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Matthew Kadey: Composing the Log Driver’s Waltz route

How, and why, three riders pieced together an 800 km bikepacking route joining Quebec and Ontario

Log Driver's Waltz Photo by: Eric Betteridge.

Matthew Kadey is a busy guy. In the last few years, he’s pieced together numerous bikepacking routes including the BT700, BTXL and now the Log Drivers Waltz. Each of these routes are in excess of 700 kilometres. Creating each one requires many more miles of scouting, routing and re-routing. All to create the optimal route through the remote, out of the way, and hidden-in-plain-sight parts of Ontario, and now Quebec.

Through his efforts, Kadey is spreading the stoke for bikepacking. Ontario riders been steadily ticking off the BT700 route in a year where travel options are limited. Two of these riders, Jen Adams and Eric Betteridge, enjoyed the route so much that, after returning home to Ottawa, they joined forces with Kadey to create the Log Drivers Waltz.

Log Driver's Waltz
Covered brides and wide open spaces. Photo: Jen Abrams

“After completing the BT 700 route last year [Adams and Betteridge] returned home with a heightened apperception for bikepacking and an urge to put together a route in their neck of the woods (both are from Ottawa),” says Kadey. After seeing more and more of their rides, and ride photos pop up on his Strava feed, Kadey’s interest in an off-road big loop in the region was piqued, and a trio was formed. “With mutual interest, we decided to work together to piece together the Log Driver’s Waltz. Their knowledge of the terrain in the Ottawa Valley and Outaouais region of Quebec was essential in bringing this 800 kilometre route to fruition.”

The LDW route checks two boxes for Kadey. “The goal was to further showcase the world-class bikepacking terrain we have,” he says, adding that the Ottawa valley’s mix of off-pavement backcountry options needed further showcasing. “The bonus was the ability to extend the route into Quebec,” and, specifically, says Kadey, “some stunning riding through Gatineau Park that any rider would wish for in a multi-day bikepacking adventure.”

Even working together, though, creating the new route took months.

Log Driver's Waltz
Burling down the white water on the Log Driver’s Waltz. Photo: Eric Betteridge

“From the initial concept to the countless hours spent piecing together the roads and paths, and interacting with stakeholders along the route,” Kadey says, “Log Driver’s Waltz has been several months in the making. But we are confident riders will love it and the route will become a Canadian bikepacking classic.”

Kadey has reason to be confident. His most recent creation before LDW, the BT700, has seen steady traffic all summer. While COVID’s border closure with the U.S. has kept numbers down, Ontario riders have been flocking to the route. Dozens have completed the BT 700 this summer alone.

“Ontario riders are enjoying having a big bike adventure close to home that does not require a lot of traveling,” thinks Kadey. 10 riders have even taken on the mammoth 1,200 km BT XL route. BT XL combines the BT 700 with Kadey’s other creation, the Grand Nith Ramble (GNR).

Log Driver's Waltz
A sneaky singletrack section. Photo: Jen Abrams

The latter, Kadey says, is the route that has become the most popular. “At about 350 kilometres, it’s an approachable route for two to three days of travel.” While it’s relatively short distance – by bikepacking standards – makes it more approachable for riders new to the sport it has also, to Kadey’s surprise, attracted a speedier crowd. “I never expected so many people to attempt in one sub-24 hour push. That is a serious athletic accomplishment when you consider all the rowdy trail sections on the route.”

As for himself, Kadey is more motivated than ever to piece together the next adventure. What keeps him excited about scouring maps and exploring off the beaten path to create more new adventures to share with others? Simply seeing others riding, and having fun.

“All the positive feedback I have received from my other routes has only served to stoke my interest in further route creation,” says the master mapper.

Go explore the Log Driver’s Waltz for your self, and stay tuned for the next exciting Ontario route.