There are many different types of cyclists, but one thing we all share in common is the love of coffee, pastries and cafes. In fact, I would go as far as to say that all recreational cycling routes are based around the location of cafes. The only deviation from this rule is the so called “training” ride where the purpose is strictly for performance reasons. If this were a perfect world, there would be a espresso bar with pastries every 30 km.
If you follow “the Rules” written by the Velominati, Rule #56 specifically states “When wearing cycling kit and enjoying a pre or post ride coffee, it is only appropriate to drink espresso or macchiato.” Some cyclists don’t take it this far…others insist. Some fuel up on a coke, others refill water bottles and just take in the sun. But for those of us that skip breakfast before the club ride, we need the appropriate fuel. I seldom say no to a butter tart, croissant, cookie, coffee or San Pellegrino. In fact, some days I actually contemplate buying a pie.
Here in the South Georgian Bay area we have several amazing cafes/general stores that cater to cyclists. Amazingly they are located within 30km of the Collingwood downtown core.
So, lets get down to business, if you're riding around the Southern Georgian Bay area, below are eight places that deserve to be stopped at.
Curries County Market - Collingwood
If you are riding out of Collingwood, or coming into town from Creemore or the Beaver Valley, Curries has become the “local” cycling hub. Located at the corner of Sixth Street and Tenth Concession, Curries is smack dab in the middle of the main cycling corridor. The owners are so dedicated to the cycling industry that in 2015 they installed a bike rack that holds up to 20 bikes and covered a section of their market to provide shade for cyclists. Curries provides great coffee, a plain butter tart, muffins, cookies, a large assortment of organic drinks and of course any fruit that is in season. In August I regularly buy a 1/2 pint of peaches and hand them out to anyone wanting one. They also have ice cream if that’s your thing. It’s the perfect stop at the end of a ride.
Affairs Cafe - Creemore
Norma of Affairs Cafe in Creemore has welcomed cyclists for years. She absolutely loves us. On any Saturday/Sunday morning, you can expect to see upwards of a couple hundred cyclists roll through Creemore. Many of which stop in for Affairs baked goods, great espresso/lattes or home made lunches. There is bike parking in the alley beside the Cafe (you’ll see the obvious sign), consider yourself lucky if you get a spot. There is plenty of seating inside and if it’s sunny outside, spend time around the small tables on the sidewalk. With Affairs cheerful environment it’s easy to find your “short break” creeping into an extended stay. Not a problem, enjoy and be sure to grab one more shot of espresso to help propel you up the Fairgrounds hill.
Eugenia Falls Emporium - Eugenia
The Eugenia Emporium is open from mid spring until mid to late fall. Just south of the bridge, the Emporium sits in the heart of downtown Eugenia. Boasting a take out counter at the back of the store, this is the ideal place to stop after the 40km plus trip from Collingwood . With several picnic tables out front, there is always shade under the umbrellas and enough seating for 15-20 people. While they offer a variety of baked goods...this stop is famous for its pickles, make sure you try one out.
Ravenna County Market - Ravenna
Looking for a lunch stop, this is the place for you. Hands down the best panini in the area, there’s no debating. Located halfway out of the Beaver Valley, it’s a great place to rest before heading back to Collingwood. Fudge, butter tarts, pies, sandwiches, homemade soups, coffee and any other treats you can dream of can be found here. I recently heard they’ve introduced a juice bar, a nice addition for a little natural energy to get you back over the escarpment and home!
Kimberley General Store - Kimberley
Nestled in the heart of Kimberley at the base of the Beaver Valley, you will find the Kimberley General Store. The owner Stacie is a great host and provides top notch service to cyclists. Here you will find gluten free treats, pies and my personal favourite, rhubarb platz. A very welcoming large honeycombed shaped water container sits next to the coffee machine for cyclists to refill their water bottles. The coffee is great and the made to perfection veggie sandwiches are to die for. One thing you will find here that elevates the experience and puts it above the rest, is sliced watermelon. Once you have figured out what to eat, hang out under the gazebo or chill on the front porch. Don’t make the mistake of cycling past this gem.
Thornbury Bakery Café - Thornbury
The Thornbury Bakery Café is located on Bruce Street, just a little south west of the traffic light in town. This little hot spot is known for its amazing lunches. Pick your favourite bread and stack it high with your choice of toppings. During the fall months it’s always a great place to stop for soup. With tons of cookies and treats, this is where you will find the best cinnamon bun or sticky knot in the area! Whether you’re riding in on the Georgian Trail or cycling in from the Beaver Valley, this is a great place to stop.
Espresso Post – Collingwood
Arguably the best espresso shop in Ontario, Espresso Post boasts not only the top baristas in the business, but the tasty drinks to prove it. Located in the centre of Collingwood on Hurontario Street, just down from the town hall, Espresso Post is the authentic local café. With amazing cookies to complement the assortment of espresso, cappuccinos and lattes, you will find yourself re-ordering. If the weather is lousy out, spend time inside, otherwise, grab a seat on the sidewalk patio and take in the sounds of downtown Collingwood. Ample bike parking is located out front of the café.
Giffen's County Market - Glen Huron
Just off the beaten path on the way to Creemore is a marvellous little place called Giffen's Country Market. On a typical morning when you arrive, the smell of breakfast fills the air. Giffen's is known for the famous selections of butter tarts. The Giffen family has operated the family business on 170 acres of land since 1939. They offer everything from bacon and eggs to tarts, pies, cheese and lots of fruits and vegetables. Definitely worth the stop if you are in the Glen Huron area, you wont be regret it!