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Resources for finding popular touring routes

Old 05-10-22, 08:26 PM
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dvdwmth
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Resources for finding popular touring routes

I'm looking for popular, well known routes but haven't found a good resource to discover them.

I've been a biking enthusiast for 30ish years but got interested in touring a year before Covid. I've done some short trips around Ontario, where I live, but I'm looking for some inspirations.

key thing though, is that I do not want to discover my route takes me to a death trap packed highway with no shoulders, or that there is nowhere to buy food. I would like to be able to find guidance. Also, I like civilization. Not interested in backcountry at this point. I'm not likely to get out of North America at least for the next five years. Great Lakes to east coast are the most practical areas since I live in Ontario.
Not interested in guided trips. i like to travel alone.

My current plans are to do toronto to Ottawa, and then maybe next year, buffalo to New York on the new rail trail.

So, can you all point me to some resources for well established bike touring routes in North America, and especially the north east.
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Old 05-10-22, 10:50 PM
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Ride With GPS has a lot of good routes… read Cycling Journal, and other cycling rags. Lastly look at some car tours.
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Old 05-10-22, 11:15 PM
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Adventure Cycling is an NGO focusing on tours. Crazy Guy on a Bike are people capturing there are tours on Journals.

BTW one of my favorite tours which is relatively close to you is Montreal to Ottawa. Going to NYC and is always fun.
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Old 05-10-22, 11:29 PM
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Ontario by Bike

Cycling in Ontario

Adventure Cycling Association

Great Lakes Waterfront Trail

There are dozens of sites. Do some searching for the areas you are interested in.
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Old 05-11-22, 07:34 AM
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Make you own routes. Research places to visit and camp and then find suitable empty roads to join them up using google earth and maps street view. Not sure why anyone would just follow a route some random guys suggests on the internet. I spend a few months planning and it is a nice pastime. If you want to see the results my youtube channel is called waddo,
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Old 05-11-22, 07:42 AM
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Old 05-11-22, 02:52 PM
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There is no one generic answer, there are many.

But there is one best one for assessing weather conditions for planning. Pick a community with an airport and do a search for that location in this site, you mentioned Toronto so I plugged that one in:
https://weatherspark.com/y/19863/Ave...ada-Year-Round

GIves you information on temperatures (sorry, in F, not C), winds (sorry, MPH, not km/hr), cloud cover, chance of precip (they define that as 0.04 inches to count as a day with precip), hours of daylight and they are unusual in that they also give you hours of civil twilight which most sites do not, etc. You can click on a month to make it easier to see the info in better precision. Maybe there is a button somewhere to push to change that to Celsius and km/hr, I never looked for one?

I use this to plan my clothing, likelihood that I will need much artificial light in the campsite, etc. Very useful site.

Do not rule out doing a group tour for a week early in your bike touring to learn how others do it. You won't learn anything about routing from that but you can get ideas on everything else that is related to touring.
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Old 05-11-22, 09:05 PM
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Thanks for the replies.

I have seen adventure cycling before but forgot about it. Looks excellent.

i have ride with gps but had never looked at the route discover section. It also looks promising.

I should be able to find inspirations between these two resources and a few others mentioned here or that I've found elsewhere.
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Old 05-12-22, 03:06 AM
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Originally Posted by dvdwmth View Post
I'm looking for popular, well known routes but haven't found a good resource to discover them.....

....
My current plans are to do toronto to Ottawa, and then maybe next year, buffalo to New York on the new rail trail.

So, can you all point me to some resources for well established bike touring routes in North America, and especially the north east.
before i spend a bunch of minutes typing out the same advice seen on this here forum hundreds of times, what have you done so far to find this particular information?

a 00.0005-second google search provides millions of hits, hundreds that have everything you need to know about the two routes you're interested in.

do you have any specific questions?
let's start there first.
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Old 05-12-22, 08:41 AM
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Sigh.

Originally Posted by saddlesores View Post
do you have any specific questions?
let's start there first.
From my original post:
Can you all point me to some resources for well established bike touring routes in North America, and especially the north east?


Such condescension.

Lets just assume that I had a reason for directing a question to this forum, despite the existence of this mythical "Googul". However, I do not wish to inflict on you the misery of a bunch of minutes of typing, so please feel no obligation to do so.

For those of you who kindly responded with useful information, once again, Thank you! One never knows what they don't know, even with millions of answers at their disposal.
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Old 05-12-22, 09:45 PM
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I don't know if you consider Michigan to be in the north eastern part of North America, but it has some great cycling. Michigan has over 2,000 miles of multi-use trails. My wife and I rode close to 1,000 mile loop around the lower peninsula, and took advantage of several nice trails. We also rode across the state, ending a ride that started in Fargo, ND near Detroit. We did not plan our route, but cycling on most of the state's rural roads was enjoyable.

It might be fun to develop a route that would connect many of the trails.
Michigan Trail Map

My wife and are tentatively planning on finishing our ride across Canada, Toronto to Halifax, this summer. With the Covid situation it is hard to make firm plans.

Last edited by Doug64; 05-14-22 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 05-13-22, 10:52 AM
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One thing I generally do for car touring (which would apply here as well) is to pick a destination (or destinations) and make my own route to that area using Google earth, GAIA, OnX, RWGPS, paper maps, and other mapping tools to research routes to get to said destination. I then look for interesting points of interest along the way to add to my route. I have been doing variations of this method covering most of the US since 1999. This will be my first year to do so by bicycle.
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Old 05-13-22, 10:57 AM
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FYI - In case you've never tried it, you can see many road shoulders by going to Google maps or earth. Build the route(or not) then grab the little mustard colored icon that looks like a person and drag him to the road. Google will switch to photos of the road which you can drag along the route. I've used this feature to look at road surfaces and shoulder width.
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Old 05-13-22, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by mtnbud View Post
FYI - In case you've never tried it, you can see many road shoulders by going to Google maps or earth. Build the route(or not) then grab the little mustard colored icon that looks like a person and drag him to the road. Google will switch to photos of the road which you can drag along the route. I've used this feature to look at road surfaces and shoulder width.
Alternatively, when you are in Google Maps you can left click on the person icon without dragging it. That will highlight the roads that available in Street View mode. Then you can drag to the desired road(s). This can save a little time in more remote areas by letting you see which road are available before taking the time to drag. Left clicking a second time will turn off the highlighting.
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Old 05-13-22, 01:56 PM
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The GAP and the C&O are both well documented and well served with bicycle friendly lodging, bike shops, shuttle services, etc.
On a related note, I would like to find maps that showed the Canada bike routes, and the regular roads. I can find each by itself, but no hybrids.
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Old 05-19-22, 08:14 AM
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Pratt, perhaps I misunderstand what you are looking for, but since I posted this thread I've spent a bit of time on various bike route sites and it seems this is a feature of all of them.
Ride with GPS, Komoot, overlay bike trip routes on regular maps. Google maps shows official bike paths if you just want to see established bike trails as opposed to mixed routes selected by cyclists. I don't trust Google though, since there is one route here in Guelph that is described as a bike path which is an active and busy railroad that cannot be traversed without picking up your bike and walking right down the tracks. Its also patrolled and they will charge you with trespassing.
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Old 05-19-22, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
The GAP and the C&O are both well documented and well served with bicycle friendly lodging, bike shops, shuttle services, etc.
Wow, you're not kidding. I just checked out the GAP website and its very good. I wish I could find sites like this for Canadian routes. We've taken our family to both Pittsburgh and Washington a different times in the last few years and we loved both those places. The terrain in that area was quite beautiful.
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Old 05-19-22, 08:38 AM
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Routes others have ridden are only useful to you if they go someplace you want to go. I start by researching where I might want to camp, look to see where there are any convenient campgrounds, then figure out how to get there. I will use the routes others have added to RWGPS as a rough idea, but will also dry run a route thru the Google Bicycle routing tool, then I will check those roads on Google satellite view as well as street view. Then I will create my own route on RWGPS.
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Old 05-19-22, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Pratt View Post
The GAP and the C&O are both well documented and well served with bicycle friendly lodging, bike shops, shuttle services, etc.
On a related note, I would like to find maps that showed the Canada bike routes, and the regular roads. I can find each by itself, but no hybrids.
I'll second the GAP and C&O. The TrailGuide book is a great resource: GAP TrailGuide

Ontario by Bike is a pretty good website. The downloaded version has links to every ride in their annual cycling guide: Annual Cycling Guide

Here's a list of other guide books etc: List of Guide Books, Maps, etc.

I'm looking at riding the Greater Niagara Circle Route this summer and maybe some other nearby rides. I'll wave as we each cross the border, going in opposite directions.

Last edited by Altair 4; 05-19-22 at 12:11 PM. Reason: Added link to TrailGuide book
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Old 05-19-22, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by dvdwmth View Post
I just checked out the GAP website and its very good. I wish I could find sites like this for Canadian routes.
Here's one for Le P'tit Train du Nord, a wonderful rail-trail which starts just north of Montreal:

https://ptittraindunord.com/en/
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Old 05-20-22, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
Here's one for Le P'tit Train du Nord, a wonderful rail-trail which starts just north of Montreal:

https://ptittraindunord.com/en/
Wow! Thank you for that one.
As interested as I am for the bike touring potential, I'm just as excited to see ski tracks. I'm in love with x-country skiing but its been iffy in Ontario the last 7 years due to warm winters. This past winter was ok, and the one before had skiable conditions but life prevented me from getting out. I'm way fitter this spring even though i only got out about 10 times. It is hands down the best exercise I've ever done. I am astonished every year by what happens to my body and mind once I've gotten my three painful session under my belt. It also means I'm as strong in May as I would be in July if i didn't ski. Given the unpredictable nature of winter in the age of global warming I'm always on the lookout for destinations to ski. Hmmm. Ski touring. That might be fun.

Back to cycling though, that does look like an amazing destination, and I have a strong desire to visit Montreal again. Its been thirty years since i was there and my wife attended university there almost as long ago. I'm an urbanite at heart, despite currently living in a city with only 120k, and I like to have a shiny buzzing city to dangle on a stick in front of me while I ride. Can't wait to do the Buffalo to NY rail trail, but not this year.
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Old 05-20-22, 08:43 AM
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BTW, I just want to say this is an awesome forum. My horizons have expanded greatly since I posted my request for info and I'm even more excited about getting out on trip. I had two routes I was daydreaming about and now I could probably name about 6 I must do. Thanks to all who have contributed.
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Old 05-20-22, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
Here's one for Le P'tit Train du Nord, a wonderful rail-trail which starts just north of Montreal:

https://ptittraindunord.com/en/
Nooo, you can't talk about PTdN without mentioning in the Véloroute des Bleuets!
A couple more Canadian ones:
Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia
Confederation Trail on Prince Edward Island
The Route Verte network in Quebec is more like a collection of cycling routes and a pick-your-own-adventure, but it's a bit more constrained than just picking roads and they have a guide.

Edit: don't forget about the US-centric Adventure Cycling Association routes.
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Old 05-20-22, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by autonomy View Post
Nooo, you can't talk about PTdN without mentioning in the Véloroute des Bleuets!
The hell I can't!

While I haven't toured around the Veloroute des Bleuets, I have been on parts of it next to Lac St. Jean and I thought the scenery was disappointing. Maybe the north side is nicer than what I saw on the south side. Le P'tit Train du Nord is much prettier IMO. Much of the scenery between Quebec City and Lac St. Jean was very pretty, though only parts of that are bike-friendly. L'Isle-aux-Coudres in the St. Lawrence is nice little loop ride.

As for the Cabot Trail, I have toured there and while it's excellent, it's not a bike trail per se; it's road touring with traffic, and some might find the climbing too difficult.

I biked on about half of the Conferation Trail and it's OK, but not that special. My friend & I preferred when we got off the trail and rode on the north coast of PEI. Traffic was minimal and the scenery was nicer, we felt. We both loved riding on les Iles-de-la-Madeleine before we arrived by ferry in PEI, but riders should know in advance that the winds there are typically very strong on the Magdalens, as they're called in English.


As for la Route Verte, I've biked on portions in the Eastern Townships. It's OK, the trails themselves were sometimes not great and while the scenery is OK, once again, it's not Le P'tit Train du Nord and the Laurentians, or the wild forest & lake scenery near the northern terminus of Le P'tit Train.

Edit: There's a fairly new trail in New Brunswick & Quebec up to the south shore of the St. Lawrance, but I haven't ridden on it.
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Old 06-02-22, 05:13 PM
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If you go to CGOAB and put "tour" in the search box, it returns 1.3+ million records. If you scroll down, you can get a sense of which ones are most popular. Or just see something that fires your imagination, and then you are in just the right place to start researching it.
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