September 19-20, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to all of your questions about our event.

Last updated: Nov. 25, 2019 (#3 what's new for 2020, #18 rest stations, #25 cancellation policy). This page will be continously updated over the upcoming months.

1. What is the schedule?

Please visit the schedule page for the complete schedule.

2. What is a Gran Fondo?

Gran Fondo means "grand tour" or "great distance" in Italian, which is a mass-start cycling ride which brings together road cyclists of all abilities. It is a growing sporting and cultural experience originating in Europe, and in recent years, has become popular in North America. The Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie will appeal to those looking to ride for fun, for good health and to take on a personal challenge, all while enjoying the beautiful scenery in a safe environment. Although a timed event, this is more of a self-paced FUN group event, rather than a race.

3. What's new for 2020?

New for 2020: the post-ride vegetarian option will be chickpea curry

New for 2020: on the 161 Super and 118 Gran routes, cyclists will ride on the Meteghan Connector with rest stop at Sip Café, replacing Peter Dugas Road and rest stop at Stella Maris School.

New for 2020: stay tuned for more info as we work to improve the "greening" of our event!

Returning in 2020: bicycles available to rent! Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie is partnering with Banks Bikes in Wolfville to offer participants a limited quantity of hybrid bikes to rent onsite at the Gran Fondo! Ideal for the 67 km Medio and 35 km Piccolo rides. Call 902-542-2596 to reserve a bike!

Returning in 2020: hot breakfast buffet option! Due to popular demand, Clare Golf and Country Club will be offering a hot breakfast buffet on the morning of the Gran Fondo from 6 to 8 a.m.! What’s on the menu? Scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, toast, hash browns, fruit, yogurt and more! All for $10, tax included. Purchase your breakfast tickets at check-in on Saturday, September 19, at the Clare Veterans Centre (CVC) or at the door on Sunday morning. Located a 5-minute drive from the CVC.

The Mini Fondo for children ages 5 to 12 is back on Saturday, September 19! Register here.

Updates and other new features will be updated throughout the year on the FAQ page, as well as in our email newsletters and Facebook page!

4. Can I change my ride distance after I register online?

Just send us a message using the form on the Contact page. We understand that many of you may be debating which distance to ride. We highly recommend that you sign up early to take advantage of the best value jersey package. You can actually change your route distance on the morning of event day!

5. Can I find a place to stay near the start?

We are working with the community to find houses, camps and rooms for singles, couples and groups of riders. Please contact Ashley at 902-769-2031, Mon.-Fri., 8:30 am - 4:30 pm), or send us an email request and we will find you a place to stay that fits your needs. If you prefer to stay in a hotel, please consider our accommodations sponsors listed on our Travel page.

6. Are there special rates for participants travelling by ferry?

Using the promo code GFONS* (15% discount) for use from September 17, 2019 to October 2, 2019. *Book online at ferries.ca or by phone 1-877-762-7245 using the promo code “GFONS”. The discount will be available for travel between the dates of September 17 through October 1. Bookings can take place anytime up until October 2, 2019 and are subject to availability. This discount is valid for one-way and return travel. This offer cannot be combined with any other offers. Back for 2019: a round-trip shuttle service from Digby Pines Golf Resort and Spa & Admiral Digby Inn and Cottages! $40 bicycle/person. Reservations: 902-769-2477, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

7. Will there be day care services for children of participants?

The Municipality of Clare Recreation Services will be providing a Day Camp for the children of participating cyclists during Sunday, Sept. 22. Please fill out registration form (one per child) and return it to Réanne Titus by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or by fax (902-769-3713) before Friday, Sept. 20, 2019.

- Your child may be dropped off as of 8 AM at the Clare Veterans Centre (9938 Highway 1, Saulnierville).

- Throughout the day, the children will be entertained by our trusted day camp staff. They will play games, do some crafts, and walk up to the playground across the street. (*Please dress children with appropriate clothing for all activities)

- Healthy snacks and lunch will be served at the hall. Please let us know of any food allergies or intolerances on the registration form!

- Your child must be picked up by 4 PM (that’s also when route support ends), or you can come by anytime after you finish your ride.

8. I would like to bring my dog. Is there a dog daycare facility nearby?

There are two local services. 1. Wee Doggy Day Care, 8931 Highway 1, Meteghan River, that has an open pen (no kennels), located approximately a 10 minute drive from the event starting area. Contact Shawna Comeau at 902-778-1038 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and 2. Wags Boarding Kennels, located at 1390 Patrice Road, Church Point. Contact: 902-769-2726.

9. Where is the event headquarters?

The event headquarters is located at 9938 Highway 1 in Saulnierville. The building is the former Saulnierville Legion, now known as the Clare Veterans Centre (click to view in Google Maps). The headquarters will be referred to in this FAQ as the Clare Veterans Centre.

10. When is check-in/registration?

Registration happens on the Saturday afternoon and evening, from 12 noon to 7 pm, at the Clare Veterans Centre (9938 Highway 1, Saulnierville). Registration is also available on Sunday morning from 7 am to 8 am, also at the Clare Veterans Centre. Most of you have registered online, so this second registration is mainly to make sure you are there, to receive your bib and bike tag transponder, and if applicable, your swag bag and jersey. Please note: if you are registering on the Saturday or Sunday morning of the event, only cash or cheque payment will be accepted. The closest bank machines are a RBC bank machine across the street from the bike shop at the Robin's/Esso and a Scotiabank, located 300 m north of the bike shop.

check in

11. When do I pick up my swag bag and jersey (if applicable)?

Your swag bags and jerseys, if you registered before July 15, 2019 are to be picked up either during the Saturday registration, from 12 noon to 7 pm, at the Clare Veterans Centre (9938 Highway 1, Saulnierville). or the morning of the ride. If you have registered after the early-bird deadline, our event jerseys are unfortunately no longer available and are not available for purchase at this time. Jerseys will not be mailed to cancelled participants.

12. What if my jersey doesn’t fit?

After you check-in and receive your jersey at the Clare Veterans Centre on Saturday or Sunday, we recommend you try it on. If it doesn’t fit, we will be coordinating a jersey swap that will be set up where you can buy extra meal tickets. Look for the sign.

13. What's going on Saturday?

We strongly encourage you to register on the Saturday (12 noon to 7 pm) at the Clare Veterans Centre, located at 9938 Highway 1. If applicable, you will receive your swag bag and jersey. All registrants will be able to pick up a bib and bike tag transponder. This will also be a casual opportunity for you mingle with fellow participants, organizers and volunteers. There will be live Acadian music and the Baie en Joie Acadian dancers to entertain you, as well local Acadian fricot to sample.

An information table will include volunteers showing online maps and photos of sights of the rides, hard-copy route maps and maps of the local area with lists of things to do. Click here for a list of local restaurants.

Need a bike repair? Vélo Baie Sainte-Marie bike shop will be open on Saturday from approx. 9 am to 6 pm to help with repairs and tune-ups. Located in mini-mall adjacent to the Clare Veterans Centre.

Looking for something else to do Saturday evening? Check out a music concert at Saint-Bernard Church! Largely inspired by the sounds of world music and European contemporaries, Jesse Mea will perform many of his original compositions in solo and in duo with his good friend Daniel Leblanc, a renowned musician from the region. The concert will be preceded by an art exposition where you can also purchase great Nova Scotian wine and beer starting at 6:30 PM. $10 at the door. Facebook event.

14. Where can I park my car?

The main parking lot will be at the Clare Veterans Centre, located beside the starting/finishing area. There will also be overflow parking available directly across the street in the Frenchy’s lot, as well as at the Foodland on the other side of the starting area. There will be parking officials onsite to assist you with parking.

Parking at the Clare Veterans Center
The Clare Veterans Centre (9938 Highway 1, Saulnierville) is the primary parking location for vehicles, located just south of the Gran Fondo start/finish along Route 1. Look for our digital screen in front!

15. What time do the rides start?

There will be five departures with approx. 15 minute intervals between each ride.

The Super Gran 161 km ride will start at 8:30 am on the dot, the 118 km Gran will start at approx. 8:45 am, the 88.5 km Mezzo Fondo ride will start at approx. 9:00 am, the 67 km Medio Fondo ride will start at approx. 9:15 am, and the 35 km Piccolo ride will start at approx. 9:30 am. Cyclists will start in the Vélo Baie Sainte-Marie mini-mall parking lot (9976 Highway 1, Saulnierville (click to view on Google Maps) and pass through an inflatable arch, prior to cycling on Highway 1. The Super Gran cyclists will depart first. Cyclists riding the 118 km Gran Fondo, 89 km Mezzo and 67 km Medio Fondo rides will be assembled in two corrals: 1) Advanced and Intermediate, and 2) Intermediate and Beginner, and will depart in two waves, so that cyclists are grouped with participants of similar ability. There will be a motorcycle escort for each ride as well as lead and sweep vehicles (motorcycles and trucks with amber lights) for the duration of the event. Route support will end at 4 pm.

As of September 16, 2019, there are 986 registrations!

Approximate number of registrations in each ride: Super - 95; Gran - 268; Mezzo - 167; Medio - 292; Piccolo - 164.

The Start in Saulnierville

16. What is the support for cyclists along the routes?

There will be a motorcycle escort for each ride as well as lead and sweep vehicles (motorcycles and trucks with amber lights) for the duration of the event. There will be directional signage and volunteers at key intersections to help guide cyclists along the routes.

There will be rest stations along the routes. All rest stations will supply:

  • Hydration
  • Nutrition
  • First-Aid attendants to help with any ailments to your body
  • Washrooms

Please note: rest stations will have nutritional supplements available but are not intended to provide the primary meal for riders during the day.

Emergency Contact: should you encounter any problems along the route, please call the phone number on the back of your bib. 

Download the route map to your device with one of the following options:

Should you have problems downloading a .gpx file, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request a .gpx file or drop by the info booth at the Clare Veterans Centre on Saturday.
intersection support

17. Is there a time limit?

Gran, Mezzo and Medio Fondo Riders must maintain a minimum average speed of 15 km/h (including rest stations). If you are travelling below the 15 km/h average speed, you will at some point be passed by the Event Sweep vehicle. You will then be advised to accept a ride to the finish line. If you do not accept a ride to the finish line and decide instead to continue riding, the following details are in effect for the duration of your ride to the finish line:

  • Water, nutritional and medical support from the event may be unavailable for the remainder of your trip
  • If you are unable to reach the finish line by 4:30 pm, your finish time may be recorded as Did Not Finish (DNF)

18. How many rest stations will there be?

There will be 5 rest stations for the 161 km Super Gran, 4 rest stations for the 118 km Gran Fondo, 3 for the 88.5 km Mezzo, 2 for the 67 km Medio and 1 for the 35 km Piccolo (La Shoppe Verte). All have washroom facilities, hydration, nutrition and first-aid supplies. We will also have a nutrition and water station set up at the start and finish line. Washroom facilities also available at start and finish.

The Super Fondo rest stations (and approximate cumulated distance to each rest stop):

  1. Chez Marcel (New Edinburgh) - 21 km
  2. Havelock Community Centre - 47 km
  3. Carleton School (Route 340) - 84 km
  4. Mavillette Beach - 129 km
  5. Sip Café Meteghan (Meteghan Connector) - 142 km (replaces Stella Maris on Peter Dugas Rd.)

The Gran Fondo rest stations (and approximate cumulated distance to each rest stop):

  1. Havelock Community Centre - 32 km
  2. La Shoppe Verte store/café (Concession) - 59 km
  3. Sip Café Meteghan (Meteghan Connector) - 83 km (replaces Stella Maris on Peter Dugas Rd.)
  4. Mavillette Beach - 96 km

The Mezzo Fondo rest stations (and approximate cumulated distance to each rest stop):

  1. Chez Marcel (New Edinburgh) - 21 km
  2. Havelock Community Centre - 47 km
  3. La Shoppe Verte store/café (Concession) - 69 km

The Medio Fondo rest stations (and approximate cumulated distance to each rest stop):

  1. Chez Marcel (New Edinburgh) - 21 km
  2. La Shoppe Verte store/café (Concession) - 47 km

The Start/Finish will both be at the Vélo Baie Sainte-Marie bike shop (9976 Highway 1, Saulnierville). There will be a drop off/pick up system in place. You may drop off an item of clothing at a rest station (if it gets too hot) and pick it up again later in the day at the Clare Veterans Centre.

volunteers rest stop

19. When and where is the post-ride meal?

Riverside LobsterThe post-ride meal will start around 11:30 am inside the Clare Veterans Centre (BBQ pork and alternative meals) and outside in the adjacent tent (Lobster). The meal will continue throughout the afternoon as cyclists finish. We are also very excited to offer you LOBSTER again as one of the post-ride meal options - a big thank you to Riverside Lobster International Inc.! . On the menu is Lobster, BBQ Pork or new for 2020: Chickpea Curry, salads and dessert. If you have indicated a special dietary need, someone from our team will contact you shortly to assure that we have a meal that is suitable for you. There will be live music in the Clare Veterans Centre for you to enjoy. Be sure to check our prize table to see if you've won!

Lobster tent

20. Can I bring family and/or friends to the post-ride meal?

If you plan on bringing family and/or friends at the post-ride meal, please send Natalie an email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. They’ll need to purchase an extra meal ticket for $20, and we need to know ahead of time so we can be sure to have plenty of food on hand.

21. I have special dietary needs

If you have indicated on your registration form that you have special dietary needs, fear not, you will be fed. The 2020 vegetarian option will be chickpea curry. Our team will make sure there is plenty of yummy food for you to eat. Contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

22. Where are the door prizes?

After your ride be sure to check to see if you're a winner! The prize table will set up in the Clare Veterans Centre. Prizes donated by: Vélo Baie Sainte-Marie bike shop (various accessories), Bêche sea cucumber powder, Where to Cycle in Nova Scotia guidebook and many more!

23. Will there be photos and videos taken?

There will be several photographers and videographers covering the event. Photos will be taken at the finish line and throughout the routes by event photographers and organizers for promote the event in the future. Photos will be posted following the event on the website and Facebook. You will have access to images free of charge.

24. Is the event on social media?

Yes! Please follow our Facebook page and Twitter @GranFondoBSM. We have a new Instagram account: granfondobaiesaintemarie. We encourage you to take images and share using our hashtag #granfondobsm

25. What is the cancellation/refund policy?

Refund: 100% refund until July 20, 2020 at midnight (12:00 am AST).

Deferral Policy: In the event of unforeseen circumstances, participants can defer their 2019 registration to the following year only. This policy is only in effect until Friday, September 4, 2019 at noon (12:00 pm AST). Please note: There will be no deferrals accepted after September 4, 2020. The 2021 date will be Sunday, September 19.

26. What is the inclement weather policy?

Due to the nature of Gran Fondo bike rides, weather conditions can play a large role in the production of the event. The safety of our participants is always our first priority and the cancellation of the Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie will be at the discretion of the Municipality of Clare CAO, in consultation with the Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie organizing committee and/or local law enforcement officials. Because a significant amount of the funds collected during registration have already been expended by the day of the event (e.g., purchase of event materials including jerseys, catering...) with no possibility of getting these funds back, and because the event is uniquely scheduled for its date and location, registration refunds are not possible and rescheduling the event is not possible this year. As such, Gran Fondo Baie Sainte-Marie has a no refund policy for event cancellation due to inclement weather. We will however defer your registration to our 2020 event. Please note if you have signed up by our jersey deadline of July 20, 2020, you will receive your jersey at the 2021 event.

27. What are the safety rules?

  1. Be familiar with Nova Scotia’s Rules of the Road.
  2. This is a self-paced FUN group event and is NOT a race. Riders are to consider their fitness and comfort level in deciding upon the course they choose and the start corral they start in. All riders are required to maintain a 15km/hr average in both the Gran, Mezzo and Medio rides. A 10 km/hr pace is required for the Piccolo ride. Riders who do not meet this requirement will be asked to exit the ride. Therefore, please choose your ride carefully!
  3. Helmets are mandatory. An approved cycling helmet is required. Cyclists must wear a certified cycling helmet with the chinstrap buckled at all times while riding on the course.
  4. Participants are permitted to use standard road bicycles, hybrids, recumbents, tandems, commuters or mountain bikes. E-bikes will be permitted - see #26 below for more info. Bicycles with aero bar affixed, as well as triathlon bicycles will be permitted. Time trial bicycles will not be permitted. Please note: If you have aero bars, please use them prudently at all times during the event, as our primary focus is the safety of all riders.
  5. All participants must stay on the designated route. If at any time a rider finds they are unable to continue, they are requested to stop by the side of the route and they will be assisted by the event staff.
  6. Know your limits. Crashes can occur when inexperienced riders do not have bike-handling skills or experience riding in a pack. Never overlap your wheels with another cyclist, always ride with care.
  7. Be aware of others around you and communicate well in advance while cycling. Use gestures in combination with verbal commands. Use hand signals or verbally warn riders behind you of obstacles and road imperfections. Maintain control and speed of your bike, even going downhill.
  8. Pass on the left only. It is recommended that riders advise others that they are about to pass – politely saying "passing on your left” upon approaching a slower rider usually does the trick. Ride with your head up. Look down the road not at the person in front of you.
  9. If you wish to stop while on course, signal to warn riders behind and pull over safely. If you need assistance stop on the right-hand side of the road. Our on-course support team (mechanics, ride marshals, medical staff) will ask you whether or not you need assistance. If you’re OK, signal with a "thumbs-up” or verbally indicate you are OK.
  10. No use of personal audio devices (iPods, MP3 players etc) will be allowed on course.
  11. Use of cameras is permitted. Riders are advised to stop to take pictures. Please exercise good judgement and ride safely.
  12. Use of cell phones (talking on a cell phone) is not permitted while riding. If one must use a cell phone the rider MUST pull over to the side of the road and come to a complete stop.
  13. Emergency Vehicles and Official Event vehicles ALWAYS have the right of way. If a rider encounters an emergency vehicle, the rider is to give way to the emergency vehicle by moving over to the nearest side of the road, stopping and dismounting. If a rider encounters an Official Event vehicle and the operator signals by use of the horn that they wish to pass, the rider must immediately give the right of way to the vehicles.
  14. Participants 15 and under need to be accompanied by an adult and are limited to the Piccolo Fondo. Any exceptions will be evaluated on a case by case basis. Please submit inquiries using the form on the Contact page.
  15. Participants between the ages of 16-17 will need a signed waiver from a parent/guardian at registration in order to participate. It is obligatory to have it with you on race day!

28. What are our Accessibility options?

E-Bikes

We are accepting registrations for riders with electric bikes (E-Bikes). E-Bikes will have their own results category and will not be included with the times for riders on traditional bikes. All ages and skill levels are now able to participate and enjoy the scenery of our beautiful Baie Sainte-Marie. Please note, E-Bike riders will be limited to the Piccolo Fondo and the Medio Fondo. Please contact Louanne Doucet to register at 902-769-0221 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Access2

We are a proud member of the Access2 program with Easter Seals Canada. This allows people of all ages and types of permanent disabilities who require the assistance of a support person to participate and be active in our Gran Fondo. Riders with Access2 cards will qualify for a free registration for their support person. Please contact Louanne Doucet to register at 902-769-0221 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

29. Interested in being a Volunteer?

Our volunteer coordinator is Reanne Titus. Contact: 902-769-2031 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Volunteer positions for 2019 are available on this website.

30. Who is the organizing committee?

The organizing committee consists of several employees from the Municipality of Clare’s Community Development Department, owners and staff from the Vélo Baie Sainte-Marie bike shop and a community volunteer. Pictured below from left to right: Michel Hachey (Logistics), Ashley Hanks (Secretary), Réanne Titus (Volunteers), Réanne Flynn (Finance/Equipment), Natalie Robichaud (Hospitality), Louanne Doucet (Registration) and Larry Peach (Marketing). Missing: Pam Doucet (Chair).

GFBSM 2019 group photo

We hope you are excited as we are and we are looking forward to seeing you! Please contact us if you have any questions. Cheers!

The Gran Fondo Baie Sainte Marie team.

Ready to ride?

Register for any route for $99 (+ $8.84 processing fee) before July 20, 2020 AST to get a Gran Fondo jersey or t-shirt!