Page Contributor(s): Matteo Napoli, CAN; TNS Cycling Club
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Matteo Napoli from TNS Cycling Club (A group of elite cyclists based out of Quebec, Canada & Lisbon, Portugal) had had the pleasure of riding the Cabot Trail starting from Cheticamp to North Mountain and back! The road is pristine, and scenic from start to finish. Cars are very respectful as they are used to cyclist traffic. I never felt scared as there is a wide shoulder for 90% of the time.
The ride starts at the entrance of the Cape Breton National Park. There is a parking lot and visitors centre with washrooms and refreshments. Please make sure to purchase a park pass for 8$ and place it on car your windshield.
The first 15 KM is very scenic as the coast is on your left and mountains on your right. You are faced with a few small rollers right before you hit the 1st of 4 climbs of French Mountain.
At 1,501 feet it is the second highest mountain on the Cabot Trail. This is a very pleasant climb of 397M at 7.2% average gradient. It is very consistent never getting into the double digit gradients. There are a couple of switchbacks and beautiful lookout points. Many distractions with the coast and mountain views you will be finished the climb and wishing it was longer.
Once it is completed you will be riding through the beautiful Cape Breton inland forest. You will be faced with some small rollers and some beautiful lookout points until you reach to the top of MacKenzie Mountain in Pleasant bay. Get ready for a beautiful decent which includes 6 switchbacks. Make sure your brakes are ready as you will be enjoying the beautiful scenery with the coast and mountains here. Only other place to get switchbacks this nice is Europe! We will talk about the climb on the way back!
Here you will ride through pleasant bay. You can stop at restaurants (highly recommend a lobster roll) or corner store to take a break and fuel up as North Mountain is the next climb.
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