|This is the ride everyone dreams of doing: Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island! Spectacular scenery is one reason that it is, by far, the most popular bicycle touring region in Atlantic Canada. Cape Breton must be the luckiest cycling place in the world, with its magnificent seacoast mountains, clean rivers and lakes, ocean breezes, plentiful wildlife, and unique Gaelic culture.
This is an affordable camping vacation, which will enjoy a carefully selected route around an unforgettable island. It will be a fun and friendly tour, with a great deal of socializing. Along the way, we will learn about Cape Breton’s history, discover its incredible variety, and experience what makes the island distinct. Join us for a tour which will be both enjoyable and memorable.
We’ve planned this trip with average cyclists in mind. To some, the tour will be a challenge, and the satisfaction of it completed. To others, it will be a chance to renew and strengthen friendships, or to make new ones. For still others, it will be the chance to see Cape Breton as no other form of travel can. For everyone, it will be the most inexpensive, not to mention fun, vacation of the island available.We will have 8 days of cycling, with an average 70 km (44 miles) per day. The amounts each day vary, with the days in hillier terrain lower. You can bicycle each day in five hours or less of actual biking, leaving plenty of time for sightseeing and relaxing. Options will be offered for both shortcuts and for scenic side routes. Terrain on the island is rolling to hilly. The three days in Cape Breton Highlands National Park have several small mountains. These are challenging, even with their much lower daily distances. With a relaxed tour schedule, however, they are feasible, even for casual cyclists. With the assistance of our support vehicle, we can offer a worry-free tour. By Atlantic Canada standards, the terrain is from rolling to hilly. New or casual cyclists will find this tour quite feasible. For more accomplished bicycle tourists, detailed options will be offered for longer daily routes. These will allow for taking in more of the province, while enjoying the event with others.
The tour covers a huge amount of the island. We begin by following the Bras d’Or, perhaps the cleanest inland sea in the world. After a day at the end of the “lake” we enter the Cape Breton Highlands. After several shorter but invigorating days of riding, we reach the Gulf of St. Lawrence side of the island. Our last two days follow a French speaking Acadian area and the heart of Cape Breton’s Scottish heritage and music.This is one of the most highly rated cycling routes in the world. It is a beautiful special place. We have designed a tour that explores it. At times a little challenging, our tour is “doable” and is a fun event for everyday, casual cyclists. We are looking forward to sharing the island with you.
|Saturday, July 13 â€“ Port Hawkesbury to Whycocomagh
Sunday, July 14 â€“ Whycocomagh to North Sydney
Monday, July 15 â€“ North Sydney to Englishtown
Tuesday, July 16 â€“ Englishtown to Ingonish
Wednesday, July 17 â€“ Ingonish to Cape North
Thursday, July 18 â€“ Cape North to Cheticamp
Friday, July 19 â€“ Cheticamp to Inverness
Saturday, July 20 â€“ Inverness to Port Hawkesbury
Saturday, July 13 – Port Hawkesbury to Whycocomagh 78 km (49 mi.)
Our first day follows the shore of Lake Bras d’or, an inland sea.
Sunday, July 14 – Whycocomagh to North Sydney 94 km (59 mi.)
Whycocomagh is two villages in one. On one side is a community settled by the Scots. On the other is a Mi’kmaq native community, one of several on the island. Our route today will be a very pleasant run around the Washabuck Peninsula, through the once Gaelic speaking village of Iona.
Monday, July 15 – North Sydney to Englishtown 67 km (42 mi.)
Boularderie Island is “an island within an island”. Today’s route takes a quiet, winding route around its edge, before facing the first large climb of our tour.
Tuesday, July 16 – Englishtown to Ingonish 51 km (32 mi.)
We are nearing Cape Breton Highlands National Park! Enjoy the spectacular coastal scenery, and the green dense forests â€“ shame about Cape Smokey Mountain in our way just before our day’s end.
Wednesday, July 17 – Ingonish to Cape North 51 km (32 mi.)
We follow a roller-coaster shoreline. Bay St. Lawrence is home to whales, often sighted while cycling. It is also bird country, including herons and eagles.
Thursday, July 18 – Cape North to Cheticamp 68 km (42 mi.)
One of the greatest days of cycling you will ever have! We will challenge ourselves on small mountains that rise up along the Atlantic Ocean. The ride down French Mountain is thrilling, a curving road, which looks out over the Gulf of St. Lawrence, one of the most photographed places in North America.
Friday, July 19 – Cheticamp to Inverness 66 km (41 mi.)
We follow the Ceilidh Trail, along the shore of the Gulf. We pass a region of French-speaking Acadian fishing villages, and later, into the heart of Nova Scotia’s rich Gaelic music and culture. This is our last night together- let’s party!
Saturday, July 20 – Inverness to Port Hawkesbury 85 km (53 mi.)
Our last day. Enjoy this pretty ride along Cape Breton’s rocky west coast. As the Nova Scotia mainland comes into view, you will no doubt think about our trip around this beautiful, rugged islandâ€¦ from our ride around its inland sea, through the highlands, and along its barren coast. You’ve done it! Fantastic!
||What We Provide – comprehensive ride guide â€“ all about what you will see on route- history, culture, trivia-camping facilities -luggage transportation â€“ we will carry your gear â€“ just bike and enjoy the ride!-bike mechanic assistance-sag wagon service â€“ support vehicles will be available for breakdowns or tired riders -daily route maps – tour escort â€“ Gary Conrod has 160,000 kilometres cycling experience, including every road on Cape Breton Island.
Accommodation – Our trip will be a tent camping adventure. It is possible for non-campers to attend and stay indoors every night of our tour. A limited number of Bed and Breakfasts and motels are along our route. If indoor lodgings are off of our supported list, we will assist with the transport of their gear to and from our campsites. Due to the popularity of the area, early reservations are strongly recommended. Upon request, a listing of motels and Bed and Breakfasts will be sent with confirmation.
Meals – Each cyclist can have their own choice of dining. Some prepare meals at our campsites. Participants buy food daily at designated spots and we transport it to the end point. We have a large amount of cooking stoves, equipment, and cutlery â€“ no need to bring any of that gear to our tour. Others prefer to enjoy as many restaurants as the route allows. We will provide a list each day of what you will find along our route.Baggage System – Each morning you will bring your baggage to our truck. You are then free to ride at your own pace. Your bags will be waiting for you upon your arrival at the next campground or indoor selection.
Tour Support – During the ride, our support vehicle will be at your service if you need a lift or other assistance. Maps and information materials will help guide you along the way.
Preparation and Equipment – We will carry whatever you feel you need to enjoy the tour. You must supply your own tent and sleeping bag. We will not subject your gear to weighing scales or bag limits. We ask, however, that you do not overdo things- (please â€“ no TVs )