Frequently Asked Questions
Please click on the question for further information.
How do I get to the start of the ride? New for 2017
Participants will have the following options available for transportation to the Meeting Point of the 2016 GWTA:
Toronto Long Term Parking and Meeting Point - unique to the 2017 GWTA
- Our Meeting Point will be at a Long Term Parking Location close to The Rouge National Urban Park on Sunday morning 6th August. Exact location details will be coming shortly.
- Coach transportation from Toronto to Point Pelee National Park is NOT INCLUDED in the cost of registration for 2017 (includes bike and luggage transportation) For further details and to book your coach transportation click here
Meet at Point Pelee National Park
- Riders coming from South West Ontario or the U.S may chose to meet us at Point Pelee National Park. We will have limited long term parking available at the park.
How do I get home or to back to my car? New for 2017
Participants will have the following options available to them to return home from the 2017 GWTA on Saturday 12th August:
- Long term parking will be available close to the Finish Line at the Rouge National Urban Park - Exact location will be coming shortly.
- Pick-up from the finish at The Rouge National Urban Park by family or friends.
- Coach bus for South West Ontario residents back to long term parking at Point Pelee National Park. The cost of transportation is not included in your registration . For further details and to book your transportation back to Point Pelee National Park on 12th August please click here.
Is the GWTA a fundraiser?
The GWTA was created by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust in 2008 to promote the Waterfront Trail. Having created the 1400 km Waterfront Trail from Windsor to the Quebec Border, we want to make sure it is well-used and well-loved. Learn more about the charity here.
The GWTA is priced to cover most of the costs associated with the planning and operation. Months of work go into working with over 200 communities and businesses to prepare an outstanding experience. Most charity rides will require you to raise thousands of dollars to participate in them, this is not the case for the GWTA.
By participating in the GWTA you are helping our charity with its primary goal of completing, enhancing and promoting Ontario's Waterfront Trail along the Canadian shores of Lake St. Clair, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, Lake Huron and the provincial shores of the St. Lawrence River.
How do I get a heavily discounted registration to the GWTA?
Become a volunteer! We are searching for volunteer drivers to navigate support vans and the luggage truck. Meet new friends, discover new communities, and have some fun while supporting and encouraging the cyclists. Application forms can be found here.
What should I bring?
- It is very important to have your bike looked at by a professional mechanic before the start of the GWTA. Mechanicals that could have been avoided by a tune-up affect your Adventure experience.
- Luggage: Participants are permitted to bring 2 duffel bags, including camping equipment. Suitcases, boxes, cases, are NOT allowed. Baggage may not be tied together and must include a luggage tag with the participants name. You will be required to carry your baggage to and from the luggage truck each day SO for your sake and the health and safety of the volunteers, who load and unload the truck, please pack light and tight! Remember the truck must be unloaded whether the weather is wet or dry so place your belongings in plastic bags or use waterproof duffel bags to keep them dry. Check out this video for more information, and to be entertained.
- Camping Equipment: Duffel bag, sleeping bag, pillow, pad, tent, ground sheet, rope, stakes and a flashlight.
- Toiletries: Towel, washcloth, toothbrush, toothpaste, skin lotion, shampoo, soap, razor, nail clippers, brush/comb, hair ties/barrettes, deodorant, mirror and toilet tissue (just in case). It is also recommended that you bring chamois creme.
- Street Clothes: 3 T-shirts, 3 shorts, a pair of pants, a jacket, 7 pair of underwear,3 pairs of socks, 1 pair of off-the -bike shoes, flip flops, sleepwear, swimsuit, and possibly sweatbands/bandannas.
- Cycling Clothes: Bike gloves, 3-4 pair of cycling shorts, 3-4 bike jerseys, light jacket, arm warmers (optional), rain gear ( essential - we wil ride rain or shine!).
- Bicycle Equipment: Helmet, bike lock (essential), water bottles, electrolyte powder( e.g Gatorade)/snacks and a small repair kit to carry on the bike with you that includes a spare tube, tire irons, and a hand pump. The CAA mobike bike assist and volunteer cyclists and support vehicles will be on hand to help with more serious mechanical problems. You may also want a rear view mirror and paniers to carry light items such as snacks and a rain jacket. Support vehicles will transport any purchases you make on route. For information on what kind of tires you should have on you bike click here.
- First Aid: Pack aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamins, Band-Aids, gauze, tape, first aid cream, lip balm, sun block, insect repellent, safety pins, and sanitary protection if needed with disposable bags. Access to emergency medical treatment will be available in each campground.
- Miscellaneous: Bring an alarm clock/watch/ cellphone, spare glasses, sunglasses, camera, earplugs, ID, money, credit cards, snacks, journal, pens, pencils, address book, several plastic trash bags for rain protection and zip-lock bags. Be sure to enclose everything in a water-tight plastic bag.
Do I need my own camping gear?
- Yes. A list of suggested items can be found at the top of this page under “what should I bring”
- You can also book the outfitting services of Comfy Campers. They will bring all the camping gear and set it up every day as well as tear it down the next day! They even bring you a chair and a daily clean towel. Otherwise You will need to bring camping gear with you.
Do I have to camp?
- No, you do not have to camp. There are hotels and Bed and Breakfast locations along the route that would love to have you as a guest. We recommend that you make reservations in advance, including transportation from the overnight site to the hotel and return. A list of GWTA 2017 supported accommodations can be found here.
- Comfy Campers may also be enticing to you. They provide the tent, air mattress, chair, towel and do all the set up and tear down of the tents every day. Did we mention early morning coffee and cell phone charging stations too?
Can children participate in the GWTA?
Yes, children (under 16) are definitely welcome, but must be accompanied by a guardian or responsible adult who is riding. Parents and/or Guardians must be within eyesight of each other at all times and accompany their children in the support shuttle if needed. Parents are not permitted to leave their child in the care of a volunteer. Volunteers are responsible for group safety and may have to stop to deal with various issues along the route. Children should know the rules of the road and know how to ride in traffic, with both other cyclists and vehicles. We recommend Can-Bike courses for new riders.
Are meals included?
The following meals will be included in the 2017 GWTA:
- Breakfasts on Aug. 7 - 12.
- Opening night dinner at Point Pelee National Park on Sunday August 6th
- Dinner at Rondeau Provincial Park on Monday August 7th
- Dinner at Mohawk College on Thuersday August 10th
- Closing night dinner at Geoorge Brown College, Toronto on Friday August 11th. This will be a Celebration of our week together.
- Lunch at Point Pelee National Park on Sunday August 6th.
- Lunch at The Rouge National Park on Saturday August 12th
- All other lunches and dinners on Aug. 11-13 will be on your own. We will be riding through many communities with a variety of food options.
Should I bring my own snacks?
- We encourage you to bring your own snacks and ride with more food than you think you will need, especially if there are specific foods that you like to eat during a ride. There will be several places to stop and refuel during the ride
- If you like a particular brand of energy drink - we recommend that you bring your own powder/packets. Whilst there will be access to electrolyte drinks and snacks on the GWTA shuttle vehicles we cannot guarantee that they will be your preferred brand. There will be many opportunities to stop and fill your bottles.
- We strongly advise you to ride at all times with electrolyte drinks ( eg Gatorade) and snacks at all times even if you would not normally do so.
Will there be vegetarian options? My child is allergic to peanuts, will nuts be served?
What kind of bike should I ride?
- The majority of the GWTA Route for 2017 is paved, however there are some short sections of gravel as we ride through South Western Ontario between Rondeau Provincial Park and Port Stanley on Monday August 7th. On the 9th August we will ride between Port Dover and Hamilton almost exclusively on rail trail - some sections of the trail are paved whilst other sections are fine crushed gravel - it is possible to ride this on a road bike although you may wish to choose a more robust tire more suitable for touring. All kinds of bikes have travelled the previous editions of the GWTA and had a great time; however, please ensure that your bike has been tuned-up and is in EXCELLENT working condition. Mechanicals that could have been avoided with some maintenance before the GWTA will affect your joyful experience. Bike shops are busy in the spring and summer, so schedule a tune-up a few weeks before the ride.
- Mountain bikes will be more comfortable with a smoother tire instead of ones with a lot of tread. We recommend switching out your "knobby" tires with "slick tires". Here is a video explaining the differences between tires.
- People ride road and mountain bikes, hybrids and recumbants - we recommend that your bike has a variety of gear selections and that you are able to use your gears confidently.
- This years ride is mainly flat and suitable for most levels of riders.
Can I rent a bike?
How much money should I expect to spend?
- There are several restaurants, cafes, ice cream stands, chip trucks, wineries, breweries and fruit stands along the route, as well as unique shopping. It's a good idea to set aside some shopping money, especially with the support vans stopping to transport any purchases you make along the way.
- If you choose to stay in a hotel or bed and breakfast, factor those rates into your budget.
What if I can't come?
CANCELLATION POLICY: if you must cancel your registration, the cancellation fee will determined according to the policy outlined below. Exceptions to this policy cannot be made for any reason, including weather, or personal emergencies. There is no refund for arriving late or leaving the trip early.
The fees retained reflect the costs to the Trust of administering the GWTA registration and are not intended to be punitive in any way. The Trust realizes the majority of those who cancel their registrations do so out of necessity.
REGISTRATION CARRY OVERS: All registrations apply to the Tour year only--2017. No year to year carry-overs will be granted.
How do I know if I’m fit enough to participate?
- In previous years, 44% of participants were surprised by the amount of distance that they could do! Anyone in reasonable shape should be able to enjoy the 2017 GWTA. The route this year is relatively flat. The most important thing is to get comfortable riding your bike all day and in particular get comfortable with your gears. If you have never done a ride like this before we recommend that you give yourself plenty of time in the saddle so that your butt and shoulders get used to being in a cycling position. Every year people come with only a handful of training rides under their belts and do just fine. If you ride at least twice a week for a couple of months before the tour, you will decrease your chance of injury, sore butts, and sore necks. Work up to being comfortable riding 50 - 70 km in one day, include practice at climbing some short hills and maintaining a speed of 15 km/hr or faster and you'll have the confidence to finish the tour.
- Don't forget that we will have shuttles operating on all days from designated stops that give you an option to ride just part of the distance and then get a ride back to camp.
- If you would like to join in the fun but are concerned with the distance, consider the Personal Support Vehicle option. Under this option you bring a friend or family member who drives the GWTA.
What is a personal support vehicle?
A personal support vehicle is a non-cycling registrant who brings a vehicle and is a driving participant and who accompanies and supports their registered cycling family and friends. This gives you the flexibility to end your day when you like and take in more side trips or other activities such as shopping, kayaking, theatre. Most of all it is a way for cycling and non-cycling friends to share this incredible experience.
What if I don’t want to ride all day or all week?
- If you would like to join in the fun but are concerned with the distance, be aware that there are support vehicles, or as we like to call them, "Party Vans" that will transport you to the next rest stop or the end.
- Want more flexibility? Consider the personal support vehicle option.
Will I need a passport to travel from the US?
On June 1, 2009 all U.S. and Canadian citizens who are 16 and older traveling between the U.S. and Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda by land or sea (including ferries), will be required to present a valid passport or other alternative documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security. U.S. and Canadian citizens who are 15 years old or younger will still be allowed to travel with just a copy of their birth certificate, as will teens between the age of 16-18 if they are part of an adult supervised school, religious, cultural or athletic group. (from US Customs & Border protection website)
What time can I start biking in the morning?
- Remember you are on vacation. However we realize weather conditions and personal anixety may push you to an earlier start. The rest stop and meal schedule is based on a 15-25 kph rate of average speed and a 7:30 am start. (Day One will have a later start due to the logistics of getting to Point Pelee National Park.) Breakfasts will be available from 6:30 to 8:00. If you leave before 7:30 am we can not guarantee that we will be able to assist you if you run into a mechanical problem. All times listed in the itinerary section are the times when the rest stops will be "open".
Will we encounter much traffic on the route?
- The Waterfront Trail is a combination of signed quiet roads and off road trails. We cannot close roads, but we do work with all of the communities involved to establish awareness of road conditions and temporary signage where necessary. There are a few busier sections, but for the most part we are riding on quiet roads when we are riding on the road. As a rider you should always be aware of your surroundings, and stay far right and in single file.
- As cyclists riding on the road we are subject to certain provincial and municipal laws. Please take a few minutes to review the Ministry of Transportation cycling resources.