Ontario’s Best Gravel Bike Events in 2024

Whether you’re looking to race or just have fun, you’ll find a gravel riding event that’s perfect for you.

Can’t choose between your road or mountain bike? Gravel biking is gaining popularity as the perfect combination of both: escape the traffic on quiet country roads and venture into the woods while climbing challenging hills. Organizers are catching onto the trend and offering more events and races every year. Ontario’s best gravel bike events offer the chance to test your endurance and meet some new riding friends on some of the most scenic backcountry roads in the province.

April

28 - Paris to Ancaster

Inspired by France’s Paris to Roubaix race, Ontario’s P2A began in 1994 and has become a classic for spring training and gravel lovers. Organizers recommend either mountain bikes, hybrids or cyclocross bikes for this race. This year’s event offers three categories: Centro (110 km), Classic (70 km) and the Breve (45 km). It’s not an easy race, and for anyone who's familiar with it, the final climb is legendary. There’s also a family race for the little ones. Many riders also stay the night before.

May 

4 - Cannondale Scrappy Badger Baltimore: Cannondale Ontario Gravel Series #1

The first in a three part race series, the Cannondale Scrappy is a relatively new race, but it’s a great start to the riding season. Choose from 40 and 80 kilometres of rolling gravel roads, ATV tracks and general shenanigans on a bike.

11 - Creemore Springs Turas Mor

Gaelic for “great journey” this fun ride is a classic combination of live music, riding and beer. The rolling hills and backroads make for some epic gravel riding. The race spans from cruiser 20 km to challenger 40 km to classic 60 km.

26 - Tour of Kincardine

This hybrid ride mixes it up with 12 kilometres of mud followed by technical singletrack, as well as a short paved portion. It’s a challenging ride to get you ready for the summer. Riders describe it more like an adventure than a race.

June 

8 - Cannondale Screaming Squirrel: Cannondale Ontario Gravel Series Race #2

If you liked the Scrappy Badger, come back for more in this installment of the gravel series, hosted in the Mono Hills. You can ride 30 or 70 kilometres in the rolling gravel roads north of Orangeville. Expect some river crossings and challenging climbs. The course is not closed to traffic and the gravel terrain and climbing is challenging.

8 - The Scarecrow Gravel Ride

Choose from three distance options of 58, 70 and 94 kilometres to cycle up and down the rolling gravel roads of the Blue Mountains. 

15 - Blue Mountains Gravel Fondo

Ride the beautiful gravel roads of Grey County, taking on the area's epic climbs. This event will be a qualifier for the UCI Gravel World Championships.

24 - Tour de Guelph

The Tour de Guelph offers a 50-kilometre Multi-Surface Route.

July 

13 - Reggie Ramble Gravel

Expect lots of prizes and swag, music and climbing at this fun event in Warkworth, south of Peterborough. All courses (65, 130 or 200 km), begin at the historic Warkworth Fairgrounds and amble through the backroads of the Trent Hills. Many riders stay overnight in Peterborough to extend the fun.

August 

25 - Cannondale Eager Beaver Gravel Race

Test your endurance on this epic 40- or 100-kilometre race on gravel roads in and around the Mansfield ski hill. It’s known for its challenging climbs and it’s also part of the Eager Beaver Weekend. The 100-kilometre race includes a stout 2,000 metres of elevation while the 40 kilometres is 700 metres. The ski club has a great family atmosphere.

September 

8 - TheBluMoose Alvar

Choose from 85 or 140 kilometres on a beautiful ride that traverses the quiet grasslands and meadows of the Carden Alvar Provincial Park, near Orillia. Starting and finishing at the Couchiching Beach Park in Orillia, the post ride atmosphere is fun in the sand!

13-15 - Hurtin in Haliburton

Come for the day, or make a weekend trip for this annual event in Central Ontario. Arrive Friday to pre ride, Saturday race, and finish with a barbecue and live music. Solo fat bikes (tires 3.8 inches or wider) can enter, too. The race follows a 27-kilometre backcountry gravel loop. Ride solo or in teams. Aid stations are throughout the course.

TBD - Ottawa Valley Fall Grally

Choose from 20, 37, 70 or 108 kilometres of gravel riding through the rolling country roads of West Carleton. Located on the west end of Ottawa, you’ll ride along scenic trails including the famous K&P Rail Trail. Pass alongside farms and ride the old logging roads of the rural and bucolic area.

October 

TBD - Hastings Highlands Hilly Hundred

Don’t let the wide gravel roads fool you—this is a hilly endurance ride not for the faint of heart. The courses range from the hilly Canadian Century ride at 108 kilometres, with 1.3 kilometres of climbing. Next up: 126 kilomtres with two kilometres of climbing in the Hilly Gravel (recommended tire size is 36 mm or bigger). Finally, the Big Cliver Full Century is 175 kilometres with an epic 2.5 kilometres of climbing.

TBD - Bruce Peninsula Gravel Gran Fondo

Ride through some of the most picturesque regions of Ontario. Starting at the Lions Head lighthouse, this course takes you along the Georgian Bay, Niagara Escarpment and quiet country backroads. Choose from 30-, 56-, 80- or the big 115-kilometre race.

About Melanie Chambers

Melanie Chambers is a writer and university instructor living in Toronto. Ever since cycling from Holland to Spain in 1996, Melanie has penned stories about her amateur athletic challenges such as cycling 105 uphill kilometres in Taiwan's KOM Challenge road race and hiking Northern Africa’s highest peak. As an editor and instructor, she has conducted writing workshops around the globe. Locally, she’s provided workshops at the Alice Munro’s Writers and Readers Festival and Western University’s Homecoming. When she’s not on the road, she teaches food and travel writing courses at Western University.

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