On Monday, a group of cyclists rolled out of Windsor for a pilot ride on the proposed Lake Erie Cycling Route.
The project is being spearheaded by the Waterfront Regeneration Trust, which has established a similar 900-kilometre signed route from the Niagara Region, along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, to the Quebec border. Also involved are the Share the Road Cycling Coalition, Transportation Options and the Carolinian Canada Coalition.
The goal is to establish a mapped and signed Lake Erie cycling route that will help attract cycling tourists and encourage local bicycle use, said Marlaine Kroehler, executive director of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust. It could be completed as early as 2013.
This new route is a mix of paved roads with some sections of unpaved rails-to-trails added — mostly the Chrysler Canada Greenway. This is one difference from the otherwise similar U.S. Bicycle Route System which keeps to paved surfaces.
Interestingly enough, the Chrysler Canada Greenway was perhaps less scenic than the road, which ran closer to the lake.
Some highlights along the first leg are Amherstberg and the Fort Malden National Historic Site; Ontario’s wine country; the John R. Park Homestead (no relation to Detroit’s John R. Williams); and the Point Pelee National Park. The latter is about 60 miles from Windsor.
The Lake Erie Cycling Route connects with the existing Waterfront Trail along Lake Ontario, which also connects with Quebec’s Route Verte. Yes, you’ll be able to ride from Windsor to Montreal along these cycling routes.
One bonus: The Bike Train means you don’t have to ride out and back. One could take the train and take the route backwards to Windsor.
For Detroit residents, having these mostly rural bike routes (and wineries) so close to the city is a real bonus. This is much closer (and much flatter) than Metro Detroit’s rural roads and much closer than the vineyards near Traverse City. Southeast Ontario drivers seems to be rather congenial as well. The biggest issue is once again, getting across the Detroit river without needing a car.
The Windsor Star published this follow up article with more details, including a discussion on the growing Detroit bicycle scene and the plans to build bike routes through the Motor City. Ignoring the Windsor Star’s inappropriate reference to “the poorest neighborhoods”, the article does capture the excitement of bicycling in the Windsor-Detroit area and the potential to grow the culture and cross-border tourism opportunities.