Polaris RZR at a small lake

June 17, 2017

ATV Ride for Dads Review

A relaxing ride through some of Central Ontario’s beautiful countryside.

 

The Park-to-Park ride which appears to be largely driven by the “Prostate Extreme Team” is a charity poker-run ride that takes place mid-June on the Seguin Trail leading from the Super 8 Motel in Parry Sound to the Sprucedale community centre.

As we travelled up highway 400, looking for the Quality Inn in Parry Sound, we stumbled across the ride that turned out to start from the Super 8, apparently the motel recently changed names.  Even the Ride for Hope online posters all indicated Quality Inn, but we never received a notice of the change, nor was an address ever posted for the site, so we were a bit fortunate to find it – fortunately, the ride was right at the 400 highway so we recognized the event forming up and were able to hit the exit.

Parking was tight, as it often is at these events, and according to the organizers this 100-bike turnout was the biggest they’ve ever had, making it more understand

Park 2 Park - ATV Ride of Hope for Prostate Cancer awareness.

Link to the official site.

able that the motel parking wasn’t exactly adequate, but we found a spot and got ourselves unloaded.  We travelled alone for this ride but we never felt like it.  The staff, volunteers, and riders we encountered throughout the day we extremely friendly and helpful.

There was a drivers meeting at 8:30am, but we missed most of it due to our own miscue and unfortunately there was no PA for the speaker so we couldn’t hear him when we arrived.  CF Moto was there in earnest and gave a level of professionalism and legitimacy to the event.  I haven’t been around any CF Moto bikes, but there were quite a few at this event.  I have to give kudos to CF Moto for their very deep commitment to this event.  They were very present at the event and for me at least, presented themselves very well as a sponsor and as a legitimate consideration for anyone looking at a new ATV, or UTV/side-by-side.

We got underway at about 8:45am, which was right on time, but as we started we really didn’t know where we were going.  There were no signs, and the maps given to us were less than useless.  As Lynn pointed out, the only thing useful on either of the maps handed to us was the emergency number.  We managed to find a couple of people that seemed to know where they were going and we tagged along.  Fortunately, they did know and we were underway.

A few kilometres from the start, we came across a couple of ATV’s and UTV’s that were stopped at a place where another trail appeared to meet our main trail.  We stopped to make sure they were ok as we always do and it turned out that one of the drivers thought we were supposed to turn here – that this spot was the “Liebeck Lake loop” that had been mentioned.  A long story short, there was one old wooden sign nailed to a tree that said “Liebeck Lake”, but no indication this was the new trail built by the Park-2-Park staff for this ride.  It turns out that that’s exactly what it was, but it sure would have been nice to have had some big signs pointing the way.  The loop was optional, and appeared to be a true off-road trail (which is the stuff we love) so we decided to head down the trail with a group of ATV’ers who offered to pull us out if we got stuck.

This was a great little loop and took us about 45 minutes to complete.  Going around Liebeck Lake, the trail was brand new, and incredibly well marked so that no one could get lost.  There was caution tape and orange flags all the way through and even when we fell behind our ATV friends, never once did I have to do more than glance forward to find the brand-new, unworn trail.  We completed the loop on the way to the Sprucedale turnaround, but not on the way back.  It sounds like there were many more people that jumped on the loop on the trip back and had some good fun getting stuck and trying out the challenging sections.  We found this loop to offer some tight, technical riding, with a couple of small mudholes.  The mud holes would present a challenge to any stock ATV or UTV, but for any modded bike, you’d need to invent some challenges – and there was opportunity to do that.  If we had been riding with our regular crew, we most certainly would have tried harder to bury the RZR.

 

I’ve never ridden this trail before, but it was an amazing trail in fantastic condition.  Fighting dust on these long trails with lots of bikes is always a problem, but we found that despite the sandy base, the mostly tree-lined trail kept some dampness in the ground reducing dust for much of the ride.  The Seguin Trail itself is gorgeous and everywhere along the route there are places to stop to take pictures along lakes, near the old railway bridge, or just about anywhere along the trail.

The trail offers a surface upon which you can travel easily at speeds around 20-25km/h for most of the day without pushing equipment too hard (remember, we ride a 60″ Polaris RZR side-by-side and we noticed that ATV’ers could easily out pace us without pushing).  In fact, one of the best things about the day was the pace.  We were able to take our time, explore, stop for pictures, visit with ATV’ers along the way, and even stopped in Orrville for a coffee, and we never felt we had to rush.  Most events we’ve been to make us feel like we can’t enjoy the ride – just get in the bike, ride hard and get to your meals and then go home.  Often at these rides, stopping for rest breaks, or to chat with too many new friends can mean you miss a meal, or to get shuffled along by organizers that don’t want you to stop riding for too long.  I encourage anyone going on this ride to take advantage of the time allowed and stop at a few of the beautiful spots along the trail, and explore Orrville along the way.  This whole township is ATV and UTV/side-by-side friendly and getting into the communities reminds people that the more accessible their towns are, the more we can contribute to their economy.

We stopped for lunch at Sprucedale where some good sausages were on the menu, but nothing else that we saw.  For us, it was a bit odd that there were no sausage buns for the sausages, and no offer of hamburgers – it was sausage or nothing at all (at least that was our experience).  All-in-all, lunch was ok, but not great.  We were given a ticket for a draw prize on the way into the Sprucedale outdoor arena where lunch was being served and the vast majority of people received a prize of some kind.  The sponsors for this event are very generous and the organizers take every opportunity to try to get prizes into your hands, which was nice to see.  Even doing the extra loop and stopping in Orrville with our ATV friends, we still arrived at lunch by 12:30pm.  We had pushed a bit harder after the Liebeck loop because we thought we’d be behind, but the reality is we really never had to push at all.  There was tons of time to complete this trip and not miss anything – I don’t mean to sound like a broken record, but it was refreshing to be able to enjoy this ride at our own pace without the time pressure.

Because we had completed the trip to Sprucedale and had lunch in just over 3 hours, and still had almost 5 hours before dinner, we took our time, skipped the Liebeck Lake trail and headed past the starting point all the way out to Georgian Bay.  It killed some time and allowed us to see the Rose Point trail that we hadn’t seen yet (this wasn’t part of the organized ride, we just wanted to explore).

After getting back to the Super 8 and loading up, we headed over to the stunning XXXXXXX golf course around 4:45pm where seating was more than enough for the group and dinner was amazing.  Once again, the organizers tried to get as many gifts into people’s hands as they could, but for someone that still had a four hour drive ahead of them, I wish the organizers could have been a bit more organized and had a bit more respect for the time.  We weren’t able to leave the golf course until about 8:00pm because they handed out prizes one at a time and continued to give more and more time to sell off the last of the raffle tickets.  I think the raffle cards, and door prizes could have been done in a more expeditious way.  I’m sure for those that were in hotels for the weekend, it was a nice wind down for the night and they probably enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere that the golf course provided.

Verdict

Pros

  • Seguin Trail provides many different kinds of terrain
  • No time pressure to get to lunch or dinner
  • Friendly staff and volunteers supporting a great cause
  • Stunning beauty along the trail with lots of opportunity for stops and pictures

Cons

  • Expensive ($170 for us to ride for the day)
  • Poor communication and signage
  • Very few challenging sections

 

All in all, it was a great day, and the two most important things were accomplished – they raised money for prostate cancer awareness, and the ride was enjoyable for everyone.  I can’t see how anyone that participated could have not enjoyed themselves (maintenance issues aside, of course!) and I would recommend anyone considering this ride to go check it out, but register before the end of May to save yourself $10 per person and keep the costs down a bit.  It’s important to note that $25 of your entry fee goes to charity, but I felt it was a bit off-side to charge $10 for a day-pass for the driver and another $10 for the passenger (this is the first time I’ve ever heard of a passenger being charged for a pass anywhere).  And in my humble opinion, the costs for these passes should not be charged to at the very least should be donated to the charity.

The organizers seem committed to the event and they did a decent job, however, I felt the event had simply gotten a bit to big to run it in the manner it appears they have for the past 11 years.  I’m sure they’ll step up their game and improve the maps, signs, parking and overall organization as the event continues to grow.

Trail Condition

9

Organization

4

Staff/Volunteer Attitudes

10

Main Meal Venue

10

Something for all riders

5

Value for Money

6

Overall

7.3

 

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