Solo Cyclist Profile





Ontario has a road network that accomodates over 13 million people and as such, the variety of country roads is unrivalled. This is a collection of routes, starting in Niagara, and covers the entire Golden Horseshoe finishing in Durham.


Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport

6135 Silver Dart Dr.

Mississauga, Ontario

L5P 1B2


Airport Code: YYZ

Elevation: 173 metres

Toronto International Airport is the largest airport in Southern Ontario, it's also one of the biggest and busiest in Canada. This would be the airport of choice if coming from an international destination. Even though Toronto has it's name stamped on the airport, it is actually located in Mississauga, a 30 minute drive (in good traffic) to Toronto's downtown core. There are many travel options to and from the airport. Rental cars are on site, as are Airport Limos and buses. The range of accommodations near the airport and beyond scan the full scope of low end to high end motel, hotels and Inns.

Billy Bishop City Airport

2 Eireann Quay

Toronto, Ontario

M5V 1A1


Airport Code: YTZ

Elevation: 77 metres

Billy Bishop Airport has the convenience of being right in the heart of downtown Toronto. This airport caters to smaller aircraft and does not even come close to the range of cities that Toronto Pearson does. It caters to 15 cities in Canada and the United States. If you happen to live in one of those cities Billy Bishop might be for you. This is an island airport and is serviced by a car and passenger ferry. You can rent cars directly at the airport. Taxi's are located on the mainland which is a 121 metre ferry ride across the channel. There is also a shuttle bus that drops of at several different locations downtown.

J.C.M. Hamilton Int'l Airport

9300 Airport Rd.

Hamilton, Ontario

L0R 1W0


Airport Code: YHM

Elevation: 238 metres

Hamilton International Airport is located in the south western part of Southern Ontario. Depending on where you are coming from, this airport would service the well know tourists destinations of the Niagara Wine Region and Niagara Falls. This airport services many Canadian cities as well as cities in the United States, Mexico and Caribbean. You can rent a car directly at the airport as well as take the Hamilton Street Railway that provides transportation to downtown Hamilton. Taxi's are also available at the airport. Shuttles are also available and should be booked directly with service providers.


When does cycling season begin?

The cycling season in Southern Ontario typically starts in April. This might be a bit too cool for some, as temperatures can be close to zero Celsius at the start of the day, but commonly things warm up to plus 10 Celsius by mid morning.

Can it snow in April and May?

It certainly can snow in early April, but it is not common. My old team starting training the first weekend of April every year for the past 4 years and we have yet to cancel any training ride because of snow, sleet or freezing rain. The same can be said for May, but it is even more unlikely to happen in this month.

Does it get really hot in summer?

Yes!!! it can really get really hot in the summer. It is not unusual to get over 30 degrees Celsius in July and August. One of the reasons I included where to find water, or where it is hard to find, is because it might determine what route you would do. There are routes, like Waterloo, where there is nowhere to get water so doing 130 km in 30 degrees heat would be unwise.

Can wind be a problem?

Anytime you have open farmland you will have wind. On a normal day winds will be sustained at no more than 25 kmph, but there are days where sustained winds can be in the upper 30's with wind gusts up 60 kmph. It is more common to have winds from the west than the east, but north and south seem to be about the same. As weather patterns move across the country in a west to east pattern this is to be expected.

What is the max wind that is safe?

That question is a very personal one. The more experienced the cyclist the higher winds they will be able to withstand. Personally, when I see gust into the 70 kmph range I will probably keep the bike at home. Road bikes are light and can be pushed across the road into oncoming traffic in a cross wind, especially if you have high profile rims. If you are in doubt of your ability stay home and live to ride another day.

Does it rain alot in the spring?

The spring definitely gets more rain than in the summer. It is usual to get rain for short periods and then the sun comes out. It doesn't usually rain non-stop all day. There are days when it does rain all day, but they are uncommon. In my experience, if you follow the hourly forecast the morning of your ride you will get fairly close to the actual weather pattern for the day.

weather statistics

The graph shows what the average rainfall and temperatures are in the Toronto area. These averages will not vary greatly throughout Southern Ontario. By far the best months to cycle in Southern Ontario are June through September. Personally, I like the shoulder season better because it's cooler and I tend to cycle better in cooler conditions.


Required fitness for the region?

There is a wide range of routes available on this site. The shorter ones, under 60 km, tend to be fairly easy. Anyone with average fitness will do well on the shorter distances, but most routes will have rolling hills so it won't be a flat walk in the park. I usually use Halton Hills 41 km as the first ride of the year, but even on this route there are four hills that will challenge unfit riders. With enough determination anyone can finish this route. More experienced cyclists, with a bit of distance in their legs will have no trouble finishing any of the routes listed on this site.

What's a categorized climb?

A categorized climb is a rating combining both length of the hill and its average gradient. The easiest is a category 5 increasing in difficulty towards a category 1 and then the ultimate cruelty of an HC (hors categorie), meaning it's so hard it's outside of classification. Most professional races never include category 5 climbs in their race profile as they would be too easy to be of any concern. But Map My Ride includes them in their profile calculations so I have included them here. The highest category you will find in Southern Ontario is a category 4. This category will have you climbing for several km on fairly easy gradients. Category 5 climbs in this region can be fairly steep, but short. You can usually see the top of the hill within this type of classification.

What kind of terrain will I find?

The best word to describe the terrain in Southern Ontario is rolling. The Lakeshore area from Niagara to Hamilton is flat, but if you cycle south you will need to gain the top edge of the Escarpment. Once on top of the escarpment, between these two cities, the landscape is fairly flat. The biggest natural landmark in this area is the Niagara Escarpment. Many of the routes on this site go up and down this feature. The escarpment generally runs in an east and west direction from Niagara to Hamilton along the shores of Lake Ontario and then in a north west direction from Hamilton all the way up to the Bruce Peninsula. The area north of Hamilton is where the rolling hills are most prevalent. The climbs up the escarpment can range from long easy gradients to short punchy climbs with maximum gradients reaching the high teens and even the low twenties. In general terms once you get north of Hamilton the terrain climbs in elevation away from the lake. Here you will find a mixture of long, false flats and rolling landscapes.

What kind of gearing do I need?

This question is dependent entirely upon the skill level of the cyclist. The hills in this region are not that big, but some of them can be quite steep. I run a standard 53/39 crank with a 25/11 cassette and I find no particular issues. Most experienced cyclists will find this setup just fine. If you have doubts about your climbing ability, perhaps a compact crank may be better for you. Another option is to use a larger tooth cassette, perhaps a 28. If you are really new to the sport you might even have a triple crank and if that's the case, you will be able to climb just about anything with that. So to answer that question is difficult without knowing the skill level of the cyclist. I've always been a big fan of the standard 53/39 crank and a 25/11 cassette, even in the mountains. If I can't climb it I'll have a new goal and that's just fine with me.

Can I get food and water on route?

I have provided each route with information about where to find food and water while on route. To find this information go to the "zone page" where your route is displayed, click "view" beside the route you want and this will navigate to your chosen route on the page below. Once you see the banner for your route, click the "plus" icon under the map. When you hit the "plus" icon all the route information will be pulled down, including where to find food and water. It will also show on the motion graphic profile where on route these items are available. You can also click "download" beside your route selection in the route menu at the top of the page and a PDF document will pop up with a complete cue sheet including where you can find food and water and at what kilometer. If there is no food on route it will say so in the route narrative provided in the pull down screen.

Is help close if I need it?

Although many of the routes you will be cycling are out in the country, there is still enough traffic around to lend a hand if necessary. I have included both hospital and taxi contact information in the route details and on a downloadable PDF file. If you go to the zone page where your route is located you will see a "Download" section on the route menu. If you click "view" it will open a PDF document that will include turn by turn directions and taxi and hospital numbers for that area. You should print this document and carry it with you when out cycling if you want to have this information close at hand. You'll also find that Southern Ontario is a pretty friendly place. If you are broken down or have crashed and are sitting at the side of the road injured it won't be long before someone comes along to offer assistance.

What's the road surface like?

The road surface in Southern Ontario will range from pavement to tar and chip. The more rural the road the more likely it will be the tar and chip variety. If you are wondering what this type of road surface is here's a small explanation. The road is sprayed with a thick tar like liquid and then small pieces of gravel are spread over the tar which in turn sticks to the surface of the road. After a season of settling this surface is fine to cycle on. It only becomes an issue when it is first laid. Lose gravel does collect on the side of the road and can be a hazard if your wheel wonders into it. Please be careful when a new surface is present; it's pretty clear when it's new, trust me. You will find dirt roads in this region as well. None of the roads on my routes use dirt roads, but you will see them cross some of the roads you will be cycling on.

Is cycling alone safe?

I only have one answer for that. Yes!!! The country side of Southern Ontario is full of large estate homes on massive acreage and farmland. There is nothing dangerous about the type of people you will find here. That's not to say don't be careful, because anything can happen at anytime, but I've never heard of anyone being attacked or mugged while cycling in Southern Ontario. The worst thing you may run across is some yahoo in a car that might come too close because they hate cyclists for some reason, but that type of fool you will find everywhere. Compared to other places where I've cycled this region is as safe as it gets. That being said, don't leave your bike unattended. Theft is a problem is everywhere, including here.

Cell service in the country?

The short answer to that is yes, cell phones do work out in the country. There will be "dead zones", but they are not common. If you need to make a call and experience no service, cycle up the road a little and it's almost guaranteed you will find service. You may be out in the country, but not too far away is a population of 8 million people that inhabit the Golden Horseshoe area. People want their cell phones to work when out playing in the country and for the most part they do.

Are other cyclists on the road?

On an average summer weekend you will see enough cyclists on the road to know that you are not alone. Most of the areas in Southern Ontario have their own cycling clubs which you will see on most weekend mornings. I've seen large peleton type groups in the Halton Hills and Caledon areas. These two areas are two of the hot spots for cycling in Southern Ontario. The sport is definitely growing here in Canada and Ontario is no exception. It's obvious by the quality of the bikes you will see. If you get a flat or have a mechanical, most cyclists will slow down to see if you need assistance. The brotherhood of the bike is strong here and a helping hand is never far away.

Back to top

  • Facebook
  • Instagram

Site Design: Steep Hill Productions