The Cabot Trail – Pioneering the Guided Bike Tour in Nova Scotia

Cyclists on the Cabot Trail Bike Tour in Cape Breton Nova Scotia

Notes about the Founders

Freewheeling’s deep connection with the Cape Breton Island and its cycling jewel – the Cabot Trail, is based on childhood explorations, many friendships, and decades of dedication. In 1987, Cathy and Philip abandoned their former roles to work together to create cycling experiences to share with small groups of like-minded adventurers and outdoor-lovers. While their families and some friends thought they were crazy to leave their established careers to do something so flighty and seasonal, others applauded the pursuit of passion over traditional sensibility. The taxman wasn’t happy either, but their vision was clear, and they committed to the long term. They spent their savings, mortgaged their small house, borrowed from friends, and thoroughly explored the possibilities in Nova Scotia, re-kindling university acquaintances and making new connections – very easy to do in this oh-so-friendly place. They also adopted a delightful puppy from the Meat Cove Pottery, whom they named Clayborn. They enjoyed making a growing number of cyclists very happy with their cycling experience – many of whom remain friends over 30 years later. Their very first guide – a cyclist who grew up in the heart of Cape Breton and enjoyed riding out of his hidden valley to ride with Cathy and Philip and to meet those early groups of riders, is still a close family friend. He shared many things still part of the experience – the secret swimming holes, the extra rides, and the people who help make the ride so special.

Rugged Cliffs on the shores of the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, Canada


Good picnics, the best inns available, and a focus on local immersion made these trips famous. Today, the same principles guide all facets of Freewheeling Adventures. Hand ground, freshly roasted coffee and organic home-baked sweets still grace the outdoor picnics that keep you outside and making the most of perfect cycling days. Old guides are friends of the family, and new ones become so quickly. The best inns are essential parts of the experience, and adjustments to the plan are made wherever an opportunity for improvement is discovered.

The Cape Breton dog lived for 17 years, and two sons grew up with a similar love for Nova Scotia. One of them, Taran, now keeps the Freewheeling wheels turning while Cathy and Philip have more time to explore. You can be sure that their discoveries will continue to enhance the riding experiences for you.

The Story Lives On

Cathy has written a book about this journey called “My Freewheeling Life: Personal Reflections on Running an Adventure Tour Company in Rural Nova Scotia“. My Freewheeling Life contains a collection of Catherine Guest’s experiences, stories and poetry that spans 32 years. Like a medicine wheel these stories and poetry reveal the gifts received – and log meaningful experiences, personalities and challenges met – and life lessons learned along the way. This is a testimonial to a life being well lived.

Rugged Cliffs on the shores of the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, Canada

Cabot Trail Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia: Cabot Trail Bike Tour

A classic cycling adventure around the coastal perimeter of northern Cape Breton Island.

Moderate, Challenging
Cycling along Cabot Trail in Cape Breton’s Highlands

Nova Scotia: Cabot Trail Bike 3-Day Challenge

A very challenging 3-day version of the usual 5-day Cabot Trail ride, suitable for high distance, high-endurance cyclists.

Very Challenging