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Slow Ride through the Greenbelt

By The Tribune

In this file photo, Rob Salewytsch seen here with a one-speed bicycle on Sunday May 7, started started OutSpokin, a company dedicated to running Slow Rides through the streets of Port Colborne. The last ride of the season takes place in Niagara-on-the-Lake this coming Saturday.

In this file photo, Rob Salewytsch seen here with a one-speed bicycle on Sunday May 7, started started OutSpokin, a company dedicated to running Slow Rides through the streets of Port Colborne. The last ride of the season takes place in Niagara-on-the-Lake this coming Saturday.

A slow ride through Niagara-on-the-Lake Saturday will pass world-class wineries, rustic B&B’s, lush farmland, and historic Queenston, all the while taking in some of the best views of anywhere in Niagara, from the lower escarpment to the Niagara River.

OutSpokin Slow Rides’ Rob Salewytsch says the event is the year-end ride for the Port Colborne-based group that started slow rides around the lakeside city this year.

He says the ride is being held in partnership with the Greenbelt Foundation and the Waterfront Regeneration Trust for their Ontario 150 Celebrate By Bike program.

“This ride came about through a conversation with the great folks at the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. They had a fantastic initiative for ON150 called Celebrate by Bike where they were highlighting different types of cycling initiatives in Ontario. They had heard about OutSpokin’s efforts in Port Colborne and invited us to be one of their events. Since the program is actually a joint effort between the Greenbelt Foundation and the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, I was able to piece together a route that landed on both trails/routes,” says Salewytsch.

The roughly 16-kilometre ride begins and ends at St. David’s Lions Club, 1462 York Rd. in Niagara-on-the-Lake, at 10:30 a.m. and is expected to take up to an hour-and-a-half at the most. Registration for the ride starts at 10 a.m. at the Lions Club. A barbecue will take place after the ride from noon to 2 p.m.

“We have had a lot of interest for this ride and are expecting somewhere between 50 and 100 riders. What’s great is that OutSpokin rides serve a large demographic. We have riders who haven’t been on a bike in decades, and we have riders who bike every day. Because we have a slow pace and have designed the rides to focus on the social aspects, it creates a welcoming environment.”

Salewytsch says it has been a good first year for OutSpokin in Port Colborne.

“We have been averaging about 20 riders a night, although we’ve had a few rides where we were around 40, and one where we hit 91.”

He’s already planning ahead for the 2018 cycling season in Port Colborne, and possibly beyond.

“We’ve had a lot of requests from people throughout Niagara to hold rides in their cities. So we are going to look at doing more one-off rides throughout Niagara. Our biggest move, however, is that we are hoping to bring our weekly Slow Rides to the City of St. Catharines. With so many great businesses and a pretty decent network of bicycle facilities, we want to help showcase that.”

Salewytsch says OutSpokin has also branched out to begin offering brewery rides.

“For these, we are partnering with Niagara’s growing craft breweries. Although these rides have a fee associated with them, they follow all the normal Slow Ride guidelines. By charging a fee ahead of time, we are able to make it a cashless experience for our participants. This also lets us keep our riders safe by regulating consumption.

“It should definitely be noted that these aren’t pub crawls, but rather just a new spin on tastings and tours. Our first ride of this sort is actually this year, September 24 with Brimstone Brewery, but in 2018, we’ll be all over Niagara with these rides.”

Salewytsch says in order to manage the rides and expansion next year, he’s looking for volunteers of all sorts - from riders to fundraisers to route planners - and is encouraging people to contact him by email. He adds local businesses can contact him if they’d like to become involved in the rides.

For more information on Saturday’s ride, check OutSpokin Slow Rides Facebook page - www.facebook.com/pg/OutSpokinSlowRides- or email Salewytsch at outspokinslowrides@gmail.com.



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