2018 Cape Breton Island Bicycle Tour


It sounds like a long way off - but some of us need to plan well ahead. Registrations are now being accepted for our 2018 season. There are no conditions regarding cancellation fees or refunds until October 1, 2017

This a 2018 event - for the 2017 season click here

JULY 16 – 23, 2018
Cape Breton Island Bicycle Tour
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.

The Cape Breton Bicycle Tour 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 65 km (40 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.
This year the tour will be staying an extra day on the Cabot Trail.  It will explore north to the far tip of Nova Scotia.  One other day has also had routing changes.  Many come back to revisit this classic tour several times.  This will be a good year to redo this ride.

Monday, July 16, 2018 – Port Hawkesbury to Whycocomagh
Tuesday, July 17, 2018 – Whycocomagh to Englishtown
Wednesday, July 18, 2018 – Englishtown to Ingonish
Thursday, July 19, 2018 – Ingonish to Cape North
Friday, July 20, 2018 – Day Ride to Tip of Nova Scotia
Saturday, July 21, 2018 – Cape North to Cheticamp
Sunday, July 22, 2018 – Cheticamp to Inverness
Monday, July 23, 2018 – Inverness to Port Hawkesbury


Monday, July 16, 2018 – Port Hawkesbury to Whycocomagh 78 km (49 mi.)
Our first day follows the shore of Lake Bras d’or, an inland sea. 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.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 – Whycocomagh to Englishtown 87 or 69 km (53 or 43 mi.)
We follow the north side of Lake Bras D’or.  There are two choices, around Gut St. Anns and the Gaelic College or via shorter route via Englishtown ferry

Wednesday, July 18,2018 – Englishtown to Ingonish 53 km (32 mi.)
We are nearing Cape Breton Highlands National Park! Enjoy the spectacular coastal scenery, and the green dense forests. Cape Smokey Mountain stands in our way just before our day’s end, the climb making it equal to a longer day’s ride.

Thursday, July 19,2018 – Ingonish to Cape North 49 km (30 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. This is a shorter day but there is a lot to see and do.  There is also an extra optional ride out toward the northern tip of Nova Scotia.

Friday, July 20, 2018 – Day Ride to Tip of Nova Scotia 45 km (28 mi.)
We stay based at Beautiful Cape North and ride out as far north in Nova Scotia as one can go. The road follows the spine of what remains of the Appalachians,  before they abruptly end at the ocean.  Bay St. Lawrence is the suggested stop, an attractive and isolated fishing village.  Meat Cove, the furthest one can go in Nova Scotia is a bit further on.  It requires sturdier tires than 23 or 25’s.  There are also other things to do!  There are other short bike rides.  There is also hiking.  Kayaking is available a short distance from out camp. There is also a nearby beach.

Saturday, July 21, 2018 – Cape North to Cheticamp 70 km (43 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.

Sunday, July 22, 2018 – Cheticamp to Inverness 64 km (39 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!

Monday, July 23,2018 – Inverness to Port Hawkesbury 89 km (54 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 island… 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; all about what you will experience on route, history, culture, trivia -camping facilities -luggage transfer; we will carry your gear, just bike and enjoy the ride! -bike mechanic assistance -sag wagon service –support vehicle available for breakdowns or drives to shorten your day -daily route maps -tour escort; Gary Conrod will be along the route, he has 177,000 kilometres cycling experience, including almost every road on Cape Breton Island.

About Our Tours: 
Our tours are different!  We run friendly and fun bicycle-camping trips.  There are not many groups left like us out there doing this. Running inexpensive tours by camping and not doing inns is now a rarity. We have done it this way since way back in 1987.  It gets a little bit harder each year to crawl in and out of tents - we are not getting any younger, but we would still rather be doing it our way - under the stars.

Our events usually have between 18 and 35 people, the majority older adults.  Since our camping groups are a bit larger compared to inn to inn tours, there are far greater chances of finding others with the same interests. During a week to 10 day tour everyone gets to know pretty well everyone else.   Rather than a tour with just a handful of people, possibly none you have things in common with, our size allows a wide range of personalities, interests, and similar riding speeds. We feel our trips are just the right size for fitting in.  Lots of friendships are made on our tours.

We run our tours in prime natural settings in Eastern and Atlantic Canada.  Our tours are a bit harder to get to - they will need more planning.   Running events in remoter regions with limited options raises costs a bit more than if we did them in busier places.  We feel getting away from the heat, humidity, cities, stress, tension, and traffic makes the experiences we offer completely worth it.  Our return rate is among the highest of any cycling organization - as high as 90% on some tours, so overall people seem to love what we are doing and value their experiences.

Our trip will be a tent camping adventure, but for some  who say their camping days are behind them can join in on our journeys. A limited number of Bed and Breakfasts and motels are along our route. Upon request, a listing of motels and Bed and Breakfasts will be sent with confirmation. Due to the small places we go to, early reservations are strongly recommended.

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 – 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 bicycle, tent and sleeping bag.

Entry Fee:
$964 CAD (Canadian Dollars)

Returning Participants Appreciation:
We are proud of having among highest the return rates of all bicycle touring organizations. In appreciation, we wish to offer returning riders for 2020 tours $100 off before March 31, 2020 and $50 off after.

Entry Options:
*Credit Card - (Visa and MasterCard) - We put cards through by phone to avoid sensitive information passing through our web site.  Please call us at 888-800-2498; or 902-423-2453.  Please also for security reasons, do not send credit card numbers by email or text.  American and foreign participants have the Canadian amount converted to their currency at the current exchange rate.

*PayPal - we can send you an email with a link that goes to our PayPal page. American and foreign participants have the Canadian amount converted to their currency at the current exchange rate.

*Personal Cheque or Money Order - Postal mail:  PO Box 1555 Stn CRO Halifax NS B3J 2Y3 Canada. Note that the bank rate is different than the "paper" rate.  Use this link on the day you send payment   Exchange Rates  Use the column (Client Sells - Receives Canadian). If the math gets complicated contact us and we will help sort it out.   Note that the postage rate to Canada is higher than U.S. domestic rate, ask what it currently is, mail can be turned back.

*Interac - send payment link to [email protected]

*Wire Transfer - please contact us and we will check if this can set up without unreasonable charge from your area.

Youth and Child Rates:
We have rates for youth and children, please contact us for details.

All taxes are included.

Deposits – Getting on Board:
To secure a spot on one of our trips a $300 deposit is required. Full payment is due 60 days prior to the day of departure. If we do not receive your final balance on time, we will consider your reservation cancelled. We will attempt to remind you as the date nears.

Cancellations and Change to Later Trip Charges:
We understand things happen in life and sometimes you have to cancel or defer your bike tour.  A fair amount of work and arrangements are involved with each registration ACC receives and the cancellation timeline outlined below is strictly adhered to.  Exceptions will not be made for any reason. This includes weather or personal emergencies.  We highly suggest that you purchase travel insurance. There are many companies that offer inexpensive trip insurance, and we recommend you look into it.

Your cancellation fee will be determined based on the day the written notice is received. There is no refund if you arrive late or must leave a tour early.

Change to later Trip Option - Registrations may be forwarded to a future event within 3 years with the timeline outlined below. Moving your tour ahead is a better deal than the costs of cancelling outright.

Cancellation Fee
Over 60 Days refund minus $200
31-60 Daysrefund minus $400
16-30 Days50% of trip price
15 Days or lessno refund
Change to Later Trip Fee
Over 60 Days $100 fee; remaining credit may be used within 3 years
31-60 Days$200 fee; remaining credit may be used within 3 years
16-30 Days$300 fee; remaining credit may be used within 3 years
15 Days or less$400 fee; remaining credit may be used within 3 years


Travel Insurance:
Since there are no exceptions to the cancellation policy outlined above, unfortunately including personal emergencies, we highly recommend that each participant have cancellation and travel insurance.  This type of insurance covers illness, accident, loss of luggage, or other unforeseen occurrences. In addition, we also recommend travelers health insurance to supplement your own medical insurance. Atlantic Canada Cycling does not provide travel insurance or health/accident insurance. This is strictly the participant’s responsibility.

Cancellation of Event:
Atlantic Canada Cycling has never had a cancelled event in its twenty-seven years. We do, however, reserve the right to cancel any scheduled tour. In this event you will receive a full refund of any money paid (for tour operation only).  In this event ACC is not responsible for expenses incurred by individuals in preparation for the trip such as non-refundable airline tickets, medical expenses, equipment etc.

ACC Registration Form:
Our Participant Form is below. It should open in a new page in your browser. If not, try to right click and “save target as”, "file as" or "linked content as", depending on your browser to download. The form requires Adobe Acrobat Reader. It is on most computers but if not you can download from Adobe. If you have problems, please contact us, we can email or fax a form to you. [email protected] Call us at 888-800-2498

ACC Registration Form:  Click Here!
ACC Registration Form


We would like to hear from you. Please send us a message by filling out the form below and we will get back with you shortly.


Hi!  I’m currently a student and cyclist here in the Nova Scotia area. In my health class we were asked to raise awareness of safety in a sport we’re passionate about – so I picked cycling. I am asking cycling websites in the area to help me share or remind cycling safety.

Here’s a good article I found and my Health teacher approved:

https://www.dietspotlight.com/healthy-cycling-benefits-guide/ – list of safety tips, cycling benefits, and resources.

Thank you for being such a great inspiration and spreading awareness on the sport!

Derrick Lopez

Pedal Magazine – Canada 150

Pedal Magazine Canada 150

Quebec’s Eastern Townships – New Cycling Event for 2015!

The perfect setting for a cycling tour – cozy towns and villages, small cafes, great little restaurants, farm markets, maple sugar farms, wineries, cider producers, craft beer makers, family-run boulangeries, fromageries, and two chocolatiers.



1 Million Visitors!

1,000,000 visitors! Atlantic Canada Cycling has had a web site since the very first beginnings of the Internet. many years later, we have been on watch duty, over our visitor counter, watching for ACC’s 1,000,000th visitor. And it just clicked over….


Look at small counter fourth line down 🙂 – It just clicked and we were on hand to catch the exact hit! This total is real human visitors, not “bots”,not Google “checking in”, not ACC working on site, etc., etc. One million people. This is more people than all that live in our home base of Nova Scotia. (940,592). We do not know who this person was, could be, it will remain is obscurity. Regardless of how many visitors, will will always end up with 20 to 40 people actually biking. Looks like there are a LOT of armchair cyclists out there Thank you for being a part of all this 2015 tours are at https://www.atlanticcanadacycling.com/bicycle-tours

New Brunswick – Route 1

St. Stephen – Peticodiac


What a shame New Brunswick Trunk Route #1 takes up its space on such beautiful landscape along the Bay of Fundy! This high volume, high speed highway with no thought for bicycling runs with landscape brutally cleared away for view planes in all directions, from its start at the U.S.A. border, through to the town of Sussex, to its end near Moncton.

It has a paved has a shoulder, but by no means is this anywhere near a pleasant road road to bicycle on.

From the U.S.A. border moving eastward, you can do options such as Route 127, and 760. At St. George, you reach an oasis for the bicycle tourist. Here, several great routes run southward, and you can enjoy the Fundy Islands – Deer Island, Campobello, and Grand Manan. This area was the first New Brunswick location Atlantic Canada Cycling selected for its beloved Atlantic Canada Bicycle Rally.

Between Musquash and Saint John, there is absolutely no other option. It is ugly. The 790 can take a long distance to give you only a short breather. The 780 is really tough slogging (unless you have a mountain bike). You are faced with no other choices. Traffic moves at 110 kph (at least). The shoulder makes it reasonably safe, but it is not a road you use by choice.

A rather sad feature is that very long sections have been fenced in on both sides, with miles and miles of metal barriers put up to prevent animals from getting on the road (or is it to fence you in?). This harsh metal curtain runs forever along both sides, totally dividing the ecology on both sides of the highway. It’s dispiriting. Supposedly, animals will be different on each side of the highway should civilization extend itself another million years or so.

In Saint John, Route 1 crosses the Saint John River. Here bicycles are NOT ALLOWED  (surprise). You must go through on the old highway. Good Luck. Saint John is a mess, you will get lost, we promise…

Between Saint John and Quispamsis, it is a tough call. Route 100, as its nasty review can attest, is a busy sprawl zone, with all the lack of respect for the cyclist as a city can afford.  At commuting times, this road is fierce. Local Saint John cyclists could tell you of how they use Loch Lomond Road and the 860. This is a bit difficult to follow, as small roads run off in all directions. The highest traffic volumes in the province of New Brunswick run between Saint John and Moncton. If you have lots of time, the 111 is preferred. Route 121 follows the 1 between Hampton and Sussex. At commuting hours, this road can be just as bad as there is no shoulder.

Traffic: High to Very High

Road Conditions: Divided 4 lane; Limited access sections

Terrain: Rolling

Communities On This Route:

Saint George; Saint John

Nova Scotia – Route 203

Carleton – Shelburne

“The Highway to Nowhere”

bikerating2 Route 203 is a highway in limbo. The road passing through Nova Scotia’s interior was at one time a ribbon of prosperity. Tin deposits were discovered at Kemptville and the largest tin mine in North America was set up. A decision was made for the ore to be shipped not to nearby Yarmouth, but all the way to Shelburne on the Atlantic side. It is said that politics had a fair amount to say about this. The highway 203 was built for this purpose. Not many years after being completed, tin prices then dropped. The mine closed, leaving a huge hole, still being filled and studied for environmental impact. However, the highway remains.

So what happens next? Should the road be maintained and re-paved? Should it be “de-classified”, its asphalt ripped up, becoming a gravel road? For now, it rests in limbo. Not exactly on the Nova Scotia Department of Highways urgent list, this long road decays away. Route 203 is considered the loneliest road in the province because it has the longest uninhabited stretch of any paved highway in Nova Scotia.  Here this road goes deep into the woods. Totally devoid of people, the only inhabitants here are deer, moose, and a few black bears. Stray roads go off into the woods, remains of old pioneer trails and newer logging roads. It is the loneliest road in Nova Scotia with the longest uninhabited stretch of any paved highway in Nova Scotia. With its atmosphere of abandonment, the highway gives a post-apocalyptic Canadian “Max Max” feeling. The road is very rarely patrolled by the police. Remnants lie about signaling fires left behind by hunters and party goers. The road itself is scarred with the black skid marks of countless racing duels and car stunts. “With little traffic, no cellphone service and no houses along the way, it’s a dangerous and desolate place to have a mechanical breakdown.”

This “highway to nowhere” is given a two solely for its “collector’s item” status.

Traffic: High to Very High

Road Conditions: some divided 4 lane limited access sections ”

Terrain: Rolling

Communities On This Route: Carleton, Kemptville, East Kemptville, Upper Ohio, Middle Ohio, Lower Ohio, Shelburne


(NOTE: if this link is broken please let us know at [email protected])

Here is the text of the Chronicle Herald coverage:  (It will all be history once it gets paved of course)

KEMPTVILLE — If a pothole or rut as deep as your kitchen sink qualifies a paved highway for inclusion on a roster of rotten roads, then Highway 203 is a shoo-in.

The southwestern Nova Scotia highway has made it onto a top-10 list of the most terrible roads in Atlantic Canada.

The Canadian Automobile Association launched its third annual Worst Roads campaign this month for Atlantic Canada.

Voting is easy and can be done online around the clock until May 31.

“Anyone, motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists … can go to our website,” said Gary Howard of the CAA. “We use a Google map tool.

“They pinpoint the road and they vote for it. One email address can vote for one road.

“You can only vote for the same road once.”

The final results will be tabulated, but the CAA posts online a daily top-10 list of the worst roads.

Two roads in southwestern Nova Scotia are on that list.

Highway 203 runs for about 100 kilometres from Carleton, Yarmouth County, through to Shelburne.

Drivers use the road at their own risk.

Justin Gray lives in Kemptville, Yarmouth County, but travels the highway each day to Shelburne where he works for Emergency Health Services.

“It’s 78 kilometres … one way,” he said of his daily commute.

Gray said Highway 203 is not even plowed in its entirety in the winter because it is in such deplorable condition.

With little traffic, no cellphone service and no houses along the way, it’s a dangerous and desolate place to have a mechanical breakdown.

“I’d like to see the road fixed enough at least to (allow trucks) to plow it,” Gray said.

Visitors to Nova Scotia’s celebrated Trout Point Lodge must also use the highway. Often landing in Halifax, they’ll rent a vehicle and drive to the lodge.

If anyone happens to ask, management will recommend renting an SUV. Compact cars have been known to bottom out on Highway 203, where ruts can run 25 centimetres deep.

“We depend upon that highway for the lifeblood of our business,” said Vaughan Perret, a co-owner of Trout Point Lodge.

“When it rains … there’s barely a lane and you have cars coming at each other. In the darkness, you can’t really see the contours of the highway. It’s a very scary ride.”

Perret also said there is no white line along the edge of the highway for much of its distance.

“We’re afraid that someone is going to get hurt,” he said.

It’s significant for a road to make the CAA’s Atlantic top-10 list.

“We’ve gotten very good feedback from all interested parties,” the CAA’s Howard said.

“The provincial governments have been very responsive.”

Governments will often tell the CAA about their plans for roads that may be on voters’ minds.

After all, 75,000 people voted in each of the first two annual campaigns and some 2,132 Atlantic Canadians have already voted this month, a CAA news release said Wednesday.

“This is a forum for the public to have their voice heard, and it’s important for us to share the information with the public and with government so that they can respond,” Howard said.

He said the intent of the campaign is not to beat up on any one road but to bring the issue of road safety to the forefront.

Most roads that made it onto one of the two previous top-10 lists have since been repaired, Howard said.

“Now in some cases it was already planned, because if a road’s really bad, the government knows about it,” he said.

“If this helps move it along quicker, then that’s a good thing.”

Howard said the four Atlantic provinces are very good at taking money collected from tolls and licensing fees and using it to improve roads.

“The big deficit we see is the federal government,” he said. “They collect over $4 billion a year in gas taxes and they spend less than 10 per cent of that back on the roads.

“They always use the excuse, ‘That’s a provincial road, so that’s a provincial responsibility.’”

The other rotten road in southwestern Nova Scotia found on the list is Ridge Road near Digby.

Go to atlantic.caa.ca/worstroads for more information on the campaign.

Traffic: High to Very High

Road Conditions: Divided 4 lane; Limited access sections

Terrain: Rolling

Communities On This Route:

Saint George; Saint John

Nova Scotia – Route 205

Baddeck – Route 1 Exit 10


Baddeck is a summer town on Cape Breton Island’s Lake Bras d’or. Visited by sailboat enthusiasts, the village is also the starting point for circuits by bicycle around the world-famous Cabot Trail. There many top rated inns and Bed and Breakfasts for your start and end points, and supplies, banking, etc. can just about be done in town before starting off. Route 205 is the old highway along Lake Bras d’Or, a section now by-passed by the Trans-Canada Highway (#105). Stretching along the water, the village takes up a good piece of the highway’s length.

Baddeck’s most famous resident was Alexander Graham Bell. A first-rate national museum is just on the eastern edge of town. Further on, the huge Bell family home can be seen at the edge of Lake Bras d’Or.

Traffic: Moderate to Busy

Road Conditions: some divided 4 lane limited access sections

Terrain: Gently Rolling

Communities On This Route:

From Scotland – Bike Rider Reggae

Mungo's Hi Fi Ft. Pupajim – Mungo's Hi Fi… by reggaeriddimbox

Mungo’s Hi Fi – Bike Rider Ft Pupajim ..little bit of cycling chaos for you 🙂

We are in the new Pedal Magazine!

We are in the new Pedal Magazine! …just out www.pedalmag.com They include the Newfoundland Bicycle Tour on their “tours to do” list!