasn’t successful convincing Charles to get on his bike and return the pencil to the Colasnati’s Mini-Putt Golf Course. Everyone else suggested Charles simply return it next year, finish lunch and continue on rather then DNF’ing!

The initial portion of the route was off road, but gorgeous towards Chatham! Eventually the tail wind turned into a head wind and pedalling together was an enormous benefit!

Arriving in Chatham at the Tim Horton’s Control, Dr. O’Callahan suggested Brenda SNORT ALEVE to reduce the pain she was feeling …

The group of six arrived at the Lighthouse Cove Control noticing how the wind was dropping steadily. Scenery along Lake St.Clair BREATHTAKING to say the least! Sun was going down, still Warm and Very little Traffic!

I get goosebumps writing this story,  FRIENDSHIPS,  RANDONNEURING, SCENERY … SECOND TO NONE! ! On Sunday, those Randonneurs who stayed the night, met at The Twisted Apron, Little Italy in Windsor for breakfast. Fantastic meal AND Even Better … Dick Felton’s Daughter – Christine and Grandaughter – Lauren joined us!

Now, after waking up this morning … thought I would take a look out the window and see what the weather looks like here …


Huron Chapter V.P.,Chappy

Imperial Rouge — a New 161km populaire in the Toronto Chapter

Still a little snow as you head out of Toronto (just south of Taunton/Steeles Ave)

Imperial Rouge is a new populaire route for the Toronto Chapter. It is Imperial because it is 100 miles (an imperial century) and it is Rouge because it starts at Rouge Hill GO Station. I created this route with the collaboration of Stephen Jones, Erin Marchak, Bob McLeod, Peter Leiss, and Dave Thompson. Erin can take credit for the great name. A big thanks to them for their input, knowhow, and help.

My purpose in designing this route was to offer a shorter non-brevet route to RO newcomers so that they can build up to the 200km distance by testing their abilities on a 100 mile or 161km ride. Who knows? Maybe it can serve as a conduit for attracting new people: 100 miles is a major goal for a lot of cyclists. And since it is a populaire, there is no time limit and there are no controls. You can go as fast as you are able or as slow as you want. The ride start is located in Toronto’s east end and is easily accessible by car and by public transit. 

Here is the link to the route on RWGPS.

I wanted to make sure I put together a good route before unveiling it to the club, so on 6 April 2019 I did the Imperial Rouge as a permanent. Below follows my ride report. Hopefully it will inspire more people to ride it this season. I’d like to ride it again. Maybe we can ride it together.


Imperial Rouge heads north over the Oak Ridges Moraine and then dips into the marshes just to the south of Lake Simcoe. It then makes its way back over the Moraine via Uxbridge and then descends to the shore of Lake Ontario.

The route finds a safe way to cross the 401. The trade-off is some confusing cues on RWGPS when you cross the Rouge River, so study the map at the beginning and ending of the route. To me, it seems worth a little confusion if that means crossing the 401 without worrying about traffic, especially at the end of the ride when traffic will be heavier and members will be tired.

Detail of the safe but confusing way across the 401 from Rouge Hill GO

The route goes north and comes pretty close to Stouffville. You can easily peel off the route and go into town, which is what I did. On 6 April it was chilly. I rode into Red Bulb, a popular destination for cyclists, to warm my hands and toes.

If you don’t want to stop in Stouffville, another great place to stop for a break is in Goodwood at Annina’s Bakeshop. When the weather is nice, Annina’s is ideal because she has rows of picnic tables and lots of racks for hanging bicycles. It is another cyclist friendly stop and can be very busy.

After Goodwood, the route follows quiet back roads all the way up to Zephyr where there are limited supplies. After that, it carries on to Udora, a well-used control location on some of our brevets. There is nothing between Zephyr and Udora in terms of stops for food and water, so plan ahead.

Quiet country roads between Goodwood and Zephyr
Marshy landscapes between Zephyr and Udora.

At the 98km mark, the route dips into Uxbridge. The perfect place to stop for lunch. Lots of options. I had my lunch at Nexus Café on Brock. Handmade gelato… yes, it was good, despite the cold weather.

After Uxbridge, Imperial Rouge just gets more and more fun. It follows the long, gentle descent down the Marsh Hill and Ashburn Roads towards Lake Ontario. On the day I rode, I also happened to have a tail wind. It made for some fast and easy riding.

Unfortunately, this route has one significant hazard. It is a 400m stretch at the 126km mark – it begins at the intersection of Lake Ridge and Columbus Roads. Lake Ridge Road feeds onto the 407 and can be very busy. It also has barely any shoulder. 400m is not very long, but please exercise caution. When designing the route, I found it was difficult to come this way without using Lake Ridge Road. The concessions just don’t line up, running east and west. Many of them are dirt too. Columbus seems to me the best way, but if someone finds something better, by all means, let’s improve this part of the route.

Detail of hazard along Lake Ridge Road

Eventually you will make your way onto Whitevale Road, which is quiet (on weekends) because a part of it is closed to cars for construction. I suspect it is very busy with large construction vehicles on weekdays so Imperial Rouge might not be suitable for a weekday permanent. Also, there is a physical barrier just before entering the village of Whitevale. Cars can’t get past it, but cyclists can walk their bikes around it.

From there the route retraces its steps all the way back to Rouge Hill.

In all, it’s a great route. The roads have one or two bumpy sections, but generally they have a very good surface quality. Other than the 400m stretch on Lake Ridge Road, the roads are fairly quiet.

One of the bumpy road sections as you enter Zephyr

If anyone wants to try this as a permanent and has any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment here or contact me via the RO Facebook group. I will probably do it as a permanent again and I will advertise it when I set a date.

You might make some friends along the way.

Big Bay 200k Brevet

The Huron Chapter Hosted the Big Bay 200 this past Saturday. How was the Turnout for a 200 this time of year? … better than EXPECTED! 13 Randonneurs participated and were successful completing this Brevet. Congrats to Burke Adams, Brian Belanger, Jerzy Dziadon, Dick Felton, Mike Fox, Charles Horslin, Ken Jobba, John Maccio, Matt McFarlane, Cameron Ogilvie, Terry Payne, Sergii Tsymbal and of course myself … Chappy,  for enjoying friendships and this ride!

The Huron Chapter’s badges look very sharp!

We noticed some other friends on route that were as impressed with us as we were with them!

Mutual respect

For many, this was their first time experiencing the Big Bay 200. Sergii let me know after the ride that the Big Bay 200 is now his FAVORITE!

Scenic to Say the Least!

Cameron and Burke skipped lunch at the Casero Kitchen Table in Owen Sound (half way point), found the Control in Sauble Beach closed, so they took a photo, signed their Control Cards and sprinted to the Finish.  For Cameron … this was a PR finishing in 8hrs 30mins! Congrats Cameron!

The ride through Walter’s Falls was, as always, … Drop Dead Gorgeous! Charles shared some photos he took before passing through.

The Mill Above Walter’s Falls.
Walter’s Falls

Reaching Owen Sound, the majority stopped at the Casero Kitchen Table enjoying lunch and a beverage or two!

Leaving Owen Sound, the “climbing” was basically done. Scenery along Georgian Bay and Lake Huron … gorgeous, especially seeing the snow and ice still out on the lake!

Heading from Southampton to Port Elgin, along the shores of Lake Huron, a few of us Randonneurs wished we were doing a 300 … because before we knew it the 200km Brevet was complete, so a few of us headed back to my place for dinner and stories, everyone letting know how much they loved this year’s Big Bay 200!

Special Thanks to Donna (Chappy’s Wife), Erin (Matt’s Wife) and Lori (John’s Wife) for putting together an INCREDIBLE  Dinner! Special Thanks to Charles (yes one of the Randonneurs) for INCREDIBLE Deserts (two pies) he made himself and brought with him to the Brevet!

Huron Chapter V.P.,


Riding Populaires

Since Randonneuring involves extreme long-distances, it’s tempting to ask why the club would bother to schedule the shorter populaires. For example, the Toronto Chapter has a 23km populaire in its route archive, The New Year’s 23. This Sunday, the Toronto Chapter will be holding its Rouge Ramble, a 60km populaire. In a club with members aspiring towards completing rides of 200km and longer, why would anyone do a ride of only 23 or 60 km?

Well, I have some answers. Here are some good reasons for riding populaires.

  1. Building Endurance: It takes time to build up your endurance. Populaires tend to be scheduled at the beginning of the season, precisely in order to help members get conditioned for the longer rides. If you look at the populaires in the Toronto Chapter Schedule, for example, you’ll notice that each ride gets progressively longer. If you complete a series of populaires in March and early April, you will be well-prepared to take on The Gentle Start 200k, happening this year on 14 April.
  2. Testing equipment, nutrition, pacing: There is a lot of trial and error in long-distance sports. Randonneuring is no exception. The more experience you have, the better you will be at ensuring your comfort and enjoyment. For example, discovering you have no idea how to keep your toes warm and dry on a 60km ride is not nearly as horrible as learning that lesson on a 200km ride. Observing your nutrition needs as the distances gradually increase will help you better understand how much food to bring/consume. The list goes on. It’s fair to say that experimenting with equipment, pacing, hydration, and nutrition is an ongoing process for every randonneur. Populaires will enable you to conduct your experiments on shorter rides where errors will be less of a problem.
  3. Team-building: Riding populaires is a perfect way to meet other club members and to identify the ones whose goals and abilities match your own. This is another good reason for holding populaires early in the season. Having found “your people” early in the year can help reduce the chances of riding alone on the longer brevets. You’ll begin rides with your friends and acquaintances, not a group of lycra-clad strangers. And who knows? You might gel so well with people that you can put together a flèche team for May.

That’s all I have for now. Other contributions, suggestions and ideas are most welcome.

RO Awards Dinner — Huron, Simcoe/Muskoka, and Toronto Chapters

The Randonneurs Ontario Awards dinner took place in Toronto on 26 January 2019 at the Hot House Restaurant at Front and Church. It was a well attended event. Many awards were handed out. A good time was had by all. (It was also a great opportunity to see each other without our helmets and sunglasses on).

One of the most memorable parts of the evening was Peter Leiss’s speech about the life of Mike Barry Sr., whom Peter had known since the 1972. Peter shared numerous stories about their rides together, Mike’s famous bike shop Bicycle Specialities and Mariposa Bicycles, and Mike’s contributions to randonneuring over the decades, not least of which were his founding of the Toronto Randonneurs, and, of course, his regular attendance at our Awards Dinners over the years.

Peter finished his memorial speech with an announcement that the Jock Wadley Award for the club’s most outstanding rider would now be renamed the Mike Barry / Jock Wadley Award.

Mike Berry’s son, Michael, shared these words about the award and the choice to add his father’s name to it:

Michael Berry

Jock Wadley was a great friend of my father’s and inspired him in many ways. Jock was not only one of the foremost English-speaking cycling journalists of the 60’s and 70’s, covering all of the top international pro races, but also a keen cyclist who rode many brevets including P-B-P. Like my father, his goal was to share his knowledge of cycling and to encourage people to ride bikes regardless of whether it was a track, road, or touring bike. They both rode everywhere they could whether to work or across the Pyrenees. Both my father and Jock thought cycling should be inclusive and about the shared experience as much as the solo ride. It wasn’t always about finishing as fast as possible but about working together to achieve the best ride possible. They would keep an eye on the neophytes, encouraging them, and teaching them as they rode.  They built clubs, communities and friendships. They encouraged people to discover the world on a bike. 

My father would have been honoured to have his name alongside Jock’s on the trophy as I often heard him say what a thoughtful kind man he thought Jock was. He was a mentor to my father and the inspiration behind the club. My father and Mike Brown named the award after Jock for his qualities as a person. In many ways, my father shared those same qualities. 

Mike Barry’s wife, Claire, and daughter-in-law, Dede, were also in attendance.

Below is a listing of the award nominees and recipients

Beryl Burton Award (for the best female cyclist in the club) —Awarded to a club rider who is outstanding in one year or over several years and has: Shown interest in the club and has provided support and assistance. Helped on rides or helped other riders.

Nominees: Bojana Kolbah, Brenda Weichers-Maxwell, Erin Marchak, Liz Overduin

Recipient: Erin Marchak

Coronation Cup (most improved rider) —Awarded to a club rider who has at least one previous year riding with the Randonneurs Ontario, and has: Shown consistency in appearing and in cycling; Demonstrated improvement either in cumulative mileage ridden from previous season, or in brevet finishing times over the previous season.

Nominees: Alan Ritchie, Brenda Wiechers-Maxwell, Erin Marchak, John Maccio, Toby Whitfield

Recipient: Erin Marchak

Dan Herbert Award — Awarded to a member who has in one or more years: Benefited the club by mentoring one or more members (generally but not necessarily new). Mentoring is to be defined as encouraging, educating and assisting riders to achieve their full potential as bike riders and club members.

Nominees: Charles Horslin, Martin Cooper, Tim O’Callahan

Recipient: Tim O’Callahan

Half Wheel Award — Awarded to a club rider who has consistently forced the pace of the group during brevet rides.

Nominees: Ben Merritt, Brian Brideau, Jerzy Dziadon, Tim O’Callahan, Timothy Ormond

Recipient: Tim O’Callahan

Mike Berry / Jock Wadley Award — Awarded to a club rider who is outstanding in one year or over several years and has: Shown interest in the club and has provided support and assistance Helped on rides or helped other riders.

Nominees: Carey Chappelle, Charles Horslin, Dave Thompson, Erin Marchak, Larry Optis

Recipient: Carey Chappelle

Organizer of the Year

Nominees: Carey Chappelle, Guy Quesnel, Stephen Jones, Vytas Janusauskas / Peter Grant

Recipient: Stephen Jones

Outstanding Performance on a Brevet

Nominees: Annette Patel, Carey Chappelle, David Thompson, Erin Marchak, Loralei Norman, Matt MacFarlane, Simon Langham

Recipient: Annette Patel

Jim Griffin Rookie of the Year —Awarded to a club rider who has: Joined the Randonneurs Ontario in the year of the award or who rode their first brevet in the year of the award;  Shown ability in the year & shown interest in the club and in other club riders.

Nominees: Darcy Haggith, Matt MacFarlane, Sergii Tsymbal, Simon Langham

Recipient: Matt MacFarlane

Special Recognition Award — Awarded to a club rider who has: Completed a cycling event in the year of the award that merits commemoration. Made contributions to the club that merit commemoration.

Nominees: Brenda Wiechers-Maxwell / Liz Overduin, Dave Thompson, Erin Marchak, Ken Jobba

Recipient: Brenda Wiechers-Maxwell / Liz Overduin

Best Fleche Team — Awarded to the members of the fleche team who record the most kilometres on the club’s fleche ride in the year of the award.

Huron Boyz, Carey Chappelle, Chris Cossonnet, and John Cumming

High Mileage Awards

Male High Mileage — ACP Rides             David W Thompson 17,387 k

Male High Mileage — RO Club Rides         Carey Chappelle    3,500 k

Female High Mileage — ACP Rides         Erin Marchak               2,900 k

Female High Mileage — RO Club Rides     Erin Marchak           2,600 k

High Mileage — Permanent Rides Timothy Ormond 1,100 k

Riding 200km brevets

With their plush wheels and endurance frame geometry, bicycles are becoming more comfortable and cyclists are riding farther. These days, it is not uncommon for riders to exceed distances of 100km. And more and more riders are setting their sights on the imperial century (100 miles or 161km).

Can the average cyclist ride farther than 100 miles?

Randonneuring is a branch of cycling that enables you to exceed this distance at a comfortable pace, in the company of like-minded individuals, and along routes that have been ridden by a club for many years. If you are already comfortable riding 120-160 kilometres you might be considering 200 kilometres as your next goal.

Randonneurs Ontario have a wide selection of 200km routes all over southern and central Ontario. With start locations near Ottawa, Barrie, London, Windsor, Port Elgin, Waterloo, and the GTA, chances are you can find a 200km brevet that starts near you.

What is a brevet?
A brevet (Pronounced breh- VAY) is a French word we use to designate an official and scheduled randonneuring event. There are brevets of many distances. Each distance has a pre-determined time limit. Let’s just focus on the 200km distance.

What is the time limit for a 200km brevet?
You must complete a 200km brevet in 13.5 hours or less.

What kind of rider is able to complete a 200km brevet?
To guide you through this question, it might be best to introduce you to some of our members. That way you can see for yourself that there is more than one way to finish a 200km brevet. Whether you want to enjoy every second on the road and use all 13.5 hours, or you want to test your speed and finish as quickly as possible, riding 200km brevets with Randonneurs Ontario is something you can enjoyably do.


Liz Overduin, Huron Chapter
Member since: 2009
Why did you start randonneuring?
My brother told me about the sport of randonneuring. He knew how much I loved cycling and he thought it was the perfect sport for me. When I heard about how they cycle 200 kms in one day… I thought they must all be super fit cyclists, way beyond my level – it scared me. Then I met some of them the following year at the Toronto International Bike show and they were so normal and down to earth… so I decided to try it. I loved it! This was a group of people who were out for an enjoyable day while riding a bike. We chatted while we rode, we stopped for photos, we had an amazing lunch break at a pub, it was great fun! I never felt intimidated at all. By the end of the ride, I was sorry it was over!

Liz Overduin

What do you enjoy most about a 200km brevet?
The 200 km distance is exactly perfect for the combination of having fun and yet feeling a great sense of accomplishment. Unless there are really adverse riding conditions where you might have to find shelter for a while, there is time to enjoy things along the way. We have been known to stop for a bowling match, go kart racing, swimming off the pier at the lake, and even going to a Shakespeare play in Stratford. This is what you can do when you have 13.5 hours to cycle 200 kms. It’s my favourite distance! (But I also say that about the 300 km brevet, which is another story.)

Favourite 200km brevet?
It’s hard to say which is my favourite 200 k brevet because there are so many things that make something a “favourite”. I will never forget my first 200 k brevet which was Kemble Rock 200. Everything about that first-time experience was exciting – the scenery along the lake shores, the hills and valleys, the rivers and small towns along the way, the company and the cafés where we stopped for breaks. Sometimes the most memorable 200 km brevets were the ones that were the most challenging – due to weather, specifically torrential rain and gale-force winds – they were not my favourite at the time but they sure felt like an accomplishment! There is something special about every 200 km brevet I have ever done. I guess my favourite one is the one I haven’t done yet because it will become yet another memorable experience!


Charles Horslin, Toronto Chapter
Member since: 2015
Why did you start randonneuring?
I’d read some blogs about randonneuring and PBP (Paris-Brest-Paris) specifically… I had been putting off trying an official 200K brevet because I didn’t want to drive somewhere to ride my bike. But since the only way to qualify for PBP is by completing brevets it became a “now or never” thing for me. I started doing the clubs shorter rides, called populaires. I learned a lot during the populaires, especially about navigation. I didn’t make it to PBP back in 2015 but I certainly developed a taste for randonneuring.

What do you enjoy most about a 200km brevet?
I love the 200K distance because of its flexibility… in the summer it’s quite possible to stop and sit down for a lunch and still finish in the daylight. There’s almost always time to stop for a photo or an extra coffee. For a challenge it’s a good distance to try and go for personal bests. Doing a 200K is only a day commitment, usually it’s possible to do something the day after riding one. The generous time limit on a 200 is also nice for bringing friends along… I’ve brought a couple of friends on their first 200s and we made sure to spend enough time off the bike to make for a very enjoyable day. Having a lot of events in a big province like Ontario also gives us the opportunity to make any 200 into a nice weekend away, since my partner is into riding 200s now it’s a nice little holiday.

Favourite 200km brevet
My favourite 200 is probably The Big Chute, but I have only ever ridden one 200 in the Ottawa area and I really enjoyed that one too. Hills of Hockley is probably a close second favourite of mine, it’s especially scenic, and challenging too… I’ve done Hills of Hockley more than once. One of my fastest 200s and one of my slowest 200s is on that route! I suppose I will keep riding 200s that I haven’t done yet so I can answer this question better.


Timothy Ormond, Toronto Chapter
Member since 2014
Why did you start randonneuring?
Originally, I wanted to do the Paris-Brest-Paris. It was a very important reason for me to join the club. Then work and family responsibilities kicked in and I realized that I would not be able to do PBP. I still hope to do it one day, but I can wait until my kids are all grown up. In the meantime, I just keep riding in Ontario. I love doing brevets. It’s such an amazing way to see the province. The brevets are definitely the high points of my year.

What do you enjoy most about a 200km brevet?
I like that it is over in one day. Sometimes I can finish quickly enough to be home in time to have supper with the family (but not always…) I also like the possibility of riding at a higher pace on a 200km. With proper training, teamwork, favourable conditions, and a lot of good luck, it is possible to get a 200km done in 8-9 hours.

Favourite 200km brevet?
This is hard to say. Every 200km brevet is an adventure. That said, the 200km route I have done most often is the Scugog Circle. It starts in York Region on roads I have ridden since the 1980s, so that has a certain charm. The ride along River Road on the east coast of Lake Scugog is a really nice stretch. I look forward to riding on it every time I do the Scugog Circle.


Alan Ritchie, Ottawa Chapter
Member since: 2002
Why did you start randonneuring?
I’d been interested in randonneuring since I’d first heard about PBP in the early 1980’s. I can’t remember now if I read about PBP or heard about it from one of the people I worked with at Sunwheel Bicycle Couriers. It sounded like a terrific thing to do but I didn’t think I was fit or fast enough. I may have thought this because the people who hung around Bicyclesport, owned by Mike Barry and Mike Brown, among the founders the Toronto Randonneurs, were notoriously strong riders. It was a mistake. I wasn’t as fit or fast as them but in retrospect I’m sure I could have made it round a 200 within the time limit and then built up from there. After this procrastination took hold and it wasn’t until twenty years later, a fortysomething office worker rather than a twentysomething bike messenger cycling nine or ten hours a day that I actually rode a 200.

What do you enjoy most about a 200km brevet?
In the early part of the season, when, for me at least, fitness is a bit uncertain after the winter and I’m working my way up in distances the 200 is the first real test. After I’ve successfully done a 200 I feel like there’s a natural progression to the longer distances and that as long as I keep riding a reasonable amount I’ll be fine on the longer brevets. (There may be a certain amount of self-delusion at work here but it’s helpful nonetheless.) In the later part of the season, after a 300, 400 and 600, and perhaps longer, the 200 feels like a manageable distance, not requiring much preparation or worry. It’s just a nice day out on the bike.

Favourite 200km brevet
I’m not sure I have a single favourite route. I’m very fond of the Chenaux 200. The ride along the Ottawa River and crossing across the dam at Portage-du-Fort are highlights of the route. It also includes a ferry ride. The South Lavant 200 and new, excitingly gravely, Deliverance 200 are also favourites.


Larry Optis, Toronto Chapter
Member since: 2018
Why did you start randonneuring?
I joined the RO earlier this year in order to familiarize myself with randonneuring and the structure of brevet events to better prepare for PBP 2019. Brevets are a great way of exploring new and challenging routes in and around popular cycling destinations. Personally I love looking forward to a new adventure every weekend. It’s a great way of staying focused in the early part of the season while building a solid base.

Why do you enjoy most about a 200km brevet?
The 200k distance is particularity challenging as it requires some prior long-distance experience. Usually this is a stretch goal for most weekend warriors that may have previously completed centuries in the past. It also represents a natural stepping stone towards longer brevets. The way one would approach a 200k brevet is different than a 100 or 160km ride. Nutrition begins to play a much bigger part and requires the cyclist to pay extra attention to the timing of calories. When tackling a 200k brevet one is essentially committing to a day in the saddle and time spent off the bike plays a bigger role. On the fast end it’s a distance that can be completed in 7-8h but it can easily require the entire 13.5 hours. What I love about this distance is that you get to watch the day unfold, sunrise to sunset in most cases. Also, a lot can happen over 200km of terrain and it truly is an adventure.

Favourite 200km brevet
I don’t really have a favourite 200km brevet, so I’ll just discuss generally what I like about randonneuring. One of the main reasons why I chose to ride brevets this year is because I knew it was a great way to connect with friends and bond over some spectacular adventures. I’ve been cycling for over 25 years. That is a lot of alone time. Over the years I’ve missed the social aspect of cycling and brevets offer a chance to share some of those long lonely miles with others. Witnessing friends set new PBs makes it extra special and very meaningful as well. Spending the day together with like-minded individuals and sharing meals is a beautiful way to spend the weekend. Cycling for me has never been about the numbers. The greatest memories I have are ones where I’m paying attention to all the little things. Taking the time to capture the right moments, getting lost, connecting with people along the route, and above all sharing the hardships with others. Whether you’re a weekend warrior, PBP hopeful, or club racer, brevets offer something for everyone. The type of experience one is after depends completely on the individual.


Carey Chappelle, Huron Chapter
Member since: 2001
Why did you start randonneuring?
I had discovered the sport of randonneuring in 2000 at the Toronto Bike Show. I immediately thought about qualifying and attempting the PBP in 2003. I thought it would be a once in a lifetime event!

What do you enjoy most about a 200km brevet?
I like the company and the good times. For example, The Much Ado About … 200k was developed by Terry Payne. Terry had started Randonneuring with the Huron Chapter and offered putting together a 200 in London. The first time we scheduled this ride was in 2012. Terry and I kidded each other that it was a shame to pass through Stratford without seeing a play. Well, in 2015 we decided to add the play “Taming of the Shrew” to the ride. We have added a play ever since (3 plays have been attended now!). This year’s play was “To Kill a Mockingbird!” I asked the Randonneurs Ontario to add the play to the name of the 200 and post it on our website. Now, we will schedule the Much Ado About … with a play and include it in Huron Chapter’s Schedule every year.

Much Ado about … 200km Brevet 2018

Here are the Plays we have attended during the Much Ado About 200 …

2015 Much Ado About … Taming of the Shrew (Finishing the 200 in 12hrs 51mins)
2016 Much Ado About … Shakespeare In Love (Finishing the 200 in 12hrs 40mins)
2018 Much Ado About … To Kill A Mockingbird! (Finishing the 200 in 12hrs 33mins)

I now schedule the Much Ado About … based on the play we can attend with a Start Time of 0700hrs to allow us enough time for lunch at the Boar’s Head Pub in Stratford before heading to the play.

The Huron Chapter developed what we call the Entertainment Series, the 200 has a Play, the 300 has an 18 hole Mini-put Championship, the 400 has the Creemore Classic Bowling Championship and a 600 with a Go-Cart Championship! This year’s Go-Cart Championship happened on a 400 do to route changes.

Favourite 200km brevet
Big Bay 200 is my favourite!

Enjoying lunch together on the Huron Chapter’s Big Bay 200

So there is more than one way to take on the challenge of a 200km ride. No matter how you do it, it’s bound to be a great time.

Perth-Albany-Perth, 1200km Brevet

Ride report by Dave Thompson

Link to the Perth-Albany-Perth route: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/28524000

Organized by Audax Australian Cycling Club.

Capsule summary: Well organized and supported, friendly people !!, moderate difficulty, nice scenery but nothing breathtaking, recognizable culture but different enough to add to the interest level, polite drivers, good road surfaces, quiet roads for the most part but a few busy sections, different flora and fauna – (you won’t see kangaroos anywhere else !) — bottom line, well worth doing but then again I say that about most, if not all, of these rides.

From a weather perspective, three of the days were tough – 1,2,&4 – due to headwinds.  Day 3 featured tailwinds but became difficult for some riders since late starters that day encountered more rain and cold and produced a number of DNF’s. Speaking of which, the finish rate was around 50%, which is low.  Much of that was due to cold at night, e.g. 8C, which isn’t extreme but you have to be prepared for it.  I only experienced a couple of hours of rain late on Day 3.  Others weren’t so lucky.

The kilometer breakdown was fairly typical – (in round numbers) – 375, 325, 300, 200.  The 5am start on the first day meant a later finish that day, but at least it was “only” 375k.

Climbing ?  – the first 275 kms of Day 1 to Nanup was almost flat, which of course made the headwinds that much more noticeable.  2500 meters of climbing that day was heavily weighted to the last 100k.  On the other hand, 3600 meters on Day 2 to Albany, over a shorter distance, made that the highest climbing day.  About 2300 meters on Day 3 and 1200 on Day 4 brought the total to a fairly typical 10-11,000 meters.  Grades were mostly moderate, 8% being pretty much the max.

Accommodation featured mats on days 1 & 3 and individual dorm rooms on day 2 in Albany.   Food was provided at the overnights and a couple of other Controls.  A choice of good comfort food for dinner plus eggs for breakfast made for pure luxury.

The ride was well staffed by volunteers, some 2 dozen. Wayne Hickman, the ride organizer, lamented that he didn’t have as many as the last edition which meant that he couldn’t staff all the Controls but for a newbie rider on this event, the combination of overnight staffing, great food and open Controls was as much as I could have asked for.

Mac & Cheese 1200

Ride report from Dave Thompson:

Run by Great Lakes Randonneurs (Michele Brougher) and Detroit Randonneurs (Tom Dusky), the M&C starts in Ludington Michigan and ends in Manitowoc Wisconsin.  In between those two locations is the SS Badger ferry.  As with my Florida Sunshine 1200, most people took the ferry the night before from Manitowoc Wednesday afternoon, overnighted in Ludington and rode out on Thursday morning, finishing their ride in Manitowoc on Sunday.

I, on the other hand, coming from our northern abode, found it faster to drive west to Sault Ste Marie and then south to Ludington.  There were a few of us that started in Ludington and took the ferry AFTER the ride, vs before.  The ferry runs twice per day during the summer with it’s last 1:30 a.m. departure from Manitowoc taking place on the Sunday (well, actually Monday morning) of Labor Day weekend.  It’s a 4 hour trip that seems like 5 hours because Manitowoc is in Central Time whereas Ludington is in Eastern Time…

On the way south from Sault Ste Marie there were signs that the Mackinac Bridge that connects the mainland south of Sault Ste Marie with the Michigan Upper Penninsula would be closed Monday morning from 6 am to 12:30 pm.  I didn’t have much choice, however, since it’s a lot further to go via Southern Ontario.  I took that 1:30 am ferry, arrived in Ludington at 6:30 am and simply waited about 2 hours for the bridge to open shortly after noon.  The annual Bridge Walk event was the issue, not construction or anything else.  Mackinaw City, on the south side, was one big party when I arrived, streets closed off to traffic etc.

That bridge added another complexity for the organizers.  They don’t allow bicycles.  So, riders had something to eat at a location in Mackinaw City and then they and their bicycles were ferried separately over to St. Ignace on the north side of the bridge.  That was the end of the first riding day anyway, so you didn’t feel that you were actually awaiting the process and it was handled very efficiently.

The riding days were roughly 400 km, 300 km, 300 km and 200 km (actually 235 km on the last day).  The ride clocked in over 1200 km and the time limit had been adjusted accordingly.  I didn’t actually realize that I had more time until I was finished, riding my own ride, as usual.

Most people, self not included, ended up with riding days that started after dawn and finished late those days.  Being an early riser, I tended to aim more for something like a 4 am start.  Even so, I got lots of sleep with a 5 hours stop the first night (long 400 km day) and 6-7 the other nights.  The first day had the most climbing but it still didn’t amount to much, compared to many 400 km rides.  The other three days were less than 1000 metres of climbing, not absolutely flat but close.

There were more services available on the first day with Controls about every 30 miles.  The west side of Lake Michigan, in Wisconsin, is more sparsely populated but not as sparse as Northern Ontario, on the Granite Anvil.  The next days had longer gaps between Controls and Services.

Heading north from St. Ignace on the second day, we turned around at Whitefish Point with a view of Lake Superior.  We crossed the path of my Tour de Superior in 2008, the counter clockwise lake circuit that Jerry, Geoff and I did with Sandy driving SAG.  That sure seems like a long time ago.  That was pre randonneuring!

Michele did a great job as organizer.  Each of the hotels had large conference rooms with bike stands setup.  Volunteers took your bike, hung it from the saddle and that was that.  You had access if you needed anything; bicycles were inside; the bike mechanic (yes, she had a bike mechanic) provided support if needed.  Apparently he rescued many rides – a handlebar broken off at the stem, many shifting problems and some other ride-killing issues.  I’ve never seen so many mechanical issues.  Perhaps because people figured that it was a flat ride, they didn’t need a well maintained bike?  I don’t know.

The ride also issued two drop bags, canvas affairs that were a little snug for the stuff that I usually carry.  The two bag strategy meant that I carried more in terms of backup electronics, spares and personal items such as electric toothbrush.  I still like the one bag strategy, but it worked.  The two bag strategy also meant that anything that I needed for the entire ride for which I didn’t have a duplicate or didn’t fit, I had to carry on the bike…like my rain pants.  I didn’t expect to get rained on heavily but it could have been cold.

Speaking of rain, my early departure and arrival on the last day meant that I missed much of the rain that day.  While rain threatened other days and we got sprinkled on after Whitefish Point, the last day was the only issue.  That was such a relief after Hokkaido.  We blew it though, Jeff Lippincott and I rode together the last day and it started to rain 3 miles from the end.  Surely we could have upped the pace just a little… but of course we didn’t know.  We were dumped upon; roads turned into rivers.  Others only got showers as they were mostly hours behind.

Nice terrain, good weather, excellent organization – I’m so happy that I added this to my schedule!


Huron Chapter’s 2018 Creemore Classic 400 … Bowling Championship!

Ride report from Carey Chappelle:

The Huron Chapter Hosted the 2018 Creemore Classic Bowling Championship this past week-end! To officially compete in this event and have their name entered on this trophy, the Randonneur had to participate and WIN the Bowling Championship at 220 km, then successfully finish the Creemore Classic 400!

The Current Creemore Classic Bowling Champion…Chappy, knew he no longer had a chance to win, so decided to impress fellow bowlers with his juggling act!

Matthew McFarlane simply wore sunglasses to protect his eyes!

Brenda Wiechers had the best FASTBALL!

Darcy Haggith, was still smiling with one last attempt to WIN!

This year’s Creemore Classic Bowling Champion…None other than Richard Meloche!

Congrats Richard!

2018’s Creemore Classic 400 km Brevet Report

Congrats to the Magnificent Seven who were successful completing 2018’s Creemore Classic 400 km Brevet!

Chappy, Darcy Haggith, Matthew McFarlane, Richard Meloche, Tim O’Callahan, Paul Slavchenko and Brenda Wiechers.

The Windsorites came to Port Elgin Friday evening, 4 Randonneurs … Brenda, Tim, Darcy and Richard and 2 Supporters…Geoff Owen and Steve Tymczak. Tim rented a U-haul trailer to carry everything from bicycles, bicycle parts, energy bars, power gels, energy powder, water, cycling clothing, ultraviolet eye glasses…on and on and on!

Prior to leaving Chappy’s house to the start, Richard had everyone in tears laughing about the rain happening outside! Fortunately, it reduced a lot … at least for the first 100 km!

The Magnificent Seven left Tim Horton’s Saturday morning at 0530hrs. 30 km into this ride, we passed through Sauble Beach…noticing the wind and light rain!

Then on to Wiarton…where the rain had stopped!

We continued along the Bruce Peninsula, through Big Bay passing the Marina in Owen Sound.

Had our Control Cards signed at the Tim Horton’s then went to the Frog for a light snack, everyone still together!

This is where the Creemore Classic 400 introduces climbing! Everyone headed out knowing hills were going to separate us for a while. The next Control was the Top’O The Rock in Eugenia. A GREAT climb to get there! Paul arrived just as the rest of us were heading out and joined us for this photo. Check out the left side of this picture and you’ll see where our Supporter’s, Jeff and Steve were!

Brenda and Tim figured out they would need some cash and stopped along the way at an ATM!

Arriving in Collingwood, six of us had our Control Cards signed then went to Georgian Bowl to participate in the 2018 Championship. Here is a photo of this year’s Creemore Classic Bowling Champion – Richard Meloche leading us to Creemore!

All of the participants shared a dinner at the Old Mill House Pub in Creemore, well Paul just had a pint because he had something to eat in Collingwood prior to getting there.

Prior to leaving we all stepped outside for another photo!

Pedalling to the Village at Blue Mountain was 35 km, then everyone had their Control Cards signed at the Fire House Pizza Co., before heading out to do the infamous Scenic Cave Climb! I won’t identify who had to walk but there were 3 Randonneurs who simply took that advantage! Of course, the rain started shortly after reaching the top, so everyone put on some rain gear to stay warm on the descent! Descent? Yes, meaning we were fortunate enough to have to climb the Escarpment again, heading to the next Control in Chatsworth. Jeff and Steve (our Supporters) were at the Control, the 24hr Donut Shop that is not open 24hrs!

A few of us were out of water, knew we had 50 km to go, so were feeling upbeat knowing our Supporters had everything and more to get us through!

Paul Slavchenko blew a spoke between the Scenic Cave Climb and Walter’s Falls so was a little behind the main group, but successfully made repairs in the rain and made it to the finish successfully! Way to Go Paul!

Matthew McFarlane’s chain blew off between Chatsworth and the finish, so him and Chappy took a few minutes to repair it, then Matt let Chappy know he had to take a nap and did … 20 minutes or so and he was only a few minutes behind Chappy at the Finish!

The Windsorites…Brenda, Tim, Darcy and Richard…30 km average, staying together and taking turns up front…Awesome Cyclists! They take a little longer at Controls, but make up with their pace! And last but not least…the Ultraviolet Glasses were available whenever a Randonneur was falling asleep! In the past we would stop and nap at the BMO for some sleep, not this time! Check out the man with the Glasses!

What else can I say…