Charity Landon looked like someone who had just bicycled hundreds of kilometres in just eight days – including the smile.
The Toronto native was part of a group of more than 150 cyclists travelling across the province during the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure Tour. Riders began arriving in Cornwall Friday, the penultimate leg of a course that took them along the shores of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, beginning in the Niagara area.
The tour ends in Riviere Beaudette, Que. on Saturday.
Landon, her face dripping with sweat and her gate slowed by countless hours attached to a bicycle seat, said the experience of cycling so far in such a short period of time will remain with her for years – beyond the pain of such high-impact exercise.
“Right now I feel a little sore and stiff,” she said at the Cornwall Armoury, where cyclists were arriving throughout the day. “But that will fade.
“What I will retain is the wonderful images of what I have seen along the way.”
The eight-day tour measured some 750 km. It's the fifth year of the tour and this year celebrates the bicentennial of the War of 1812. On the way, cyclists slept in the barracks at Toronto's Fort York, took in the sights of Gananoque's 1812 History Wall in Joel Stone Park and even kayaked to a National Park island near Brockville.
“I’m really proud of myself,” said Landon, who confessed she’s just a normal person, not someone who bicycles competitively. “This is so much more than I thought I could do. And if I can do it, anyone can.”
Tom Brown, another of the cycists from Thamesford, Ont., said seeing the province from the seat of a bicycle, as opposed to whizzing down Highway 401, allows a person to gain a better appreciation for what Ontario has to offer.
“There are some beautiful little communities we have in our province we cannot see any other way,” he said. “And, of course, all the people we have met on this trip.”