Local Motion - New Brunswick

Welcome to Local Motion where we celebrate hiking, biking, camping, paddling, skiing, and exploring in Southern New Brunswick.

July 9, 2009

Mellow Pedaling to Mispec

We are pretty lucky in Saint John to have so many back roads cutting across a range of landscapes. From the rolling river valley to the Bay of Fundy, cycling provides a great way to experience the regions unique character. Recently I've stumbled upon a cycling gem.

For the past two nights, I've hopped on my bicycle and pedaled down the meandering road to Mispec. After a sedentary day in the office, nothing feels better than propelling myself away from the city in the cool summer air. I find the motion of bicycling soothing to my mind and energizing to my body. Life is better when I bike!

The entire route from Uptown Saint John to Mispec Beach is about 30km round trip. I started getting to know this area in June with shorter excursions along Red Head Road, eventually working up to the 30km route. A regular cyclist will find this route easy, while those looking to improve their endurance and fitness will find this mellow road ideal training ground.

From my house at the bottom of Orange Street on the Saint John Peninsula, I need only navigate city traffic for five minutes before I hit the quiet two-lane Red Head Road that takes me all the way to Mispec. This route was made for biking! I wouldn't call it flat (nothing is flat in Southern New Brunswick!) but the short hills are gentle and just the right length for a quick charge to the top. The road begins at the wide tidal flats near in East Saint John, passes the Red Head Marsh, then on to old farmsteads that contrast with wide watery views of Saint John. On the way out to Mispec the road gradual climbs, providing you with an excellent perspective of the city with its Mountainous backdrop to the North.

At this time of year, a smattering of wild flowers have reclaimed the ditches. Nature is close at hand. Tuesday night I saw a bald eagle swooping at a seagull and last week I studied a red fox that paralled my path for over a hundred feet. Rock outcrops become prominent through the trees and finally when you've reached the height of land in Mispec, the trees break away to Mispec Beach, a gem in the craggy shore. The route's only steep hill brings you to the bridge across Mispec River and an equally steep climb up the otherside. But don't despair, in a few minutes you can pull into Mispec Beach and relax on the flat sandy beach. Tuesday night, I found myself there, totally mesmerized by the endless rippled sand. It was my first time at the beach and I was instantly sucked in by its beauty. I walked over the soft wet sand to the water's edge. The tide was out and over 400 feet of flat beach was exposed. The flatness of the beach is extentuated by the rocky headlands that thrust out on either side. That night a half dozen couples and families were strolling the beach. Teenagers had found some space to hang out on the rocks and young girls were eating ice cream purchased from the canteen. And despite the big honking Liquified Natural Gas Towers of Canaport...the view is still incredible, though I have to admit I felt like I was looking at the lair of some James Bond villain.

So if you live in Central Saint John, this incredible beach is only a 35 minute pedal from your door. That's so quick! Really, what is 35 minutes? With the round trip clocking in at just over an hour, you could do this tonite! Do it for exercise, for freewheeling freedom, or to earn an apetite for a picnic on the beach.

View Larger Map

Start: From Uptown cross the Courtney Bay Causeway, turn Right onto Bayside Drive, then Right again onto the Red Head Road.
Distance: 30 km out and back from Uptown Saint John ( round trip). Can shorten ride by turning around at any point.
Terrain: Flat - Mellow Hills, a slight general climb towards Mispec
Road Conditions: Varied new and old pavement, but overall old 2 lane road with no shoulder. Potholes, cracks, and pavement patches in many places but easy to navigate around.
Traffic: The 60 km/hr Speed Limit keeps traffic mellow, but rushhour has low to moderate traffic
Conveniance store at midway point, water available from canteen and washrooms at Mispec Beach.
More informaion:
Saint John, Local Motion, New BRunswick, Outdoors, Biking, Adventure, Graham Waugh


Terri said...

Hey Graham, nice to discover your blog. Bay of Fundy visitors are often asking us at Bay of Fundy Tourism for info re: outdoor adventure in the Saint John/SW NB area...now I'll have a place to send them. That Mispec route is a pretty drive but likely an even better peddle!

Lala said...

Someone posted your link on Twitter so I had to follow it. You make me miss SJ a bit. Well written.