Cycle touring is rewarding in its own right, but biking is even better when you tailor your ride. Love cycling and sipping in wine country? How about bikes and brews, or legging it alongside sparkling lakes?
From rocking trail rides to skinny-tire Shangri-La, this collection of day tours and weekend adventures is organized by our favourite themes. Find even more of the province’s finest rides at Ontario By Bike.
Most wine-loving riders are familiar with the acclaimed southern Ontario grape growing regions of Niagara, the Essex Pelee Island Coast, and Prince Edward County—all of which are superbly suited to cycle touring. (In fact, if you haven’t made it out to Pelee Island yet for a weekend wine country escape on the Waterfront Trail, put this ferry-accessed fairyland at the top of your spring cycling list!)
But many cyclists are less acquainted with the province’s cold climate grape country. Rolling vineyards and quad-quivering hill climbs go hand-in-hand in southern Georgian Bay (let Collingwood Cycling Tours curate a taste tour) and southwestern Bruce County. Ride the 60-km River Valley route between the charming small towns of Walkerton, Hanover, and Mildmay—where the pastoral valley of the Saugeen River pairs beautifully with the artisanal wines and craft ciders of Hoity Toity Cellars. Take a guided tour of the vines (and a break from the saddle), cool off in their underground cellar, and meet the flock of sheep that are integral to this grower’s unique farming practices.
Beer lovers should also take note: bookending the loop in Hanover, Neustadt, and Formosa, three breweries turn local spring water into liquid gold.
Boreal Winery—Canada’s coldest-climate winery—is situated on the Voyageur Cycling Route, 55 km east of Sudbury in the hamlet of Warren. Tour the farm’s organic boreal and Arctic berry orchards and sample the delicious spoils of all that sun-ripened goodness, then pedal south along the VCR to St. Charles, Noelville, and Monetville. Circle back north through the wildlife-filled wetlands of Mashkinonje Provincial Park and watery reaches of Lake Nipissing’s West Arm. Crank out this century ride in a single day, or stay at a lakefront cottage or campsite (wings and pints just down the road at the Lavigne Tavern!) and make it a relaxing weekend tour.
This is just a tasting of the wonderful Ontario wine routes that welcome cyclists—check out Ontario By Bike’s winery map for dozens more.
Ontario is a land of lakes, which means rides here are more often than not rewarded with refreshing water views. Start in central Ontario’s cottage country with a spin around one or more of the three Muskoka Lakes (plus 80 or so smaller lakes)—a plethora of charming cottage rentals and resorts make it easy to put together a long weekend ride taking in lakes Muskoka, Joseph, and Rosseau. Find cycle and stay packages here.
Heading north, Manitoulin Island is surrounded by the waters of Lake Huron, and holds the record for the world’s largest freshwater island. Add to this the 108 inland lakes that dot the island itself—and Manitoulin’s fervent cycle touring culture—and it’s hard to imagine a better place for laidback, lake-to-lake riding. Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates’ (MICA) comprehensive website maps 14 routes spanning 800 km of pavement and gravel, as well as bike-friendly accommodations, dining and attractions. They also organize all-inclusive, five-day cycling vacations (featuring lakeside lodging) in June and September.
Linking together the east Algoma communities of Elliot Lake, Iron Bridge and Bruce Mines, the 120-km Deer Trail loop is perfect for a weekend lakes tour on roads less travelled. These secondary highways touch the shores of countless pristine lakes and rivers, and cyclists will pass through beautiful Mississagi Provincial Park. Stay in the park campground on the shore of Semiwite Lake, swim and hike to a breathtaking clifftop lookout. Or treat yourself to the luxury of a lakeside lodge—there are loads to choose from en route.
When it comes to bikes and brews, cyclists in Ontario are spoiled for choice. If you’ve already sampled the amazing pedals and pints in the Collingwood area (if you haven’t, join Humdinger Bicycle Tours’ three-day Pedal, Pints, and Pubs tour), look north and east for more great places to get hopping.
With an incredible variety of road, rail trail, and mountain biking, the Kawarthas Northumberland region is billed as Ontario’s pedaling playground. Add to that a burgeoning craft brewery and cidery scene—and effortless shuttling with Via Rail’s Bike Train—and Northumberland County may be the closest thing to cycle touring paradise. Check out the Cheers Tour to hit three breweries and two cideries in one tasty ride. Departing from Peterborough, the 105-km Brews, Bites and Barns tour makes for a mouthwatering weekend ride in the heart of the Kawartha Lakes and historic Trent Severn Waterway.
In Explorers' Edge, take a spin out of Gravenhurst—gateway to Muskoka’s famous lakes—for a memorable metric century. Travelling mostly on twisty, lightly trafficked back roads, this 100-km loop takes in the hairpin corners and Canadian Shield landscape of Torrance Barrens, countless lovely lakes and waterways, and two craft breweries: Gravenhurst’s Sawdust City Brewing Company and Torrance’s Clear Lake Brewing Co. (located right next door to Pie restaurant’s wood-fired pizza patio). Cyclists can refuel again at the halfway mark—the village of Washago serves up Kawartha ice cream and scrumptious baked treats (there’s also a well-stocked LCBO).
For more info all things fermented in the near north, follow the Cottage Country Beer Trail.
For a unique pairing of backcountry trail riding enriched with local ales and cultural history, Northern Edge Algonquin offers an all-inclusive Trails, Tales and Ales experience. Start in the village of South River at Highlander Brew Co. for brewmaster training and tasting, then cycle 20 km of rolling trails to Northern Edge’s century-old log cabin nestled in the wilderness.
Mountain bikers and fans of malted beverages can get their fill of both in Sudbury. The Big Nickel is home to fantastic trail networks in Kivi Park, Lake Laurentian Conservation Area, and the Walden Trails. After cranking Canadian shield-country trails, drain a pint and grab a bite at Stack Brewing or take a growler to go at 46 North.
Still thirsty? Ontario by Bike’s breweries map pinpoints scores more cycle-friendly brewpubs province-wide.
PLAN YOUR TRIP NOW
Cycle touring is rewarding in its own right, but biking is even better when you tailor your ride. Ontario By Bike has made it easy for you to create an itinerary or find a tour.