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'Exciting news' for cyclists with Hardwood set to open Saturday

'We are excited to get back on the trails,' Hardwood official says, noting there will be new safety protocols in place to ensure safety of cyclists, staff
Hardwood Ski and Bike, located north of Barrie in Oro-Medonte Township, is shown in a file photo from when it hosted the 2019 Canadian XCO MTB Championships. Raymond Bowe/BarrieToday

Saddle up, bike fans. Hardwood Ski and Bike is opening its Oro-Medonte trails Saturday morning.

Hardwood’s president, Gareth Houben, took to social media to deliver the “exciting news” that the popular facility and its 80 kilometres of trails is finally opening after COVID-19 restrictions kept it closed for almost two months.

“We finally have the green light from our local officials to open,” said Houben, noting it will “be a little bit different than the past, but we’re all excited to get back out on the trails.”

While the trails are open, not all amenities will be available.

The chalet will have a limit of 10 guests inside at any one time. On top of that, there will only be one-way traffic inside the new structure, which opened in February.

The guest service area, retail store and bike service and repair shop will all be open. In addition, the new rental fleet will be available to riders.

Individual bathrooms and touchless water bottle fill stations will be open, but changerooms and large bathrooms will be closed. The members’ lounge will also be closed.

“It’s not a place to come and hang out - come prepared to be outside a lot,” said Houben. 

He also stressed that everyone must continue to abide by physical distancing restrictions - in the parking lot, in the chalet and on the trails.

“The trails are also one-way … and you should never be crossing paths,” said Houben, who also urged visitors not to hug each other.

“Let’s use common sense,” Houben urged, requesting vigilance so that there could be a return to “a sense of normalcy” sometime soon.

It’s felt anything but normal at Hardwood in recent weeks. The entire staff was “furloughed” on March 27 and all departments were shut down.

Only over the past several days have staff begun to return to clean and prepare the trails while they awaited for the official go-ahead to open.

Hardwood opens at 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning. For more information, visit their website.

Dave Dawson

About the Author: Dave Dawson

Dave Dawson is community editor of
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