Training You For The Ride

Together, we will make sure you are Bike Rally ready. We have indoor and outdoor training, seminars, and resources that will help you build endurance and learn skills such as – conquer hills, change a flat tire, stay fuelled, cycling etiquette, and rules of the road.

On this page you can access information on training tips, seminars, route maps and more. We use Ride With GPS to create our training routes. Download the Ride With GPS app to your iPhone or Android and set up a free membership to ensure you get access to these interactive maps. A link to download and print a pdf of the map will also be available on the Wednesday prior to each ride.

Winter Training

We have been fortunate to have a strong partnership with the downtown Metro Central YMCA and the uptown North York YMCA, and are proud to have them as our winter training sponsors. Spin classes are provided to registered Bike Rally participants three times weekly. Check out the Bike Rally Calendar for training dates! You don’t need to be a member of the YMCA to participate, you just need to be registered Bike Rally rider.  Space is limited so you need to reserve a spot. (At the North York YMCA, registration is in person 15 minutes before the class.) If you register and are unable to attend, email and let them know so that they can accommodate someone on the wait list.

Visit the Calendar to find out when the next training is taking place and reserve your spot today!

Training Rides

Training Rides

The training rides are developed and organized for you to:

  • tap into a training schedule to get in shape for the ride
  • meet fellow riders and make new friends
  • learn and practice safe and efficient riding
  • help other riders by sharing your knowledge
  • support and encourage all riders, especially new riders

More than half of the riders at training rides are new riders, so please don’t worry that you don’t know anyone or you’re brand new to riding — come out to the first few training rides and meet new riders like yourself and take advantage of the knowledge and support of returning riders.

If you are not registered with the Bike Rally, you are still welcome to join us provided you follow our rules outlined on this page.


The first training ride is 34 km and then we gradually work up the distances from there. Previous training rides maps can be found at Ride With GPS. Download and print the map in advance of each ride. Check the Calendar for the training ride schedule. We do expect you to bring a copy of the route map each week – if you forget, we do have a few extra. Departure points alternate between Kipling, Finch and Warden subway stations. We will survey the confirmed routes ahead of time and update the maps with any changes.

Please check the calendar and maps before you go out for a ride!

Qualifying Rides

All riders must finish a qualifying

  • 50 km training ride by Mid May.
  • 100 km training ride by Early June.
  • 2 back-to-back 90 km rides (i.e., on 2 consecutive days) by early July

Consult the BR Calendar for specific dates.

This is to ensure that all riders get working on their distances early and allows us to identify and work with riders in need of support.

What To Bring

It is mandatory that you WEAR A HELMET on all training rides. Bring some nutritious snacks on the longer rides, as there will be long stretches of country roads where there are no convenience stores. When the routes get longer than 35k, plan your own 5-10 minute break about the halfway point and stop to eat and drink. You don’t need to stick around at the end of the ride, though people often do to chat and welcome finishing riders.

Unless you really need to secure your bike somewhere, we don’t recommend bringing a lock – they weigh a lot and will just slow you down. And don’t forget to apply sunscreen – cycling is not a good way to develop a tanline, and even a short time in the saddle can expose you to a lot of UV rays.


  • helmet (mandatory)
  • cycling gloves
  • portable tire pump, set to fit your valve type
  • spare tube
  • patch kit
  • tire levers (plastic)
  • water bottle(s) and/or a Camelback hydration system, filled with water and/or a fluid replacement drink
  • banana, energy bar, fig newtons or some other snacks
  • money, credit card, identification (also written on the inside of your helmet)
  • sunglasses
  • lightweight waterproof jacket if there is any chance of rain
  • sunscreen to reapply on hot days


  • multitool
  • cell phone
  • small section of wire (handy for fixing things)

The Role of the Sweeps

The very last riders are the two team leaders who organized that day’s training ride – referred to as the Sweeps. A Sweep is the final fall-back person and is there to assist and encourage those riding at the back of the pack. Riders should be aware that having Sweeps on the rides is a courtesy – they will do their best to help you with technical and physical difficulties but they are not mechanics or doctors. They are volunteering their time to assist you in training. Ultimately, we want to foster an environment where all riders can learn to take care of themselves on the road.

Cancellation Policy

The safety of our participants will always be our first priority and there may be times when a training ride will have to be cancelled. This will be at the discretion of the Team Leaders leading that day’s ride. If a training ride is cancelled it will be posted to the Bike Rally face book page as well as being sent out via twitter. As well the team leaders will go to the starting point to ensure that all riders are aware that the ride is cancelled. Rides can be cancelled based on the following criteria:

  • Lightning
  • Heavy downpours that last more than 10 minutes
  • Hail

Last But Not Least

If you are unsure on how to fix a flat, please review and practice these instructions. Always perform a safety check, oil your chain and pump up your tires before riding. New riders must attend one of the bike repair seminars before we leave for Montréal.

You must follow the rules of Safety and Cycling Etiquette on all training rides and on the ride to Montréal – Riders who don’t may be removed from the ride, for their own safety as well as that of others.

We encourage riders to set up additional group training rides in our discussion forum. Crew members and the general public are welcome to bring their bikes and helmets and join us!

Training Ride Routes & Map Links

Training Ride Routes

You need to train for this event so if you can, why not do it with the people you’re going to be travelling with? To build your stamina, training rides start at 35 km and progressively get longer throughout the season.

Map pages will be updated over the coming weeks including:

  • an embedded interactive Google map page
  • move cursor over elevation/grade diagram below the map to find corresponding points on the route
  • click and drag the cursor over a section of the grade to magnify the map and highlight that section
  • printable pdf route maps and cue sheets with turn by turn instructions to bring on the ride
  • access to GPX files to load into your portable GPS route tracking device

We recommend riders study each map and cue sheet before heading out for a ride. This will allow you to focus on cycling safely, rather than attempting to interpret the map as you ride.

REMINDER: Sometimes construction, parades, and other events impact our routes. The most up-to-date map will be uploaded on the Wednesday prior to every ride. If you print or download the route prior to the Wednesday, you may have an out-of-date map/route.

Review The Route

Check the training ride schedule on the Calendar, review the routes below, print a map and cue sheet before heading out for a ride! We’ll do our best to update the routes on this site where last minute detours must be made. Should extreme inclement weather require a cancellation, notification will be posted on our official Facebook page.

Note: All riders must finish a qualifying 50 km training ride by mid-May and a 90+ km ride before the end of June. This is to ensure that all riders get working on their distances early, and allow us to work with those who may find the longer rides challenging.

2018 Training Ride map links will be available beginning March 29. Visit the Bike Rally Calendar for the 2018 training schedule.



Routes From Previous Years

2017 Bike Rally Training Rides

Below you will find the Ride With GPS and pdf Map & Cue Sheets for the 2017 Bike Rally Training Rides.
Kipling - Courtney Park - 34.9 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
Warden - Zoo Loop - 40 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
Kipling - Meadowvale - 46 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
Finch - Lake Wilcox - 50 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
NEW Kipling - Meadowvale - Out and Back - 51 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
NEW Warden - Steeles/Taunton - Out and Back - 55 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
Keating Channel - David Linton Memorial Ride - 62 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
Warden - Pickering - 63 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
NEW Finch -Jane/17th Side Road (Holland Canal short) 65 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
Kipling - Oakville - 68 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
NEW St. Clair – North Road (Goodwood short) 73 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
NEW Kipling – Appleby (Burlington July 9) 80 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
Finch - Kleinburg - 82 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
NEW Kipling – Guelph Line (Burlington short July 15) 90 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
Warden - Musselman Lake - 91 km *REVISED ROUTE MAY 31*Ride With GPS link pdf Map & Cue Sheet
Kipling - Terra Cotta - 97 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
Finch - Holland Canal - 93.8 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
Warden - Ashburn - 111 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
Warden - Goodwood - 112.5 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet
Kipling - Burlington - 102.9 kmRide With GPS linkpdf Map & Cue Sheet

There are a number of seminars and clinics provided by Training & Support that will ensure you are properly equipped for the Bike Rally, from hill climbing to fixing a flat, and more.

As a first-year Rider, you are required to attend:

  • New Participant Orientation and Information Session
  • Mechanical! The Flat-Fix & Roadside Repair Clinic; and,
  • Cycling Skills, which introduces you to road etiquette, as well as safety and rules of the road

Please see the Calendar for the seminar schedule. New seminars and clinics will be added on an ongoing basis until our date of departure, so please be sure you are checking back regularly for updates. If you would rather do all the seminars at once, then the Bike Rally Expo is for you (link below).

Don’t forget to sign-up for e-News to get all the latest updates.


Held in April – visit the Bike Rally Calendar for date, time and location







Have a hectic schedule? Can’t fit everything in after work? Here’s the solution.

As we prepare for our exciting journey, training and knowledge are the keys to a successful ride. Bike Rally Expo is an afternoon of clinics and seminars designed to help you understand your bike and learn how to fix a flat, learn basic maintenance, nutrition and hydration, and ask your fundraising questions. Try on a jersey get the proper fit, fill out any outstanding forms and check out a mock campsite to see what you should be packing for the ride to Port Hope and Montréal.

All in one afternoon!

The flat-fix workshop is a hands-on seminar, so be sure to bring your bike – or at least one wheel.

There will be several concurrent Flat Fix and Nutrition/Hydration clinics

Please sign up for one-only of each session.


When you get to the top of a climb are you nervous, or terrified about the downhill? You are not alone. You hear lots of talk about climbing and its skills, but not much about how to come down a hill safely and confidently.

This clinic will teach you how and where to place your weight when descending, using your brakes efficiently, emergency stopping, starting on a hill, counter steering, and putting it all together on a steep descent.

There is a component of the clinic that is stationary, and as such, Participants should dress according to weather conditions.

This is a hands-on clinic so please bring your bike and come ready to ride. Your bike must have had a recent tune-up and its brake pads must be in good condition.


Designed for both Riders and Crew, we will cover all the basics of fundraising for the Bike Rally.

Reaching your fundraising goal may seem daunting, but with the right tools you will find it less challenging and even fun to not only hit your goal but to surpass it! Hear tips and techniques designed for both new Riders and Crew.

We will cover all the basics of fundraising for Bike Rally including:

  • Tips on how to plan your fundraising campaign
  • How to ask for support and do the “ask” which many first-time fundraisers find intimidating
  • How to maximize your pledge from each donor
  • How to make the most of email, Facebook, Twitter and the internet
  • Some resources and tools to turn to if you need help
  • How to ensure you will be successful in your fundraising endeavours

A Q&A and discussion round-table will follow and will be customized by and for those in attendance so bring your questions, comments and ideas, or send them in advance to Fundraising.


While the phrase “as easy as riding a bike” might lead you to believe that cycling is as simple as turning the pedals while staying upright, most riders suffer from poor cycling form, without even realizing it. Learning the essential yet underrated skills of efficient pedaling technique and proper gearing will not only allow you to climb hills more easily, but it will also help you to ride faster, with less effort! It will also aid in preventing injuries and will increase your general enjoyment of the sport of cycling.

In this clinic we will discuss proper cycling form, ascending and descending techniques, and provide on-the-bike instruction at one of our favourite downtown hill training locations. The clinic is geared to Riders at all levels of cycling experience.

Meeting spot: High Park Subway Station, High Park Ave exit

Lead by a seasoned cyclist, the will be lead by group into High Park to learn some hill techniques. There is a component of the clinic that is stationary, and as such, Participants should dress according to weather conditions.

This is a hands-on clinic so please bring your bike and come ready to ride.


Do you know how to replace a flat tire? What if your chain were to come off its gears? Bring your bike and repair kit (or purchase what you need onsite and take advantage of your Bike Rally discount

Flat-Fix and Roadside Repair (1 MB)

You have a chance to learn how to fix a flat by actually doing it yourself. Fixing your own flat is one of the most essential repairs a cyclist needs to know. You will also learn how to put your chain back on, minor repairs that you may need to perform on the road, as well as general bike maintenance and things to pay attention to as you add mileage to your bike.

Note: This is a hands-on clinic so please bring your bike, tire levers, and any other tools you might need to remove your rear wheel (e.g., wrench or Allen key), as well as some rags.

This seminar is  required for first-year Riders.


Are you new to the Bike Rally? Are you a returning Rider but haven’t ridden in a while? Or are you just simply curious? This is the seminar for you.

This is a required session for first-time Riders and Crew.

This information seminar is a great way for new and prospective Participants to get more information about all aspects of this incredible event. Learn what has been put in place to support Participants and enhance that experience. Learn why the Bike Rally is so important to the Toronto People With AIDS Foundation and all the services they provide.

Returning Riders and Crew will be on hand to share their experiences, and members of the Steering Committee will answer questions about the ride, volunteering, packing, training, fundraising, camping and anything else related to the Bike Rally which might come up.

In addition, we cover what to do in the months leading up to the ride, resources available to you and what to expect the week of the ride to make sure you’re fully prepared.

For more information contact Training & Support.

Check the Calendar for dates.


Will a $200 helmet protect my head better than a $40 helmet? Should I spend more on bike shorts than a saddle? Will I want clipless pedals? Wondering what you need to eat and drink before, during, and after a long ride? Join us to learn more about how to optimize your energy and enjoyment while training for and during the Ride.

This clinic focuses on the importance of specific cycling clothing, gear and proper fueling (i.e., nutrition). This information is essential to ensure safe, , efficient and enjoyable rides.

Sweeter than normal event discounts on clothing and nutrition offered this night.

Note: This clinic will be of particular interest to women. Join us as we demystify the world of women’s cycling and helps you prepare for the rides ahead. Learn when and where to care about women’s specific products and ask questions you may not have asked before


Etiquette, Safety and the Rules of the Road

Learn safe riding habits, proper etiquette, what to expect on the road, rules of the road, hand signals and traffic laws, how to read a map and route markings. You will also get some light cycling under your belt before hitting the road. Highly recommended!

PLEASE NOTE: Clinics are subject to cancellation in the event of poor weather conditions. The decision to cancel will be made, by email, before 6pm on the day before the clinic. If you do not have access to email, please provide a phone number where we can contact you.

There is a component of the clinic that is stationary, and as such, Participants should dress according to weather conditions.

This is a hands-on clinic so please bring your bike and come ready to ride.


The Big Meeting is a Friends For Life Bike Rally tradition that is not to be missed.






This meeting gives Riders and Crew a great overview of our adventure to Port Hope and Montréal. Learn all of the final ride details, including day-to-day events, theme days, tips and advice from Crew Leads, and other logistics from Packing Day and Departure, to our arrival in Port Hope and Montréal, accommodations, and return to Toronto.

Meet your Co-Chairs and Steering Committee members. Pick up the official handbook and get answers to all your Bike Rally questions.

Thank You 2017 Sponsors: