Bike Touring in Ontario
I just had the pleasure of camping with and hosting a couple of guys from Duluth Minesota – Zach Chase and Kris McNeil.
These guys are doing a really cool project – bike touring around the great lakes. The goal is to raise awareness and produce a documentary about the trip.
I heard about them through the local cycling club, and when they said they were looking for people to ride with them or even host them, I was immediately interested.
Fast forward to this past weekend, and I got to meet up with them and camp for the night at the Pinery, and then the following day hosted them back at my house in Sarnia.
I’ve hosted lots of cyclists, but going to camp with them in the Pinery was something new. Being someone who’s really into touring, I guess it kind of sunk in just how inefficient Ontario Parks are at providing cheap accommodations for touring cyclists on a budget. Once it was all said and done, the campsite, (which wasn’t anything special) was $47. This can kill a bike tour budget, and it certainly had Kris and Zach feeling the pinch. This price is fairly standard with Ontario parks, and I’ve camped here for years, but I guess I’ve never really though about it as I’ve never bike toured through there.
On the other side of things, Zach and Kris were telling me about there tour along the west coast. A lot of California state parks have bike and hike sites which are $5 or $6. I’ve read a lot about the different parks in other states, all which vary in costs, but certainly don;t come close to the hefty fee here in ontario.
If bike touring is going to grow in the province, the costs have to come down. I get it if you need to bring a car and have a family in tow, but a couple of guys on a bike? Sure they are taking up a site, but it think it would be pretty easy to maybe have a handful of designated hike/bike tour sites – even like 5 would probably be sufficient. And then offer them at a low rate. Thoughts?
Bike touring is such an easy fun thing to do for basically anyone that has a bike and a back-pack, so it would be nice to see Ontario Tourism meet us halfway.
Photo courtesy of Barbara Simpson / The Sarnia Observer