Would you prefer to bike or kayak for the day? What about both? That is the magic of Rideau Tours, you can rent a trail bike for the morning and a kayak for the afternoon or vice versa. The day is yours on the Rideau Canal and adventure awaits you in whichever form you wish it to take. By land or by water the Rideau Canal and the lakes it connects are more than just a UNESCO-designated wonder of Canada, they are part of the foundation that built Canada. I can’t wait to spend a day exploring the back country and waterways that surround the Rideau Canal with Rideau Tours. Let the adventure begin.
My day didn’t start off as an adventure. In fact, it started off in quiet comfort at the Gananoque Inn. A lazy morning in bed, sunrise view of the St Lawrence River and the Gananoque Boat Line dock. To top it off Eggs Benedict for breakfast in the dining room. A perfect way to fuel up for a day of adventure.
How did I find out about Rideau Tours? A friend actually told me about them. One of the best parts of being a solo traveler is talking to people, especially locals. One of them suggested I call Anne-Marie Forcier and ask if Rideau Tours was open for the season and ready to rent out bikes and kayaks. The answer was yes!
After breakfast, I hop in my car and drive the 25-minutes from Gananoque to Chaffeys Lock where Rideau Tours operates out of. It couldn’t be easier to find at 1671 Chaffeys Lock Road, just look for the bikes outside.
I have choices to make. Do I bike first or hop in the kayak? I opt for a bike ride to get the legs moving. Anne Marie decks me out with all the gear I need including a helmet for safety. Normally I would venture out on my own to explore the area, but Anne Marie offers to come with me for the exercise a to give me some historical points about the area.
The first site we see is Chaffeys Lock. It just so happens today is the first day of the boating season and we happen to watch the first boats come through the lock. It has happened this way since the Rideau Canal was built in 1832 and it hasn’t changed in all this time.
Of course, I had to ask if I could help open the Lock up and they said yes.
Back on the bikes, we cross the canal and head towards the Cataraqui Trail where we bike over a bridge that crosses a lake below us.
Just on the other side of the bridge our trail continues under a canopy of leaves. This is a very easy trail to ride. Perfect for all ages in fact. It wasn’t very busy today so if you are a family or a group of friends you can spread out and really enjoy all the scenery and each other.
It is nearing lunch time and Anne Marie has guided us back to Chaffeys Lock for two reasons. The first is to have lunch and the second is to switch to kayaks for the rest of the afternoon. With Rideau Tours, lunch is included. You can opt to have it picnic style back at Chaffeys Lock or you can take it to go with you for enjoyment at your leisure.
It is quite the spread and best of all it is all locally sourced. Wraps, charcuterie, cheese, condiments and even sparkling apple juice are all made locally. A perfect lunch for what is turning out to be a perfect day.
With our lunch over it is time to get back to our adventure. This time, we will be kayaking.
In the kayak I go and with a slight push, we are off. The lake water is crystal clear and even in mid May it is pleasantly cool to the touch.
Whether you are a serious paddler or an amateur like me you will love kayaking through the Rideau Canal. It is very calm, peaceful and you get some amazing views of the Summer cottages that people call home when they escape city life.
We pass under the bridge that we biked across earlier and make our way towards Indian Lake. It is a great afternoon paddling on the water and I am feeling very zen. I didn’t realize kayaking was so meditative. I like it. Back to the dock we return. When I get out I realized one thing, I should have worn quick dry shorts, lol.
What a fabulous day on land and on water. I couldn’t have asked for better. As of today, the website for Rideau Tours is still under construction. If you are interested in experiencing the Rideau Canal by bike and kayak I would recommend you give Anne Marie an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your day. Rates are very reasonable and best of all you can customize the adventure to suit your needs.