TORONTO—The 2022 edition of Cycling in Ontario is out and Manitoulin Island gets great mentions for both Manitoulin Island Cycling Advocates’ (MICA) charging station initiative and the great cycling routes the Island has to offer.
“If there is a positive spin coming out of the pandemic, it’s the fact that cycling is on the upswing and its popularity is reaching a new high, as more people than ever are realizing the benefits of outdoor recreation,” said Louisa Mursell, executive director of Ontario By Bike, who adds “so too is travel in Ontario, exploring our province and closer to home, which has certainly helped many tourism operators and destinations in what was a most challenging period for the tourism industry.”
With the days getting longer and warmer, cyclists in Ontario will soon be out in full force, notes Ms. Mursell, and those cyclists are already making plans that include cycling trips and outings in Ontario.”
That is what makes the mention of Manitoulin Island in Ontario’s premier recreational cycling magazine so exciting. Ontario By Bike shared the insight contained in its new report that is based on survey results gathered from over 1,200 cyclists.
That data indicated that cycling activity increased during COVID by 82 percent in 2021 and 61 percent of cyclists did three or more day trips that included cycling in 2021. Some 48 percent did one or more overnight trips that included cycling in 2021.
Ms. Mursell also shared that 75 percent of cyclists are considering making non-local regional travel plans that include cycling in 2022; 46 percent of those trips that include cycling in 2022 are anticipated to be overnight trips; 30 percent are considering day trips; and 31 percent are considering participating in some type of organized cycling activity, including returning to events and tours in 2022.
Things are shaping up nicely for cycling tourism on Manitoulin in 2022.
The article in Cycling in Ontario notes that MICA’s new e-bike network will include seven charging stations at key locations around the Island, including the ferry terminal in South Baymouth, where riders can rent an ebike and then drop it off at any station at the end of their ride. Even better, those ebikes can be reserved in advance, providing folks with another green way to explore the Island.
The article suggests taking in the Alvar Cycle Tour Adventure, a five-day guided tour showcasing the Manitoulin’s “sparkling inland lakes and quiet rural roads, while learning about the fascinating marine, geological and cultural history of the region.”
It generally extolls Manitoulin’s long stretches of quiet roads with paved shoulders, pastoral scenery and epic views of the La Cloche foothills as you make your way along the North Channel. Manitoulin Island abounds with cycling routes for day or multi-day tours, the article goes on to note, with two main routes across the Island.
Another suggestion is a more indirect but scenic trip around Lake Manitou through Mindemoya on Highways 542, 551, and 540 and advises combining that jaunt with a return back south on Highway 6 from Little Current. That “makes for a great two-day loop at 126 kilometres.”
Unfortunately, the article is a bit out of date, advising cyclists in need of repair to drop into Lightfoot Bike, which is no longer in business. Instead, we at The Expositor advise dropping into the full-service cycling shop Breakaway Sports and Cycle in Little Current.