Toronto on track to becoming Ontario's Bike Train hub

Toronto May 20, 2009 – The award-winning Bike Train Initiative is announcing ticket sales and new routes for the 2009 season. Get active, travel local and cycle Ontario this summer.

Originally developed by Toronto cyclist Justin Lafontaine and launched in partnership with VIA Rail between Toronto and Niagara in 2007, the Bike Train has proven to be a fun, economic and environmentally friendly way to enjoy a cycling getaway. Getting to the destination is made easy as passengers travel in comfort while their bicycles are safely secured in a baggage car with bike racks.

Knowledgeable Bike Train staff are available onboard to provide cycling maps and useful information. Passengers join a community of travellers who are happy to share stories and anecdotes about their trip during the train journey.

This summer the Bike Train will connect Toronto with destinations across Ontario, providing cyclists of all abilities easy access to the Greenbelt, wine and culinary regions, northern lakes and forests, off-the-beaten-path towns and villages, world-renowned natural and historical sites, and thousands of kilometres of recreational trails and on road cycling routes.

With 1,000 passengers to date and new routes that span the province, the Bike Train is putting Ontario on the map as a leading cycle tourism destination in North America.

Toronto-Niagara Greenbelt Express

  • Adults $62 return, $31 one-way; children 11 and under free
  • 8 weekends from June to October
  • Stops in Toronto, Niagara Falls and St. Catharines


Ontario North Bike Train (Toronto-North Bay Pilot)

  • Adults $153 return; capacity 56
  • 1 weekend: August 7-10
  • In partnership with Ontario Northland Rail


Pilot Bike Train routes to Eastern Ontario and Southwestern Ontario are also being developed for 2009. Visit www.biketrain.ca for schedules, tickets and updates. 

Media tours, photo ops and interviews can be arranged.

QUOTES 

“The Bike Train is a unique and remarkable success story within the tourism industry,” said the Honourable Monique Smith, Minister of Tourism. “By expanding bike train service to select parts of the province, this initiative is helping to revitalize local tourism and is positioning Ontario as a go-to destination for cycling holidays.”

“Travelling through the Greenbelt by train and by bike is like peanut butter and jelly; they are made for each other,” says Burkhard Mausberg, President of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. “The Toronto-Niagara Greenbelt Express has provided a connection between the urban and rural landscape making Ontario’s Greenbelt accessible now more than ever. Just like the delicious sandwich mom used to make, who can resist taking a trip to the Greenbelt and exploring all of its possibilities.” 

“The Bike Train has really been embraced by Toronto cyclists,” says Bike Train founder and Project Director Justin Lafontaine. “People are cycling more in all aspects of their lives, and vacations are no exception. I’m thrilled that more people are now able to experience the freedom of cycling holidays.”

QUICK FACTS

  • Bike Train won two Ontario Tourism Awards in 2008:

            - Best Tourism Marketing Partnership & Excellence Award for Tourism Innovation

  • 1,000 Bike Train passengers to date on the Toronto-Niagara Greenbelt Express
  • 140km Greater Niagara Circle Route includes Niagara River Recreational Trail
  • 900km Waterfront Trail runs from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the Quebec border
  • North Bay features several recreational trails and on road routes that pass by lakes, bogs, wilderness and communities
  • Toronto is home to more than 1 million cyclists according to the City of Toronto


ABOUT THE BIKE TRAIN INITIATIVE

The Bike Train Initiative introduces bike racks onboard select passenger rail trains to destinations across Ontario, making cycling holidays easy and accessible.  The initiative is a project of Transportation Options, a non-profit organization dedicated to stimulating sustainable systems of transportation, and is funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Government of Ontario, and Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, and supported by more than 30 organizations and businesses. For more information visit www.biketrain.ca.  

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For more information, contact:


Justin Lafontaine, Project Director
Bike Train Initiative
Office: 416-392-1556
Cell: 416-712-8819
Email: jlafont@toronto.ca

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