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  1. #1
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    Route ideas? We want to do a week-long tour near Lake Erie, Huron or Ontario

    Fellow tourers,

    We are looking for advice for interesting tours this summer. We have gone great distances in the past but we'll only have a week (maybe two) to spare this year so would like to do something close to home. We live near Toronto and are OK to drive to a start/end point of a loop, preferably with <1 day drive. Or we could take a train if necessary. We are happy to tour in Canada or the USA.

    We prefer being close to water - it just makes for interesting scenery in my opinion - but it's not necessary. We would like to avoid major traffic and truck routes of course.

    Some ideas I had included Bruce peninsula, New York Canalway, Pittsburgh to Washington, Michigan state, finding a loop in Quebec, etc...

    I'm looking for advice from people who have toured in the region, about interesting routes, return transportation (train/bus), camping ideas, etc.

    Our style is usually guerilla camping or super cheap campgrounds... we don't stay in hotels or large campgrounds if we can help it. I'm not sure how easy or hard it is to camp along the rail trails and canalway trails as I've never ridden them.

    I did some forum searching and got a few ideas but am interested in any other personal accounts of trips in southern ontario or in the northern states.

    Thanks everyone!
    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    Being a witch (or not) was a matter of objective fact. What side of the road you should drive on and how long you can leave bicycles locked up are strongly arbitrary.

  2. #2
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    I toured from Kingston to Cornwall along St. Lawrence river. Took the train to Kingston and then from Cornwall back home. Beautiful route along the river, following Waterfront Trail, I definitely recommend it.
    Or you can start in Belleville (train stops there), ride through Prince Edward County to Kingston and so on. PEC is very nice for riding as well.
    http://www.waterfronttrail.org/trail.html

  3. #3
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    Cool thanks - We have done the full length of the waterfront trail already (I actually did it twice) so we are looking for something new. One year we also did Montreal->Halifax and my absolute favourite part was along the St Lawrence through Quebec. Riding the St Lawrence is awesome - definitely worth a try if anyone's in the area.

    I was thinking about doing some great lakes riding on the US side - either below Ontario or below Erie. Any experiences there? We could probably get a ride to Kingston and pedal back West maybe...
    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    Being a witch (or not) was a matter of objective fact. What side of the road you should drive on and how long you can leave bicycles locked up are strongly arbitrary.

  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    I did a week long tour following the Trent/Severn Waterway. It was two days cycling from Toronto to Trenton, five days following the Waterway, and then two days to cycle back to Toronto. I followed the closest roads that paralleled the Waterway, and it was usually quiet and scenic.

  6. #6
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    If you ride west from Kingston, you will be most likely fighting the wind all the way home. I think going east is better.

    Another idea...Last summer we rode from Ottawa to Montreal along Ottawa river, and then we did Le P’tit Train du Nord in the Laurentians. http://www.laurentians.com/parclineaire/
    Or how about Veloroute des Bluetes http://www.veloroute-bleuets.qc.ca/en/ ?

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    One route I've been looking at is the Gaspé peninsula - I haven't done it yet, but hopefully this summer I'll get up there. It's a bit of a trek from Toronto, but VIA does go there as well with a connection in Montreal. The total circuit is about 860 km to do it as a loop, but you could always just do half of it. The area around La Martre looks fabulous, as does most of the route actually. You'd be following the water almost the whole way. Percé looks great as well. Beautiful winding road along the St. Lawrence, cliffs and mountains on the other side... Here's the tourism website - http://www.tourisme-gaspesie.com/en/accueil.html - they've got a free tourism guide and motorcycle map that they'll send you.

    Of course, if you want to keep heading east there's some more great cycling in New Brunswick, PEI, and Nova Scotia, but that's maybe pushing it...

  8. #8
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Last May/June I did a two-month tour starting and finishing in Toronto and going East - out through Southern Ontario to Montreal then on along the St Lawrence, across to Gaspe by ferry, right round Gaspe then back to Toronto via New Brunswick, New England and upstate New York.

    Based on what I saw, if I had two weeks I'd start from Quebec City (the international hostel there was excellent, cheap and right in e centre of the old City, btw) and do a loop through Charlevoix and Saguenay. Not difficult to camp (some excellent campsites in the National Parks, as you will know) and simply beautiful country to ride in. I'd have spent longer there than I did, but had promised myself that I'd explore the Gaspe peninsula - also great, but it would take you longer to get to your start-point and I thought the Charlevoix/Saguenay area had more charm.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  9. #9
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    I really enjoyed the trip from Kingston up the Bruce Peninsula, across Manitoulin Island, and on west. There are some great warms showers hosts along the way. This link picks up our trip leaving Kingston http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...id=201419&v=Fo

  10. #10
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    If you are willing to take the train or drive a car, your touring world opens up wide. I have been cycling in Prince Edward County for 20 years plus, and I still go back at least once a year for two or three days. A week would not be too long. There are some relatively inexpensive campgrounds; it would probably make more sense to use one as a base. There is an excellent bike shop in Bloomfield. Travel time from Toronto to the county by car: 2.5 hours.

    I have done several tours in Quebec, including the north shore of the St. Lawrence along the entire length of Charlevoix (which to my mind is one of the best touring destinations for people who are OK with steep hills), the south shore of the St. Lawrence between Levi and Rimouski (picturesque and mostly flat), and Drummondville to Levi via Lac Megantic (pleasant, varied riding with lots of route options). By train, the starting point is always less than a day away.

  11. #11
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    Thanks so much everyone - I'm going to sit down with the better half and narrow the choices down. Some of these stretches we've done on other tours but there's so much more still to see!
    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    Being a witch (or not) was a matter of objective fact. What side of the road you should drive on and how long you can leave bicycles locked up are strongly arbitrary.

  12. #12
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    I'd vote for riding up the niagara escarpment to the shores of Georgian Bay, and then follow the bruce peninsula up and go to Manitoulin Island. It's lovely for riding and I wish I'd explored it more when I was there last year... it can be a bit desolate if you're there in the off-season but it's got some lovely roads and beautiful shorelines. Coming back to Toronto from Manitoulin one could ride down the Lake Huron shore and ride through some of the lovely southern Ontario farm country. There are some rail trails (sorta) on the way that might be worth checking out too, if that's your thing. The riding in the escarpment can be challenging and beautiful as well, it's a lovely part of the province in my opinion. I also mapped part of a tour I'm planning for this year that basically follows this route but leaves from kitchener, PM if you'd like a link.
    Last edited by clasher; 04-19-12 at 05:01 PM.

  13. #13
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    Would love to see your route. Yesterday I put together an overview route which hits Manitoulin via Huron shores and ends in Sudbury where we can drink cold beer on the last night, bus back to Toronto the following day and then ride back to Hamilton. The only problem with the bus is they make you disassemble your bike.

    Here's a rough route idea - I have to research more about what roads are best on the island and what the "unmissables" are though. The girlfriend does not like gravel roads so I like to avoid them. Rail trail she's OK with.

    http://bit.ly/J3dtjE
    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    Being a witch (or not) was a matter of objective fact. What side of the road you should drive on and how long you can leave bicycles locked up are strongly arbitrary.

  14. #14
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Over the top of Lake Superior?

  15. #15
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    Here's my idea, I actually planned to start with a trip to Dundas so that's part of this route... I'm partial to rail-trails so there's a lot of that in my route, and shoreline roads too. You could likely detour around most of the hills in the escarpment if you're not keen on climbing... I like it so that's why this is such a hilly route but it also rides through a lot of lovely Ontario country... not really the quickest way anywhere either.

    http://ridewithgps.com/routes/1101836
    Last edited by clasher; 04-20-12 at 10:37 AM.

  16. #16
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    hehe we did north of Superior last year - east to west. Just an amazing ride, but atrocious shoulders and killer trucks. We passed 200+ cyclists during our 10 day trip (most going west to east). You'd think that it's enough usage to justify paved shoulders!?

    That mapping site is great, I'm going to give it a try.

    Are you a guerrilla camper or do you stay at organized destinations? I am lobbying Ontario Parks to beef up cyclist facilities. They should have a set of very small and super cheap cycle-in campsites at all of their parks, with bear proof food bins. Their outrageous prices and car-centric facilities keep most touring cyclists away (we should be the exact demographic they target though!)
    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    Being a witch (or not) was a matter of objective fact. What side of the road you should drive on and how long you can leave bicycles locked up are strongly arbitrary.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by acantor View Post
    If you are willing to take the train or drive a car, your touring world opens up wide. I have been cycling in Prince Edward County for 20 years plus, and I still go back at least once a year for two or three days. A week would not be too long. There are some relatively inexpensive campgrounds; it would probably make more sense to use one as a base. There is an excellent bike shop in Bloomfield. Travel
    +1 on the Blooomfield Bike Shop. Great place. Great people. Of course, while your there, you have to have some Slickers Ice Cream and some amazing fudge from across the street.



    Sorry about this last one. You can turn your screen easier than I can rotate it!

  18. #18
    Senior Member clasher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by larry_llama View Post
    Are you a guerrilla camper or do you stay at organized destinations? I am lobbying Ontario Parks to beef up cyclist facilities. They should have a set of very small and super cheap cycle-in campsites at all of their parks, with bear proof food bins. Their outrageous prices and car-centric facilities keep most touring cyclists away (we should be the exact demographic they target though!)
    Depends, if I'm with people we'll just pay for a site, but alone I do stealth camp sometimes. I've found good free camping by just asking people if I could camp on their lawns... I offer labour in exchange but have never been taken up on that aspect... I would love to see cyclist camp sites/rates at our provincial parks. Most of the parks seem like they were designed in the 60s. I wanted to camp at the national park on the Bruce peninsula but it's almost always booked solid in the summer. There are some hosts on the map at warmshowers.org too that might be along the way too.

  19. #19
    Senior Member dwmckee's Avatar
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    We rode around Lake Champlain on the VT/NY border last year and had a wonderful trip. There is a signed and mapped bike route all of the way around and i think it was 350 miles or so. There are also hundreds of miles of signed bike routes off of the main loop if you want extra scenery or miles.. Easy camping and wonderful area to ride. The Vermont tourism board will send you free maps of the entire bike route system which is over a thousand miles of options. http://www.champlainbikeways.org/directions/index.htm This is some of the most beautiful biking country anywhere and the lake is always nearby for a quick dip. AdventureCycling did a story of a week long family ride around the lake about 2 years ago.

  20. #20
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    I know the Bloomfield shop very well. I often wear their shirt and always get a good response from passers-by: Bikes are drugs and I am pedaling them.
    Quote Originally Posted by meanwhile View Post
    Being a witch (or not) was a matter of objective fact. What side of the road you should drive on and how long you can leave bicycles locked up are strongly arbitrary.

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