Kicking off the inaugural ride on the Ridge, the Ridge trail at the Smokie Ridge Vineyard on Thurs., Aug. 6 were, left to right: Cycling ambassadors, Andy Gadbois and Aimee Curotte, owner Paul LeBlanc, Amy and Tony Fraser. Morin photo

NORTH DUNDAS – Mixing business with pleasure is the ideal way to run your business whenever you can.

The COVID-19 restrictions on businesses has caused hardship for business owners and their customers. The United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry have come up with a way to try and alleviate some of that.

Staying healthy, supporting local small business and having some fun all at the same time is the goal of the 680 km Cycling Adventure Project. The county-wide project kicked off in North Dundas with an inaugural bike ride from the Smokie Ridge Vineyard.

Kicking off the opening of the cycling adventure in North Dundas was Mayor Tony Fraser and his wife Amy, along with cycling ambassadors Andy Gadbois and Aimee Curotte.

This route, one of 19 throughout the county is called Ride the Ridge. The route is a 29 km loop starting at Smokie Ridge Vineyard, snaking through Mountain, Inkerman and South Mountain before arriving back at the vineyard. Smokie Ridge Vineyard is located at 10090 Cameron Rd. in Mountain.

Owned and operated by Paul and Debbie LeBlanc along with family members, manage and operate the vineyard; it is a true family business.

“We are glad to be here with the ambassadors. We are the first group to be able to take advantage of the cycling ambassadors. There are 680 km of trails in SD&G. We are going to take on the first route Ride the Ridge and it’s 29 km. We are departing from Smokies’ Vineyard and we will return to Smokies’ Vineyard in about an hour and a half,” said Fraser.

The mayor is hoping the cycling on the trails will become a popular activity.

Fraser said, “I am hoping the residents of SD&G and North Dundas take advantage of all of the routes.” 

Many normal activates in all counties have been curtailed but biking has built in social distancing and gets you outside.

The project gives residents a chance to see what Smokie Ridge Vineyards is all about.

Vineyard owner Paul LaBlanc said, “We are really happy to be one of the starting points on this new initiative. We have plenty of space, we have picnic tables, people can park their cars here, it is secure, so here at Smokie Ridge Vineyard we are really happy and proud to be a part of this new cycling initiative the Smokie Ridge Trail which is 29 km.

A pamphlet is available that details the route of each of the 19 locations and you can also download an app regarding the routes.

Each of the 19 different cycling routes have different lengths.

Fraser said he always thought bike trails throughout the county was a great idea. He was the one who pushed the counties for the completion of the project.