For Toronto cyclists who want to escape the city to enjoy the beautiful Niagara Peninsula, there’s no better way to go than by Bike Train. It leaves from Union Station and drops you and your bike at the Niagara Falls Station. From there you can choose from over 140 km of off-road, paved trails, known as the Greater Niagara Circle Route, that weave through the picturesque vineyards, small towns, shorelines and waterways of the Niagara region.
When you think cycling, you don’t automatically think train. But happily for avid bike riders in the Toronto area, cyclist Justin Lafontaine did. What made Justin come up with this brainchild? He wanted to find a better way for cyclists to get to the popular tourist area than driving 150 kilometers through congested traffic on the QEW in gas-guzzling, air-polluting SUVs. He came up with a winning solution: the Bike Train Initiative.
To launch the pilot project Justin had to bring together governments, tourism agencies and Via Rail and convince them that adding a baggage car equipped with bike racks was good for the environment, good for tourism and good for cyclists. With patient determination Lafontaine cut through the bureaucracy and last summer the first Bike Train chugged out of Union Station to great fanfare.
Each train ticket includes a passenger seat and a bike rack reservation. The baggage car accommodates 56 bikes. Its inaugural year was a resounding success and Bike Train has a new expanded schedule lined up for 2008.
For the cyclist, the Niagara Peninsula has it all. The good roads, the hilly terrain, the waterways and beaches—where in the summer time you can take a break from your bike and cool off with a swim—make this area a cycling paradise. And after a day on the bike trails there are vineyards, spas, fine restaurants and theaters to explore.
This summer, take a ride on the bicycle choo choo and cycle Niagara. ALL ABOARD!
You can purchase tickets online or call 888-619-5984.
© 2008 Laurel-Lea Shannon