Ride Report - Calabogie Boogie: a short bikepacking trip around Calabogie, ON- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Ride Report - Calabogie Boogie: a short bikepacking trip around Calabogie, ON

    8 of us were out around Calabogie during the weekend of April 22-24, 2017.

    Here's the map of the ride we did. We called it Calabogie Boogie : https://goo.gl/llPfeV

    There's this great bike shop in Ottawa called Tall Tree Cycles. They cater to a funky bunch of riders made up of mountain bikers, commuters, bikepackers and gravel grinders. Grant at TTC has been instrumental at getting these riders to meet and greet and over time, a nebula has formed, friendships have been forged and adventures ensued

    So a bunch of us got talking about a 2 night/3 day bikepacking trip around Calabogie, a town located about an hour away of Ottawa on the Madawasca river. Calabogie is home to the Calabogie Brewing Co. and the Redneck Cafe. BTW, both places are heartily recommended. Adrian had come up with a sweet 75km loop on smooth and rough doubletrack. It looked promising despite the unusually high amount of rain we've been getting this year, and the fact that there was still snow in some areas around Ottawa. Worst case scenario, we'd bail, hit the road, get back to town and get loaded at the Brewery. Sounds like a winner to me.

    Adrian, Grant and I met at TTC on Saturday afternoon. Our 5 friends were already getting their groove on at the Calabogie Brewery. We were to meet everyone at our first campsite later that evening. We quickly loaded our bikes on Adrian's car and got going. We were in Calabogie an hour later. We quickly stopped by the Brewery, got a bunch of beers for later, got kitted up, downed a few cans and we hit the trails a bit after 4pm.

    After a few uneventful kms on pavement, we passed a gate and hit the trails. Our initial assessment was that the trails were slightly damp.

    Ride Report - Calabogie Boogie: a short bikepacking trip around Calabogie, ON-sp_20170424_215126.jpg

    And some of the hills were a bit steep.

    Ride Report - Calabogie Boogie: a short bikepacking trip around Calabogie, ON-img_20170424_182057_168.jpg

    Par for the course. It wouldn't be fun otherwise

    We rode and pushed our bikes for about 10km before we reached our campsite, a beautiful secluded spot on the Madawaska. We high-fived everyone and quickly set up camp. Most of us were hammocking. I set up my hammock so that I could see the sunrise in the morning.

    Ride Report - Calabogie Boogie: a short bikepacking trip around Calabogie, ON-sp_20170424_214217.jpg

    We made a bonfire, drank good beer and ate great food. Well, some of us ate great food. Real food. I had brought dehydrated meals for 3 days and I was very jealous of my friends who were porking out on homemade burritos and marinated chicken breasts.
    * First note to myself: on the first night, eat like a king. It's not hard to pull and it feels damn good.
    ** Amendment to First note to myself: eat like a king anytime you can. Freeze food during the week before your trip, place it in your backpack and have it thaw slowly over the first 48hours. If you're willing to carry it, your belly will thank you. Kelly and Mike were eating steaks and roasted potatoes on the second night. I couldn't finish my dehydrated lasagna in a bag...

    It got to -1C that first night. My underquilt helped me stay warm. Best hammock-related purchase I made as far as I'm concerned. I slept really well and was happy to wake up when the sun started warming me up at 8am. I had a good laugh when I saw my hungover buddies sipping on coffee around the campsite!

    We had a lazy morning. 3 of us had to go back to Ottawa already "to work on policies". The remaining 5 were to continue on for 60kms and spend another night outside in hammocks. The group rode together for a few kms under the power lines and we parted ways when we reached the hydro cut. We crossed the Madawasca river at the dam.

    Ride Report - Calabogie Boogie: a short bikepacking trip around Calabogie, ON-sp_20170424_214132.jpg

    Up and down we went for over 30kms. That area is HILLY! We met a few locals who were pretty stoked about our gear and what we were doing. One of the locals (Kevin 1) told us about a cabin that we might be able to use that night. We looked for it but unfortunately couldn't find it... So we stopped for lunch, filtered a few litres of water and got going again.

    The first campsite we found looked good from far, but was far from good. We moved on. I saw this nice hunting lodge and had to take a proper bikepacking pic.

    Ride Report - Calabogie Boogie: a short bikepacking trip around Calabogie, ON-sp_20170424_214036.jpg

    BTW, this is my rig: a 2017 Kona Unit frameset, 29er, 3x9, thumbies. I love that bike! The others were riding 27.5+, 29ers and 29+.

    Ride Report - Calabogie Boogie: a short bikepacking trip around Calabogie, ON-2017-04-22-11.41.28.jpg


    As I was picking my bike up to get going, I saw my first live OPP ATV police chase!! Wild!

    We quickly found a nice campsite. Another local (Kevin 2) had been at the site overnight but was just about to leave. Quite a character!

    The wind had picked up. Everything was flying around and getting tangled. I was getting hangry. Some of my buddies had to help me tie my tarp. Grant was holding on the bottom end while lounging on the ground, Adrian and Kelly were holding each side. Thanks to them I got everything tied up but I hadn't picked the right spot for my hammock (no shelter from the wind)... I payed the price that night. I slept fully dressed, 3 layers of clothes, balaclava and tuque. I was cold all night...
    ** 2nd note to myself: figure out how to properly protect yourself from the wind. Learn proper tarping techniques.

    We all got up early the next morning. We packed up and took off before 9am. Smooth doubletrack soon gave way to smooth gravel roads. Up and down we went again.

    Ride Report - Calabogie Boogie: a short bikepacking trip around Calabogie, ON-sp_20170424_213809.jpg

    We went up AND down on that one... Adrian got us lost for a bit!

    We reached the K&P Trail junction 20km later. We pedalled to the metal until we reached the Redneck Cafe for burgers, fries and craft beer. Nothing beats a nice warm lunch after a couple of cold nights outside. We spent 2 and a half hours there before packing everything up to get back to town.

    I would highly recommend checking out the trails around Calabogie. There are a ton of roads to explore. And all kinds of roads too, ranging from gravel roads to tight singletrack. It's a sweet place to ride, the locals are awesome and the food and beer is top notch.

    Get out there!

  2. #2
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    Awesome trip report! I just picked up some bikepacking gear and can't wait to get out myself.

  3. #3
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    Nice write up and pics, thanks! Interest in bikepacking appears to be on an upswing, would love to see more threads like this! Regarding your comments on food "options" My preference by far is owning a food dehydrator, something I clued into many years ago for canoe tripping. Allows you to eat the same quality meals you would have at home (assuming you are a good cook lol), dehydrate that, and it weighs nothing, takes up little space, and won't spoil.
    https://get.google.com/albumarchive/...127?source=pwa

    RSD Bikes "The Mayor"
    Rocky Mountain Sherpa Overland

  4. #4
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    Thanks Bikin' Bric and BlackCanoeDog for the kind words!

    Great idea, BlackCanoeDog, I will definitely look into a food dehydrator. I like to cook (and I love to eat!!) so it would be a good investment.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by simasona View Post
    Thanks Bikin' Bric and BlackCanoeDog for the kind words!

    Great idea, BlackCanoeDog, I will definitely look into a food dehydrator. I like to cook (and I love to eat!!) so it would be a good investment.
    The best part is the re-hydrated meals taste just as good as when they were first on your stove!
    https://get.google.com/albumarchive/...127?source=pwa

    RSD Bikes "The Mayor"
    Rocky Mountain Sherpa Overland

  6. #6
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    Need to update this route.

    We found the gate you describe closed and locked. There are No Trespassing signs up indicating it is private land. Not comfortable with this so recommend a different route.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by M2rive5 View Post
    We found the gate you describe closed and locked. There are No Trespassing signs up indicating it is private land. Not comfortable with this so recommend a different route.
    Not too impressed with your tone, but I understand your concern. You could have gone and politely introduced yourself to the owners and ask for permission to pass, which is what we did. They will most likely say "sure thing! But please close the gate after you". It seems they are wary of ATVs passing on their land but they don't seem so concerned about cyclists. Having said this, it is possible that they will say no. That's par for the course when you are touring. Roads sometimes get closed, so a Plan B is often useful.

    If you prefer not to interact with the owners, or if the owners don't allow you to pass, I would suggest that you come up with your own route by studying the Eastern Ontario Backroads mapbook, or by going on Gaia GPS, OpenMaps or the GIS Ontario government topo map tool found here:

    http://www.gisapplication.lrc.gov.on...M&locale=en-US

    As I said in my initial post, there are hundreds of kilometres of trails out there. My trip was one way to explore those trails. Your trip can be quite different than mine and I have no doubt that it can be as much fun as the one I did, if not better.

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