These days, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of trip planning tools available for adventure travellers. We’ve sifted through the digital masses to curate an adventure-ready list of some of the best apps and online tools for planning your next Ontario cycling vacation. Ontario By Bike is an excellent resource for epic riding destinations plus bicycle friendly places to eat, visit and sleep.
You can book flights to many Ontario destinations and manage your reservations through smartphone apps for Air Canada (download the app for Android and iOS) and WestJet (download the app for Android and iOS). Meanwhile, Porter Airlines offers bookings through its website only. Via Rail offers passenger service to many destinations in Eastern, Southern, Central, and Northern Ontario. Download the app for Android and iOS.
For travel discounts, download the Groupon Canada app for Android and iOS. If you’re driving, Gas Buddy (download the app for Android and iOS) will help you find the cheapest price at the pumps in dozens of Ontario communities. Uber ride-sharing services are available in many larger Ontario centres (download the app for Android and iOS). For local knowledge and insider tips, check out the Driftscape website and mobile app for Android and iOS.
Trails and Maps
Ontario By Bike and Ontario Trails Council are helpful resources to plan your routes. Google Maps is the standby for general-use maps and route-finding (download the app for Android and iOS). If you’re looking for trails and recommended cycling routes, you can’t go wrong with Trailforks (download the app for Android and iOS); AllTrails (download the app for Android and iOS); and MTB Project (download the app for Android and iOS). All three options allow you to join an ever-growing community of adventure enthusiasts and upload your own favourite Ontario cycling routes for road biking, mountain biking, and fat-biking, as well as hiking.
iOverlander has developed a cult-following of diehard under-the-radar travellers around the world, with recommended campsites, dining and vehicle mechanics, among other resources. Download the mobile app for Android and iOS and dig into a huge repository of adventure travel information—especially if you’re doing a car-supported bike trip. For detailed maps beyond the range of cell service (critical in the more remote parts of Northern Ontario), check out Maps.me, which supports both Android and iOS mobile apps. A great cycling-specific app available for both Android and iOS is Map My Ride, which pairs with your smartphone’s GPS capabilities to produce accurate route data for all your biking adventures.
Data-mining cyclists will want to download the Strava app (Android, iOS) to track their cycling stats, push their limits and connect with like-minded fitness fiends. Finally, if you’re on Instagram be sure to upload the app for Android and iOS and check out Ontario feeds like Destination Northern Ontario, Ontario Travel, and Ontario Parks. Use the hashtag #DiscoverOn in the description of all your Ontario photos.
Find bicycle-friendly accommodations that welcome cyclists with covered and secure bicycle storage areas, local cycling information, basic repair and toolset and tire pump as well as local foods through Ontario By Bike.
For a unique stay just about anywhere in Ontario, check out Airbnb (download the app for Android and iOS). Find (and reserve) a great campsite on the Ontario Parks website. Parks Canada supports a great planning app for Android and iOS smartphone users. Cottage and vacation rentals are great options for cyclists—especially in Central and Northern Ontario, where mountain biking and road cycling routes abound and crystal-clear lakes support great family holidays. Ontario Cottage Rentals is a great web resource, while VRBO supports apps for Android and iOS.
Nature and the Environment
Get a better sense of Ontario’s rich natural history through your smartphone. iNaturalist is a great general-interest app with user-friendly platforms for Android and iOS. If you’re a birder, check out Audubon Bird Guide (download the app for Android and iOS). Ontario Wildflowers is an excellent resource to help identify plant life, with smartphone apps for both Android and iOS).