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New Hasty Highlander connects epic 3,000-km ONXL bikepacking route

Ultimate Ontario bikepacking experience brings big adventure close to home

ONXL Hasty Highlander Photo by: Matthew Kadey

Ontario’s bikepacking boom is set to keep growing in 2021, with the launch of two new – and very epic – routes. First, the Hasty Highlander adds adventure within throwing distance of the GTA. With that in place, Matthew Kadey connects years of route finding into the ultimate Ontario bikepacking experience. The 3,000-km ONXL.

Hasty Highlander rain
Drop bar gravel bike’s can take on Hasty Highlander, but higher volume (40c) tires are recommended. Photo: Tiago Varella-Cid

Hasty Highlander

Matthew Kadey’s latest creation, developed with assistance from Haliburton local Thom Lambert, is the Hasty Highlander. A multi-day jaunt across central Ontario, the Highlander rolls across the Canadian Shield using sections of the Great Trail, sleepy gravel back roads as well as converted railways, tracing Ontario’s industrial past. You’ll pass through provincial parks and the spectacular Haliburton Forest along the way.

This new bikepacking route can be extended into the Hasty Highlander Algonquin. This a unique opportunity to ride through Canada’s oldest provincial park, Algonquin Provincial Park, established in 1893.

Hasty Highlander rain
Quiet gravel roads leave the bustle of city traffic behind. Photo: Matthew Kadey

Key to the Hasty Highlander is its ability to scale to your available time. Depending on what options you include, the route runs between 475 and 800 km.

Kadey’s routing starts in the town of Lindsay, Ont. But, as a loop, you can start the Hasty Highlander anywhere you choose. The route runs equally well on both directions, as well. The route is unsupported and unsanctioned, so riders are advised to be well prepared for more remote sections of gravel. The full track, GPS, service info and many more details are up on the official Hasty Highlander page now.

ONXL

Go big at home: ONXL

For the experienced bikepacker, or those that like taking on out-sized adventures, the new ONXL ties together the provinces major loops into one massive choose-your-own-adventure ride. The ultimate Ontario bikepacking experience connects over 3,000 kilometres of continuous off-road touring options. From southern Ontario all the way up to Quebec, sections of several routes can be combined into one long, long ride.

In a unique touch, versus other established bikepacking epics, the overlapping loops of Ontario Bikepack Collective’s ONXL means you can create your own epic, piece by piece, using sections of the different routes.

The main loops include the BT 700, GNR, Cannonball 300, Hasty Highlander, Sawlog Bay (created by Weekender-ride), Miles Arbour’s COLT route, and, tying into la belle province, the Log Driver’s Waltz.

For more on the ONXL, including how to build together a route and examples, hit the Ontario Bikepack Collective.

Create your own epic. Go big, without going far from home.