Choosing your Bike for the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure

“The best bike is the bike you already have” – Jo Sharland, GWTA Tour Director

Welcome to another year and another adventure. Now that 2019 has officially taken the top spot on the calendar and the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure (July 28, 2019 – Aug 2, 2019) has set its sights on northern Ontario, it’s time to get things rolling.

Exploring by bike has often been touted as the best way to experience a destination. It’s easy to imagine yourself rolling along quaint country roads in the company of friends, be it old or new, all your senses engaged by your surroundings. Imagining yourself on your bike covering up to a hundred kilometres a day, hmmm, perhaps not so easy. Hence the most often asked questions, can I do it and can my bike?

The Great Waterfront Trail Adventure is a fully supported tour. What this means is, you do need to be able to ride 50 km a day; but if you run out of steam, there are planned shuttle points along the route that either scoot rider’s ahead or pick you up to shorten the day’s ride. So can you do it, of course you can. As for the bike, chances are the bike sitting in your garage will do just fine. We rounded up a few photos from the 2018 adventure from Ajax to the Quebec border to showcase that the bikes on a Great Waterfront Trail Adventure are as varied as the people that ride them.

Road Bikes

This might be the image that comes to mind when we think of long days on the road. Road bicycles are designed to be ridden fast on smooth pavement. They have smooth, skinny tires and “drop” handlebars, and are usually lighter than other types of bicycles. Most road bikes are not capable of carrying heavy loads which is not

a problem on the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure since your gear is shuttled ahead by truck. Consider your tire choice carefully for the 2019 tour’s varied terrain. There is 40 km of gravel, which means skinny slicks are not ideal. Most road bikes can outfitted with wider, treaded tires at your bike store.

Touring Bikes

Touring bicycles are designed to be ridden on pavement, but are more durable for use on self-supported long-distance riding. They have mounting bolts for cargo racks and fenders, and a more relaxed frame design so that the rider is more upright, for more comfort when riding long distances for multiple days at a time.

Adventure Road Bikes

Adventure Road Bicycles are one of the newest and most versatile sub-category of road bikes. The frame geometry is longer and more upright making these bikes more suitable for long days in the saddle. Also their ability to use wider tires make these bikes as happy on the paved road as on gravel. This might just be the optimum bike to deal with The Waterfront Trails variable surfaces.

Hybrid Bikes

Hybrid Bicycles were originally conceived to provide the advantages of both road bikes and mountain bikes. With larger, padded seats and upright handlebars they provide a comfortable riding position but are not as lightweight or efficient as road bikes. The tires are usually a medium-width with a semi-smooth tread, to provide a fairly smooth ride on pavement, but enough grip and cushion on unpaved surfaces.

Dual-Sport Bikes

A sub-category of hybrid bikes oriented towards riders who want the multi-surface versatility of a hybrid bike, but want a little more aggressive style and riding position. With flat but lower bars, a less comfortable seat and wide tires these bikes get faster as the road gets rougher.

Cruiser Bikes

Cruiser Bicycles are similar to hybrid bikes but take comfort to the next level with a very upright riding position,and a large, comfortable seat.

Folding Bikes

A hundred kilometres on a Folding Bicycles, why not? More common amongst apartment dwellers and city commuters than long distance tourers, but where there is a will there is a way. However, with gravel sections and more challenging terrain expected on the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure 2019, the folding bike will be a struggle and is definitely not recommended.

Recumbent Bikes

Recumbent Bicycles have a long, low design and a full-size seat with a backrest. Many recumbent riders feel that they are the most comfortable option available for bicycling.

E- Bikes

E-Bikes provide a quiet and non-polluting boost to your own pedal power, so you can ride farther and faster with less effort. None of us are created equal when it comes to pushing pedals for hours at a time. The e-bike might just be the great equalizer giving you that little extra to get the day done. Keep in mind, the battery is there to assist not to offer a free ride; the use of its power must be managed to ensure you reach the end of the day’s ride.

Vintage Bikes

Bikes have changed over time but not really, pedals, chain, wheels, tires are still the basis of the ride. Whether you are a vintage bike fan or have a bike that’s been collecting dust in the garage for decades, a bit of TLC and you are good to go.

There you have it, real bikes ridden by real people and loving every minute, or should I say every kilometre of it. With the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure 2019 – ” Cycle the North “- Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury set for July 28th to August 2nd, 2019 it boils down to not which bike you should ride, but which bike you do ride, and the bike you already have will be just fine. That said, having the right tool for the job can be the difference between fun and not so much, and since this year’s GWTA follows some gravel roads, bikes outfitted with wider, heavier tires are strongly recommended.

Registration for the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure 2019 is now open and selling fast.  To learn about the ride and register follow link –

Check out the video below for highlights of the GWTA 2019 route