Cyclists Go Green to Muskoka on the Bike Train

TORONTO, Aug. 27 /CNW/ - The award-winning Bike Train Initiative arrived today in Muskoka. The Bike Train provides a green travel option for those wishing to explore Muskoka on two wheels. Passengers boarded Ontario Northland's Northlander train at Union Station in Toronto and enjoyed a comfortable ride while their bicycles were safely secured in a baggage car with bike racks.

Originally developed by Toronto cyclist Justin Lafontaine and launched 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. The Muskoka Bike Train pilot is a natural expansion of the Ontario North Bike Train Initiative, which first launched to North Bay in 2009.

Historic train stations, which are serviced by the Northlander, are conveniently located in downtown Gravenhurst and Huntsville and provide easy access to Muskoka country roads for visiting cyclists. Passengers were greeted at the Gravenhurst train station by local cyclists and representatives of partner organizations who hailed the arrival of the inaugural Muskoka Bike Train. Visiting cyclists will be treated to group rides led by local volunteer cyclists, highlighting the region's attractions and scenic roads.

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 new Bike Train pilot features two weekends to Muskoka in late summer, plus one weekend to South River this fall:

Gravenhurst and Bracebridge Bike Train Pilot
August 27 - 29, 2010
Tickets: $95 return per passenger, plus tax.

Huntsville Bike Train Pilot
September 17 - 19, 2010
Tickets: $107 return per passenger, plus tax.

South River Bike Train Pilot
September 24 - 26, 2010
Tickets: $127 return per passenger, plus tax.

Media tours, photo ops and interviews can be arranged.

QUOTES

"Bicycling is one of the best ways to explore the beauty and history of the area around us.  I am very excited to have this opportunity to welcome Bike Train to Parry Sound - Muskoka," said MPP Miller.  "If you love to cycle and want to do your part to reduce energy consumption, a Bike Train holiday is the way to go.  Congratulations to everyone involved with Bike Train.  Your dedication to advancing sustainable systems of transportation is encouraging."

"We're excited to launch Bike Train service to Muskoka." said Michael Lawley, Executive Director of Muskoka Tourism. "Encouraging more people to take the train and travel in environmentally friendly ways helps to promote an active lifestyle that is a good fit with the Muskoka brand. Thanks to Bike Train, the cycling culture in Muskoka is growing."  

"Our expanded partnership with the Bike Train is allowing us to reach out to new customers and to introduce new tourism opportunities to our passengers and communities," commented Cheryl Sutton, Vice President of Passenger Services for Ontario Northland.

"The Bike Train is a unique way to see Muskoka and lessen your carbon footprint at the same time," said Peter Lipscombe, Project Manager for the Muskoka Bike Train Initiative. "Passengers who explore Muskoka on two wheels will see a different side to the region. There's no better way to experience the sparkling lakes, picturesque vistas and historic towns than from the seat of a bicycle."

QUICK FACTS

  • The Bike Train won two Ontario Tourism Awards in 2008: - Best Tourism Marketing Partnership and Excellence Award for Tourism Innovation
  • Over 2,000 passengers have travelled on the Bike Train since 2007
  • Toronto is home to more than 1 million cyclists according to the City of Toronto
  • Other Bike Train destinations include Niagara, Windsor/Essex, North Bay and Ontario East
  • Ontario Northland's Northlander passenger train travels daily, except Saturdays, between Toronto and Cochrane, Ontario, along the highway 11 corridor.

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 45 organizations and businesses.  For more information visit href="http://www.biketrain.ca/">www.biketrain.ca

SOURCE Transportation Options

For further information: For further information:

Peter Lipscombe
Bike Train Initiative
Office: 416 338 0499
Cell: 416 629 6296
Email: plipsco@toronto.ca

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