Posts Tagged ‘Ontario’

Pilot ride on the Lake Erie Cycling Route

Friday, September 16th, 2011

On Monday, a group of cyclists rolled out of Windsor for a pilot ride on the proposed Lake Erie Cycling Route.

From the Windsor Star:

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.

Celebrate Cycling in Ontario and tour Boblo Island

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Dust off your passport. Next weekend, Transportation Options has partnered with the Erie Wine Festival to present a celebration of cycling in Windsor/Essex, Ontario. The event is being held at Fort Malden in nearby Amherstberg.

Besides wine tasting and live music, there will be:

  • valet bike parking
  • free guided bike tours
  • bike rentals
  • free basic tune-ups
  • cycle tourism & travel expo

There are also free guided bike tours planned for Saturday and Sunday. One is a tour of Amherstberg which visits historic sites while sampling local cuisine.

The second is of Boblo Island — very cool! *** THIS TOUR HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO A FAMILY EMERGENCY! ***

Join Canada South Eco Tours on a biking exploration of Boblo Island in Amherstberg, Ontario. This 15 – 20km adventure tourism bike tour will highlight the historic landmarks on and around Boblo Island. This is a great local expedition for the family, whether you are returning to the island after experiencing it as a kid, or if you are exploring for the first time. This free tour is presented in partership with Transportation Options, is approximately 2 hours in length, and includes ferry transportation to and from Boblo Island. The tour will return to The Shores of Erie International Wine Festival in closing. We look forward to touring this untapped island with you. Your tour guide is Chris Carvallo.

For more information, visit the Celebrate Cycling in Ontario web site.

 

Windsor updates: Bikes, Trains, and Ferries

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

Bicycle Use Master Plan underfunded

The Windsor Star has a brief mention of the city of Windsor’s bicycling efforts, which according to some bicycling advocates is moving too slowly.

Members of the Windsor Bicycling Committee and the advocacy group Bike Friendly Windsor were at Wednesday’s capital budget meeting to implore council to devote more money to the Bicycle Use Master Plan (BUMP).

Drafted by the city in 2001, the 20-year plan was meant to show the city’s commitment to building an “easily accessible, safe and actively used” cycling network.

But Steve Konkle of Bike Friendly Windsor said BUMP has been the victim of “chronic underfunding.”

According to Konkle, Windsor has less than 25 miles of bike lanes.

Bike Train now daily

The Ontario Bike Train is now daily. The train makes it easy for cyclists to get between Windsor, London, Toronto, and other cities in Ontario. Bicycle racks are available for cyclists.

We spoke with Justin LaFontaine, Projects Director for Transportation Options and the founder of the Bike Train initiative. He said the big buzz among Toronto cyclists is riding in Detroit. And while they can take the bike train to Windsor, there is no option for them to get to Detroit.

They have had conversations with the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority about ferry service across the Detroit River. The Port Authority is very interested in helping make that international connection for cyclists.

Until there is a convenient way for cyclists to cross the border, Detroit-area cyclists can drive to the Windsor train station. There’s also this interesting web site with the tag line, “Explore Ontario by bike. Stop at bicycle friendly places to eat, visit and sleep.”

What about AMTRAK?

One obvious question is what about bicycles on AMTRAK? The Pere Marquette and Blue Water lines should be getting roll-on bicycle service. However, we do not know about the Wolverine line, the line between Pontiac, Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Chicago. That line is not subsidized by MDOT and therefore is not required to have roll on service per an MDOT appropriations bill. We’re waiting to hear if AMTRAK will provide roll on service nonetheless.

Ontario Bicycle Summits

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

This month there are two bicycle summits in nearby Ontario.

The first is the Ontario Bicycle Summit which runs from September 20th through the 21st. The location is Waterloo, which is about 3.5 hours from Detroit via car.

Although there are not many details yet on the planned workshops, they do have an impressive list of speakers, including Congressman James Oberstar and Researcher Todd Littman.

  • Oberstar plans to discuss the latest updates on the U.S. federal transportation bill he’s been crafting for months (which is currently stalled.)
  • Littman is the founder of the Victoria Transport Policy Institute, which has a wealth of excellent research on bicycling in both their TDM Encyclopedia and documents page.

The other event is the 2009 Ontario Mountain Bike Summit hosted by IMBA Canada. This event runs from September 25th through the 27th. The location is Kitchener, which is right next door to Waterloo.

Topics will include the creation of a provincial leadership body, bike parks and sustainable trails, youth outreach, and growing local capacity for the 40+ clubs and patrols in IMBA‘s Ontario network. In addition to informative seminars and networking, the gathering will feature great parties and plenty of riding.

Of course, don’t forget the Mid-America Trails and Greenways Conference in Kalamazoo, Michigan at the end of October. For more information, visit the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance web site.

Oakland County through a Canadian Cyclist’s Eyes

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

Mark from Canada posted the below comment on the MTGA web site.¬† We’ve reprinted it here (with his permission) because it echoes our push for safe AASHTO on-road bicycle facilities in Oakland County.¬† It’s great that Ontario is so forward-thinking and progressive with respect to cycling.

I’m accustomed to road cycling in Canada, and planning a visit with a friend in Oakland County. I can’t believe I’m being pushed onto “recreational trails” if I want to cycle! I want to get places and see the community, not paved trails in woodlands or parks! Bikes are classified as a vehicle by Ontario’s road authority, and there’re active advocacy groups successfully pushing for bike lanes on current and future roadways. Maybe we have a healthier mindset in Canada. Or maybe Michigan just can let go of the narrow minded car mindset. I recall seeing some arterials without sidewalks even!