Mass cycling rides, often called “fondos,” are a big deal these days. New fondos are popping up across the country, as cycling fever takes hold and thou-sands of riders from coast to coast are taking advantage of these ever-popular events seeking camaraderie and a shared cycling experience. Fondos have also been a boon to the cycling industry boosting sales of road bikes, including models specifically for fondos, creating demand for riding clinics to prep for these types of events and building awareness of cycling as a recreational activity. But while fondos are the rage, they’re not the only cycling game in town. The options for two-wheel excitement continue to blossom as the sport continues to gain traction. From the solitude of quiet country roads, to camping out overnight with your bike, to breathtaking scenery on roads less traveled, to post-ride wine-tastings, the opportunities for a memorable ride beyond the fondos are growing all across Canada. Here’s a snapshot of some of our favourite options for you to consider.
Where: Newfoundland’s Great Northern Peninsula (1,184 kilometres)
Rider: The typical NBT participant is an intermediate to strong rider capable of riding up to 125 kilometres a day. Why: Because the NBT is a collector’s item featuring icebergs, caribou and famous “Newfie” hospitality.
This ride, including side trips, totals some 1,200 kilometres from Deer Lake up to St. Anthony. The last day includes a return trip by shuttle bus to Deer Lake. Side trips include Gros Morne National Park and its majestic fjords, L’Anse aux Meadows (a former Viking settlement) and a boat ride to Labrador (whales possibly included at no added cost). “We usually get a nice tailwind up the peninsula, but sometimes that flips around and things get nasty,” explained organizer Gary Conrod. “Newfoundland gets all kinds of weather, from tropical to polar, so bring good raingear and warm clothing. Trees here are only about four feet high, so you won’t get much shelter in the forest! “Most participants bring tents and camp in National parks. We can also accommodate people who prefer staying in B&Bs or hotels; there’s a supplement for that. In smaller “out-port” villages, accommodation can be fairly sparse. We do a lot of socializing and sit around campfires at night; it stays light until 10:00 p.m. “The scenery is a real treat along this section of shore; we timed the tour to see ice-bergs, which often brings seals with them. Participants might also see caribou on shore. Overall, this bike tour is a collector’s item: participants will be rewarded with world-famous Newfoundland hospitality and local cuisine including partridge berry and bake-apple pies or freshly-caught shrimp or snow crab.”