As with every North American city, Toronto has a cyclist scene connecting bikers from all over the Greater Toronto Area. Whether you’re just moving to the city, still navigating Toronto real estate, or trying to connect yourself to the local scene, this quick guide is here to help. We’ll go over a few of the best bike shops in the city and show you where to buy a bike in Toronto. We’ll also explore some local favorite trails that you’ll want to visit again and again during your time in this greatest of Ontario cities.
Six Great Bike Shops In Toronto
You won’t see Sweet Petes ever excluded from a discussion about the best bike shops in Toronto. Located just west of downtown on Bloor St. in the neighbourhood of Wallace Emerson, Sweet Petes can be a bit of a difficult location to get to depending on where you live in the city. They’re well worth a visit though, either to pick up a new bike or get repairs. They have a great inventory of bikes starting around $600 and ranging into the thousands.
Ride Away Bikes
Ride Away is even deeper downtown than Sweet Petes and has just as good of a reputation. They’re located in Little Italy along Dundas St. and offer a wider variety of bikes, ranging from city bikes, comfortable easy-riders, and even kids’ bikes. Their prices range low, with bikes starting for around $400 and moving up from there, with exceptionally well-priced kid’s bikes to boot.
This is about as high end a shop as you can find in Toronto. Urbane is located near the corner of College St. and Spadina Ave. Bikes here run in the thousands and you’d be hard-pressed to find a store with a wider selection of parts no matter how rare or unusual. The bikes are expensive but Urbane does offer member discounts, and with the high price comes a superb staff that won’t try to upsell you on stuff you don’t need.
The Bike Place
Nice and simple, the way all bike shops should be. The Bike Place is a little gem of the Toronto cyclist scene located on Dundas St. in York. If you live in the eastern Toronto area make sure you pay this place a visit. They’ve been in business since 1985 and have serviced tens of thousands of clients and over a hundred thousand bikes over nearly forty years. They have a small inventory, great prices, and they also sell used bikes.
This is a chain of bike stores but their location in the Fashion District on west Queen St. has the same staff from when the shop was independent. If you’re located near downtown, this shop is the place for you. They sell bikes mostly in the upper-mid price range and they have a wide selection of parts if you’re looking for a new chain or bike derailleur or anything along those lines.
Dismount Bike Shop
Dismount is a favorite of everyone not living directly in downtown Toronto. For you suburbanites living in York, head down to St. Claire Avenue one day and check this shop out. You’ll find some higher-end bikes here, as well as a wealth of parts including mountain biking saddles and biking gear perfect if you’re planning a big cycling trip any time soon.
3 Great Trails
Now that you know where to buy a bike in Toronto, go get one! With your new bike at hand, all you have left to do now is ride it, but where? Biking around Toronto isn’t the easiest thing in the world. This is a big city, and the Toronto sprawl is infamous. Even if you live in the suburbs you’re looking at an hour ride on average to get out onto the country roads. You can definitely bike downtown but expect significant traffic and congestion all along your routes. Fortunately, Toronto has several great biking trails that, in addition to being aesthetically pleasing, can also be used to navigate to different parts of the city.
The Don Valley Trail
Whether you live downtown or up in East York, or even past the 401, the Don River and its adjoining trails will quickly become just as important to you as a cyclist as any other road in Toronto. The Don River splits Toronto in half and its banks are kept clear of development for the most part. Bike up and down along the river for refreshing escapes into nature and enjoy the trees and the close green spaces and a little quiet away from the noise of the city. You can feasibly follow the Don River from downtown all the way out of the city. If you live in a suburb north of the city center and you need to get downtown but you don’t want to deal with the traffic on the roads, you can take this trail down and cut into the city whenever you need to.
Similar in utility to the Don Valley trail, the waterfront trail can take you west from Etobicoke all the way to Scarborough if you’ve got the time and inclination. Heading east on this route you’ll be biking right on the shores of Lake Ontario. Once you get to Parliament St. you’ll have to slow down as the lanes get pretty congested from here until The Beaches. We recommend this ride on a hot day in the summer.
Humber River Trail
This one’s for you cyclists in eastern Toronto. This trail is technically located in Etobicoke but anyone in North York should also pedal over and check it out. Less trafficked than the Don Valley trails, Humber River is a great place for a quieter, more private ride. With plenty of woods and water to enjoy, go at your own pace and take time to soak up the forested river sides and head off the trail to rest beneath the trees.