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Why this trip?
• It’s a must-do trip for touring cyclists and one of Freewheeling's most popular rides.
• The simple beauty of cycling between mountains and sea, in a remote island setting not on the way to anywhere.
• Margaree River Valley – a pretty salmon-fishing river.
• Acadian culture in Cheticamp. Learn about the 1755 expulsion of Acadians and their re-settlement.
• You may see whales from the shore, moose in the highlands, and eagles in the sky.
• Cape Breton Highlands National Park - a natural treasure.
• The Markland Inn – a spectacular place far from crowds.
• Abundant fresh seafood
Fully-Guided Adventure - please enquire for Fully-Guided Adventure scheduled dates
Combine the pleasures of sharing the experience with others while traveling at your own pace, and having full vehicle support and the caring service of at least one guide per six people. Your luggage is moved for you, and the group nature usually attracts travelers with plenty in common with you. Although participants often spread out along the route during the day, night times become enriched by shared stories and entertainment, and groups often make plans together for tomorrow’s ride or next year’s holiday.
Travel by yourself, with vehicle support to enable and enhance your itinerary, and a driver on call nearby to help and move your luggage for you. You can choose your own travel dates (except when there is a guided tour on the same route), or join other self-guided adventurers on their selected dates. Give us as much advance notice as you can, so that we can secure the best options for you; however, we will do our best to make it happen even if you want to start next week.
Customized Private Itinerary
Do you want different dates? Would you like to change the itinerary? We can adapt! We are willing to add new dates, for group or private tours, where possible and given enough time. We are very flexible, and given sufficient time to do so, we can create a new departure, and even a customized itinerary, to match your needs.
Day 1: Introduction
An optional transfer departs Halifax at midday. Otherwise, meet late this afternoon in Port Hawkesbury, or at your first inn (a good place to park your vehicle for the week if you’re driving yourself). Live music often follows dinner - an introduction to the musical culture of Cape Breton Island. D (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips only).
Day 2: Short: 28.4km 155m/-235m; Long: 53.6km 344m/422m
Ride down the East side of Margaree River Valley to its mouth, where you can stop for lobster on the beach. Short option riders will transfer to Cheticamp from Belle Côte. The long option follows the ocean through the Acadian region to Cheticamp. If you arrive early enough, you can spend the remainder of the afternoon exploring this very Acadian town and its surroundings. You can sometimes whale watch from the bluffs at Cheticamp Island and can hike or ride off-road to the salmon pools, with opportunities to swim as well. For your independent dinner, choose from several options along the Cheticamp waterfront.
Day 3: Short: 46.5km 786m/-762m; Long: 78.1km 1393m/-1388m
Today is a challenging day of cycling through Cape Breton Highlands National Park; cycling distances and terrain can be adjusted using transfers. Short option finishes at MacIntosh Brook with a transfer to your inn at Dingwall. The long option includes climbing the second of two 'mountains' each of about 430m/1400 feet. The scenery today is awe-inspiring; the ascents are long, and the descents...ahh, the descents! If only they'd go on forever.
Day 4: Short: 28.4km 306m/-291m; Long: 54km 601m/-591m
Cycle the scenic route between Cape North and Neil's Harbour (where the shorter ride begins), stopping for a short hike at spectacular White Point, where eagles often soar over spouting whales. Options include swimming holes, waterfalls, beaches, and golf at the Highland Links.
Day 5: Short: 43.6km 359m/-605m; Long: 60.6km 759m/-746m
A nicely undulating ride along the East Coast follows the initial climb over Cape Smokey. You can choose to ease the ride with a transfer up and over Smokey. Enjoy a picnic feast at Indian Brook or an interesting café in the middle of nowhere, and finish at a secluded inn on the shores of St. Anne’s Bay.
Day 6: Short: 35km 297m/-303m; Long: 78.1km 806m/-735m
On this morning’s ride to Baddeck, you can stop to visit the Gaelic College Great Hall of the Clans Museum, or if you are already in Baddeck, visit the Alexander Graham Bell Museum. Bell's airplane, the Silver Dart, was airborne about the same time as the Kitty Hawk. There are good lunch options to choose from in the waterfront village of Baddeck, before climbing over Hunter’s Mountain (152m/500ft.) and along Middle River Valley to finish your activity with a refreshing swim in Lake O’Law. Unless you are continuing to Inverness and the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail with us, your adventure concludes this afternoon in the Margaree Valley, from where optional transfers to Port Hawkesbury or Halifax depart, arriving by about 21:00.