August 6, 2009
Ride and Climb on the Kingston Peninsula
Nothing better than leaving for an adventure straight from work! This evening was a couple weeks ago on a hot day in July. I had my backpack ready to go with some basic climbing gear, warm clothing, and snacks so that by 5 pm I could hit the road. I wanted to bicycle instead of drive to meet my friends Lucas and Kristy at a favorite after work crag near Reed's Point on the Kingston Peninsula across from the Gondola Point Ferry terminal.
Shortly after leaving uptown where I work I crossed the transcanada highway and I got lost, having navigate by feel until I met up with a familiar road farther north. I was bound for the Summerville Ferry that crosses from Millidgeville, just north of Saint John, to the Kingston Peninsula. As I pulled up I passed a line of cars that had been anxiously waiting for the ferry. At busy times of the day car drivers sometimes have to wait for the next boat....not bike riders though! I enjoyed the luxury of boarding and unloading ahead of all the cars. On the ferry I had a few minutes to relax and enjoy the sun glistening over the Kennebecasis River.
On the Kingston Peninsula I rolled through quiet backroads. On my way to Reed's Point I met more barns than cars and got into a good flow rolling hills. The interesting views on this ride occured less often than I expected. The road mainly passes through a thick forest but a there are a handful of panoramic views over the Kennebecasis. And the scenic highlight of the trip occurs just before the descent to Reed's Point. Views are good but I'm not chasing those. The fleeting images I catch as I'm pedalling hard, with my mind focused, are always more memorable.
I rolled up to the Crag at just before 7 pm. The riding time probably only added up to just over an hour while getting lost and taking the ferry made up the rest of the hour. The crag, which we can Gondola Point, ( although its not in Gondola Point) is set down just below the road on the edge of the Kennebecasis River. It's a great spot to unwind at the end of the day. There are a few great, through short, sport climbing routes. This includes one that has 20 feet of delicate stemming (picture an being inside an open faced book) and another that traverses an overhanging wall over the water!
What a great summer night!
Where: Kingston Peninsula, near Saint John
Distance: 30 km (oneway) from Uptown Saint John to Gondola Point Ferry.
Directions: See Google Maps below. It's a straight forward route once you reach the Ferry. To get there I went on Somerset Street and Milledgeville Avenue but you'll have to take whatever streets make sense from your origin. Once you're on the Kingston Peninsula, there are no turns to make. Just stay on Route 845 following signs to Gondola Point. The climbing area is approximately 1000 feet before the Reed's Point/Gondola Point Ferry Terminal. There is a small roadside pull out on the water side of the road across from a wet 15 foot cliff. From the roadside pull out, facing the water, head left 30 ft to a steep trail that loops around to the cliffs. The cliffs are directly below the roadside pull out.
Roads: Good condition overall. Some sections are better than others. The surface is mostly pavement with areas of chip seal. (Chip seal is common on backroads. It is tar with rock on top with makes it rougher than pavement) Not many pot holes. Cracks are common yet easily avoidable.
Terrain: Rolling hills with just a couple bigger ones.
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: Very little traffic. I was given lots of space by drivers.
Services: There are a couple Convenience Stores along the way.
graham waugh, local motion, saint john, new brunswick, kingston peninsula, cycling, biking, bikes, outdoors, active living, rock climbing
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