Beginner’s guide to e-biking in Ontario
With a little boost, you can ride longer distances, power over steep hills and keep up with the fittest in your group.
What is an e-bike?
An e-bike provides assistance pedalling from an electric motor charged from a battery. You must be pedalling, but the bike provides a surge of power depending on the mode you select. You can also click the bike into a quick boost mode to get you up and over steep climbs.
E-bikes are often confused with e-bikes powered with a throttle. Throttle bikes can run entirely without pedalling.
On e-bikes, the battery pack is attached into the frame of the bike on the downtube and can be charged. You can buy a second battery to keep in your pack for longer rides. A typical battery will go up to 160 kilometres or more on a full charge, depending on the capacity (measured in watt-hours). Batteries are expensive, so an e-bike with a longer range will typically cost more.
In Ontario, the maximum speed on trails is 32 kilometres per hour and you must wear a helmet on an e-bike. Riders must be 16 years of age or older.
Why e-biking is a great option
For the lovers of enduro style riding, an e-bike makes it possible for you to do more loops of your favourite trail without getting too exhausted on the mandatory climb.
For multigenerational families, e-bikes enable you to go on rides with everyone, regardless of fitness and skill level.
And for anyone recovering from an injury, an e-bike allows you to still get outside while you’re healing.
E-bike tours and rentals in Southern Ontario
If you’re new to e-biking and want to know more, here’s where to rent and what tours to take across Ontario.
If you’re entirely new to Toronto, Pedal Toronto has three tours depending on your personality.
Take a ferry to the Toronto Islands for a more remote and quiet tour that includes a unique skyline view of the city. The tour hops over to Leslie Spit to see North America’s largest car-free community with a lighthouse and bird sanctuary. The cultural tour stops in a variety of cool neighbourhoods including Cabbagetown, where you can still see cabbage plants Irish immigrants planted a century ago.
This tour also goes through Evergreen Brick Works, an abandoned brick factory turned into a community hub, for a coffee and treat. The urban tour hits up the newly renovated Union Station as well as the Underpass Playground that has wonderful Indigenous graffiti.
Sojourn Bicycling & Active Vacations has two tours in Ontario that are open to e-bikes. Each is an inclusive package with hotels, food and even special jerseys.
The six-day Ottawa to Montreal trip includes stops along the Rideau Canal and alongside the Parliament buildings during the Ontario portion.
For the self-guided cyclist, a great e-bike route is the paved Capital Pathway which goes through parks, museums (don’t miss the Canadian War Museum), beaches (like Mooney’s Bay Beach on the south shore of Rideau Canal) and picnic spots.
Snap E Bike in Niagara rents out e-bikes and offers a three-hour tour.
This area is rich with history and the tour makes frequent stops to learn about some of them. Following the Niagara Parkway, the 20-kilometre ride passes through sites such as Brock’s Monument, a 56-metre-tall column at the top of Queenston Heights, which is a memorial to the British soldier who defended Canada against the Americans in the war of 1812.
Other stops include the Niagara Whirlpool and the Botanical Gardens, as well as the Falls, of course. If you’re feeling ambitious and independent, you can ride the 55 kilometres from Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake to visit Fort George.
A unique tour is stopping off at the handful of historic Indigenous monuments and centres including the Mewinzha Archeological Gallery in Fort Erie and the Indian Council House built in 1796 in Niagara-on-the-Lake. During the war of 1812, the Haudenosaunee (Six Nations) helped Canadian soldiers defend Canada against the Americans.
At ebike Niagara rent either classic e-bikes or full throttle in Niagara-on-the-Lake; wine and craft beer tours are also available. For guided tours, the route visits the larger wineries including Peller Estates and Wayne Gretzky Estates. For the rentals only, you can opt for a full or half-day rental. This place offers online rental and contactless return—just drop the keys in a box, which makes it fast and convenient.
Prince Edward County
Westlake E-Bikes offers e-bike rentals in Prince Edward County wine country.
The shop is located in nearby Wellington and charges a $20 fee for delivery in Prince Edward County. The Millennium Trail is a former rail line (49 kilometres long) which passes through mostly rural areas, as well as a few towns, including Picton.
Two other great trails, made more for stopping than riding, include the Arts Trail which includes 29 galleries and studios; follow the blue Arts Trail signs. The Taste Trail meanders throughout 35 different wineries in the region on the paved roadway. Highlights include taking the Glenora Ferry (which travels from Lake on the Mountain and Adolphuston on the mainland) and seeing the giant sand dunes at Sandbanks Provincial Park.
Pedago Electric Bikes also offers e-bike rentals in Prince Edward County (as well as in Ottawa, Grand Bend and Toronto), including classic and throttle e-bikes.
E-bike tours and rentals in Central Ontario
Yours Outdoors in Haliburton offers custom e-bike tours. While they are not offered on a regular schedule, your group can request an e-bike tour.
The trails are endless—some of the region’s favourites include the 300 kilometres in Haliburton Forest and the 35-kilometre Haliburton County Rail Trail that runs to the community of Kinmount and continues onto the Victoria Rail Trail, which adds another 55 kilometres of trail past wetlands, bogs and an abandoned chemical plant.
You can also rent e-bikes from The Bike Garage located in Lindsay.
The rentals are available for four hours to two days. For solo excursions, try riding the Rotary Greenway Trail, which runs for about 20 kilometres (half gravel and half paved) along the Otanobee River from Peterborough to Lakefield, past Trent University.
The Lang Hastings Trail runs 30 kilometres through farmers’ fields and local sites including the Lang Pioneer Village Museum. And finally, if you rent in Lindsay, take the crushed gravel Omemee Trail to Peterborough and back for a 70-kilometre flat ride.
Georgian Trail E-Bike Rentals offers e-bikes at a variety of locations in the Georgian Bay area including Collingwood, Creemore, Blue Mountain and Thornbury.
The Georgian Trail, a former rail line, offers a flat crushed gravel ride for 34 kilometres between Collingwood and Meaford. Stop in Thornbury or Meaford at Pom Pom Treat Hut for homemade vegan ice cream.
The company offers half-day (four hours) and full day (eight hours) rentals. Locks and helmets are provided.
Caledon ebike rentals has both e-assist and throttle e-bikes.
Either hop on a tour or rent an e-bike that has a self-guided tour using the Ride with GPS navigation system attached to the bike. The tours go through some of the most beautiful spots in Southern Ontario including the magical Cheltenham Badlands. Walk on a boardwalk over ochre coloured smooth rocks once under the sea more than 450 million years ago. The rides also traverse through Credit Valley and Silver Creek conservation areas.
There are loads of places to stop for photos and don’t forget to grab a coffee at the popular Higher Ground Cafe in Belfountain. Tours also go through quaint villages such as Terra Cotta and Glen Williams (antique shops galore!) and make rest stops at the Spirit Tree Estate Cidery or the Badlands Brewing Company. If you want to go on your own trip, the Caledon Rail Trail begins in Terra Cotta and ends in Tottenham (39 kilometres each way).
E-bike tours and rentals in Northern Ontario
In Thunder Bay, Delta Hotels Thunder Bay, located on the northeastern side of Lake Superior, has just purchased a fleet of e-bikes for rent, which are available to the public.
The cruiser style bikes are great for zooming around nearby Prince Arthur’s Landing overlooking the lake and Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Downtown restaurants and shopping are minutes away. Helmets are included, but not locks. Rentable by the hour, it’s cheaper if you’re a Marriott Club rewards member and also cheaper if you add more time.
E-bike trails in Thunder Bay include Trowbridge Forest’s Sick Lines which is a 12.4-kilometre in and out trail. Considered a blue trail, it’s also best suited for a mountain bike.
Last updated: October 3, 2023