Nova Scotia Bike Tour - Lizard Head Cycling Guides
   
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891 info@LizardHeadCyclingGuides.com

Nova Scotia Bike Tour

Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

Nova Scotia Bike Tour: Highlights

Lizard Head Cycling Guides’ Nova Scotia Bike Tour offers up yet another bike-it list destination to Nova Scotia, one of Canada’s three Maritime provinces. Considered as one of Bicycle Magazine’s Top Ten Rides, the Nova Scotia bike tour offers one of the top cycling destinations in North America with majestic ocean views and seafood to enjoy throughout the tour. We have incorporated healthy mileage, all the sights and several days along the majestic Cabot Trail into our Nova Scotia bike tour.

The Cabot Trail through Cape Breton Highlands National Park

The Creation Story

Lizard Head Cycling Guides developed our Nova Scotia bike tour with a long time “Newfie” client (from Newfoundland) who owns a cottage near Cape Breton. We spent a week doing reconnaissance with his local routes and then ran the tour in the fall of 2016. Overall this is a enjoyable tour with the powerful ocean element, great seafood and Celtic culture/music.

Cape Breton and the Cabot Trail are the scenic and cycling highlight of the tour and as a result in 2017 we have rearranged the tour to spend an additional day riding and lodging on Cape Breton. It should be noted that Nova Scotians are exceptionally friendly to cyclists and most of the time give us the entire lane when passing from behind.

The People are Extremely Friendly!

The people and police in Nova Scotia really are incredibly friendly! They pull their cars across into the other lane to give cyclists as much space as possible and there are signs along the roads saying welcome cyclists. Check out this recent video of their hospitality.

A quintessential Nova Scotia harbor scene

A quintessential Nova Scotia harbor scene

Lighthouse in Halifax Harbor

Lighthouse in Halifax Harbor

Along the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton

Along the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton

Nova Scotia in autumn

Nova Scotia in autumn

Lake side sunrise on Cape Breton Island

Nova Scotia Bike Tour: Dates

Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891

To easily register for a particular tour, please click the Book Now! link after the tour date listed below. This will select the tour name and the appropriate date on the registration form.

2023 Tour Dates

Tour Status Notes: NO STATUS = Date Set, no riders have signed up. TOUR OPENED = Tour Opened, rider minimums not met. TOUR A GO! = Tour is Go, rider minimums met. SOLD OUT = Tour Full, rider maximums met.

Nova Scotia Bike Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

*** A Passport is Required to Enter Canada! ***

Tour Length: 7-Days/6-Nights with 6-Days Cycling and 1 Layover Day

Meeting & Ending Town: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ)

Total Distance: Up to 400 Miles. Multiple mileage options exist due to the two layover hotels.  (Can I keep up on this tour?)

Ability Level: Upper Intermediate (3)  to Advanced (3/4) 

Tour Minimum: A minimum of 10 riders are needed for this tour to run.

Tour Cost: $3,095 per person with shared accommodations. Add $550 per person to this Tour Cost for a private room each night of the tour (6-Nights). Group discount of $200 per person for groups of 4 or more.
Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.

Tour Includes: 7-Days guide service, 6-Nights lodging, most meals (5 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 4 dinners), entrance fees, energy food, liquid refreshments, in-tour shuttles, and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental, and massage (if available) are additional.

Non-Riding Spouses & Partners on Tour: If a non-riding spouse or partner would like to join you on tour and they have their own transportation, they can stay in your room for the cost of the tour's single room supplement. Non-Riding spouses and partners can join a tour's meal plan of three meals a day for $85 per day.

Lodging for 6-Nights: (subject to change)

Road Bike Rentals

NOTE: The make, model, and specifications of rental bikes may differ from what is described below. Please contact us if you have any specific needs for a rental bike or have any questions about rental bikes.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent Scott Bikes. The Scott Addict 10 Disc was designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind. With geometry that is less focused on racing and more on enduring, the Addict 10 will be your go to when you’re looking to put the miles in.

The Scott Addict 10 Disc features: Carbon Frame and Fork, Shimano Ultegra 2x11 Drivetrain, 34x32 Compact Gearing, 30mm Tires, and Hydraulic Disc Brakes. Approx. Weight: 16.89 lbs / 7.66 kg (without pedals)

Learn More: Click Here to learn more about our Road Bike Rentals including pricing.

Road E-Bike Rentals: Click Here for more information on our Road E-Bike Rentals including pricing. Please note that E-Bikes are not available for certain tours including those that involve camping. Please contact us for more information before registering for a tour. NOTE: E-Bikes are great, but our tours are designed to be ridden without motorized assistance. We offer "bumps" along the road so that everyone can stay together.

Tandems and Recumbents: Lizard Head Cycling Guides happily accommodates both tandem and recumbent bikes on our tours.

If you have any further questions, please read more on our Rental Bikes FAQ page. You can also email us at info@lizardheadcyclingguides.com or call us at 970.728.5891

Meals On Tour

Lizard Head Cycling Guides provides most meals on all tours (unless otherwise noted) including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guides will prepare a daily lunch en route for nearly every tour, both road and off-road, as well as provide nutritious snacks at periodic aid stations during the day.

Most of our road tours utilize local restaurants for all meals and occasionally guides may prepare a dinner or two during a tour. Due to the nature of being "off the grid", most of our off-road tours feature guide prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. FUN NOTE: When guides prepare a meal in camp and the guests sit around and watch, this is called "Guide TV". :)

We also pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests and needs, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works best for you during your tour. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!

Lunches: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and, of course, plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies.

Dinners: On our road tours, Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients and guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu including: appetizer, salad, entrée, and of course, dessert... yum! :) Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post-ride element.

Ability Level: Can I Ride This Tour?

Definition of Ability Levels

= Intermediate (2/3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 1 to 3 times a week for a total of 50 or more miles.
= Upper Intermediate (3) Rides and/or takes spin classes 2 to 4 times a week for a total of 75 or more miles.
= Advanced (3/4) Rides and/or takes spin classes 3 to 5 times a week for a total of 100 or more miles. Has ridden multi-day tours and done a century ride.
= Expert (4) Rides 4 or more times per week totaling 150 or more miles. Rides E.F.I. with regularity. Has done numerous multi-day tours, century rides and races.

How Fit do I Have to Be? If one month prior to the tour, you can ride 2 to 3 times a week equaling a total of 75 or more miles a week, you'll do just fine. We like to jokingly say that "one is ready for a Lizard Head Cycling Tour when they are finished with tour" and this is true! The only way to simulate a week long bike tour is to go on a week long tour.

Our average rider age is 55 years. These are bike tours, not races so we take our time to stop, take pictures and see the sights. We have all day to reach our destination and most riders take "bumps" at some points. We offer reduced mileage options for each day. Of course if someone wants to ride E.F.I. (Every Freaking Inch), we love to show them all the extra climbs, loops and hidden canyons that can be included!

Do the Bump! Daily mileage options allow cyclists of varying abilities to enjoy this tour. One of our favorite options is to give cyclists a "bump" via the support vehicle, or a 10 to 20 mile lift down the road representing an hour of pedal time. After the bump the rider is "off the front" and riding at his or her own pace without feeling they are being left behind the group. They'll then have time to linger and take in the spectacular scenery. All cyclists come together in time for lunch. Afterwards, cyclists can take another bump and/or continue riding.

Seamless Mileage Options: Lizard Head Cycling Guides designs multiple mileage options for each tour – something we're well known for in our business. This technique is similar to heliskiing in that one does not ski everything, they ski the best. 🙂

Slow or Fast? Many cyclists who sign up for our tours have worried themselves silly about not being able to keep up, but then they're surprised to find that all the worrying was about nothing. They do just fine! Slow and Fast only exist relative to other cyclists. Speed does not matter as long as one is moving on the bike. As long as one is moving, they are truly going fast enough.

If you have questions about your ability to ride this tour, please contact our office via email or call us at 970.728.5891 - we'll more than happy to guide you!

Please also see this blog post for more information.

Overall Route Map

Below is an example of the daily routes for this tour and are subject to change based on season, available accommodations, road closures, and other factors. The actual routes will be made available to registered participants before their tour, so please view these routes as a general outline as to what to expect.

Nova Scotia Bike Tour: Itinerary*

*Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations, road construction, road closures, and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Also, the distances and elevation profiles shown below may not reflect the actual distances and elevations while on tour as these are provided here to give an idea as to the anticipated mileage and terrain. Please view this itinerary, the distances, and elevation profiles as a general outline as to what to expect while on this tour.

Day 0: Arrival in Halifax, Nova Scotia

Guests arrive the day before the tour departure in Halifax, Nova Scotia via Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) and check into the meeting hotel. We suggest that guests take the opportunity this day to visit downtown Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, to soak in the history, local culture and to enjoy the diverse restaurant scene.


 

Day 1: Marble Mountain to Glenora Distillery
48 miles/77 kilometers with up to 1,905 feet/581 meters of climbing

After the morning meet and greet, we load up in the support vehicle for a short transfer from Halifax to the small village of Marble Mountain, Nova Scotia to start this remarkable week-long cycling tour. Day 1’s route is  a gentle warm-up for the upcoming week, so the climbing will be minimal as we ride across the width of Cape Breton island to our destination of Glenora Inn & Distillery.


 

Elevation Profile: +1905 ft / -1730 ft

Day 2: Glenora Distillery to Chéticamp
68 miles/109 kilometers with up to 2,610 feet/795 meters of climbing

Today is a longer day, so we will depart early from the Glenora Inn & Distillery making our way southeast around inland Lake Ainslie and then turn north towards the Gulf of St. Lawrence. We then follow the rugged coastline all the way to our destination of Chéticamp, Nova Scotia, our home for this evening.


 

Elevation Profile: +2610 ft / -2815 ft

Day 3: Chéticamp to Ingonish
Standard, 67 miles/107 kilometers with up to 6,010 feet/1,832 meters of climbing
E.F.I., 102 miles/164 kilometers with up to 8,730 feet/2660 meters of climbing

Today offers perhaps the most magnificent route for the entire week! We depart from Chéticamp and soon find ourselves within Cape Breton Highlands National Park and along a spectacular stretch of road known as the Cabot Trail. The Cabot Trail offers the most climbing of the tour along with possibly the best views and brightest fall colors. At the 12 mile point in the route there is an option to hike Skyline Trail offering perhaps the most iconic views in all of Cape Breton.

Those looking for a longer riding day can take a side trip up to Meat Cove, the most northerly community in Cape Breton and which is literally perched on the edge of a cliff. This is a challenging side trip where the climbs in the last part leading up to Meat Cove are steep and the last few miles are on a rough dirt road. However, your efforts will be rewarded with spectacular views and you can treat yourself to a bowl of chowder and a cold beer at the campground restaurant.

The Cabot Trail ride ends in Ingonish where we check into our accommodations.


 

Standard, Chéticamp to Ingonish, 67 miles – Elevation Profile: +6010 ft / -6005 ft

E.F.I., Chéticamp to Ingonish via Meat Cove, 102 miles – Elevation Profile: +8730 ft / -8720 ft

Day 4: Ingonish to Baddeck
54 miles/87 kilometers with up to 2,830 Feet/863 meters of climbing

Today we leave Ingonish and soon find ourselves tackling a 7-kilometer long category 3 climb which rewards at the summit with views of Cabot Strait. From the summit a screaming descent is enjoyed down to Cabot Strait and St. Anns Bay. Upon reaching Jersey Cove a short ride on the Englishtown Ferry is taken. From here we make our way to Baddeck, Nova Scotia where we finish our ride and check into this evening’s accommodations.


 

Elevation Profile: +2830 ft / -2835 ft

Day 5: Layover Day with Optional Activities
Optional rides of 20 to 80 miles/32 to 129 kilometers

With a layover day in Baddeck, guests will have the opportunity to relax, sightsee the town, visit the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site, or tackle on-your-own adventures including kayak tours, sailing tours and other activities. For a relaxing day, guests may also want to book some time at the spa located on-site at the resort. NOTE:  A loop ride of 20 to 80-miles exists on this day. Details to be posted soon.


 

Day 6: Baddeck to Normaway Inn
38 miles/61 kilometers with up to 1,640 feet/500 meters of climbing

With a shorter ride on the agenda for today, guests can enjoy a relaxing morning at the resort before we depart late morning to embark on our ride. Our ride continues along the Cabot Trail, but instead of water views, we turn inland towards the center of Cape Breton island until we reach our destination at the Normaway Inn.


 

Elevation Profile: +1640 ft / -1390 ft

Day 7: Normaway Inn to Inverness
37 miles/60 kilometers with up to 1,640 feet/500 meters of climbing

The last day of our Nova Scotia tour has arrived with another short ride on the schedule. From the Normaway Inn, we will pedal west roughly following the Margaree River through the Margaree Valley. Then the route turns southwest to end in the beautiful coastal town of Inverness. Here we will enjoy lunch and browse the local shops. Afterwards, we load the support vehicle and transfer back to Halifax to end our tour.


 

Elevation Profile: +1640 ft / -1810 ft

Nova Scotia Bike Tour: Logistics & FAQs

Bike Shipping

Lizard Head Cycling recommends shipping with BikeFlights.com. Bikes can be shipped either to our partner bike shop in each meeting town for professional assembly or directly to the meeting hotel for self-assembly. Bike boxes can generally be left at the meeting hotel during the tour. Bikes shipped across the continental US should be shipped 8 days prior to your tour.

Meals
Any dietary preferences or allergies should be noted on the registration form. Each of Lizard Head Cycling’s lunches contains gluten free options.

Ride Difficulty
This custom tour is designed for Intermediate to Advanced (2/3) cyclists with various levels of fitness. Each day there are additional mileage options for advanced riders.

Tour Support
A 15-passenger van and trailer that carries luggage, food and equipment will support this tour.

General Tour & Cancellation Policies

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.

Travel Insurance

If you have not already, now would be a great time to consider adding travel insurance to your tour. You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you would like. We recommend Generali/Trip Mate.

Generally, if contracting COVID causes clients to cancel or interrupt their tour, trip insurance companies would treat it as any other illness as long as it is contracted after the insurance was purchased. Please check your individual plan documentation for details. Please note that quarantine is usually only covered if clients are actually sick with COVID. If a state requires quarantine upon arrival because of standardized state law, coverage is generally not covered. Again, check your individual plan documentation for details.

American Guests - use this link: http://www.generalitravelinsurance.com/get-a-quote.html?partner=LIZA0855

  • The Platinum Plan is the only plan which offers Pre-Existing coverage so long as the plan is purchased prior to Final Payment.
  • The Platinum Plan is the only plan that offers an optional Cancel For Any Reason - the policy must be purchased within 24 hours of initial trip deposit, the full trip cost must be insured, and if they cancel for Any Reason, it must be 48 hours prior to departure, and the reimbursement for an Any Reason claim is 60% of pre-paid, insured, non-refundable trip cost.
  • Customer Service can be reached at 1-800-874-2442 for coverage questions and policy modifications or to purchase by phone. Agency Code: LIZA0855

Canadian Guests - use this link: https://tripmate.catravelins.ca/?utm_source=lizardhead

 
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