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Picton Cycle Tour Blog

Manny Agulnik is an Ottawa institution who has organized bike tours for years under the name OK tours. His trademark OK tour is the Ottawa Kennebunkport tour where riders ride about 140km or more for four days. Picton was an exception and I had no idea other than I wanted to support him mainly because of the charity work he and his wife Paula do, and also because I like biking.

We stayed at the Jackson Falls school house inn. This is a truly lovely spot where we ate in what was the one room school house. The region of Picton had many such schoolhouses until they were closed and amalgamated in 1961. While the Jackson Falls school house was renovated there are other ghostly school houses, boarded up, dark and empty of students in the area. Manny had arranged for us to have breakfast and dinners there which was great!

The first day of riding was cold and windy. Some people believed the dire weather forecast and chose not to ride. Our little group of Morley, Manny, Scott, Isabelle, John and his friend rode out ostensibly to Closson vineyards. We got as far as Bloomfield and after a wonderful lunch at the Bloomfield carriage house as we watched the rain and wind over portobello mushroom sandwiches and apricot bread, decided to go back.

The entire group was around 20 cyclists and I soon learned that my roomate Maggie was a wonderful well traveled lady with a zest for life. In fact, the entire group was lovely, friendly and supportive. I believe that Manny's personality has a lot to do with this. There were people who had done almost 10 tours with Manny, which is a tribute.

Being served dinners in a one room schoolhouse with old maps and wooden flooring was lovely. Even nicer was at night as it poured with rain, we heard and were lulled by the rain on the tin roof.

After the ride on Saturday, I went to oil my bike and lifted the heavy garage door. I got my fingers in my right hand crushed. There was no one around and my opera training came in handy. I screamed for help. I woke up John and his friend who rushed out to help me. In fact I woke up everyone. John found a brass ornament and freed my hand. The pain was horrible and I feared I would lose the finger. John and drove me to the hospital all the while alerting the hospital staff.

The hospital staff told me that many from the group phoned to inquire about me. I came back to the Inn just in time for the main course, was cheered and plied with wonderful Picton wine. The innkeeper Pete gave me pain pills and a mysterious concoction with coffee and whiskey. I was told the next morning that when I went to bed I sang the Lord is my Shepherd.. and my roommate harmonized. Our neighours enjoyed the concert and then I went to sleep.

On Sunday morning after a wonderful breakfast of French toast and more chatting with our group, I met Joyce. Joyce is an Olympian of a cyclist and she, Morley and I set off to master the Cressy Loop. Some 70km in high winds and cold temperatures. The loop is beautiful with lovely pastoral scenes, old schoolhouses, and lilac bushes lining the roadways. Joyce and I stopped at the Cider House and of course the fifth town cheese factory. By the time we rejoined the group at the Waupoose winery for lunch I realized I was in pain, cold and tired. I was driven back to the Inn by Morley, I packed and drove home.

Manny organized a lovely tour and there were maps for everyone. The people on the tour were friendly, kind and the sort of people I would consider friends. It is fair to say that on an OK tour you meet cyclists and leave with friends.

Well done!

K. L.