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Catch your breath on Mt. Ramsey thanks to the Cycling Grannies

Wanting to give back to the community, the Grannies carried pieces of a bench to the top of the mountain this week, installing a seat where hikers can enjoy a panoramic view of the Lake Laurentian Conservation Area 

A group of women who go by the name of the “Cycling Grannies” installed a bench on Tuesday morning June 7 at the peak of the Mount Ramsey Trail in the Laurentian Conservation Area. Although the Cycling Grannies have about 50 active members, around 14 showed up to help build and install the bench. Installed as it is on a height of land, the bench hikers have a panoramic view of the Laurentian Trails, Lake Laurentian and stretching all the way to South Bay Road. 

It also provides a nice place to catch your breath after a 40-minute hike. Despite their name, the Grannies do more than cycle. Depending on the time of year, they hike, bike and snowshoe, and the Mt. Ramsey lookout is a favourite spot.

“Over the years, the Cycling Grannies are a group of grannies who have been cycling together for quite a few years,” Janet Spergel said. Spergel is the lead organizer for the installation of the bench. 

“We just love this spot because you can see all of Lake Laurentian. You can see back to South Bay Road, (and) you can see the marsh on the other side, so it's just a beautiful spot. It kind of brings you close to nature and the beauty of our city,” Spergel said. 

Plans for the bench to be perched on the mountain top have been in the works since the end of January. With the Laurentian Conservation Area Foundation’s approval and support for installing the bench, Spergel still had to raise $2,500 to make the bench project possible. Between the 50 members of the Cycling Grannies, she was able to raise that money in no time.

“So I sent out an email to all the grannies on our list and within 24 hours I had about 26 volunteers to donate any set amount of money – it was just whatever anybody could afford. So somewhere in March I had enough money,” Spergel said. 

The hike itself to install the bench wasn’t necessarily an easy one. Almost every member carried a part of the bench all the way up to the top of Mount Ramsey. The group followed the yellow trail to get to that point, which was a total of about two hours there and back to the BioSki Cross-Country Ski & Snowshoe Club (the meeting point for the group). Despite the muggy weather and a million mosquitoes, there was an air of excitement in the air as the group trudged on North. 

“We’re very excited because we were worried today that we weren't going to be able to put it in because of the rain, and it's finally coming to fruition. We're just all very excited about it. So we're going to show it off to anybody who visits the city,” Spergel said. 

Eden Suh is a new media reporter at Sudbury.com.