NEW BRUNSWICK

MACTAQUAC LOOP

Pedal Magazine - - Test Gear - BY PETER WEDGE

My first “big ad­ven­ture” ride re­mains my favourite. From the time I was 13, when I thought this was an epic ride, I have al­ways ranked this lo­cal ride No. 1. Whether I was zip­ping out be­tween classes or re­turn­ing from six months in Europe or the U.S. and needed to hit the re­set button, the Mactaquac Loop is a sim­ple short loop with great views along the St. John River, a jewel that cuts through Fred­er­ic­ton, N.B.

From the south side of town (down­town), head west up river along Wood­stock Road to Route 102 (known lo­cally as the old Trans-Canada High­way). Route 102 has a wide shoul­der, and traf­fic vol­umes are low and de­crease as you get out of town (no trucks). The rolling hills in­crease, as do the views of the river, to the Mactaquac Dam.

Once across the Dam, you can see how you feel. You can head di­rectly back to town on the north side of the St. John River on Route 105 (more views), cross­ing the Bill Thorpe Trail Bridge back to down­town and call it a 50-kilo­me­tre day. I have done this ride hun­dreds of times!

If you are feel­ing chip­per, from the Dam you can head up Rocky Road to Keswick Ridge (Route 616) and Burtts Cor­ner via the Tripp Set­tle­ment Road, then back to Route 105 to add ap­prox­i­mately 20 kilo­me­tres and some sig­nif­i­cant el­e­va­tion to this ride. Still feel­ing chip­per?

From Burtts Cor­ner, head up Route 617 in­stead of back to town, and hit the Kingsley Road for more hills and 10 more kilo­me­tres to the loop. A right turn on Kingsley Road will take you to Estey’s Bridge through for­est and farm­land. Head up McLeod Hill Road for one last burn before re­turn­ing to the Bill Thorpe Trail Bridge and down­town.

If you are look­ing for more pun­ish­ment, head left on Kingsley Road in­stead of right and ride to the vil­lage of Stan­ley on Route 620 through more for­est and farm­land (and hills). Once in Stan­ley, fol­low the Nash­waak River (yes, more views) along Route 107, cross­ing at Nash­waak Vil­lage and Route 148 home to Fred­er­ic­ton for a to­tal of ap­prox­i­mately 120 kilo­me­tres.

Time to treat your­self to a pint at one of the many mi­cro­brew­eries in town! (My per­sonal favourite is the Grim­ross Mar­itime Pale Ale, but that means one more climb up Smythe Street!)

Build an ap­petite on the Mactaquac Loop with great views of the St. John River from the Bill Thorpe Trail Bridge.

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