It’s a Saturday morning in August, and you need something to do. Instead of the usual Farmer’s Market stroll followed by drinking coffee on the waterfront, you decide to break out of your shell and try something new. On a whim, you rent a bike. But where should you go? With so many options and such little time, here are three options that will give you a taste of the local bike scene.
Halifax to Eastern Passage — Starting downtown Halifax, head to the Macdonald bridge. Hop on the bike lane and cruise across to Dartmouth, where you’ll turn right and onto Wyse Road. After a quick turn left on Windmill Road, and coast down the hill to downtown Dartmouth. Once you hit King’s Wharf Place, veer right and get on the Trans Canada Trail. From here, bike straight, keeping the harbour to the left. For this stretch of the ride, you’ll see the world’s most magnificent view of downtown Halifax.
When the trail ends, stay on the main road until Shore Road, where you’ll turn ever right. Keep riding until the road ends, and enjoy some of the most spectacular views in all the HRM. On the way back, pull into Boondocks for a cold beer to celebrate your work. Just don’t drink too much, because you need to ride back!
Sambro Loop — Starting on Quinpool Road, head down towards The Rotary and stay left through the roundabout until Herring Cove Road. The first part of the ride will work your glutes with 200 metres of net elevation gain in the first 10 kilometres. Take a left at Old Sambro Road and keep straight until you hit the ocean. This part of the route will feature classic Nova Scotian topography, including windswept forests, rocky crags, and jagged lakes.
When you hit the historic community of Sambro, take in the beauty before turning left and beginning the ride back towards Halifax. With the ocean in sight, you’ll have spectacular views of the Atlantic the entire way bay. Enjoy the net-downhill journey to Halifax. Once you’re at Quinpool, a short, steep climb is all that’s between you and a cold pint.
Peggy’s Cove Loop — This is the Sambro Loops big sibling. Starting on Quinpool Road, head down through the rotary but this time take the St. Margaret’s Bay Road. Immediately you hit a steep increase of over 60 metres in elevation in a short 1.5-kilometre stretch. This will serve as a warm-up for the rest of the ride! Keep straight on the St. Margaret’s Bay road, as you pass the bedroom communities of Halifax, in Beechville, Lakeside and Timberlea. When you cross Highway 103, you’ll start to see trees and lakes, which is evidence you’re escaping the hustle and bustle of the downtown. After 25 kilometres and your second set of lights, you’ll turn left onto the Peggy’s Cove Road.
Along this stretch, you’ll pass the legendary St. Margaret’s Bay and the many communities dotting its shores. As the topography changes, you’ll notice villages, wharfs, and lobster boats, evidence of the main economic driver for this part of the province. The tree’s start to give way to rolling barrens is your indication of approaching the world-famous Peggy’s Cove.
Keep following along this road, taking in the diverse and exposed landscape and how its comparison is striking compared to the open ocean. You’ll continue past small fishing villages and communities until you begin the turn inland and start the ride back to Halifax. When the vast barrens give way to the dense and craggy forest, you’ll almost be home.
Ending the same way you start, you’ll experience a nice downhill cruise to Quinpool Road. Here you’ll engage your legs one last time before a much-deserved beer.