Trail News

Covid Cycling Risks & Precautions

January 15th, 2021 – As of this week, the Ontario Government has issued new stricter measures to reduce the chances of catching the coronavirus that lurks among us.

The government also recognizes that its citizens need to exercise for its physical and mental benefits as we hibernate this winter. This is good news but requires that we all still be prudent and cautious more than ever while still having some fun too.

It has been strongly advised to stay close to home and reduce your travel. Keep to yourself with no groups larger than five people. Wear a mask when close to others on the trail. Pack all that you need for the trip, head straight there and back home with limited stops for gas or errands.

I wanted to write this as a public service to riders who may be using this site to plan outings. I have been diligently working on my new MTB trail guide for this spring. But let me take a moment away from that, as some of you have been asking…

As the long weekend arrives and the spring weather prompts us to head out on our bicycles, the question is, should you? 

Yes, you can go bike riding, but these are not normal times and precautions need to be taken.

Currently, for exercise, and mental sanity, the government is allowing us to ride our bikes (this may change). Is cabin fever setting in? Planning to get out for some sun and fresh air is certainly a welcomed thought.

You are best to stay close to home and ride solo, on the backstreets in your neighbourhood.


That is what I am doing and have concluded this from reading the links below. Please read them too and make your own judgement. 

This is all about RISK management. You do not want to get hurt, go to the hospital, tax the medical system or catch the virus. 

This means ride within your limits, keeping your ride risk LOW. I know this could be boring and easy terrain. Or riding the road, a paved one at that, OMG! Get over it!

Cycling with someone you live with is OK but NOT other friends, or a club group ride, sorry.

The concept is the virus can be airborne briefly and you, riding behind someone, could inhale what they exhale. If they are contagious, and this could be days before feeling ill, it poses a risk to you.

When you ride the road or a wide park path there is plenty of space, the winds blow and one keeps their distance from others; lower risk. On mountain bike trails passing someone can be a tight squeeze, riders are exercising harder = more exhaling = higher risk.

With that and the fact that many more cyclists are free to go out, it has CLOSED Provincial Parks, Conservation Areas and woodlots. Parking lots are too crowded, trails are too confined when encountering others and because many still don’t get it.

This is a nasty virus, that has a new set of rules, be it temporary. Follow them, play it safe for you and the sake of others.

These are just a few key points regarding your safety to add to what you are already doing…which is social distancing, stay close to home, limiting your visits to stores, washing your hands (scrub for 20 seconds before rinsing) refrain from touching your face. (mouth, nose and eyes are virus entry points)

Stay informed, read a few links below for more “new rules of the road”. 

Doing so will reduce your fear, anxiety and the need for speed. Remember this will pass, the trails will still be there to welcome you back, in time. Actually a little vegetation rejuvenation would be a good thing for our trail ecosystem.

Sure, browse this site to make future plans, but for now, stay home and ride on your own, locally.

I am going to post a few favourite videos this weekend to keep you dreaming of that day we are all back doing what we love – Trail Riding 


Be Well – Dan Roitner


Note date and location of articles for current news.

Canadian Cycling Magazine

MTB Atlantic

Bicycling Magazine (Mountain Trail Review)

MTB Pinkbike

IMBA Canada


Ontario Government  – Covid info and self-assessment

Canadian Government – Covid  info

bike path and cyclist
April 10, 2020 / 2 Comments / by / in
Winter Fatbike Riding in Ontario

winter 2020 update

When winter comes around in Ontario most of us fair weather riders put our bikes away.

But Fatbikes (or is it Fat Bikes?) are a new design of mountain bike that enables riders keen on riding year round to get out of the spin classes and do real riding.

This new trend evolves our bike sport to new possibilities and one day I see it in the winter Olympics.

These new bicycles are a hybrid of the MTB concept.

The obvious difference you can see is the fat tires that help you “float” over loose, soft terrain, be it snow, sand or soggy soil. A base on regular MTB tires to have an easier and more enjoyable ride.

What also has changed is one crank gear up front, fewer speeds to change and a lower gear ratio. These bikes are not made for speed as there is plenty of friction at work as the fat tires plow through the snow.

Fat bikes come with wide handlebars, disc brakes on a wide fork frame, but few have shocks. You just don’t need them on the soft stuff. Tires may have studs for ice and tire pressure is a low 10 psi or less.

With the fat soft tires and wide handlebar stance, riders have firm control and keep moving beyond what a typical MTB could handle.

There is a limit naturally, traveling through half a metre of powder is going to be tough. Ice is more manageable but still treat with caution as any rubber bike tire can slip from under you in a blink.

Metal studded tires come to the rescue giving a rider a firm tread on maneuvering precarious icy patches.

In a way riding on snow would give you a soft landing when a fall comes. Still wear a helmet over a thin toque cause those trees are not moving.

Keeping warm is an issue and requires a change in tactics. How to keep your feet, fingers and drinking water from freezing is a concern. You may opt for flat pedals and winter boots, or covers for riding shoes and your bar handles. Lots of accessories are coming out to fill this niche.

If you cross country ski you know all about the balance between staying warm but not sweating too much, as this moisture will chill you out eventually.

One has to dress in layers and peel before overheating. Remember that the days are short and be certain not to get lost. That’s definitely more of a problem than in the summer.

So with that short intro where can you ride your Fat Bike in Ontario? The simple answer is everywhere you could with your summer bike. Well almost… there are exceptions to this new sport.

Many summer ride locations on this site’s map pages are Nordic ski locations in the winter. Be sure you are welcome and give lots of space to skiers as you have better braking and turning then they do. And never ride over the ski tracks set in the snow, that’s just bad etiquette.

Most MTB, forest parks and rail trails on this site have easy routes to try. Also up north snowmobile trails are a possibility with hundreds of kilometres to ride if you find a quiet side loop. Use caution as these snow machines need as much respect as cars.

Below is a list of links to get you on your way. Rent first then buy into it later.

Check the Weather and Snow Depth, before you Go

Where to Ride a Fatbike in the Winter:

First try my Fatbike Tag on this site for ideas…


My close to Toronto favourites – free, few hills, no crowds:

Whitchurch – flat, easy, just north of Toronto

Bendor  – easy rolling hills

Long Sault – hilly, small fee north of Bowmanville

Eldred King – gentle grades, sandy too

Palgrave – north of Albion Hills and similar

Durham Forest – free, groomed loops!

Glen Major – beside Durham for more action


Farther away from Toronto

Northumberland – free, hills, large area north of Cobourg

Dufferin Forest – south of Collingwood, some grooming

Hydrocut – Waterloo

Guelph Lake – Guelph,

The Pines – Woodstock, some grooming

Turkey Point – on Lake Erie, snow depth could be low

Ottawa – river park trail

Larose Forest – south of Ottawa

Kivi Park – Sudbury

Torrance Barrens – Bala

Algonquin Park – Minnesing,  Rail Trail

BRMC – Bracebridge

Shuniah Mines – Thunderbay

+ Groomed with Trail Fees $

Why would you pay when you can ride for free? Well, few times the snow base is ideal for Fatbike riding. There may be too much snow and you are getting nowhere fast burning up energy. Or it could be icy and lumpy, no fun either.

A groomed path sets up the snow base to roll easier with better traction. Climbing and zipping down winding tracks become manageable and fun too. Plus even your regular MTB  with not so fat tires can take on these trails.


Albion Hills –  Black Trail only

Horseshoe – 9 km on snowshoe trail and beyond into Copland forest

Hardwood – Barrie lots to ride

Highlands Nordic – Collingwood – New trail

Georgian – Parry Sound

Walden – Sudbury

Hiawatha – Sault Ste. Marie

Gatineau – Ottawa area

LivOutside – Bracebridge, bike park


Rail Trails – And then there are many Rail Trails in Ontario that one could Fatbike on. Granted they flat and straight, but if you want to put in some mileage they go on forever.

Most Rail Trails allow snowmobiles on parts of or the full length of the route. Some are popular snowmobile highways and likely not a good experience (or safe). Lesser traveled routes may be found and other Rail Trails, where sleds are banned, you will have no one but only the odd Nordic skier or hiker in sight.

Where to Rent a Fat Bike:

Approximate full day bike rental rates below, some shops do half day and hourly rentals. Also, the price gets better if you rent for additional days. Call ahead to be sure they have them as some locations have very few.

Horseshoe – $38 for 2 hours

Hardwood  – $ 50

Albion Hills – $56 (8 bikes, different sizes) no reservations

Algonquin Outfitters – Huntsville $45

Parry Sound Bikes – $50

Try Sports – Parry Sound  $48

Liv Outside – in Bracebridge ~$42

Oxygen Bike Co. – Toronto $ 75

Kamikaze Bikes – Collingwood $50

Friday Harbour  – Lake Simcoe  $25 for 2 hours

Adventure 360 – Sudbury $65

velorution – Sault Ste. Maire  $50


Here are a few websites for more info:

Wikipedia – Fatbike

Bike Cottage Country

Explorer’s Edge

Northern Ontario Travel



Now get out there and have some fun you crazy kids!

February 5, 2020 / 7 Comments / by / in , , ,
Bicycle Trail & Tour Guides

After publishing two editions of my own bicycle trail guide, I got to know other guide books out there. Some are useless, while others are very inspiring to browse through and consider riding.

Whether you actually cycle any of them is secondary. Just exploring the possibilities, dreaming and scheming a way to do them is a buzz.

Here are a few guides I have checked out that will get you perhaps planning your own grand tour…far away.


In the U.K., Cicerone has been for a long time a big name for hiking and cycling guides. I had a few books sent to me and the quality is excellent.

You can tell the authors have ridden the routes many times. The books have plenty of detail and directions. At the beginning of the book is a primer to get familiar with the way the author rates trails.

There’s also some insight into what you need to prepare for the rides and conditions to expect. Colour maps and photos round out the guide.

Here is a sample of the two types of the many riding guides offered – MTB trails or longer cycling tours.

If you favour mountain biking, pick your flavour. The Lake District is a hilly and beautiful place in England. The rocky highlands in Northern Scotland push your limits and give you awesome views when you finally make it to the top.

Both guides give you a taste of what to expect with difficulty ratings and elevation graphs. MTB riding in Europe is different than Ontario. Expect more open established paths (centuries-old), with some side roads, farm fields and a recommended pub at the end!

Bike touring can be all road riding but I found these ones use paved path off the road too. Following along the famous Rhine, Danube or Loire Rivers gives flat terrain with scenic historic sights.

After looking at the guides, I am thinking of now doing sections of the Rhine River, one summer soon. The Loire Valley in France, I have done and it was a marvellous time. Then perhaps trying a few MTB trails in the Lake District is next.


Buy the book on Amazon – MTB Lake District, Northern Scotland or tour Rhine, Danube or Loire Rivers.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Detour – Cycling Across Canada on a Recumbent

An old riding mate, Paul Stockton from the Toronto Bicycle Network, (TBN) sent me his book to read. Though I am not much of a road rider anymore, his tales of cycling across Canada from the comfort of my couch were enlightening and entertaining to read.

A few years ago he got laid off with a “package”. Just the excuse to go for a spin — a long one.

Paul has a dry sense of humour and many years of touring behind him. (India, New Zealand, Switzerland, the North Amerian Pacific coast…)

He details his daily encounters with other riders, local friendly Canadians, the ever-changing weather and contending with 11 flat tires.

To make it even more “fun” he went basic, no electronics (left his cell phone at home) and promising never to enter a Tim Horton’s on the way.  If you ever considered the journey, here is a book to get you going.

Buy the eBook or Paperback 

August 10, 2019 / by / in ,
OBT Bike Trail Guide

Best Bicycle Park & Rail Trails in Ontario

New 2019 Edition –  Bike Trail Guide –  eBook or Paperback

    • 65 Trail Reviews, 150 pages 

    • Top 45 Park Paths + 20 Rail Trails in Ontario, Canada

    • 65 NEW Maps and Elevation Charts

    • Links to local trail websites and OBT

    • Most paths 100% car-free, easy terrain, with few hills

    • Consistent review ratings, from one source – the author

    • 30 day money back guarantee

There are 65 reviews in this eBook – 151 pages

45 Park Paths through city parklands and forest trails in rural Ontario wood lots. Plus 20 Rail Trailways through country and urban areas. These are some of the best bicycle routes you can find in Ontario, Canada.

All trails were scouted, reviewed and photographed by the author.

Most trails are easy, scenic, leisurely bike cruising, with few hills and all are off road, car-free bike riding fun!

Use this guide to dream, plan and cycle somewhere new on your next outing. Make vacation plans as a tourist and visit other areas in Ontario.

Subscribe to the Newsletter and get it for only $8.90

(with the discount code) or pay the regular $9.90 – Canadian

An email will be sent within minutes with the PDF download link.

Buy the eBook 

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Paperback Hardcopy Version

Dan Roitner

Author -Dan Roitner

Want a 8.5 x 11” full-colour book to flip through?

A paperback version of this guide book is now available on Amazon.
(the eBook version is included, details in the paperback to download file)

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.


I Thank You for Your Support – Dan Roitner  – Author and site owner

Any Questions?  send me a note

For all the mountain bike riders, a similar MTB Trail Guide for Ontario is up next. That will take another few months for me to update, take photos and make maps, design, layout…

May 10, 2019 / 7 Comments / by / in
Free Bike Trail Reference Chart

Last year I got thinking that it would be very handy for bike riders to have something they could refer to when looking to go out and ride somewhere new.

Sure you can come to this website and surf for ideas, but what if you also had a condensed list of all the trails as a starting reference.

After much thought and many hours labouring, I think I’ve put together a wonderful list of all 90+ bike trails on this site, in a quick to read format. This PDF file can be saved on your phone, desktop or printed out as reference.



Thanks for Subscribing to Our Newsletter

page 1

Here is What is Listed on Our Chart :

Trail Number – number matches the approximate location on the map on page 1

Trail Name – common name for this forest, woodlot, park, Rail trail or BMX park. Links are to webpages with full reviews.

Location – general location in Ontario of trails. Some trail spots do not have exact addresses; refer to OBT website maps

MTB km – total kilometres of mountain bike style trail – combined single + double track

Park km – total kilometres, one way, of Park style paths on paved and soil trails in city parks or forest woodlots.

Rail km – total kilometres, one way, of Rail trail style routes on repurposed old railway lines.

BMX – BMX Park/Racetrack or suitable Skate Park at this location

Skill Level – minimum skill level and rated mainly for that skill level range for your safety and enjoyment.

E = Easy, enough trail here for a beginner to enjoy and learn bike riding
I = Intermediate, enough trail here for a seasoned, intermediate bike rider to enjoy
A = Advanced, enough challenging, expert trail here to keep the pros happy
All = All Levels, enjoyable for everyone; there are enough sections of trail for every skill level to enjoy,  though not all trails may be suitable for all skill levels.

>  Note this rating is not based on distance.  One could ride an Easy Rail trail, which is flat, crushed gravel for 50 km, at which point is not going to be easy for a beginner.

Surface & Terrain – a brief summary of the trail base, general elevation and any added structures (log hops, boardwalks, skinnies, jumps, bridges…) more detail on the site pages

Trail Fee – typical cost (if any) to bike for the day for one adult on a weekend

Rentals – bike rentals are available locally

Toilets – always good to know of pit stops – fancy public washrooms or just an outhouse

To get this free Bike Trail Chart, click on one of the 4 buttons Mountain Biking – Park Paths – Rail Trails or BMX Parks above, or on the green box in the margin.

Tell us what kind of bike riding you favour. This right away tells us what type of riding the newsletters in the future should focus on for you. Yes, you need to subscribe to our newsletters to get the freebie.

Next check your email inbox for one of those confirmation emails (so that I know you’re a real person –with a bike). Once you’ve done that, you will be taken to a web page with the PDF link.

Now I encourage you to stay subscribed to the newsletter, because with each new issue I will have a link to an updated version of this chart.

Although I have yet to publish my first newsletter, I hope to eventually make it a monthly issue. I do not spam, sell email addresses, or send too many notifications.

In the meantime, I have been very busy with site development, trail scouting and posting trail reviews. These I’ve done first in priority, as the email list builds. 

I have also made (and will update) a Pdf Ebook of the best trail reviews with my own maps and photos, available since 2018. Now in 2019, a paperback book version may soon be on offer. If such a book would be of interest to you, send me a note to encourage me on.

And it goes without saying, if you think of improvements/changes for this Reference Chart list, I am listening, so contact me.

Have a great ride; see you on the trail! – Dan Roitner

March 2, 2018 / 8 Comments / by / in
Where to MTB as a Tourist Near Toronto

Where to Mountain Bike Ride when Visiting Toronto?

So you love mountain biking and what better time to do it than on a holiday. Whether you are visiting Toronto for a few days or longer, here are a few tips and destinations I would suggest.

Many of us have travelled around and wondered where are those hidden trails the locals frequent? Finding them and getting the real deal as to if they will suit your taste in riding is a time consuming task that does not always pan out. Hence this post, and on a grander scale this site, is here to help you.

Are you bringing your MTB? If not, here are a few places that rent.

Next, which top rides close to Toronto would I recommend? There are many that are good on our map but if you only have time for one bike ride, look through the list below.

Unfortunately there is only one trail system in Toronto itself (the Don Valley), any other loops are too short or convoluted to make your visit in a strange city enjoyable. So you will need a car and typically an hour or more to drive to one of these trailheads. And Toronto traffic is a gauntlet at times so plan your trip, and give yourself half a day.

Near Toronto

Don Valley –   in Toronot (if you can’t even leave town) central, moderate, flows, hilly
Kelso – (west of Toronto) hilly, variety
Albion Hills – (north west side of town) hilly, variety, long
Centennial Park – (central close to Toronto) short, easy, flows
Durham Forest – (east side) easy to hard, large area, joins with Glen Major

OK, what you really want is an EPIC Ontario ride when you visit. Hmm, it won’t be as EPIC as riding Utah but it could be different and fun anyway. You’re on holidays and have all day to ride and you’re looking to take back tall tales and life is short. Here are a few MTB rides a little further from Toronto, but certain to please.

A Day Trip

Hardwood – (due north) full service, great trails, mtb bike rentals
Haliburton Forest – (further north) large, trails just keep going
Ganaraska Forest – (east side) has a IMBA Epic trail, endless trail and not too tough
Harold Town – (new) IMBA designed trails, maybe too short but all sweet
Hilton Falls – (west side) rocky, trails keeps going…NE and W

And if you need to ride in the winter we have an indoor ride park – Joy Ride 150

TIP: One last bit of advice if you want to find a trail, which is to hitch up with an organized ride by checking out bike club websites for what’s scheduled. Send them a note, ask if you can join them.

It’s a great way to get guided to the best track, in the best direction. The locals know their turf and will not only welcome you but it’s always safer to ride with others and you could make a few friends.

So come out and visit Toronto one day   – Dan

July 30, 2017 / by / in ,
Where to MTB Ride After it Rains?

– A few trails to try first after wet weather –


OK you’ve got cabin fever, the snows are melting and you’re itching to put rubber on the trail. It’s been raining for days and you need to get back in the saddle, but Stop, wait it out…or ride a trail that drains well, has gravel or is paved instead.

Now some not so “nice” type A riders who can’t help themselves, are ripping up the trail way too soon, shame on you! Even though it always seems like a long winter, give nature a chance to dry out after the snow melts and the spring showers.

Before I suggest where you could go for an early ride, here are a few good reason why you should avoid the temptation to ride on more fragile areas. First it’s about preserving what little trail we have for as long as possible. Many hours may have been spent by local MTB crews to design and build tails you enjoy. Wearing them out faster is going to piss off everyone, don’t do it, water run off is enough of a erosion issue.

Trails wear out, they get wide, they get rutted  and then they get closed.  :^(

WHY : It’s also more hazardous with greasy trails, slippery leaves/logs, deep mud puddles which make you go down more often. Ouch! Do you want to ended your riding season early with an injury?

And then your poor bike, all that mud grinds your gears, chain and brakes down real fast. Carrying a muddy bike home in your car is a mess and hosing it off at home is also ugly.

Where to Go: Here are a few trails I’ll suggest that drain well and can welcome early rabid riders. These locations, due to the high content of sand and gravel, drain quicker with few muddy spots. Many of these locations are in the sandy Oak Ridge Moraine zone.

Every place you ride should be judged as to how well it can take the erosion from your tires. Sure it’s a hoot to crank it through the pines leaving a wake of wide berms and skid marks, but that’s not cool.

Keeping your speed in check and having the skill to do a vertical and not skid out on the descent is the real challenge a seasoned mountain bike rider aims for.

Mud and erosion are part of the sport and fun, but the end game is to have the least impact on the trail, so you and others can enjoy them for years to come. Even in the middle of the summer there may be mucky puddles that never dry out. Sometime the choice is to go around them then further rut out an ever growing mud hole.

It’s about sharing and respect for the trail and other riders.

And Now the Good News: After it Rains, the Snow is Melting, Ride Here First!

Joyride 150 – indoors
Durham Forest – northside sandy 
Ganaraska – sandy
Northhumberland – sandy

Puslinch – northside gravel
Eldred King – lots of sand
Torrance Barrens – all rock
Buckwallow – rock and sandy
Dufferin Forest– drains well
Long Sault – sandy 

And you could always consider a Rail Trail which is gravel based or a Park path and then there’s a road ride if you must. No it’s not MTB riding but you are on a bike and it could be good spring training.

AVOID these trails for 2+ days after it rains : 

Don Valley- greasy
Kelso – will be closed
Ravenshoe – greasy, poor drainage
Couslon’s Hill – slippery slope
Albion Hills – muddy, greasy 
Waterdown – slippery mud

Please respect the trail…and have FUN!

April 8, 2017 / by / in ,
Fall Bike Riding Tips

So you had a good summer of riding and you’re not ready to put the bike away. And why should you? Fall bike riding can be some of the best touring ever. Sure it’s a bit cooler and wet but with proper planning who cares.

Fall riding is different on a few fronts. You have to dress differently, days get shorter and the terrain can get slippery. The best part is beautiful fall colours, no crowds and no bugs!

Sunny days will tend to have cooler clear skies.Just like with spring here in Ontario we can get more rain but those cloudy days may be more mild and it most often does not rain.

After checking your weather forecast pack a rain jacket if you think it may open up on the ride. Or tough it out and have a change of clothing in the car. I have yet to find a riding jacket that both blocks the rain and breaths. Find one with vents if you can.

As always wear layers but don’t wear too many. Start your ride a little chilled as the workout should warm you up. The trick has always been, if you need to peel a layer off, how do you carry it?

Tying a jacket around your waist is awkward and could be dangerous if it slips into your spokes. A pannier or backpack would be a better place. Consider full fingered gloves, wool socks and some kinda head/ear warmer when is a chilly morning start.

As for food, you will likely need a little less water but more power bars on the ride to help fuel you on cold days. Keep the heavy food like fruit in your car upon your return.

Terrain changes in the fall and generally gets slippery.

As long as you compensate for the wet rock, clay or leaves all should be fine. Slow down, watch your turns, test the range of your bicycle’s and tires’ ability to manage the path. It’s a time for tires with knobby tread if you wish to switch.

I also have found a lot of leaves on the ground can hide the trail, soften it and suck up a lot of your energy. Leaves can also hide things, so watch out for wheel ruts and loose rocks when bombing down a hill.

The weather is always more sunny than you think north of Toronto. In all my years of riding, I can’t tell you how often I’ve looked out my window in the morning here in Toronto, thinking maybe I should stay home.

Only to find later on my ride north of the city that the weather was awesome. (except for that hail one time – lol)

Don’t hesitate, just do it. You will likely be glad you did.


September 7, 2016 / by / in , ,
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