Ride along the scenic Welland Canal from Port Colborne back into the wine country. Admire the intricate lock-system and enormous freighters, and end in the cozy and familiar Niagara-on-the-Lake
Depart Port Colborne and join the Wellend Canal Trail system, 20+ miles of mulit-use paved trails that highlight the industry, natural beauty, and transportation efficiency of the St. Lawrence waterway. Pedal alongside the 8 lock, taking special note of the 5 in Thorold City, which lower the cargo ships over 300 feet to the elevation of Lake Ontario. As the Canal trail ends, rejoin the road leading to Niagara-on-the-Lake and finish the ride passing the familiar territory of lake-front Vineyards and quintessential 19th century housesinto Niagara-on-the-Lake.
If you have a chance to see the massive freighters slowly traveling down the canal, take a minute or two to watch them. The Welland Canal is a feat of engineering and is worth admiring! Locks 7, 6, 5, and 4 are in quick secession and are also worth watching if there is a boat coming through.
*Note, as of May, 2019, there is a section of Lakeshore Road a few miles before reaching Niagara on the Lake that is under construction. The road condition will change daily so please be aware of signs directing local car & bike traffic. At the time of writing, it is a passable, temporary dirt road. If they day's riding allows, pass with care. If unpassable, take the alternate route along East and West Line Road into town.
Inspect your bike for any damage before you begin your ride. Please check for issues with the frame, components, wheels, and breaks. Ensure there are no loose cables or straps and that the tires are inflated. If you are doubtful of the condition of your rental bike, please call the office or the local bike hire on the number provided in your information pack. Always wear a helmet when cycling.
Be aware of traffic at all times. While most locals drivers are accustomed to seeing bikers, there are many visiting drivers unfamiliar with the roads, so always pay attention to passing traffic. When not on a bike path, utilize the shoulder whenever possible, ride single file on the right side of the road, and obey road signs. When passing through towns, stay alert and ride defensively as drivers will have a lot to focus on. Mind inconstant pavement and unique intersection lanes.
The many bike paths in the region included on the ride are well maintained, thoughtfully built, and provide safety from the main road. However, they are not without danger and can at times be very busy. Be aware of other rides when passing or being passed, and always yield to walkers.
When crossing over bridges, be aware of the material of the surface of the road. Many of the bridges - mainly those over canals - are not suitable for bikes as the gaps a long and will arrest your bike wheel. Defer to the route notes / turn by turn directs for insight to these bridges before you cross. Furthermore, some train tracks do not run perpendicular to the trail, which present an opportunity for your wheel to get stuck. Always pass over tracks in a perpandicular manner or dismount and walk.
When leaving your bike unattended in town or at a winery, always use the lock provided to protect your rental. Furthermore, be sure to bring your valuables with you wherever you go as they are not necessarily safe in the bike bag.
Always be sure to check the weather before beginning your ride. Rain and fog can reduce visibility and can affect how you normally ride your bike.
In addition to your preferred bike shorts and shoes, please make sure that you also have a rain layer and warm layer in the event of inclement weather. Many riders also enjoy gloves for extra padding on the handlebars.
Though most routes will pass stores for food and drink, bring enough snacks and water to sustain yourself for the day. Many riders enjoy reservoir backpacks in addition to water bottles. Please also bring proper cash/credit card, navigation equipment, emergency phone numbers, and a way to charge your phone.
Always wear a helmet and pack a spare tube, puncture repair kit, tire levers, and handpump. You may also like to take a multi-tool. Note, there are a few public bike repair stations throughout each day’s ride. Take note and use if necessary.
Points of Interest
The Welland Canal
This modern marvel is the 4th version of a revolutionary waterway from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. The 8 locks are fascinating to watch, and a true highlight of this day's ride.
Welland International Flatwater Centre
Home to some of the Word's Elite rowing, canoeing, dragon boating, water polo, and various other water sports - this centre takes advantage of an unused section of an old canal to promote flatwater sports. It is truly the flatwater capital of Canada.
St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre
A small but rich museum with local history exibits and a platform for viewing the ships passing through Lock 3.
Just off of the main route, continue on the west side of the Welland Canal to the waterfront and enjoy a quick swim on the beach!
Also just off the trail, but on the east side of the canal. Simply cross the bridge over Lock 1 and turn left, continuing to the waterfront. Consider taking the Seaway Haulage Road out onto the peninsula at the Canals entrance to Lake Ontario for stunning views of the coastline & of Toronto!
Wineries - both on the passport and near the end of the ride
Konzelmann Estate Winery - a waterfront gem with an beauiful scene & delicious wine.
Hinterbrook Estate Winery - delicious wine also known as NOMAD, where you can sample the wine and even paint your own label as you drink!
Food and Drink
Welland - The Black Sheep Lounge, just off of the main route. Evelyn's Sandwich Factory, just off the main route.
Thorold - Thorod Fish and Chips or Riganelli's Bakery, both in the center of town, less than 1/2 mile off the main route.
Note, Judith at the Talwood Manor can make a bagged lunch if given 48 hours notice.