Skip to Content

Wild Rock Outfitters in Peterborough: Helping Ontarians Explore the Great Outdoors Since 1992

Wild Rock Outfitters started with a simple goal – to be the go-to resource for folks in Peterborough & the Kawarthas who love (or wanted to learn to love) the outdoors. They’ve made a name for themselves in cycling in particular, but their legacy is their commitment to the community around them.

Wild Rock Outfitters in Peterborough
Kieran Andrews and Brayden McGregor from Wild Rock Outfitters. Photo Credit: Justin Ross

We recently had the chance to go on an epic cycling adventure in Peterborough & the Kawarthas, and a big part of the success of that trip was due to our friends at Wild Rock Outfitters, a small business that has been a staple in the outdoor community in this region since 1992.

It’s not just the knowledge that they have, or the products on offer, it’s the way in which Wild Rock sees themselves as a pillar of the community, and the way in which they take action to facilitate change.

Kieran Andrews, one of the founders, who is described on their site as the “Resident Experience Vault,” summarizes their approach to perfection when noting that, “simply put, we try to be good people. Scott and I have always believed in the idea of using our business to strengthen the community that we call home. We believe in doing the right thing and encourage others to do the same because this is our community and we believe in it.”

The Origins and Ethos of Wild Rock Outfitters

Wild Rock Outfitters
Chris riding with Kieran and Brayden in Peterborough & the Kawarthas. Photo Credit: Justin Ross

Wild Rock all started as a very small shop that opened its doors under the tutelage of two young, energetic founders – Scott Murison and Kieran Andrews.

“In the beginning, when we were too young to know better, we focused all of our energy on organizations that supported activities directly related to our business.

Our commitment to our community is truly from the ground up: we encourage our staff to grow in their community roles by volunteering and taking on active roles in the organizations we support; we work to push other members of the business community to care more and take action; and we continually reassess our own roles to ensure we make the greatest impact possible.”

All that to say, their product mix has changed since they began, but their support for the local community, particularly in Peterborough proper, has never wavered.

They help to build clubs (and put eyes on other local cycling clubs), and support organizations that get people moving. As Kieran told me, “we inspire our customers to pursue their active and lifestyle goals while respecting the environment and community.”

And what could be more important than that?

Practically speaking, Wild Rock is known for their role and offerings related to cycling, but we’ve been to their store, and they’ve got a lot more than that going on. They can handle your needs for anything related to camping & hiking, snow sports, paddle sports, running gear, travel items, and more.

It’s also worth mentioning that their staff have an energy which suggests that all of Wild Rock is very much on the same page. We know from getting to know staff members that they’re all about quality training, attentive service, and helping their staff grow along the way.

Seeing Peterborough & the Kawarthas as an Ontario Cycling Destination

Wild Rock Outfitters founders
Brayden and Kieran tearing up the gravel roads in Peterborough & the Kawarthas. Photo Credit: Justin Ross

We’ve cycled across the province with a lot of intention, and it’s safe to say there’s something special going on here. The mixture of road and gravel riding on offer is exceptional, period.

“We are so lucky here in Peterborough County simply because we have a nice, balanced distribution of population and not too much water,” says Kieran.

“It sounds crazy to think of it this way but we have just enough rural population to necessitate a ‘full road network,’ but just sparse enough a population to ensure that many of these roads see almost no traffic.  That reality is mixed with the fact that Peterborough lies right on the border of the Canadian shield and was also deeply affected by the last ice age.  

This all results in us having very quiet roads and extremely diverse topography in a small area, which can be translated into ‘a great place to ride bikes!’

The movement toward gravel riding has also been great for Peterborough.  The reality is that cyclists here have been riding gravel for generations because so much of the best riding here is on gravel roads.  It is only now that the greater cycling community is beginning to pursue gravel riding that more and more people are looking to Peterborough as a real hub and destination.”

Some Practical Cycling Advice

  • If you want to explore this region via bike but don’t know where to start, they’ve built out a page with some top routes to consider, and Peterborough & the Kawarthas also has cycling resources! We also cover many of these routes as well over on travelingmitch, and you can find that article here.
  • If you need something specific or have any questions, you can reach Wild Rock at +1-705-745-9133, or via email at [email protected] or [email protected].
  • Don’t hesitate to pop into the store with questions related to biking gear and routes, either. As Kieran noted to us, “Our team are a really remarkable group of people.  It is never easy getting a significant group of people all working toward one goal.  For us it starts with clearly explaining the experience and feeling that we want our customers to have.  Do we achieve this every time?  No, but that won’t stop us from trying.  We train our staff deeply in both technical knowledge and service ethics but more importantly we try to create an environment that people want to work in for years. It is only with the experience that comes over the years that our people really become capable of achieving excellence. It is a beautiful thing!”
  • We also want to mention that for adventure cyclists (particularly bike packers), this is one of the few one-stop shops in Ontario that can really help you get ready for this sort of trek!
  • Wild Rock is surrounded by some great local restaurants and other local businesses as well, so if you’re coming out here for cycling or simply to visit the shop, consider adding some food into the mix. We asked for their recommendations, and they came back with the following (in no particular order):
    • St Veronus (Peterborough)
    • Ashburnham Alehouse (Peterborough)
    • Silver Bean Cafe (Peterborough)
    • Capra Toro (Peterborough)
    • Pastry Peddler (Millbrook)
    • Muddy’s Pit BBQ (Keene)
    • Elmhirst’s Resort (Keene)

The Power of Cycling

“When you see a lot of people riding bikes it helps people who don’t (yet) ride to think, ‘huh, maybe I can do that'”

Kieran goes on to say that “cycling itself is so diverse and a visible cycling community really helps to put that on display.  Whether that be commuting by bike, encouraging kids to ride to school or encouraging the next generation of bike racers the cycling community can play a huge role if they all come together.”

A few years back, there was a local airport expansion that threatened to close a small road that was beloved by many local cyclists. Well, their local club got together and wrote enough letters and signed enough petitions that they were able to reverse that decision!

“If we were just a bunch on individual cyclists we would never have achieved this but in coming together as a community of cyclists, we had real power and voice.  Another beautiful thing!”

In many ways, cycling (and the exploration of the outdoors at large) is the vehicle that Wild Rock is using to bring people together, and help them feel part of something. But it’s more than that – it’s about giving people the idea and the resources to see themselves as adventurers, and giving them the tools to develop a deep appreciation for a region like Peterborough & the Kawarthas, while letting people know that they’re always there if they need something.

They’ve been a staple since 1992, and there’s no reason to think they won’t still be a staple for many years to come. That’s something we should all hope for, to be honest, as these sorts of local businesses are ones that make a difference, and help to positively shape the way in which we see this province and, in many ways, ourselves.