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I've been on-and-off planning a (reasonably) short bike tour from the Kitchener area (about 100km west of Toronto, in Canada) to Ottawa/Montreal, followed by a train ride home. I know most of what I need, but the one thing I haven't got figured out is where to stay. I don't have a ton of money and am an experienced camper, which means I'll lean very heavily towards a tent over a motel/hotel where possible.

I know, however, that my route of choice (east along Lake Ontario from Toronto to Kingston, then northwards to Ottawa, and paralleling the Ottawa River to Montreal) is heavily developed and urbanized with nothing but farmland between the cities, which makes camping (even stealth camping) problematic at best. Canada, rather unfortunately, don't have anything like the freedom to roam, which means that, unless I secure specific permission from a landowner, I'm trespassing.

I'm planning about 2 weeks end-to-end, with a couple of days' stop in both Ottawa and Montreal for sightseeing. That works out to about 100km/day, which is achievable for me (especially given the prevailing winds). The general plan is to go a little further on the first day, to get me past Toronto, and to find myself in Belleville by day 3. Day 4 would put me in Kingston, day 5 in Smiths Falls, and day 6 in Ottawa itself. Another day's ride would put me halfway to Montreal, hugging the north side of the river, and the final day would leave me at the journey's end. In both Ottawa and Montreal I'd be staying in hotels, because I don't want to have to worry about my gear while I'm out seeing the sights.

Has anyone here been touring in similar circumstances? What are my best options for a (mostly) stress-free night's sleep in areas like this?

As an addendum, what advice is there for staying in decent (i.e. non-fleabag) hotels with a bike? Is it generally permitted in a room, or do I have to to have it valet-parked?

  • Have you tried warmshowers? Its a website for people to host cyclists for free – Nic Aug 8 '16 at 23:01
  • also look at www.welcomecyclists.ca, It has lists of accommodations – Erik vanDoren Aug 12 '16 at 14:33
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I think you could do OK with Provincial Parks in Ontario, especially if you were planning to swoop south of the 401 to see Prince Edward County.

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http://www.ontarioparks.com/park-locator/

The tree near Oshawa is Darlington PP. The 401 is pretty bleak after that but if you can make it to Presquile (just below Brighton on the map), you'll be fine. Alternatively, head north around the 115 and take advantage of more lakes and more parks Peterborough-wards. The side roads are quite griddy and there are some official bike routes so it's not like you have to take the 115 the whole way. The TransCanada trail covers some of the Lindsay-to-Peterborough part which might be interesting.

I discussed this with my bike-riding partner and he says forget Lake Ontario entirely and head northeast from KW - West Montrose sort of thing, head just under Lake Simcoe. Nicer roads and more camping.

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I don't disagree with Kate, but let me add some alternatives.

First, let me make sure you are aware of the Waterfront Trail, which should cover a lot of your route. I would absolutely recommend the detour into Prince Edward County, which is excellent biking territory as well as being worth a visit on its own.

Camping works where there are provincial parks, but you should book in advance. Popular ones can fill up.

I would always take a B&B over a hotel, although they are usually at least as expensive as a hotel. I've never found one that wasn't willing to accommodate a bike if asked in advance. Most have a shed or garage they will store them in.

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