Frequently Asked Questions

What is Race Roster Enhanced Refund Protection?

RACE ROSTER ENHANCED REFUND PROTECTION: We highly recommend that you purchase Race Roster Enhanced Refund Protection  as part of your registration. If you purchased Race Roster Enhanced Refund Protection as part of your registration please note that this is a third party product that is not administered by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. Further details about Race Roster Enhanced Refund Protection can be found here

Our generous Cancellation Policy will remain in effect and apply until April 30 2024. It is not legally possible to take advantage of our cancellation policy and at the same time claim under Race Roster Enhanced Refund Protection.

What kind of bike should I ride?

  • Much of the GWTA Route for 2024 is paved, however there are some sections of gravel on most days with a longer section of gravel between the communities of Spanish and Massey on August 17.  We advise that you ride with the widest tires available to fit your bike or at least with a heavier tread. Click here for further information on road conditions including photos.
  • Please be aware that there are sections of the route that require riding along the paved shoulders of Highway 17.
  • All kinds of bikes have travelled the previous editions of the GWTA and had a great time; however, please ensure that your bike has been tuned-up prior to the GWTA and is in EXCELLENT working condition.  Mechanicals that could have been avoided with some maintenance before the GWTA will affect your riding experience.  Bike shops are busy in the spring and summer, so schedule a tune-up a few weeks before the ride.
  • People ride road and mountain bikes,Gravel bikes, ebikes, folding commuter bikes, tandems, hybrids and recumbents – we recommend that your bike has a variety of gear selections and that you are able to use your gears confidently. You must also be comfortable riding on some longer ( 20Km) sections of gravel and have suitable tires.
  • This year’s ride has at least one day over 100km and is hilly in sections and therefore suitable for more experienced riders- we do ask that you are comfortable riding at least 60km in a day and are able to maintain a minimum speed of 15km per hour.
  • Ebikes – we welcome pedal assist bikes of all types and recommend that riders are aware of the capacity of their battery before joining the ride. If your battery capacity is lower then you may wish to bring a spare battery. Please be prepared to conserve battery power during the course of the day’s riding by using the following methods employed by previous ebike riders on the GWTA:
    • Pedal without assist on all flat surfaces wherever possible
    • Hills – Depending on the gradient of the hill, start with mode1 or eco battery power. For increased hill gradients  switch to mode 2 or 3. Please note that you will use twice as such battery power in modes 2-to 4.
    • Use the regeneration mode (going down hills) whenever possible if  your  bike is so equipped.
    • Gravel sections will be smoother if you increased  riding speed (in mode 1) to about 20-25 km/hr.
    • Having wider tires also smooths out your ride on gravel sections.

    GWTA cannot guarantee that there will be adequate charging facilities available during throughout the day. There will be charging stations available at overnight campground locations in 2023 and also in hotels . Please be prepared to assist volunteers in lifting your bike into shuttle vehicles if it is a heavier e bike or a recumbent e bike.

How do I get to the start of the ride? (GWTA 2024)

New for 2024

Meet us at Little Current Arena on August 13- free Long Term Parking available.

After considering logistics and fees, it has become apparent that there are benefits to operating one long-term parking location on Manitoulin Island at the ride’s finish location in Little Current . The benefits to you are:
  • You will only need to take one charter bus ( not included registration fee)from Manitoulin Island to Sault Ste. Marie at the beginning of the ride (August 13).
  • Travel time in the charter bus reduced to 4 hours from 8.
  • Substantially reduced cost to you.
  • Access to your car when arrrive in Manitoulin Island
  • Easy departure from Manitoulin Island and more flexibility to consider extending your stay or taking the Ferry home.
13 August –  You will need to arrive at the NEMI Recreation Centre, 14 Water Street East, Little Current on  Manitoulin Island  by 9 am to accommodate bike packing. Little Current is located at the north of the Island close to Espanola and not too far away from Sudbury. Please note you will likely need to book a hotel or campsite for the night of 12 August.
If you plan on arriving to Manitoulin Island from the south via the ferry then you MUST prebook the ferry. Ferry details can be found here
  • There will not be a shuttle returning to Sault Ste. Marie on August 20th, nor long-term parking in Sault Ste. Marie.
  • Book your Charter bus through CAA – additional cost for charter bus – book through CAA here 

Please note that Charter Bus tickets are separate to your registration fee and  must be booked separately with our Travel Agent, CAA – pricing and  booking available soon.

How do I get home or back to my car? (GWTA 2024)

 Long Term Parking will be conveniently  based at the end of the ride at NEMI Recreation Centre in Little Current, Manitoulin Island. On arrival in Little Current – simply ride to your car and drive to your hotel,

Of course if you would prefer to be picked up by friends or relatives then that is also an option.

Please note: If you are planning on leaving Manitoulin Island via the ferry then you will need to book in advance  – information regarding ferry schedules and prices can be found here

Is the charter bus included in my registration fee? (GWTA 2024)

The charter bus is NOT included in your registration fee. It must be booked separately through our travel partner CAA.

To book and pay for the charter bus between Little Current and Sault Ste Marie please complete the CAA form on our Accommodations page

How do I book my place on the charter bus between Little Current and Sault Ste Marie?

The charter bus must be booked and paid for separately through CAA. To book your spot on the bus please complete and submit the CAA form – the question about the charter bus is at the bottom of the form

Can I leave a vehicle at the ending or beginning town? (GWTA 2024)

This year Long Term Parking is located at the NEMI Recreation Centre in Little Current  for the week.

Is the GWTA route available in Ride with GPS or other navigational formats?

Yes — we list the GWTA as an event in Ride with GPS and invite all participants to attend. This invitation gives you free access to many of the great navigational features in Ride with GPS. Click here for the invitation: https://ridewithgps.com/auto_approve/Event/201121/n1FLJt7KUkZ3NbIb

Ride with GPS hosted a great demo on Zoom for the GWTA participants. Watch the video.

Other features described during the webinar:

Still have questions, you are welcome to email me at dylan@ridewithgps.com

Where can I see the daily itineraries?

I booked hotels with CAA when will I know my order has been processed?

Thank you for booking with CAA.

Once submitted a CAA representative will reach out to you to confirm registration and secure the payment details within 14 business days of receipt.

Requests go forward in the order that they are received and cannot be guaranteed.

Once CAA has received payment information, your order will be processed and you will receive an email confirmation with your invoice reflecting your selections.

Do I have to camp? What are my accommodations choices?

  • No, you do not have to camp. A list of GWTA 2024 supported hotel and B&B accommodations and how to book can be found on the accommodations menu. We advise reserving hotel rooms ahead of time, either through our TICO registered agent at CAA Travel Services or independently. In 2024, given the  relative shortage of hotel/motel accommodations in the smaller communities we have decided to support smaller motels, bed and breakfasts and independently booked cottages and Air BnBs.

Can I rent a bike?

Please contact us if you are interested in renting a bike for the GWTA. We can put you in touch with local companies that deal with longer term bike rentals.

Is the GWTA a fundraiser?

The GWTA was created by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust in 2008 to promote the Waterfront Trail. Learn more about the charity here.

The GWTA is priced to cover most of the costs associated with the planning and operation. Months of work go into working with over 200 communities and businesses to prepare for an outstanding experience. Most charity rides will require you to raise thousands of dollars to participate in them, this is not the case for the GWTA.

You have the option to pay a reduced registration fee and fundraise for the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. Check out the registration page for more information.  If you would like to make a donation to the Trust click here.

By participating in the GWTA you are helping our charity with its primary goal of completing, enhancing and promoting Ontario’s Waterfront Trail along the Canadian shores of Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Lake Huron, Lake Superior and the provincial shores of the St. Lawrence River.

How do I get a heavily discounted rate to the GWTA?

Become a volunteer!

We have now recruited all of our cycling volunteers for 2024  as well as basecamp volunteers and volunteer drivers to drive support vans and the luggage truck. 

Thank you for your interest in volunteering for the GWTA 2024

Meet new friends, discover new communities, and have some fun while supporting and encouraging the cyclists. Application forms can be found here.

What should I bring?

  • It is very important to have your bike looked at by a professional mechanic before the start of the GWTA.  Mechanicals that could have been avoided by a tune-up affect your Adventure experience.
  • Luggage: Camping Participants are permitted to bring 2 duffel bags, including camping equipment. Suitcases, boxes, cases, are NOT allowed. Baggage may not be tied together and must include a luggage tag with the participants name. You will be required to carry your baggage to and from the luggage truck each day SO for your sake and the health and safety of the volunteers, who load and unload the truck, please pack light and tight! Remember the truck must be unloaded whether the weather is wet or dry so place your belongings in plastic bags or use waterproof duffel bags to keep them dry. Check out this video for more information, and to be entertained.
  • Camping Equipment: Duffel bag, sleeping bag, pillow, pad, tent, ground sheet, rope, stakes and a flashlight.
  • Toiletries: Towel, washcloth, toothbrush, toothpaste, skin lotion, shampoo, soap, razor, nail clippers, brush/comb, hair ties/barrettes, deodorant, mirror and toilet tissue (just in case). It is also recommended that you bring chamois creme.
  • Street Clothes: 3 T-shirts, 3 shorts, a pair of pants, a jacket, 7 pair of underwear,3 pairs of socks, 1 pair of off-the -bike shoes, flip flops, sleepwear, swimsuit, and possibly sweatbands/bandannas.
  • Cycling Clothes: Bike gloves, 3-4 pair of cycling shorts, 3-4 bike jerseys, light jacket, arm warmers (optional), rain gear ( essential – we wil ride rain or shine!).
  • Bicycle Equipment: Helmet, bike lock (essential), water bottles, electrolyte powder( e.g Gatorade)/snacks and a small repair kit to carry on the bike with you that includes a spare tube, tire irons, and a hand pump. The CAA mobile bike assist and volunteer cyclists and support vehicles will be on hand to help with more serious mechanical problems. You may also want a rear view mirror and paniers to carry light items such as snacks and a rain jacket. Support vehicles will transport any purchases you make on route.  For information on what kind of tires you should have on you bike click here.
  • First Aid: Pack aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamins, Band-Aids, gauze, tape, first aid cream, lip balm, sun block, insect repellent, safety pins, and sanitary protection if needed with disposable bags. Access to emergency medical treatment will be available in each campground.
  • Miscellaneous: Bring an alarm clock/watch/ cellphone, spare glasses, sunglasses, camera, earplugs, ID, money, credit cards, snacks, journal, pens, pencils, address book, several plastic trash bags for rain protection and zip-lock bags. Be sure to enclose everything in a water-tight plastic bag.
  • Ebikes: If you plan on riding a pedal assist bike then we recommend that you bring an additional fully charged battery. The GWTA cannot guarantee that there will be adequate power for charging at all of our overnight campgrounds.

Do I need my own camping gear?

  • Yes. A list of suggested items can be found at the top of this page under “what should I bring”

Can children participate in the GWTA?

The GWTA 2024 is considered unsuitable for children under 16.

In  previous years children have been welcome, but must be accompanied by a guardian or responsible adult who is riding. Parents and/or Guardians must be within eyesight of each other at all times and accompany their children in the support shuttle if needed. Parents are not permitted to leave their child in the care of a volunteer. Volunteers are responsible for group safety and may have to stop to deal with various issues along the route. Children should know the rules of the road and know how to ride in traffic, with both other cyclists and vehicles. We recommend Can-Bike courses for new riders.

Are meals included?

The following meals will be included in the 2024 GWTA:

  • Most breakfasts August 15 – 19 These will be served buffet style. There will be no group breakfasts served in Sault Ste. Marie.
  • Opening night meet and greet reception in Sault Ste. Marie on the evening  of August 13th .
  • Lunch in Desbabrats on August 15
  • Group dinners in Bruce Mines and Blind River on August 15 and August 16
  • Celebration dinner served in Little Current on  August 19.
  • All remaining lunches and dinners will be on your own.  We will be riding through and staying in many communities with a variety of food options at all price points.

Should I bring my own snacks?

  • We encourage you to bring your own snacks and ride with more food than you think you will need, especially if you have allergies or there are specific foods that you like to eat during a ride. There will be several places to stop and refuel during the ride
  • If you like a particular brand of energy drink – we recommend that you bring your own powder/packets. Whilst there will be access to electrolyte drinks and snacks on the GWTA shuttle vehicles we cannot guarantee that they will be your preferred brand. There will be many opportunities to stop and fill your bottles.
  • We strongly advise you to ride at all times with electrolyte drinks ( eg Gatorade) and snacks even if you would not normally do so.

Will there be vegetarian or gluten free options? Will nuts be served?

We work hard with the host communities to make  sure that nut free, vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options are  available – please let us know of your dietary requirements in advance to ensure that we have enough vegetarian/gluten free meals available. Likewise, if there is a particular food allergy that we should be aware of please let us know. Should you have more questions  please e-mail the Tour Director.

How much money should I expect to spend?

  • There are several restaurants, cafes, ice cream stands, chip trucks,  breweries and fruit stands along the route, as well as unique shopping. It’s a good idea to set aside some shopping money, especially with the support vans stopping to transport any purchases you make along the way.
  • If you choose to stay in a hotel or bed and breakfast (rather than camping), factor those rates into your budget.
  • You will need to budget for lunch each day along the route – all of the communities we pass through offer restaurants with a variety of price points.

What if I can’t come?

CANCELLATION POLICY: if you must cancel your registration, the cancellation fee will determined according to the policy outlined below and here. Exceptions to this policy cannot be made for any reason, including weather, or personal emergencies. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving the trip early.

f you must cancel your registration, the cancellation fee will be determined according to the policy outlined below.

Deadline

Refund

Until  April 30, 2024 Registration Fee paid less $75 processing fee
May 1, 2024 to event day No Refunds offered

The fees retained reflect the costs to the Trust of administering the GWTA registration and are not intended to be punitive in any way. The Trust realizes the majority of those who cancel their registrations do so out of necessity.

If you wish to cancel your registration, you must request a refund by email on or before the above noted deadlines. No exceptions to the deadline or amount of refund will be considered.

Race Roster Enhanced Protection

During your GWTA on line registration you have the option to purchase Race Roster Enhanced Protection for your registration fee. We highly recommend that you purchase this protection since it fully  covers all GWTA cancellations after our cancellation deadline of April 30 2024. We recognize that accidents, emergencies and COVID infections can happen in the last month before the GWTA and we want you to be protected.

If you purchase Race Roster Protection as part of your registration please note that this is a third party product that is not administered by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust.

TRANSFER OF REGISTRATION: After May 1, 2024 the Trust will not issue refunds.  However you may sell or transfer or give your registration to someone else. The Trust will not facilitate these transactions. To transfer a registration, the Trust must have an email (tourdirector@wrtrust.com) (subject line=Transfer Registration) from both parties (seller and purchaser) saying the transfer has taken place and is accepted by both.

REGISTRATION CARRY OVERS:  All registrations apply to the Tour year only–2024. No year to year carry-overs will be granted.

How do I know if I’m fit enough to participate?

  • In previous years, most participants were surprised by the amount of distance that they could do!  Anyone in reasonable cycling shape should be able to enjoy the GWTA. The route this year does have some hilly sections and some  gravel sections. The most important thing is to get comfortable riding your bike all day and in particular get comfortable with your gears. If you have never done a ride like this before we recommend that you give yourself plenty of time in the saddle so that your butt and shoulders get used to being in a cycling position.
  • Every year people come with only a handful of training rides under their belts and do just fine. If you ride at least three times a week for a couple of months before the tour, you will decrease your chance of injury, sore butts, and sore necks. Work up to being comfortable riding 50 – 70 km in one day, include practice at climbing some short hills and maintaining a speed of 15 km/hr or faster and you’ll have the confidence to finish the tour.
  • You will need to be comfortable riding on roads and aware of the rules and regulations for sharing the road.
  • Don’t forget that we will have emergency support available.
  • If you would like to join in the fun but are concerned with the distance, consider the Personal Support Vehicle option. Under this option you bring a friend or family member who drives the GWTA.

What is a personal support vehicle?

A personal support vehicle is a non-cycling registrant who brings a vehicle and is a driving participant and who accompanies and supports their registered cycling family and friends. This gives you the flexibility to end your day when you like and take in more side trips or other activities such as shopping, kayaking, theatre. Most of all it is a way for cycling and non-cycling friends to share this incredible experience.

What if I don’t want to ride all day or all week?

  • We recommend that you are able to ride at least 60km per day to get the maximum enjoyment from your cycling holiday. The tour provides support for those in need of assistance.
  • Want more flexibility?  Consider the personal support vehicle option.

Will I need a passport to travel from the U.S.?

On June 1, 2009 all U.S. and Canadian citizens who are 16 and older traveling between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea (including ferries), will be required to present a valid passport or other alternative documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security.

What time can I start biking in the morning?

  • Remember you are on vacation.  However we realize weather conditions and personal anxiety may push you to an earlier start. The rest stop and meal schedule is based on a 15-25 kph rate of average speed and a 8:00am am start.  Breakfasts will typically be available from 7:00am to 8:00am. Please remember that our lead cycling volunteers also need to eat breakfast before they get on the road. If you leave before 7:30 am we can not guarantee that we will be able to assist you if you run into a mechanical problem. All times listed in the itinerary section are the times when the rest stops will be “open”.

Will we encounter much traffic on the route?

  • The Lake Huron North Channel section of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail is mostly signed quiet roads. This section of the trail is unique in that it does feature some sections of riding on the extra wide paved shoulders of  HW17. When the GWTA visited this section of the trail in 2019 most of our riders felt comfortable riding these sections. For those who wish to avoid those sections then our emergency support vehicles will be available.  We cannot close roads, but we do work with  the communities involved to establish awareness of road conditions and temporary signage where necessary. As a rider, you should always be aware of your surroundings and stay far right and in single file.
  • As cyclists riding on the road, we are subject to certain provincial and municipal laws. Please take a few minutes to review the Ministry of Transportation cycling resources.

Great Waterfront Trail Merchandise

Souvenir cycling jerseys will be available for the 2024 GWTA. More information will be coming to the website shortly.