The following is a guest post from Howard Pulver at Bike On Tours in Ontario, Canada.
Every year more cyclists are discovering the great opportunities for bicycle touring in Ontario, Canada. The most scenic and attractive areas for bicycling are located close to Niagara Falls and near the shores of Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, just across the border for visitors from the United States.
Long distance cyclists traveling between the northeastern United States and Michigan or Minnesota have found that bicycling across Ontario eliminates many miles of travel required to go around the Great Lakes.
Here are two of the most popular areas:
The Niagara Falls region is one of the best areas for bicycling anywhere in North America as a result of the unrivalled scenery and bike paths. Niagara is also Ontario’s oldest wine producing area with a growing number of wineries welcoming visitors. This area is quite flat except for one hill, where you climb and descend the Niagara Escarpment.
Starting on Lake Ontario in the charming and historic town of Niagara–on–the-Lake you can bike 40 miles through the manicured parkland of the Niagara Parkway. The parkway is a limited speed roadway with a bike path beside the Niagara River and Niagara Falls all the way to Fort Erie, on Lake Erie across from Buffalo, New York.
From there the Friendship Trail takes you 20 miles to Port Colborne where you can join the Welland Canals Parkway. Here you will see ocean going ships travel through the locks if you follow the bike paths along the canal back to Lake Ontario.
For a longer ride, bicycle west to Dunnville and take the scenic River Road along the edge of the Grand River, crossing the Niagara Peninsula to Grimsby.
Prince Edward County
Prince Edward County, located east of Toronto is a peninsula in Lake Ontario with scenic rolling countryside, waterfront views, sand beaches, great restaurants and Ontario’s fastest growing wine producing area. Bike on quiet country roads, explore historic villages, visit cheese factories, stop at Lake on the Mountain and take your bicycle on the free Glenora Ferry.
You can enjoy bicycling distances of up to 40 miles for several days while staying in Picton or extend your trip by going east to historic Kingston and the Thousand Islands or west to the apple orchards and rolling hills of Northumberland near Brighton and Cobourg.
Accommodation for tourists in hotels, inns and bed and breakfasts is available throughout Ontario. Camping and bike shops are conveniently located in most areas.
Most of Southern Ontario is located on the same latitude as Wisconsin, Michigan and New York with a similar climate and landscape. The best time of the year for bicycling is between June and September when it is frost free. For early or late season bicycling the area near Windsor and Point Pelee National Park (the most southerly point on mainland Canada) is a good choice.
There is an ever-increasing number of bike paths in many regions of Ontario. Paved country roads with very little motor vehicle traffic extend throughout Ontario and are comfortable for bicycling although there is a general lack of paved shoulders.
Complete information on Ontario bike routes, bike paths, facilities and services is available in the new Ontario Bicycle Touring Atlas and on the Bike On Tours web site at www.bikeontours.on.ca.