New Great Lakes Waterfront Trail Website

From the June edition of the
Ontario By Bike newsletter:

The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail and signature cycling route in Ontario continues to grow and is now over 2,100km long. Chances are you are already familiar with and have ridden parts of this signed route that touches 140 communities and skirts 3 Great Lakes.

To better help you navigate the trail, a new website has recently been launched with a number of useful features that can help you plan a day trip, overnight tour or end-to-end adventure.

  • Highly detailed and free to download maps
  • Interactive online trail map
  • Suggested ride itineraries
  • Community information

Make use of these features and start planning your ride today on the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail. www.WaterfrontTrail.org

Updated FAB Trails Guides

The good folks at the Frontenac Arch Biosphere have been working on redesigning their trail descriptions to make them more convenient and easier to use.

Are you looking for a hiking, cycling or paddling adventure for the long weekend? Something short and sweet or maybe something more ambitious … there is something for every ability.

Visit the FAB Trails page and start exploring.

(Please note: Not all the trail descriptions have been updated…yet! New, downloadable trail guides can be found for trails with a * before the name.)

Great Lakes Waterfront Trail Keeps Growing

The Lake Huron North Channel extension of the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail network is ready for you to explore!

Stretching 380 km from Sudbury to Sault Ste. Marie, the trail travels along quiet back roads and paths as it traverses some of the most spectacular landscapes in Ontario, serving up rocky shorelines, picturesque Mennonite and Amish farmsteads, rushing waterfalls, gently flowing rivers, sandy beaches, and thick forests. Twenty-six communities and First Nations dot its length, offering opportunities to stop, rest, and explore. Stay the night in a lakeside cottage, partake in some locally caught smoked fish, or enjoy a refreshing end-of-the-day local brew.

Read more here.

Third Annual Thousand Islands Parkway Challenge – June 2, 2018

“The Townships of Leeds and the Thousand Islands, Front of Yonge and the Town of Gananoque are partnering to host the third annual 1000 Islands Parkway Challenge.
Participants can run, walk, wheel or cycle from Brown’s Bay, Mallorytown Landing or Fox Run to the Rockport Recreation Hall where they can then enjoy refreshments and watch the prize presentation.”

This is a family-fun event for all ages, all abilities.
Read more here.

Come Hike With Mike – June 16

Click to enlarge

In Brockville, our Brock Trail provides opportunities for a leisurely walk or roll in a green space, away from the noise and smell of the roads. Community trails like the Brock Trail also offer the opportunity to connect with friends and neighbours, and meet new friends. “Hike with Mike” is an opportunity created to encourage just that, on June 16 at 9 AM, starting at the trailhead beside Westminster Public School. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the Trail to downtown, where you can tour the Tunnel or visit the Farmers Market for a well-earned snack. For details, on the attached poster.

Also in planning, are some leisurely, family-friendly “slow rides” along the trail. On your bike, you will be able to meet up with the group at various times and places along the Trail, starting at Laurier Blvd and ending downtown at the Farmers Market, once again for that well-earned snack. Stay tuned for more info.

Ontario Active School Travel – April Newsletter

The latest newsletter from Green Communities Canada on Active School Travel highlights funding for community projects, an updated website, and updates on bike to school week, a seminar on air pollution hazards around drop-off zones, and more. Check out the newsletter here, where you can also subscribe for updates.

Carpe Hibernum – Enjoying Canadian Winter

Looking for a way to enjoy the crisp blue skies and winter delights with friends and family in the great Canadian outdoors?

Then check out the Triangle Ski Club at their open house on Sunday December 10th. The Club offers a warm clubhouse and well-maintained trails from beginner to challenging for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and winter fatbiking.

For directions and details, see the website here.

The Health And Social Benefits Of Parks And Trails

The municipal leaders in this video understand the health and social benefits of parks and trails, as well as their direct contribution to economic development – attracting and retaining businesses, talent and families.

Do your councilors understand? Ask them!

See video here. 

How To Bike To School With Your Kids

Photo from hubpages.com

One of the best ways to help your kids be healthier is to be active with them. And one of the easiest ways for anyone to get more active is to weave activity into everyday activities like, say, biking to school. It’s well established that kids who walk, run, ride, or roll to school arrive more refreshed and ready to learn, and that translates to improved performance. It’s also well-established that kids of parents who engage with them in activities are more likely to be active on their own and develop a more active lifestyle. With all that in mind, if you’re interested in learning how to gear up for that school journey with your kids by bike this article provides some great tips. Read more here.

Maps For An Active Brockville

Heading out in Brockville and looking for a heritage walking tour, bike parking locations, park facilities or other features of our fine town? Well, the City’s growing collection of online maps may be just the thing you need.

Check out www.Brockville.com/maps for the full collection, in which you find useful gems like:

  • Outdoor Brockville – a photo and map tour that shows all of the spectacular green spaces accessible to everyone.
  • Heritage Tour – showing the locations and content of the over 50 heritage plaques around town.
  • City Explore – look for streets, addresses, and points of interest, with some aerial views.
  • Cycle Brockville – provides a map of the Brock Trail as well as all the bike parking locations in the downtown/waterfront area.
  • Downtown Brockville – a directory and locator map for the downtown area.

And lots more, so go and explore!

 

Bike Parking At Rib Fest And The Rails To Trails Festival

Bike parking area being set up for the Rails To Trails Festival.

Heading to Brockville’s waterfront this weekend? How about using your bike? Here’s how to do that. Whether you’re starting from in town or driving in with bikes and parking away from the downtown area, follow the Brock Trail (map here) right to the heart of the events. The Brock Trail provides an off-road family-friendly route.

After crossing the Tom Dailey Bridge behind the Mill Restaurant, in addition to all the bike racks and rings throughout the downtown area, you’ll find some large bike racks at the main Water Street entrance to Rib Fest, to which you can lock your bike.

Alternately, continue along Water Street to the Water Street parking lot where you’ll find bicycle parking under the big tent in the picture above. The tent will be staffed by volunteers from 8 to 8 on Saturday, and from 10 to 5 on Sunday, providing a supervised parking area.

Carrying Tykes On Bikes

Alan and tyke on “curly bike”

“Average Joe Cyclist” published an article on his blog that is probably the best I’ve seen when it comes to summarizing how best to transport tykes on bikes. “This post shows how to choose between front-mounted bike seats for kids; rear-mounted bike seats for kids; bike trailers for kids; tag-along bikes for kids; tow bars for kids’ bikes; longtail cargo bikes for transporting kids; bucket-style cargo bikes; and electric bucket-style cargo bikes.” If you ever had any questions about the best approach for your particular situation, check out the article here.

Revitalizing Toronto’s Streets

In recent years cyclists and pedestrians have been clamouring for more space for themselves on Toronto’s streets. (RANDY RISLING / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO)

“Cities are their streets. Great cities are those with great streets. Other things matter, of course — parks, buildings, transit — but it’s streets that bring a city to life, that make it a place people choose to live, visit, work, play . . .” Click through here to see a wonderful piece on how Toronto’s streets are coming alive as they’re reclaimed to put people first.

CAPE Supports National Cycling Strategy

CAPE, the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, has provided an extensive article on their website outlining their endorsement of a national cycling strategy for the diverse and far-reaching benefits that a more bicycle friendly Canada would provide for all. Read more here.

“A National Cycling Strategy is the holy grail of public health; the public policy the serves many public health goals with one investment. It is an investment that will pay for itself many times over in health care savings alone.”

Cycling Without Age – Smiles For Seniors

“Cycling Without Age” is an international program with 11 chapters in Canada, including Toronto, Ottawa and Winchester. The goal is to provide seniors or others with limited mobility the chance for casual outings at a leisurely pace. Launched in Copenhagen in 2012, there are now 8,000 volunteers worldwide helping others realize the simple pleasure of a leisurely outing. The bikes are a hybrid of a rickshaw and an e-bike. Imagine these in Brockville helping the mobility-challenged enjoy the Brock Trail and waterfront parks.

For the Cycling Without Age Facebook page, see here.
For an article on the Winnipeg launch, see here.
For the North American website, see here.
For the global website, see here.
For a TEDx Talk on the program, from 2014, see here.

Brockville Moves Closer To North-End Cycling Network

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The Brockville cycling advisory committee, at its regular meeting in City Hall on Thursday May 10th at 5 p.m., will review the outcome of discussions for a holistic view of the cycling network that best fits Brockville’s neighbourhoods north of the 401. For background, please see the Brockville FAQs postings, including the report (pdf) unanimously approved by City Council in December 2015, and a revised work plan for the northern part of the cycling network later adopted by the committee.

As a gentle reminder, the cycling advisory committee is a formal Committee of Council that was established by unanimous vote of Council late in 2010. The committee’s terms of reference mandate that it advise Council and staff on ways to fulfill the commitments Council has made to residents through the Official Plan and other programs.

A brief history and context as well as a full discussion of the north-end cycling network is provided in the PDF document below, which is part of the agenda package for next week’s meeting. Anyone wishing to help support the committee in moving this forward is invited to attend the meeting, or contact them [this author will pass along messages].

BCAC CycleNet Discussion Paper, May 2017

Designing For Everyday Cycling

 

Herkimer bike lane
Barry Gray,The Hamilton Spectator

It’s most evident at public meetings, where typically only the polarized show up. On one end of the spectrum are the few who are “confident cyclists”, content to tackle any street anytime. While no more than 1% of even a bike friendly community, their voices are generally ignored as those of a fringe element.

On the other end of the spectrum, public meetings are often overwhelmed with those opposed who come with strident arguments and misinformation showing their street is better left untouched, as unsafe as they might claim it is. Intimidation tactics are often used to push people to sign petitions. Municipal councillors are deluged with phone calls and email that’s downright nasty in tone and content. Sometimes, outright deceit is used, for example, meeting with the fire chief and learning that bike lanes pose no problem for emergency response, and then running ads and soliciting petition signatures based on the assertion that bike lanes will slow emergency response and cost lives.

The risk of course is that municipal councils be swayed by these vocal minorities, avoiding conflict, under-serving the majority of residents, and leaving the community languishing in the rearguard of economic progress.

Categorization of cyclists

In between those poles, however, lie the majority of the population who are “interested, but concerned”. Research repeatedly shows that this group will rarely attend a public meeting, wants to have the choice to ride a bike more for everyday getting around, or for recreation, and will shy away from having to mix with motorized traffic.

Being informed by this evidence from many municipal studies, the Brockville cycling advisory committee adopted as one of its design principle:

Everyday Cycling – The segment of the population targeted by the network is first and foremost the “everyday” cyclist – those people who would like to bike recreationally to start, perhaps with friends and family, and then venture to use their bike for everyday trips around town for appointments, work, school, shopping and visiting.  Research shows this group is eager yet cautious – reluctant to mix with motorized traffic – and holds the greatest latent demand.  Safety for all ages, all abilities is considered. The network will also serve, but is not specifically designed for, those comfortable with and skilled at mixing with traffic on Brockville’s busier roads.

Following the research and case studies, is an article posted on Planetizen by public engagement strategist Dave Biggs of MetroQuest, “The Wisdom of Engaging Nervous Cyclists“.  He outlines the extensive outreach that Toronto did to engage people in that largely silent and less heard middle group. The results were outstanding and unequivocal, leading to design and plans much further reaching than might otherwise have happened.

“It was clear to the City of Toronto that engaging less confident cyclists that make up 60% of the population, yet seldom come to community meetings, might be the key to dramatic mode shifts in the city.”

And summarizing the results, “It’s useful to note that without careful consideration to the voices of the less confident cyclists, the results of the community engagement would have pointed to infrastructure suited to the 1% of the population who are already confident cyclists since they are highly engaged. Naturally it’s important to meet the needs of confident cyclists. By also accommodating those on the fence, planners can open up a massive opportunity for change.”

And an analogy worth keeping in mind, “A city without separated bike lanes and off-street cycling paths may be like a swimming pool with no shallow end. It’s fine for confident swimmers but intimidating for novices.”