Resources Every Cyclist in Ontario Should Know About

Find what works for you, and then get pedaling.

Spinning a bicycle along an open road, or down a forest trail can be one of the simple joys in life. It can be hard to know where to start to best enjoy a province as expansive as Ontario. Fear not, the news is good. Ontario cyclists have a wide array of resources available to them before and after embarking on a trip. To help riders discover the best of Ontario by bike, we share some of the best cycling organizations, websites, and apps to get the wheels rolling.

Ontario By Bike

Ontario By Bike is a comprehensive web resource for cyclists in the province.

Whether you are road riding, mountain biking, or seeking rail trails, the site provides a database of route options in the different regions of Ontario. More than this, Ontario By Bike provides trip ideas, and interactive features to help you find not just the trailhead but accommodations, bike shops, and other services of interest to those biking in Ontario.

Two cyclists pause on a forested bike trail beside a body of water
Find the perfect trail for your bike ride. Photo: Destination Ontario

Ontario Trails Council

The Ontario Trails Council provides cyclists in Ontario with another great web resource for discovering the trails and biking paths of the province. The council advocates for, manages, and operates trail networks throughout the province for wheeled recreation. Their site provides interactive maps and concise guides to riding areas. This is also a great resource for news regarding trails in Ontario.

Trailforks

Trailforks is probably the most popular app for offroad riding across North America. It provides users with a community-generated, interactive map of trails for most any area you visit.

Trailforks colour codes trails according to difficulty. Click on the trails to get more information including descriptions, grade, and user comments. You can export maps to other navigation devices, or download maps on Trailforks for offline viewing. For anyone who likes to bike beyond the pavement, it's one of the best resources you can have on your phone.

Woman and man look at an app on her cell phone while cycling a forest trail
Use Strava to plan and track your rides. Photo: Destination Ontario

Strava

You may be wondering why this list includes Strava, the social media platform used for tracking physical activity. It’s because beyond keeping track of personal records for the sake of claiming King of the Hill status, Strava is also a fantastic resource for finding popular biking routes.

Two of Strava’s most useful but perhaps underutilized tools for finding places to ride are the Segments map and Global Heat Map.

The Segments map shows popular challenges in areas which link into longer rides. If you are a paying subscriber of Strava you also have access to the routes feature which highlights entire rides.

Strava’s heat map is another great tool on the app. While websites may list riding trails or road routes, you don’t necessarily know if these are actually popular with cyclists. The heat map on Strava gives a great idea what routes are popular, or if you’d like to get away from the crowds, which ones will be more of an adventure.

Tourism pages

Some of the best sources of web information for bikers going on holiday are the regional tourism bureaus. No one knows recreational resources better than the associations developed to help people travel in specific areas. Regional tourism pages often feature trail networks that might be overlooked by other web pages, offering you more choices than the same routes you’ve come across everywhere else. To get you pinpointed, here are the cycling pages for regions throughout Ontario:

Pegboard with a selection of tools at a bike shop
Get a tune-up or glean some great advice from local bike shops. Photo: Destination Ontario

Bike shops

Want to know the nuts and bolts of a biking destination? Or perhaps pick up some gear and schedule a mid-trip tuneup? Bike Shops are the first place you should stop when visiting a destination for cycling. Beyond the retail and services they provide, shop owners and staff are indispensable on-the-ground resources for cyclists. Shops are also a gathering place for the cycling community, and often host group rides.

Read more about what bike shops offer and some of the most reputable shops in Ontario.

Facebook groups

Facebook is not just a place to share family photos or our favourite articles with friends. It has also become one of the easiest ways to develop communities for our active interests.

If you are looking for new people to ride with, biking events, or gear to swap, Facebook groups are one of the best ways to interact with your local biking community, as well as find new communities where you plan to travel.

Start off by finding general Facebook groups, or groups in your city. Perhaps join Mountain Bikers Ontario, Toronto Cyclists, or the Ottawa Mountain Bike Association as starting places. From here you can find new groups specific to the place you are interested in visiting.

A man leans down and works on fixing a mountain bike while another cyclist looks on
Find like-minded riders by joining a cycling club. Photo: Destination Ontario

Clubs

Biking clubs have long been one of the best ways to be active in your riding community. What’s more, the cycling community is strongest when organized to pursue common goals like promoting recreational opportunities. Cycling clubs provide a great way to enter the sport, find people to ride with, and learn about news, new riding opportunities or legislation affecting bikers. To read more about what clubs offer and to see which clubs are near you, read this article on cycling clubs.

Explore Online, then Get Riding

Preparation can be fun in itself and is the best way to ensure an enjoyable riding experience in Ontario. Once you have the information you need, though, it’s time to get away from the screen and get in some kilometres.

About Joe Potoczak

Joe Potoczak is an outdoor travel writer whose work has appeared in Paddling Magazine, Men’s Journal, and Outside among others. Joe has over 20 years of paddling and hiking experience. When he isn’t at the desk he is seeking out trails and waterways. Prior to becoming a writer, Joe worked as a professional river guide and manager at a whitewater rafting company.

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