If a cycling tourist or tourists came to Guysborough County with the highly unfortunate limitation of having only one day to cycle here, I would be inclined to suggest this route as an excellent way to experience the area. It offers a sampling of everything that makes Guysborough County appealing.
Anyone seeking photographic opportunities will not be disappointed. There are still sheds, wharves and boats representative of the traditional inshore fishery that once thrived here. Evidence of modern lobster fishing was evident in many communities along Chedabucto Bay as well as those like Port Felix, Charlos Cove and Larry's River on the Atlantic side. Lower Whitehead, is just off the loop and offers many more chances to make great photos.
The paved secondary roads along the route are generally in good repair. There are undulating hills on all sections but they are not steep or more than a few hundred meters long in most cases.* The route is littered with views of Chedabucto Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Communities along the route are all small and contain many examples of traditional architecture (i.e. buildings and homes more than 100 years old).
There are interesting places to stop for breaks that offer access to the saltwater (Cook's Cove, Dort's Cove, Queensport, Half Island Cove, Port Felix, Cole Harbour, Charlos Cove, and Larry's River). There are convenience stores in Half Island Cove and Larry's River. If the imaginary tourist wanted to add length and further interest to the route detours to Lower Whitehead and/or the Provincial Park at Tor Bay could be easily incorporated. For the truly ambitious Canso could also be considered though it would mean allocating more time for riding and less for stopping to sight see.
When I started out on this 85 km adventure I wore a light cotton sweater over a T-shirt and cycling shorts. The cool foggy conditions gave way to warm sunshine a short way into the ride but I didn't remove the sweater until my first stop at the Chedabucto Bay Look-off in Halfway Cove.
I ate a snack and rested briefly while there. I continued on to Queensport where I paused for another break while enjoying a great view of the lighthouse perched on Rook Island. I moved on to Half Island Cove where I pulled off again to stroll on the beach near the island for which the community is named. Near Whitehead I wriggled into my sweater when I once again encountered fog, along with a considerable headwind. Maritime weather is fickle - one should always be prepared for significant temperature and condition changes when going to the coast from an inland location. I made short stops in Port Felix, the Radar Station and Savalette interpretive areas, and again at Charlos Cove.
I maintained a relaxed pace all day. Traffic was light except for increased activity related to construction near Canso (that project will be complete by the time this is posted).
Porta-potties are located at Salmon River Beach, the Look-off in Halfway Cove, a playground not easily seen from the road in Half Island Cove, and Savalette Monument between Cole Harbour and Charlos Cove.
* Two exceptions: first, the steepest, hardest section of incline begins at the Dickie Brook Hydro Station. It is 2.5 km in length with 200m that I consider quite a grind. It was a descent for me. I specifically chose to travel in a clockwise direction since I didn't want to face it at the very end of my ride. Second, when leaving Larry's River more than 90% of the next 5 km will be uphill. None of it is difficult but you will feel it by the time you reach the crest. Even here your reprieve is short-lived. You get to coast down a 400m stretch only to encounter more inclines.