The bicycle was invented in the 1600s, originally a wood vehicle to be powered by people instead of horses. By the early 1800s, bicycles were consistently being built of metal, with two wheels, and were being driven by one person. The sport of cycling, and more recently mountain biking, has gained in popularity. Many us it as an environmentally-friendly form of transportation.
Cycling provides good exercise, fresh air, and a competitive challenge. It exercises most parts of the body including the legs, arms, hands and cardiovascular system. Cycling is also an Olympic racing sport with track and cross-country events. Mountain biking competitions continue to grow in popularity, combining speed with rugged terrain.
There are thousands of brands and types of bicycles, from touring to mountain bikes, even tandems and unicycles. Costs range in price from under $100 to thousands of dollars. It is important to maintain the bike so it is at peak running condition. Check for thinning tire treads, squeaky brakes, sticky cables or a bent frame. Before each ride, squeeze the tires to make sure there is enough air pressure (the tires shouldn't squeeze much).
Riders should also invest in a CSA-approved helmet, with costs ranging from $20 to more than $100. This means the helmet design has completed the Canadian Standards Association's durability testing. Other accessories include a quality lock & cable, a water bottle, and a tire pump. Many cyclists also want toe clips, to improve peddling efficiency. Serious cyclists also invest in cycling clothing including cycling shoes, spandex pants shorts (usually with soft chamois crotch padding) and cycling gloves.
Newfoundland is a place that seems to be made for cycling.
While the roads are challenging and often hilly, the coutryside is perfect for those
mountain bikers who want to get off the beaten track.
Favoured cycling spots are on the outskirts of St. John's. Route 30 (Marine Drive) is a scenic ride to Logy Bay.
Route 20 to Torbay, Route 40 to Portugal Cove, and Route 50
(Thorburn Road) to St. Philips are also popular. Practice extreme caution, and follow mandatory helmet laws.
A number of organized cycling events are organized by Bicycle Newfoundland and Labrador's president at (709)738-8889.
For a complete database of cycling routes in Newfoundland, see the website of Atlantic Cycling which catalogues the routes by highway number. The biggest challenge in the very open countryside is the steady wind. Road shoulders are minimal except for the Transportation-Canada and some other primary highways.
Newfoundland Trailway / Transportation-Canada Trail
The Newfoundland Trailway passes wetlands and hardwood groves, goes through quaint villages and meanders along sparkling rivers.
The trail is nearly flat due to its origins as an abandoned railway line, and the finely crushed gravel surface makes it very easy to negotiate both on foot and by bicycle. In winter, the trail provides snowmobilers an excellent tip-to- tip network, that even connects to several motels for a door-to-door snow-bound adventure.
When using the Transportation-Canada Trail please respect The Code of the Trail: