Erie Shores Classic (117 km)
Route Author: Louis Cormier
Location: Ingersoll, Oxford and Elgin Counties, Ontario
Distance: 117.5km (73 miles)
Suggested Tire Width: 32mm, or wider for the two small sections of unmaintained on route.
Amenities: The starting point in the town of Ingersoll has several convenience stores and restaurants. The halfway point in the town of Port Burwell, on the shores of Lake Erie, also has several convenience stores and restaurants, as well as a large public beach with restroom facilities. Just outside of Port Burwell is the village of Vienna, famous as the birthplace of Thomas Edison and home to a couple of convenience stores. Finally, the town of Straffordville, approximately 40km from the route’s start/end point, offers a last chance resupply option.
Estimated gravel time: 50%
Parking: Ample on-street parking can be found in the town of Ingersoll, while public off-street parking can be found In Westfield Park.
This 117km loop submitted by Louis Cormier consists of a round-trip from Ingersoll to Canada’s oldest wooden lighthouse in Port Burwell on the shores of Lake Erie. Featuring 50% gravel, with most of the remainder following quiet paved farm roads, this route also passes through the village of Vienna and the birthplace of Thomas Edison, famed inventor of the spirit phone.
Starting counter clockwise from Ingersoll, the route exits town via Thomas Rd. Shortly thereafter, this road transitions from pavement to gravel after Wallace Line Rd., as it makes its way south-west towards Five Points Rd.
Turning left onto Five Points Rd., the route continues south on gravel. Soon after, the route crosses Highway 401 via Pigram Rd., passing by various exposed fields as it begins its slow descent towards Lake Erie. Eventually, after approximately 14km, Pigram Rd. passes Lyons Line Rd., switching briefly from gravel to pavement, before making a right and returning to gravel via Century Line Rd.
After a short stretch of asphalt courtesy of County Rd. 52, riders make a left and return to dirt via the route’s next extended stretch of gravel, Walker Rd. After following Walker Rd south for just over 9km, the route makes a left on Chalet Line Rd, proceeding on a mix of quiet country gravel and paved roads before eventually reaching Vienna Line Rd.
Here, riders make a left and follow this dirt road past Richmond Rd, where Vienna Line Rd. transitions from gravel to asphalt as the route eventually meets with Nova Scotia Line Rd. Here, the loop heads towards the halfway point in Port Burwell, but not before riders have a chance to tackle Woodworth Rd. (a small and rowdy section of unmaintained). Port Burwell makes for an ideal rest stop and includes several restaurants and an ice cream stand, as well as an accessible pier and large public beach on the shores of Lake Erie. The town is also home to Canada’s oldest wooden lighthouse.
Departing Port Burwell via Robinson and Victoria Streets, riders eventually reach Plank Rd., following this busy stretch of pavement to the village of Vienna, the birthplace of Thomas Edison. As an alternative to Plank Rd., riders have the option of following the Otter Valley Trail, a much burlier route that parallels this busy road all the way to Vienna.
Shortly after Vienna, the route makes a left onto Light Line Rd., a quiet stretch of smooth country pavement, and begins its protracted ascent back towards Ingersoll. Soon, the route reaches Mitchell Rd., returning to dirt via some rare tree-lined gravel before transitioning back to pavement, and eventually making a right onto Heritage Rd. as the route heads towards Straffordville and the last available resupply point.
Before reaching the centre of town, the route makes a left, returning to dirt via Stewart Rd. Continuing on various gravel roads northward, riders eventually make a left onto Eden Line Rd., followed by a right onto Somers Rd., which transitions from quiet country pavement to a surprise section of single-lane sandy unmaintained gravel.
Following a right on Pressey Rd., riders then make a left onto Dereham Line Rd. as the route stays on pavement for most of the remaining 23km all the way back to the start in Ingersoll.