Posts Tagged ‘bike tours’

Celebrate Cycling in Ontario and tour Boblo Island

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Dust off your passport. Next weekend, Transportation Options has partnered with the Erie Wine Festival to present a celebration of cycling in Windsor/Essex, Ontario. The event is being held at Fort Malden in nearby Amherstberg.

Besides wine tasting and live music, there will be:

  • valet bike parking
  • free guided bike tours
  • bike rentals
  • free basic tune-ups
  • cycle tourism & travel expo

There are also free guided bike tours planned for Saturday and Sunday. One is a tour of Amherstberg which visits historic sites while sampling local cuisine.

The second is of Boblo Island — very cool! *** THIS TOUR HAS BEEN CANCELLED DUE TO A FAMILY EMERGENCY! ***

Join Canada South Eco Tours on a biking exploration of Boblo Island in Amherstberg, Ontario. This 15 – 20km adventure tourism bike tour will highlight the historic landmarks on and around Boblo Island. This is a great local expedition for the family, whether you are returning to the island after experiencing it as a kid, or if you are exploring for the first time. This free tour is presented in partership with Transportation Options, is approximately 2 hours in length, and includes ferry transportation to and from Boblo Island. The tour will return to The Shores of Erie International Wine Festival in closing. We look forward to touring this untapped island with you. Your tour guide is Chris Carvallo.

For more information, visit the Celebrate Cycling in Ontario web site.


New Underground Railroad Bicycle Route map released

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Adventure Cycling has just announced a new addition to their Underground Railroad Bicycle Route (UGRR). Currently the route begins in Mobile, Alambama and heads north to Oberlin, Ohio before turning east and crossing into Canada at Buffalo.

MTGA worked with Adventure Cycling and others folks — including descendants of those who used the Underground Railroad — to add a 281.4-mile route from Oberlin, Ohio to Detroit, Marine City and Sombra, Ontario.

The map for this route is now available. The cost is $11.75 for Adventure Cycling members and $14.75 for non-members.

This alternate, beginning in Oberlin, Ohio, takes cyclists around the western side of Lake Erie through historically rich Michigan. There are many sites to visit in the towns that the route goes through. In Michigan the route becomes much more urban. Because there is no bicycle-friendly connection between Detroit and Windsor the route crosses into Canada north of these cities, which were both important sites to freedom seekers.

The route does offer a balance between connecting the many historic UGRR sites while also providing a reasonable bicycle route. In other words, it doesn’t visit all the historic sites nor is it the most direct.

Within the city of Detroit, the route takes advantage of the new bike lanes installed on West Vernor and Michigan Avenue. It passes many historic UGRR sites, including the Finney Barn, Second Baptist Church, and Elmwood Cemetery.

The route also passes near the Hostel Detroit, which is expected to be a popular lodging option for cycling tourists.

MTGA continues to push for passenger ferry service to Windsor, Ontario that will accommodate cyclists. Currently cyclists need a motor vehicle to get to Windsor via the Tunnel or Ambassador Bridge. The route does provide an option for continuing north to Marine City where existing ferry service can transport cyclists to Canada.

A companion map showing the route through Ontario is under development now and is expected to be available by February 2012.

For those seeking a less ambitious bicycling tour, a 13-mile UGRR route within the city of Detroit has been developed. Brochures showing that route are also in the works.

And, the Wheelhouse Detroit offers UGRR tours throughout the summer as well though this year’s remaining tour is sold out. (Disclaimer: I lead those.)

Changing perceptions of Detroit one bike ride at a time

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

WDET had an interesting interview with Jeanette Pierce from her downtown tour company Inside Detroit. In it Pierce spoke about how challenging in getting people, but especially locals to “confront the perceptions they have about the city” — perceptions that are often shaped by the media rather than visiting the city.

I do feel that I have to work harder with people that are in the region because of that assumption that they know… that they know things… and because of watching the local news and reading the local newspaper… and yeah, I guess if that’s all you saw of Detroit was the crime and the violence and the government mishaps and stuff… it would seem pretty depressing… but that’s not the story of Detroit that we know… that I know as someone living here.

[By the way, Inside Detroit is now offering bike tours in addition to their walking, bus, and Segway tours.]

We believe that bicycle tours in the city of Detroit are perhaps the best way to change perceptions of the city. You’re not protected in an air conditioned glass and metal box, but you can still cover a fair amount of distance. Given the flatness of Detroit and the open roads, bicycling is downright easy. And with huge rides like the Tour-de-Troit and the numerous Wheelhouse Detroit bike tours, it’s seriously fun.

And another fun event changing perceptions is the Motor City Bike and Brew Tours which was recently covered by Detroit Public TV. The bike story begins just after a minute and is nearly 8 minutes long.

The Washington Post also recently wrote about their bike ride through Detroit and included quotes:

  • “The light traffic on downtown roads makes the Motor City surprisingly accommodating to visiting cyclists who don?t really know where they?re going.”
  • “Had I known about the show the city would put on, I would have gotten on a bike much sooner.”

Also changing perceptions of Detroit is Alex Gallegos’ Detroit Bike City video, which has been watched over 30,000 times in just 23 days. M-live had a nice interview with Alex as well.

Cycling and Underground Railroad tours this weekend

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
  1. There are two Wheelhouse bicycle tours this weekend in UK which are both fundraisers for MTGA.

The first is Saturday, July 9th at 1pm and its theme is the early cycling history.

Automotive history was made possible by its deep roots in the world of bicycles! Visit the home of Horatio “Good Roads” Earle, the site of both Wheelmen clubhouses, the Metzger bicycle shop, the Morgan & Wright tire company, the Bicycle Pavilion on Belle Isle and the home of Fords Quadricycle you can now buy with the help from this used quad bike finance program. Tour will be led by Todd Scott, the Greenways Coordinator for the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance. Community Partner: Trails and Greenways Alliance.

The second is on Sunday, July 10th at 1pm and will tour Underground Railroad historic sites.

It was an important station on the Underground Railroad, and the final American stop prior to freedom across the River in Canada for many escaped slaves. We will visit the Underground Railroad memorial sculpture on the River Walk, historic Second Baptist Church, and the Underground Railroad Living Museum at the First Congregational Church.


Adventure Cycling director to speak in Midtown

Sunday, March 20th, 2011

Photo by Adventure_Cycling Association/Dennis Coello

Jim Sayer, the executive director of Adventure Cycling will be speaking in Midtown this Wednesday, March 23rd at 7pm. This event is also supported by the Wheelhouse Detroit and the Michigan Trails and Greenways Alliance.

If you can’t make this, Jim is also speaking in Ann Arbor on Thursday and at the Michigan Bike Summit in Lansing on Saturday.

Here’s more information:

Join Adventure Cycling Association — North America’s largest cycling membership group — for a special presentation by Executive Director Jim Sayer on the joys of bicycle travel and cool projects happening at the national and state levels. He’ll touch on new bicycle routes and maps coming from Adventure Cycling (including the new Sierra Cascades route, a planned Bicycle Route 66, and a new Underground Railroad alternate route through Michigan), a new website with resources on “bike overnights”, plus a status report on development of the official U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS).

Join us on Wednesday, March 23, from 7-8:45 pm, at the International Institute of Metropolitan Detroit, Hall of Nations Room: 111 E. Kirby Detroit, MI 48202 (This building is on the northeast corner of the Detroit Institute of Arts.)

For more information on getting there to:

Please RSVP by  email or calling me, Sarah Raz, at 800-755-2453 x 210. We also encourage you to invite friends or family.

We are looking for a few volunteers to help with the event. Please contact me ( if you are willing and able to assist!

Thanks and hope to see you there.

Happy riding,

Sarah Raz
Adventure Cycling Association
800-755-2453 x 210