The Georgian Trail, McGuinty's Cafe and Side Launch Brewing Company

It seems that the spring weather has been "hit and miss" this year.  If its sunny out, you have to deal with extreme winds and gusts upwards of 50km/hr, and if its cloudy and cold, the winds seem to be calm and relaxed.  Today was sunny and windy.  On days like this the best thing to do is utilize the Georgian Trail.  A small group of us headed out for a ride to Meaford.  This type of ride doesn't happen too often as most of us enjoy some climbing and hills....the Georgian trail has neither long climbs nor rolling hills.  In fact, as is the case with most rail trails, its completely flat and dead straight.

The winds were very strong and out of the NNW today, so heading to Meaford made complete sense.  We spent an hour and twenty minutes pushing into a head wind just to turn around and fly home with the wind on our back.  The trail was completely void of snow, which is good news, meaning that spring is finally here to stay.  

McGuinty's Cafe

Bike parking around the back of the Cafe where the patio is

You have two options for a coffee break on this ride, Thornbury or Meaford.  Since the overall ride is 70km in length, we always stop at McGuinty's in Meaford, the halfway point.  This perfect little cafe is located on the main street between the two stop lights.  McGuinty's Cafe is a "Ontario By Bike" approved destination.  I had a quick chat with the owner and they absolutely love cyclists and really go out of their way to cater to them.  With a great selection of coffee, espresso and lattes, don't forget to try one of their chocolate butter tarts or a piece of gluten free carrot cake. If you are there over the lunch hour, the veggie bagel sandwiches are amazing.  This gem is definitely worth the stop.  Around the back of the building you will find a patio and bike rack.

Side Launch Brewing Company

The return trip was very fast.  With the wind on our backs, we flew home passing several trail users between Meaford and Collingwood.  After picking up a friend on the way into Collingwood, we decided to do a little apres at the Side Launch Brewing Company which is located CONVENIENTLY just off the trail in Collingwood.  If you are planning on replicating this ride from Collingwood, the SLBC brewery would be a great place to park your car and leave from.  The bonus with this idea is that you can take a tour and taste a few of their award winning beers after the ride.  The four of us finished up with  1 Wheat, 1 Dark Lager and 2 Pale Ales.  Take your pick, you can't go wrong :).  

SLBC is a big supporter of cycling in the Collingwood community.  They have sponsored the local cycling club since its inception and are also designated as an Ontario by Bike destination. No better place to finish up your ride!

The mapping above shows the basic route we followed.  There is a quick detour off the Georgian Trail on the way home, no need to do that yourself.  I had also lost my garmin just before the brewery, it fell off my bike.  I found it beside the trail three hours later.  This map should give you a basic idea of where to go.