If you are interested in discovering Canada on your bike, first you have to apply for an eTA Canada. Once your eTA approved, you will be able to explore the mountains, vast meadows or dramatic coastal areas of Canada by bike.
Cycling in Canada
In Canada, there is a variety of cycling tours that have something to offer for everyone. Almost everywhere, you can make beautiful day trips, requiring almost no preparation. For tours of several days, however, some preparation is needed, as the country is very large, has harsh winters and the quality of cycling paths is not perfect everywhere. In general, cycling tours should only be undertaken in summer, preferably between June and September. In principle, cycling is also possible in May and October, but the chances of rain are high and, especially in higher areas and in the north of the country, temperatures below freezing point are not uncommon.
If you are looking for a fun bike ride, with not too much climbing and plenty of highlights along the way, you can plan a trip to eastern Canada. Here you will find the 5,300-kilometre Route Verte, a network of well-developed cycle paths. There are also many well-developed cycling routes around Vancouver and the Gulf Islands, in the west of the country. In these areas, cyclists can admire nature, towns or villages at their own pace. More adventurous cyclists and mountain bikers can venture into Banff National Park and admire the natural spectacle of the Rocky Mountains, or ride part of the 22,000-kilometre Trans Canada Trail. For those with a passion for racing, all through the year many cycling events are held, like the GP Cycliste de Quebec or the GP Cycliste de Montreal.
Route Verte in Quebec
French-speaking Quebec is one of Canada’s best-known and most accessible regions. International travellers can enter Canada through the international airports of Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, from where they can easily reach Quebec. A visa or eTA for Canada is required for entry. You can easily apply for an eTA with an online eTA application. This makes entering Canada relatively unproblematic.
In Quebec, you can plan a cycling trip along the Route Verte. A three-day tour, for example, takes you along the Ottawa River, on the border between Ottawa and Ontario, overlooking Parliament Hill. Another unique route is the P’tit Train du Nord, an old railway line that has been converted into a family-friendly cycling route of just over 200 km.
Mountain biking in Banff National Park
The Banff National Park is a mecca for mountain bikers, with a host of first-rate trails at all levels of difficulty. Experienced mountain bikers can choose from several technically challenging trails on a steep slope. The routes are well maintained and partly include various wooden elements, bridges and switchbacks. But beginners and families can also enjoy beautiful tours through the mountains here, with more or less steep slopes. Some paved cycling trails can also be found.
Cycling races in Canada
In Canada, cycling races are very popular events. You can combine your holiday in Canada with a visit to one of the many races that are held in the country:
The Grand Prix Cycliste of Québec and Montreal. These two cycling events are held in September in the cities of Québec and Montreal, and they are known as the “Laurentian Classics”. Both are single-day races, held with only two days difference.
Big Red Gravel Run. The Big Red is held every August in Grenville, Quebec. It is a non-traditional gravel race and the loops are 130 km or 60 km.
Terra Fondo. This is a mountain bike race riding through Clare’s Arcadian region, in Nova Scotia. Along its 67 km route you will find historic sites, scenic stretches of coastline and wonderful views over rivers and lakes.
Do not forget to apply for an eTA
If you are planning a cycling trip in Canada, you should pay attention to entry requirements. Basically, a visa or an eTA is required to enter Canada. The eTA is an electronic travel authorisation. You can apply for your eTA online 7/24 and it is valid for five years. This gives you peace of mind to travel and cycle in Canada as many times as you want during this period.