Reasonably good roads and gorgeous scenery make Atlantic Canada excellent road biking territory, while mountain biking has caught on among the adventurous as a way to explore more remote areas of the region. Except on main arteries, particularly the TransCanada Highway, car traffic is generally light. Cyclists, nonetheless, should remain vigilant: Narrow lanes and shoulders are common, and in some areas, drivers may be unaccustomed to sharing the road with bicycles.

Narrow lanes and shoulders are common, and in some areas, drivers may be unaccustomed to sharing the road with bicycles.Touring opportunities through a variety of terrain are numerous in Nova Scotia; probably the ultimate trip is the 5-6-day trek around Cape Breton Island’s Cabot Trail. In New Brunswick, following the Saint John River valley and the complex of lakes north of Saint John makes for pleasant touring. The narrow roads that slice through Prince Edward Island’s gentle countryside are sublime avenues for biking, while the Confederation Trail, extending from one end of the island to the other, is specifically designed for biking; Smooth Cycle (330 University Ave., Charlottetown, 902/569-5690) is a good source of trail information. The shop also rents bikes decked out with panniers and provides drop-offs to points along the trail.

A car traverses the windy coastal Cabot Trail highway in Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

The scenic Cabot Trail winds along the coast in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Photo © Andrew Hempstead.

Many shops rent decent- to good-quality road and mountain bikes, but if you plan to do some serious riding, you’ll probably want to bring your own. An outstanding information resource is Atlantic Canada Cycling (902/423-2453). The organization publishes extensive information on cycling routes (including descriptions and ratings of highways and byways throughout Atlantic Canada), tours, races, clubs, and equipment, while its website has links to local operators and a message board.

Guided Cycling Tours

Nova Scotia-based Freewheeling Adventures (902/857-3600 or 800/672-0775) leads agreeable guided trips in small groups, each accompanied by a support van to carry the luggage and, if necessary, the weary biker. Owners Cathy and Philip Guest plan everything—snacks, picnics, and meals at restaurants en route, as well as overnights at country inns. Expect to pay around $300-400 per person per day for the all-inclusive tour. The trips pass through some of Atlantic Canada’s prettiest countryside, including the Cabot Trail and South Shore, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland’s Northern Peninsula.


Excerpted from the Eighth Edition of Moon Atlantic Canada.