The Bike Train expands green travel options across Ontario

TORONTO, April 22 /CNW/ - Transportation Options, a non-profit based in Toronto, celebrated the fourth season of the Bike Train today with a Cycle Tourism Travel Expo at Union Station showcasing partner destinations and green travel in Ontario.

The Bike Train is an award-winning initiative that introduces bike racks onboard select passenger trains to destinations across Ontario, making cycling holidays easy and accessible. First launched as the Greenbelt Express between Toronto and Niagara in 2007, the service is now being offered on select passenger rail departures to Windsor/Essex & Point Pelee, North Bay and Eastern Ontario this summer.

The Ontario Minister for Tourism and Culture, the Hon. Michael Chan, Chair of the Ontario Trillium Foundation's Board of Directors, Helen Burstyn, and the President of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation, Burkhard Mausberg, were on hand at the Travel Expo in celebration of Earth Day.

"Cycle tourism provides excellent tourism experiences while remaining environmentally sustainable," said Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism and Culture. "The Bike Train generates more interest in cycle tourism and supports local economies along the way."

We're so pleased with the service the Greenbelt Express offers - a way for urban dwellers to experience the beauty and bounty of Niagara on two wheels instead of four", said Burkhard Mausberg, President of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. "Congratulations to Bike Train for its vision, its leadership and its commitment to ecotourism."

"With the new 2010 routes, the Bike Train has truly become an Ontario wide initiative," said Bike Train founder and Project Director Justin Lafontaine. "Ontario has so many cycling destinations within easy reach, it's easy to take a unique and eco-friendly cycling vacation this summer."

The featured Bike Train destinations and self-guided itineraries provide environmentally-friendly travel options for people of all ages and abilities. Most departures are from Toronto Union Station.

Windsor/Essex & Point Pelee

    
    -  2 weekends -- June 17-20 and July 29-August 2
    -  Adults $145 return, in partnership with VIA Rail
    -  Optional activities include group rides, winery tours, visits to Point
       Pelee National Park
    

North Bay

    
    -  3 weekends -- July 16-18, August 13-16, September 24-26
    -  Adults $159 return, in partnership with Ontario Northland Rail
    -  Optional activities include group rides, Dreamcatcher Express,
       Mountain Bike Race
    

Toronto-Niagara Greenbelt Express

    
    -  Friday evening and weekend service from May 21 to September 26, 2010
    -  Now served by GO Transit, Toronto-Niagara Falls one-way adult fare:
       $19.15
    -  Extra space for bicycles on weekends with 64 spaces for bicycles per
       train
    -  Stops at Exhibition, Port Credit, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines
       and Niagara Falls
    

Eastern Ontario

    
    -  Special promotional weekends to be announced for the summer.
    

Visit www.biketrain.ca for schedules, tickets and updates. Media tours, photo ops and interviews can be arranged. Photos and cycle tourism stats are also available upon request.

QUICK FACTS

    
    -  Travel by train produces half the emissions of travel by personal
       vehicle
    -  Over 2,000 passengers have travelled on the Bike Train since 2007
    -  A majority of Toronto's population are now cyclists -- 54% up from 48%
       in 1999
    -  Bike Train has won 2 Ontario Tourism Awards and 2 Toronto Bicycle
       Friendly Awards
    -  The 42km Chrysler Greenway Trail connects Windsor to Leamington,
       passing through rural agricultural landscapes, wineries and farms
    -  North Bay features several recreational trails and on road routes that
       pass by lakes, bogs, wilderness and communities
    -  Ontario's Greenbelt has host of cycling on and off road cycling
       routes, and it's bigger than PEI
    -  900km Waterfront Trail runs from Niagara-on-the-Lake to the Quebec
       border
    

ABOUT THE BIKE TRAIN INITIATIVE

The Bike Train Initiative is a project of Transportation Options, a non-profit organization dedicated to stimulating sustainable systems of transportation, and is supported by more than 45 organizations across Ontario. www.biketrain.ca

Our Funding Partners:

The Ontario Trillium Foundation (an agency of the Government of Ontario) www.trilliumfoundation.org

Government of Ontario www.ontario.ca

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation www.greenbelt.ca

SOURCE Transportation Options

For further information: For further information: Justin Lafontaine, Project Director, Office: (416) 392-1556, Cell: (416) 712-8819, Email: jlafont@toronto.ca

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