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  1. #1
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    Needing Route advice through Ontario

    Hi all,
    I'm from the southern U.S. (Oklahoma) and am planning my route for a Atlantic to Pacific tour this summer. I'm excited to be going through Ontario as i have not traveled much outside of my little corner of the world. I would appreciate it if someone could take a look at my proposed route and offer suggestions concerning bicycle friendliness. I would also welcome any other feedback such as places to see, etc. Thanks in advance.
    keith

    http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UT...91a71e&t=h&z=6

  2. #2
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Hwy 17 from Sault Ste. Marie to Espanola will be fine, but I would definitely not ride around the north side of Georgian Bay. Hwy 69 is not bike friendly, and it is being converted piece by piece to 4 lane contolled access highway.Rather, I would turn south on HWY 6 at Espanola and ride accross Manitoulin Island. At the southern end of the island, there is a ferry that takes you to Tobermory where Hwy 6 resumes. I've ridden accross the island, and on Hwy 6, and it's a nice ride.
    From there, take your pick of any of the secondary highways to get you to Lake Ontario and the Waterfront Trail.
    Gearhubs demystified and other cool stuff.


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  3. #3
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    Outstanding. Thanks Dan.

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    Dan is right about 69, it's probably not safe, there is a lot of fast trucking traffic and tiny shoulders. Not much there to see that route anyways... Tobermory has a nice park to visit/camp and the main highway south(hwy 6) from there i'm told has paved 1m shoulders for a distance. If you want to skirt around the southern points of georgian bay it would be nice, avoid Wasaga beach/26 on the weekends.

    I also ridden through the area of 35/118... this is cottager country so on friday afternoon and sunday evening traffic could be intense, try to avoid it. You'll be skirting around the cottage I visited near west guilford in the summer. I went up north through bobcaygeon through.

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    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    The other thing I'd be a tad nervous about is the international bridge at Sault Ste Marie. According to Wikipedia, bikes are allowed, but there are no dedicated bike lanes and it is a looooonng bridge. Actually, it's more like two connected bridges. I cross it from time to time with a truck, last time was a week ago yesterday, but I don't remember ever seeing bicycles on it. There is a walkway along side, so at the very least, I think you could walk the bike across, although it would be a long walk.
    Another option is to head for Grand Portage Mn. That's a land crossing, and bikes are no problem there. It means dealing with some pretty serious hills between Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie, but it's a fairly well used bicycle route in the Summer, and it's pretty safe. I drive an 18 wheeler on that route all the time, and we know to be on the lookout for ya.
    Gearhubs demystified and other cool stuff.


    Rule #12: The correct number of bikes to own is n+1

  6. #6
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Yup, plus some really scenic spots between sault and thunder bay camping wise on the way... but hills, steeper rock faces and no cellphone reception will up the difficulty and cut your locations to make camp.

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    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    +1 on Manitoulin Island, really nice ride. And once you arrive in Tobermory, it's an interesting place to stop of for a day or two if you can. You can go for a hike or take a boat to Flowerpot Island. Here's a website, just in case you're interested http://www.tobermory.org/page/home/Welcome

    Then heading towards Toronto (to connect with Waterfront Trail http://www.waterfronttrail.org/trail.html), the area of Caledon, Belfountain, Orangeville, Mono is hilly but very picturesque.

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    Highway 69 is way more bike friendly than Highway 17. Highway 17 has tons of traffic and a narrow shoulder. Highway 69 also has tons of traffic, but it has a giant shoulder until about 10 km before Parry Sound, at which point you have to get off and take smaller roads through the Muskokas.

    Having said that, I agree that going through Manitoulin Island is a better way to go. From Tobermory I would go Owen Sound, Collingwood, Wasaga, Orillia, Coboconk, Fenelon Falls, Bobcaygeon, Lakefield, Peterborough, Campbellford, Trenton, and then hook onto the Waterfront Trail.

  9. #9
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    I'd stay away from Hwy 69 as well. The Manitoulin route is better. From Bobcaygeon I'd take county road 36 to Hwy 28.

    Hwy 28 was resurfaced last summer so the section from Burleigh Falls to Woodview is new. I have a cottage
    about 20 miles east of Apsley so I drive around there on a regular basis from April to November. It's not a very
    long section so it's doable.

    Hwy 28 can be very busy on weekends from anywhere south of Apsley. It's probably better than Hwy 62 where
    you stand a good chance of being blown off the road by a logging truck. If you are going south on a weekday
    it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

    If you're going to be camping in provincial parks make sure that you have reservations.
    https://reservations.ontarioparks.com/
    Book online well in advance. Campgrounds like the Sandbanks are really packed on the weekends.


    As said before, cellphone coverage is really spotty along your route.

    If you're a member of AAA, then you should be able get help from the CAA. The CAA has a program to help
    CAA members who are cycling and need assistance. http://www.caasco.com/automotive/roa...assist-faq.jsp

    There are a number of wineries in Prince Edward County (from Trenton to Picton). There a number of organized cycling tours in that part of the province.

    The route from Tobermory to Toronto isn't bad either. There are a number of alternate roads you can take besides Hwy 10 from Owen Sound to Toronto. Hwy 10 can be a very busy but you can take most of the county concessions (not all of them are paved though) going north/south.

    The area around Caledon is pretty hilly but I've ridden from Mississauga to Belfountain and it's all downhill to Lake Ontario once you get out of the Credit River valley. I'd take Mississauga road south (I haven't been around there for years so I'm not sure how busy it is) and connect up with the Waterfront trail. The road used to be pretty rough at one time with a really cool hairpin turn (that's more civilized these days) but it's a nice ride these days.

    I'm partial to using the Waterfront trail because the trail runs about 100 yards from my house.
    Last edited by alanknm; 02-15-11 at 05:53 PM. Reason: cleanup

  10. #10
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    Thanks again all for the great information. Sounds like this will be one of our highlights!

  11. #11
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    Hi again, here's the schedule and prices for ferry from Manitoulin Island to Tobermory http://www.chicheemaun.com/chi/engli...ule_fares.html
    We had to tie up the bikes to a rail in the parking area. The ropes were provided.

    And if you ride through Prince Edward County as suggested, you can ride to Picton, and then take Glenora ferry (Hwy 33). I haven't done that myself, so would suggest contacting them to make sure bikes are allowed, but I'm pretty sure they are. Prince Edward County is great for riding.

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    I agree that the Manitoulin route is a better way to go than 69, though last year when I was visiting Tobermory a few times I noted that hwy 6 had no real shoulders, was pretty busy and was being repaved in parts. Might be better now but it's not my idea of an ideal road for biking. No other real choices though until you get down Wiarton.

  13. #13
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Omega359 View Post
    I agree that the Manitoulin route is a better way to go than 69, though last year when I was visiting Tobermory a few times I noted that hwy 6 had no real shoulders, was pretty busy and was being repaved in parts. Might be better now but it's not my idea of an ideal road for biking. No other real choices though until you get down Wiarton.
    Apparently the shoulders(brand new) run down to Mar, Ontario... you are right about some of those roads... riding to wasaga beach on the long-weekend was nuts, two lanes, tourists and 80km+ and jetski trailers...

    Apparently there is also a pilot project for hwy 6 on Manitoulin island.

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    I haven't been up that way for a couple of years. I think there are a couple of sideroads off of hwy 6 once you get about 5 miles south of Tobermory. I don't know how
    good or bad they are though.

    Oh.. and as far as I know, bikes are allowed on the Glenora ferry.

    Once you get to Owen Sound there are quite a few options. The 503 through the Haliburton Highlands is a beautiful but hilly ride.

    How many miles a day are you planning on ?

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    Highway 6 on the Bruce Peninsula is quite busy. I took quiet roads that ran to the east of 6. Dyers Bay Road to East Road. East Road becomes Forty Hills Road, which is unpaved, but hard packed, so easy to ride. Take CR 29 into Lion's Head, and CR 9 out of it. That will take you to Wiarton. East out of Wiarton, CR 1 is a beautiful road. Highway 26 is very busy, but there's a rail trail that parallels it from Meaford to Collingwood.

    I've taken my bike on the Glenora Ferry many times. There's no problems, and it's free. In Prince Edward County, stop at Slickers in Bloomfield for the best ice cream in the world.

    I would only make reservations at provincial parks if you're going to be there on the weekend. They charge a huge reservation fee, and I've never had a problem getting a site during the week.

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    It's been years since I've gone camping. I know that some parks are worse than others for getting a campsite but yeah, you should be able to get a site without a reservation on a weekday.

    The best thing to do is to drop into an internet cafe in some of the larger towns on your route and check online to see what the availability is.

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    Trip average needs to be about 100km a day.

    Wow. I'm finally sitting down to adjust per everyones recommendations and my head is spinning. It may be a few days before i get all the changes made.

    Paul2, my travel partner now has a "Must Stop" marker at Slickers.
    Quote Originally Posted by alanknm View Post
    I haven't been up that way for a couple of years. I think there are a couple of sideroads off of hwy 6 once you get about 5 miles south of Tobermory. I don't know how
    good or bad they are though.

    Oh.. and as far as I know, bikes are allowed on the Glenora ferry.

    Once you get to Owen Sound there are quite a few options. The 503 through the Haliburton Highlands is a beautiful but hilly ride.

    How many miles a day are you planning on ?

  18. #18
    Single-serving poster electrik's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reed523 View Post
    Trip average needs to be about 100km a day.

    Wow. I'm finally sitting down to adjust per everyones recommendations and my head is spinning. It may be a few days before i get all the changes made.

    Paul2, my travel partner now has a "Must Stop" marker at Slickers.
    Haha, since you'll be in the area(probably not after the changes)... There is a large dairy in Minden, Ontario that is a local ice-cream hot spot.

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    I am assuming from the lack of comments concerning Toronto is that we don't want to go into the city? I'm a country boy and that would be fine with me. However, it may be my one and only opportunity to visit, so just wanting to make sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by electrik View Post
    Haha, since you'll be in the area(probably not after the changes)... There is a large dairy in Minden, Ontario that is a local ice-cream hot spot.
    Ahh.. The Kawartha Dairy Bar... Haven't been there for a while... mmmmm . There's also one in Bancroft.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reed523 View Post
    I am assuming from the lack of comments concerning Toronto is that we don't want to go into the city? I'm a country boy and that would be fine with me. However, it may be my one and only opportunity to visit, so just wanting to make sure.
    There's a lot to do and see if you want to come to Toronto. There's even a city run campground near the city limits

    http://www.rougepark.com/explore/int...campground.php

    You can connect up with the Waterfront Trail from there
    http://maps.google.ca/maps?f=d&sourc...,0.055747&z=15

    I'm not sure when you are planning on arriving in Toronto but there are so many things going on during the summer that I can't really describe them in a few sentences.
    http://www.torontolife.com/
    Toronto Life Magazine is a good place to start and pick up a tour guidebook like Fromms.

    When looking for accomodations, the Waterfront Trail folks posted a list of places they recommend for people who are riding in the GWTA (the end to end ride)

    http://www.waterfronttrail.org/gwta_...mmodations.htm
    When in Toronto, make sure that you get a reservation and ask about if they have secure storage for your bikes or if it's OK to store them in your room.

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    One more thought, there are two possible ways of coming into Toronto by bike. Which way you come in depends on what route you are taking coming in from the north.
    My guess is that you will be coming south from Tobermory running parallel to Hwy 10 or Hwy 6 which means you would be coming into Toronto from the west side.

    Maybe Dan has some suggestions ? I haven't lived out that way for 25 years and a lot has changed since then but my guess is that the safest way would be to connect up with the Waterfront Trail from anywhere from Burlington to Oakville.

    If you are coming in to the East end I can suggest a number of routes to get you there. It all depends on where you want to stay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reed523 View Post
    Paul2, my travel partner now has a "Must Stop" marker at Slickers.
    If it's ice cream your travel partner is after, in Big Bay on CR 1 east of Wiarton there's a convenience store that has homemade ice cream that is quite good.

  24. #24
    Senior member Dan Burkhart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alanknm View Post

    Maybe Dan has some suggestions ?
    Indeed I do. My choice would be to ride hwy 6 from Tobermory to Guelph, link up with old hwy 24 (not sure what it's called now, I'll hafta look it up) south to Cambridge, catch hwy 8 east to hwy 5, east to Waterdown, south on Mill St, (becomes Waterdown Rd), east on Plains rd, (becomes Fairview St),south on Brant St to the waterfront.
    Most of the big hills you'll encounter are downhills, and there are some really nice small towns on this route.
    Gearhubs demystified and other cool stuff.


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    i think that you would really enjoy going through bancroft ontario... seeing as i live there and all you could visit the eagles nest which has the most terrific views and then go south towards bellville and continue your route. But it would be well worth your while and there is always something going on. It was titled Ontario's most talented town and if you pm i could possibly hook you up with a cabin to stay in on the eagles nest if your interested.

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