Escaping Toronto with a bike in tow?
May 11, 2008 11:06 AM   Subscribe

How to escape the Greater Toronto Area for multiday bicycle tours? Difficulty: no car.

My girlfriend and I just bought a tandem touring bike, and we're both keen to get out to the Ontario countryside for some summer tours. The catch is we have no car.

I know that the GO Train is one option for downtown cyclists trying to escape, but from what I can tell only the Lakeshore line runs trains that fall outside their rush-hour bicycle ban. The Lakeshore area is pretty nice, but I'd rather get to the Barrie area to access Tobermory, Parry Sound, or Algonquin.

Any tricks for escaping the GTA on a low carbon footprint would be much appreciated.
posted by anthill to Travel & Transportation around Toronto, ON (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If you are going on a multi-day bike tour, why not just start biking in Toronto? Toronto to Barrie should only be four or five hours of biking. I'm sure that Toronto has a bike map that you can use to plan your exit from the city to avoid high-traffic roads. It won't take you too long to reach the countryside and it will be far more pleasant to just hop on the bike and go rather than messing around with buses, etc.
posted by ssg at 11:29 AM on May 11, 2008

It won't take you too long to reach the countryside

Toronto has an enormous Urban Sprawl. It'll take a long time until you reach the countryside.

Investing in a bike rack and renting a car seems to be your best option, I'm afraid. Or ask car-owning friends to drop you off somewhere, and pick you up later.

You could also sign up for AutoShare or ZipCar.
posted by maremare at 1:13 PM on May 11, 2008

maremare, the OP wants to go to Barrie and ssg gave an estimated time for cycling to Barrie. Do you disagree with this estimate?
posted by winston at 2:34 PM on May 11, 2008

No, the estimate might be fine, especially on OP's super bike, but from those 4 to 5 hours at least one hour (and probably more if you count in traffic lights) will NOT be in the countryside. That's all.

And probably also a case of "everybody hates Toronto", of course :-)
posted by maremare at 2:58 PM on May 11, 2008

If you ride out to the West and then take the bike path North along the Humber Valley it's probably not so bad a ride.
posted by maremare at 3:12 PM on May 11, 2008

You could take Greyhound from the Toronto Coach Terminal to Barrie (usually about $20/person), and have your bikes boxed and taken along with you. There is more information on this page.
posted by thisjax at 4:30 PM on May 11, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the ideas, everyone. A few options won't work for me: renting a car only to leave it parked for five days is a bit of a financial drag , and pestering friends for rides isn't something I'd do.

However, I've found a vetted route from Toronto to Barrie here, which looks OK (albeit boring). Also found that VIA rail takes bikes, but only stops at Wasega / Parry Sound on their northbound leg.
posted by anthill at 7:29 PM on May 11, 2008

Best answer: I know it's in the other direction, but there's always the Niagara Bike Train.
posted by scruss at 7:42 PM on May 11, 2008

Response by poster: After searching high and low, I'm starting to feel like just going to Quebec. :)
posted by anthill at 9:04 PM on May 11, 2008

Response by poster: I will look into buying a bike train ticket though - got to put the money where the mouth is.
posted by anthill at 9:05 PM on May 11, 2008

You could check with the Toronto Bicycling Network or one of the other outdoors groups like the OCEY. They may not offer the type of trip you're looking for, but they may have some other suggestions.
posted by Chuckles McLaughy du Haha, the depressed clown at 7:01 AM on May 12, 2008

Response by poster: Ontario Northland runs a train to North Bay that would be perfect - but they don't take bikes.

The best we could do: Oshawa GO station to Parry Sound, 225km.
posted by anthill at 11:12 AM on August 5, 2008

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