Forget the snow, it’s time to start planning your summer of cycling. The Toronto–Niagara Bike Train will be returning this year with an expanded schedule, more travel options, and some getaway package deals. Building on last summer’s successful pilot program which saw dozens of cyclists and their bikes riding the train between Toronto and Niagara Falls on each of four weekends, the 2008 edition of the Bike Train spans eight weekends from late June through the end of September. The September trips should be popular thanks to events like the Niagara Wine Festival.
A big addition to the service this year is a much wider variety of departure and return days: some weekends have Friday or even Thursday departures, with return trips as late as Monday or Wednesday. As a result, it’s going to be a lot easier to plan a few days for tootling around some of Niagara’s bike-accessible attractions or cycling routes—or ducking down into the U.S.—rather than limiting yourself to a single night’s stay. The extended service also makes the trip to Toronto more attractive for visitors from Niagara or Western New York.
Based on feedback from last year’s riders, the Bike Train is establishing a Welcome Cyclists program that will train management and staff at hotels and B&Bs in making their businesses more cycle-friendly, and help ensure that establishments are able to make proper accommodations for cycle tourists.
Tickets—$59 return or $35 one-way—go on sale in mid-April. Also available at that time will be package deals that include train tickets, hotel, and attractions. More information about the Welcome Cyclists program, other promotions, and a contest will also be posted. See the Bike Train site for the full schedule and more information as it becomes available.
Photo by — brian — from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.