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Heavy pedalling: three bike routes to try 

Gear up for a summer outside by hopping on your bike and trying one of these three scenic rides, complete with coffee stops..

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Re-tape your bars and shine your spokes folks, summer is back and to celebrate we've put together a trio of our favourite bikes rides in HRM. Whether you're a laid-back cruiser or a road junkie, these routes will keep your hair blowing in the wind and your mind heavily caffeinated. Caution: These trips aren't fixie-friendly. Get some gears and get out there. (Click the links for turn-by-turn maps!)

St. Margarets Bay Trail

30 kilometres
Looking for a leisurely cruise without any pesky traffic? This is the route for easy riders. Jump on the trail near Joseph Howe or in Bayers Lake and enjoy a winding gravel path through the woods toward Tantallon. Your destination—the Bike and Bean, a train station turned cafe and bike shop. There are no big hills to worry about here, as this trail used to be a railroad. The total distance one-way, from downtown Halifax, is 30 kilometres. If you're not feeling the ride back you can catch the MetroX 330 bus—which is cheap and has a nifty bike rack on the front to hold your trusty steed—from Tantallon back to town.

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Waverley Road to Fall River

50 kilometres
Waverley Road is a favourite amongst the city's regular riders. Getting there from Halifax is the hardest part, and involves some city riding, but it's worth it. Hugging the shoreline of five lakes—Banook, Micmac, Charles, William and Thomas—this less-than-exciting-sounding road is a low-traffic dream for anyone after a strenuous, but not-overwhelming day ride. The route is an out and back, with a total distance of around 50 clicks. To return to Halifax just turn around and retrace your path. If you find yourself prematurely pooped, you can always bus back from Fall River—look for the MetroX 320 at the Fall River park and ride. Bonus: Two if by Sea sits near the start/finish of this round-trip journey, in case you're in need of espresso or provolone.

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Sambro Loop

55 kilometres
The Tour de Herring Cove is easily the best ride around for hill-lovers. If you can hack a couple climbs this route rewards you with beautiful coastal views, white-sand beaches, fast descents and Dee Dee's ice cream! Prepare to sweat on this one, Purcell's Cove Road is dotted with inclines. The real gem of this loop is Crystal Crescent beach, sitting just a few kilometres from the community of Sambro this silver strand of beauty is perfect for a mid-ride dip. On your way back to Halifax, stop at Pavia Gallery for a micro-roasted coffee, an almond cookie and a scoop of Dee Dee's to cool down and fuel up. After all, cycling is part fitness, part fun and mainly an excuse to eat pastries and drink coffee. Not for the faint of heart, this 55km loop will get your blood pumping but really can't be beat.

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Vol 24, No 21
October 20, 2016

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