Recreational Kingston Rides

People in the city aren't just interested in utility riding and commuting around town. I’ve been stopped many times and asked about recreational routes around town and ways to get in and out of the city and connect with the excellent network of quiet paved roads to the north, east, west and of course south (if you don't mind a ferry ride, and even further south if you have all day and a passport).

People tend to ignore the great riding north of the city in favour of the easy, brainless routes to the east and west but that’s a mistake, as nice as those rides are. The riding north of Kingston is exceptional, offering almost any type of terrain and scenery you could expect to see in Ontario, from rolling farmland to rugged Canada Shield, from wilderness to the charm of small historic villages.

You can also check out the Kingston Velo Club, a club whose focus is recreational rather than competitive cycling unlike every other club in town, and don't miss out on the the wealth of user created routes at Map My Ride.

Note: Current routes all start from Confederation Park for no other reason than it's a central location that most people are familiar with and visitors can easily find.

Lemoine Point: 22.5 km
Suggested Bike: Road, Hybrid, Mountain Bike with smooth tires.
Description: A nice little ride that people of all fitness levels can tackle. Riders more comfortable with traffic can simply ride straight out and back along King and Front to maximize their views of the water, but those not as comfortable with what can be heavy traffic as one approaches the Pen from both directions can try this alternate route. Taking Union on the way out offers a nice tour of the Queens campus and avoids the congestion and traffic around Portsmouth Harbour (Portsmouth however, is worth a ride around).

Those up for a bit of adventure can ride the Waterfront Trail directly through Lemoine Point which can be ridden on any bike, including narrow tired road bikes with a bit of care. As you leave the Point on the return trip detour down Old Front for some beautiful views of the water and islands. Country Club Dr. and Johnson St. avoid traffic and hills and bring you back to the start along quiet, residential Earl St. 

The Abbey Dawn Loop: 27km
Suggested Bike: Road, Hybrid, Mountain Bike with smooth tires.
Description: A few hills, but much easier if done clockwise, the climbs are longer and gentler. Counter-clockwise gives a good hill climbing workout. A great route if you have under 2 hours to spend and want a nice sampling of all the terrain and scenery the Kingston area offers.

See just how quickly one can get out into the countryside from downtown, see the first Rideau Lake and the first series of historic locks at Kingston Mills. Stop and shop for produce at a local farmgate market. Enjoy the quiet countryside of Abbey Dawn Rd. culminating with a brisk downhill to Highway 2 and the scenic St. Lawrence River. Montreal St. has intermittent bike lanes and can be busy during weekday rush hours. Highway 2 is part of the Waterfront Trail and has full paved shoulders. Take care crossing the Causeway, signalling and taking the entire lane is the legal and safe thing to do.

Middle Road Loop: 40km
Suggested Bike: Road, Performance Hybrid
Description: The classic Kingston weekday after-work training loop also makes a nice relaxed ride any time. Enjoyable in both directions, but clockwise offers gentler climbs and faster downhills. 15 is less than beautiful but has full shoulders and you're only on it for a small part of the ride. Grass Creek Park (20km from the start clockwise and 15km counterclockwise) is home to Kingston's closest sand beach, pack a swimsuit and towel on a hot day. Hwy 15, Middle Road and Highway 2 all have paved shoulders. The detour through CFB Kingston offers a chance to avoid traffic down the hill to the Causeway on 2 and offers the rider a glorious view of the city and the lake from Fort Henry as well as a swift light traffic decent to the river. Climbing the hill is a great cardio workout.


A Bike Map of Kingston arose from the age-old question: “You’d think a city the size of Kingston would have a city cycling map, wouldn’t you?”.

Then, some wise-ass asked: “Yeah, and why isn’t someone making fun of all the useless bike racks, the bike lanes to nowhere and all the other silliness that keeps Kingston from being a truly excellent city to ride in?”.

This blog is the wise-ass’s attempt to answer to both questions.

If you feel a burning desire to contact me (to complain, of course), this email address will do the trick.

Preparation H might possibly help with the burning.

and Culture