The Maple Leaf Route Cycling Tour starts at Juno Beach in Normandy. Apart from side-visits to the American and British landing beaches, and the Dieppe-Vimy Ridge Tour, the Maple Leaf Route follows the geographical progress of the 1944 Canadian Normandy Campaign from Juno Beach to Dieppe. The routes taken are divided into 15 Tours and Circuits. Each Tour or Circuit is not intended to necessarily correspond to a daily itinerary. Some cyclists will want to do more than one Tour or Circuit in a day, some less, depending on individual interests and constraints.
Some cyclists may only wish to concentrate on the first stage of the Maple Leaf Route Cycling Tour: the D-Day Landing Beaches and the country immediately behind the Normandy coast. The D-Day Beaches Tours cover some 229km and can be accomplished by cyclists in moderately good physical condition in 4- 5 days. This includes sufficient time to visit the principle sites. The coastal terrain is generally easy cycling.
Other cyclists with more time available will want to visit the D-Day Beaches and then trace the 1944 route of the Canadian Army inland and follow the Normandy Interior Stage which includes the battle zones beyond the cities of Caen and Falaise. The Normandy Interior stage ends at the Falaise Gap, the site of the bottleneck through which the disastrous retreat of the German 7th Army took place and where Allied victory in the Normandy Campaign was assured. Plan 7 to 8 days for the D-Day Beaches and Normandy Interior Stages (Normandy Interior is an additional 174km).
The Full Maple Leaf Route Tour: Those able to dedicate 11 to 14 days and in good physical condition may want to undertake the D-Day Beaches stage, the Normandy Interior stage and then continue to follow the route of the Canadian Army moving northward to the cities Rouen and Dieppe (207km). At Dieppe, the Vimy Ridge visit option leaves the path of the Canadian Army north of Dieppe and crosses into the battlefield zones where Canada was active in the First World War. It ends at the imposing Vimy Ridge Memorial (186km beyond Dieppe). The full Route including the Vimy Ridge option represents a serious commitment – 706km.