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Tour de New France is a magical muddy history tour by bicycle


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The magical muddy history tour is back for year two.

The Tour de New France, revived last year after a ten-year hiatus, offers cyclists the opportunity to travel the logging roads south of Weymouth, passing by five lakes including Langford Lake and the historical site of Electric City in New France.

[Story and photos from last year's rally, Sept. 2013]

Organizers are offering both a 20-kilometre and 30-kilometre version this year.

“We had people asking for a longer ride last year,” said organizer Jeanne Nesbit. “So we added a 10k extension for the avid biker, for someone who bikes a lot – most people were happy with the 20k ride last year.”

The poker run on Saturday, Sept. 27 serves as a fundraiser for the Sissiboo Landing Heritage and Cultural Centre in Weymouth but also to raise awareness about the former Stehelin settlement, founded in the 1890s.

Visitors can still see the foundations of the buildings of Electric City, so named because the settlement had electricity 30 years before the other communities in the area.

Local historian and playwright Hal Theriault will be waiting at Electric City to share some of the history and colourful stories with the cyclists.

While most of the logging roads on the route are well maintained, the stretch from Langford Lake up to Long Tusket Lake can be wet with several large mud puddles.

The 10k extension branches off at the first checkpoint at Tusket River Road and joins back up at the second checkpoint at the beginning of the New France Road.

The event is not a race but a poker run meaning participants pick up cards at each of the five checkpoints and the best hand wins.

“No one has to worry about being the first or the fastest,” says Nesbit. “They can go slow and enjoy the day out there.”

Last year it took the 62 riders about an hour and a half to reach the settlement and another hour and a half to cross the finish, with some finishing much faster and some coming in closer to four hours.

Besides the five lakes and New France, the route also passes by Digby County’s other Balancing Rock—a huge granite boulder balanced on another rock just off the road beside the fifth checkpoint.

The rally starts on the Irving Road about 18 kilometres south of Weymouth.

To find the start, head south out of Weymouth on Hwy 340. Turn left at the stop sign, and then, 750 metres after a big sharp turn to the right, take the Langford Road on your left.

When the pavement turns sharp left, keep going straight on the gravel for another 5.5 km to the junction of the Irving Road and the Long Tusket Lake Road (N44° 19.117 W65° 49.649).

Organizers will have a small cash canteen set up at Langford Lake though, because last year, most riders were pretty-self-sufficient, they will have a smaller selection this year.

Organizers will have a barbecue at the finish.

For more information check out the Tour de New France Mountain Bike Rally on Facebook.

jriley@digbycourier.ca

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