While most times you would assume that rail trail should be pretty easy going, the Newfoundland T’railway is anything but. It will throw everything it can at you as you cross the harsh landscape that is Newfoundland. You will ride crushed gravel, ruts, sand, ATV trail and more.
- Mountain Bike: For this route, the recommendation is to use a mountain bike. It is recommended to use tires on the bigger end of the spectrum, in order to provide as much comfort as possible. The recommendation would be to ride something in the 29+ range of tire size, or even a fatbike if you have one.
- Gravel Bike: A cyclocross bike is not recommended for this route. That does not mean it is impossible to complete it on 38C tires, it just means that it would be overly difficult. If using a gravel bike with 700 wheels, you’ll want to have a newer style gravel bike that can accommodate tires in the 2″ or larger range or outfit it with the largest tires your bike can accommodate. Many parts of the route can be ridden on smaller tires such as 45C, but some parts would be overly difficult.
- Setup: Run tubeless if possible. You can use bikepacking style bags or a hybrid setup with small panniers. A lighter set-up allows of easier riding, especially in the hillier and more technical sections. You are also going to want to have a wide-range of gear options for climbing the bigger and tougher hills.
Campgrounds: Check the POI’s for camping locations and use your diligence to look over the maps beforehand.
Wild camping: There are several abandoned Provincial Park campsites along the way which could be used for comfortable wild camping sites. Although much of the route is dotted with towns, there are still ample amounts of place to pitch a tent for the night without being seen. Remember to follow “leave no trace” practices.
Average Physical Difficulty – 3
As this route follows rail trail it is not overly difficult physically, aside from the fact that it is nearly 900km long. However, there are a few consideration to take into account. Newfoundland is notorious for its prevailing wind, so it would be a wise decision to tackle this route from West to East. Rail trail also doesn’t provide as many rests while going downhill as you would get on roads, so much of the time is spent in what may feel as never-ending pedalling. Finally, although there is a good amount of climbing to be done each day, it is low grade rail trail, but may once again give you the feeling of a never-ending climb.
1-2 – Relatively level riding
3-4 – Regular rolling terrain with sustained climbing
5-6 – Rugged terrain with frequent climbs, some of which may be steep and unrelenting
7-8 – Very rugged terrain with abundant climbing, some of which is very steep and unrideable
9-10 – Numerous very steep, climbs requiring bike-pushing and/or carrying
Average Technical Difficulty – 2
The route does not provide much in terms of technical challenge. Rail trails are typically comprised of low grade climbs, wide riding surfaces and gentle curves. Throughout the entirety of the route, you will encounter many different types of trail surface, from fast rolling hardpack to loose gravel and sandy sections, there is a little bit of everything throughout this route. As much of the trail is multi-use and allows ATV and snowmobile access, you will come across many sections with dips and hollows that are referred to locally as “Yes Mam’s”. These are also prone to filling up with water after rainfall, which can slow down your pace significantly.
1-2 – Smooth riding surface with few obstacles (e.g., graded dirt roads, rail trails); suitable for novice mountain bikers
3-4 – Track has occasional obstacles and steep sections (e.g., maintained forest roads, mellow singletrack); suitable for beginner mountain bikers
5-6 – Continuous sections of track may be rocky, loose, and steep; (e.g., 4×4 roads or singletrack in rugged/rocky terrain) suitable for intermediate mountain bikers
7-8 – Narrow trail with regular obstacles, sustained steep grades; suitable for intermediate to advanced mountain bikers
9-10 – Very challenging riding with frequent large obstacles, exposure, very steep grades; suitable for advanced mountain bikers
Slowbiker: Across Newfoundland by Fatbike
Newfoundland T’Railway Provincial Park: Website
Bikepacking.com: Newfoundland T’Railway