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A cyclist participating in Cycle Canada’s Century Ride in the Greater Toronto Area on May 28.Duane Cole/The Globe and Mail

For some, the dramatic vistas and drastically varied landscapes of Canada are a world best experienced from the seat of a bicycle. Watching the towering mountains of British Columbia and Alberta or the quaint fishing villages of Nova Scotia drift by at the pace you can pedal is a cyclist’s dream.

“There’s no better way to see the world than on a bicycle,” says David Scuka, 62, of Moose Jaw, Sask.

This summer, he and several friends will set off on Cycle Canada’s Tour Atlantic, a 1,275-kilometre 15-day tour by bike starting in Halifax and ending with the famed Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, via iconic East Coast sights such as Lunenburg, the Annapolis Valley, along the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick and over the Confederation Bridge to Prince Edward Island.

Over 13 days of pedalling (they will have one rest day in Charlottetown), they will cycle an average of 91 kilometres a day, though the longest will stretch 140 kilometres. For the trip, they will climb 6,027 metres, 1,584 of them on a single day along the Cabot Trail.

It will be glorious, expects Scuka. He has never been to Atlantic Canada before but even on the Tour Pacific, seeing places he’d driven by before from a bike was a whole new experience, he says.

“You always get a different perspective when you’re on a bicycle,” he says. “They plan out routes to get the most amount of scenery with the least amount of traffic.”

It will be his third expedition tour with Cycle Canada. In 2018, he did the Tour Pacific, which takes riders 1,350 kilometres from Vancouver to Calgary via the Icefields Parkway. Last year, he did the Tour Gaspe, a 1,000-kilometre journey along the peninsula jutting out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence in southeastern Quebec.

Scuka and his travel companions are avid cyclists, racking up many thousands of kilometres along the roadways of Saskatchewan every year. The Cycle Canada expedition tours are among their longest and most challenging offerings, and riders do need to be ready, he says.

“Absolutely, you need to prepare for it, but if you enjoy cycling as much as we do, that’s not a big deal. We’re out biking anyway,” he says of the group of friends joining the tour this summer.

Cycle Canada provides a sample training schedule and detailed itinerary for each trip so guests know what they’re getting into.

“We try to provide them as much information about the trips as we can because we want them to succeed,” says Margot Jorgensen, who owns the company with her husband, Bud.

Bud Jorgensen organized the first Tour du Canada in 1988, an affordable, shared-cost, shared-effort trip for cycling club members. From there, there were requests for similar tours in shorter segments, Margot Jorgensen says, and from that, Cycle Canada was born.

The company rotates through its roster of longer road trips, alternating most of them every other year.

The Century Ride, Cycle Canada’s season opener, is an annual trip that took place this year May 28 to 29. Participants chose a route of either 100 kilometres or 100 miles from Toronto to Barrie and back. It is one of the more leisurely of the company’s offerings, travelling quiet rural roads with an overnight in Barrie, on Lake Simcoe, and has had riders as young as eight and as experienced as 80.

The trips are supported, but not to the degree of some cycling tours. They ferry bags from one stop to the next, provide breakfasts and some meals, and set up at rest stops with snacks and drinks. They are there to pick up riders if they get in any trouble, but they don’t provide a “sag wagon” to give lagging riders a lift, Jorgensen says.

And while some of the meals and accommodations, both hotels and camping, are quite spectacular, gourmet meals and five-star stays are not the focus of Cycle Canada tours, she says.

“That’s not our selling feature. It’s about the cycling,” she adds.

On average, there are 12 to 14 riders in a group and not more than 20. Routes are chosen along quiet secondary roads that offer good cycling.

“We get people from all over the world who come and participate in our tours,” she says. “Canada is a beautiful country with big, wide-open spaces, but also an amazing history that I think is quite unique…. And there’s a variety of types of cycling.”

Tour Atlantic, which takes place Aug. 13 to 27, will ride by Peggy’s Cove, N.S., with its famous lighthouse and through Fundy National Park. The group will stay in picturesque Lunenburg, N.S., a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and ride by the Big Lobster of Shediac.

“The people are just incredibly friendly and courteous, so that makes the cycling quite pleasurable,” she says. “These are the communities we’ve been discovering for decades. This is where cycling trips take you because we’re on the old roads, the quiet roads… through the historic little villages and towns and it’s lovely.”

And they will eat well, Ms. Jorgensen says.

“The other nice thing of course about Nova Scotia and New Brunswick is the seafood and the fish and we will be indulging in that a great deal,” she says. “(Cyclists) need about 6000 calories a day… Lobster is good.”

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Cycle Canada’s season opener, is an annual trip that took place this year May 28 to 29. Participants chose a route of either 100 kilometres or 100 miles from Toronto to Barrie and back.Duane Cole/The Globe and Mail

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The Montevelo is a three-day, four-night ride at a gentle pace from Ottawa to Montreal with plenty of time for sightseeing and side trips.

The company also offers week-long vacation tours such as the Tour Vert, a 455-kilometre journey from Montreal to Quebec City, or the BiQue Ride, a seven-day, 675-kilometre tour from Toronto to Montreal.

In addition to the Tour Atlantic, Tour Gaspe and Tour Pacific, Cycle Canada’s expedition trips include the Tour Arctic, a 36-day, 3,290-kilometre journey starting in Vancouver and travelling by ferry to Nanaimo and up the island to another ferry to Prince Rupert, from which participants cycle to Tuktoyaktuk, NWT; and the 72-day, 7,635-kilometre Tour du Canada from Vancouver to St. John’s, or vice-versa. This trip is organized as a club trip offered by a not-for-profit corporation.

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A group of cyclists enjoying Cycle Canada’s season opening event on May 28.Duane Cole/The Globe and Mail

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