December 2013
Welcome Cyclists Network  
Welcome Cyclists Network UPDATE
A Year in Review - With More Great Things To Come!

As the year rapidly draws to a close, we wanted to make sure we reached out to give you an overview of all the exciting program developments, partner and business participation, and most importantly, our outreach efforts to bring cycle tourists to your front door.

 

We've been busy!

  • Our website traffic is up significantly with over 100,000 visitors and 195,000 page views in 2013. This is a 100% increase year-on-year and we're not done yet!
  • Over the past year, 180 new participants have registered as bicycle friendly businesses and locations.
  • The Welcome Cyclists Network Program has expanded to four new regions/counties: Toronto; Simcoe; Renfrew; Essex.  
  • Our consumer e-newsletter has reached over 4,100 cyclists per issue and is distributed seven times a year.
  • We have an active Facebook account and leverage this engaged community to drive traffic to our registered businesses.
  • We have distributed 20,000 promotional rack cards to cyclists, businesses and information centres across the province.
  • Event attendance at major consumer shows and cycling events continues to give us the opportunity to reach and engage with thousands of cyclists.

In 2014, we are pleased to announced that we will be publishing a bilingual brochure and guide, promoting cycling experiences in Ontario. To complement this promotion and offer additional services to a growing market, we will be releasing targeted French content on our website early in the New Year.

 

Look out for our industry email in January, as we have some more exciting and important announcements to share with you! 

Route Development Continues Across Ontario

Group Ride As you may have read in our summer e-newsletter, or perhaps you heard through the cycling grapevine, new cycling routes are being developed across the province by many municipalities, regions, and cross-regionally. Stay in touch with your local or regional tourism organization to learn more about new routes in your immediate area.

 

Cross-Regional Cycling Route Update

 

Georgian Bay - A feasibility study is currently underway to assess a route (approximately 850km long), which would circumnavigate the entire Georgian Bay area. Our organization (Transportation Options), in partnership with RMCG, are the consulting groups working on this study and are pleased to share that the preliminary support for potential partners along the proposed route is extremely positive.

 

Lake Huron - An initial feasibility study on a bicycle route from Sault Ste Marie to Sudbury has already been completed. The next steps towards realizing this route are now underway.

 

Lake Erie Waterfront Trail - This fully signed and mapped route was officially opened this summer and was met with a great reception. The route extends from Fort Erie to Windsor and there are already plans to extend the route onward.

 

Greenbelt Route - Scheduled to open in 2015, the 450km route will take cyclists from Niagara to Cobourg, up and over the GTHA and through some of the most stunning Greenbelt areas. As part of the development phase, the Welcome Cyclists Network will be hosting 6 Greenbelt area workshops in the New Year to help tourism businesses and stakeholders in those areas get ready for the launch.

Featured Accommodation - University Place, Windsor

University Place is a certified bicycle friendly accommodation located in downtown Windsor. Open to visitors year round, this operation offers a range of affordable, yet well appointed rooms and lounge areas that are perfect for small or large groups of cyclists. The attractively built and spacious 'Bike House' offers secure bike parking for guests and is a great draw for visitors arriving by bike. Located just a block away from the new Lake Erie Waterfront Trail, UPlace is sure to see its fair share of cyclists visiting Windsor Essex County in the coming years.

 

For more information visit their business listing on www.welcomecyclists.ca/uplace

 

Featured Bike Business - Ride On Bikes

 

Opened since 2012, Ride On Bikes, well located in the town of Meaford, is just a half block from both Georgian Bay and the popular Georgian Trail, a local rail trail perfect for cyclists of all abilities and a great off road connector between Meaford and Collingwood. Not stopping at bike sales and service, Ride On Bikes has a fleet of bikes available to rent and also provides guided tours throughout the nearby countryside of Grey County.

   

Owner Paul Bishop was recently awarded the top prize in Meaford's Dragon's Den (a local spin-off from the national TV show) to support his plans to increase the visibility of his business and expand his fleet of rental bikes. Making use of the Welcome Cyclist logo, available to all participating businesses, Ride On Bike has included it on the back of business cards, on their website and other online promotional material. Ride On Bikes reports that since joining the Welcome Cyclists Network, their site has benefitted from improved search engine optimization, in part due to the individual business web listing on the Welcome Cyclists website.

 

For more information visit their business listing on www.welcomecyclists.ca/rideonbikes

 

If you don't have the Welcome Cyclists digital logo, you can download it for free here. However, you first must "Login" with your account details.

And the Winner is....

Each year, we are invited to present a Bicycle Friendly Business Award at the Toronto Bike Awards hosted by Cycle Toronto and the City of Toronto. In 2013, we are pleased to announce that the Welcome Cyclists' Best Toronto-Based Cycle Tourism Partner Award was given to Toronto Bicycle Tours.  

  

Welcoming visitors from around the world to the big city and showing them the highlights by bike is a passion not just a job for owner Terrance Eta and his staff!

 

 

Explore Toronto Bicycle Tours' website here

 

 

Louisa Mursell (left), Transportation Options' Projects Director with award winner Terrance Eta (right), owner of Toronto Bicycle Tours  

Congratulations! Durham Cycle Tours Map Wins Big!

Congratulations are in order for those map makers at Durham Region and Durham Tourism, who were awarded a top marketing award from the Economic Development Council of Canada for their Durham Cycle Tours map, first published in 2013. New road routes were developed and mapped in an attractive layout. Over 75 Welcome Cyclists' businesses were included in the publication. A reprint may be in order, as these new maps seemed to fly off the shelf in 2013.

 

Click HERE to preview the map in PDF format.

Bike Rack and Bike Parking Options

In our travels, hosting workshops and working on a number of cycle tourism projects around the province, we often get questions about various bike parking options and solutions. 

 

Questions come from small to large business operators, cycling associations, and municipalities and our first answer always seems to be - There is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to bike racks. There are, however, a number of important factors to consider including: placement location, duration of parking, frequency of use, quality of system, maintenance, and budget. 

 

To help you wade through the options we have recently updated our Bike Rack and Bike Parking Options info and supply sheet, which can be downloaded at:  www.welcomecyclists.ca/bikeparking   

In This Issue
A Year in Review!
Route Development Across Ontario
Featured Accommodation
Featured Bike Business
Best Cycle Tourism Partner Award
Congratulations Durham Tourism!
Bike Parking Options
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2014 Event Listings Online Now!

The Cycling Events page is one of the most popular pages on www.welcomecyclists.ca and we're excited to announce that the 2014 Cycle Events' Page is now online!

 

Click here to get a sneak peak at the amazing events coming up in 2014 across the province

 

If a cycling event or tour is coming through your community and is not already included on our 2014 page, let us know. We'd be happy to add it!

 

Look out in 2014!

Welcome Cyclists Network The Welcome Cyclists Network and Direction Ontario have partnered again for 2014 to create an Ontario wide cycling guide and promotional brochure for publication this coming February.

 

To be distributed to over 35,000 cycle tourists in both French and English, the guide titled - "Cycling in Ontario" or "Le v´┐Żlo en Ontario" in French, will help share the truly remarkable cycle experiences available throughout the province.

 

 Keep your eyes out for this one!

View last years' guide HERE

New Welcome Cyclists Workshops in 2014

As part of the development to support the Greenbelt Route, Welcome Cyclists Network workshops will be hosted in the following regions in February 2014.

  • Hamilton/Niagara
  • Halton
  • Peel
  • York
  • Durham
  • Northhumberland

Exact dates and locations will be listed on-line and sent our via email. Feel free to contact us directly for more information.

 

 

Not Yet a Participating Location? 

It's easy to register on-line to become a Welcome Cyclists participating location. 

 

If your business meets the criteria to become certified as bicycle friendly, just:

  • Go to our Join the Network page
  • Review the certification criteria and program information
  • Create an account and follow the instruction to add information about your business

Registration will be reviewed and your listing added within 48 business hours. Look forward to receiving a welcome package with decal in the mail.

Already a Participant?

Add to your basic listing with a description and logo or photo. 

  • Go to the website's Join the Network page
  • If you don't already have an on-line account, create one and follow the instructions for "How to Claim an Existing Listing"
  • Log in to your on-line account, navigate to your listing, and edit
Consumer E-Newsletter  

This is our industry e-newsletter that we issue several times a year to stay in touch with our Network participants, workshop attendees and tourism partners.

 

If you are interested in receiving our consumer e-newsletter, sent to 4,100+ subscribers monthly for 7 months of the year, sign up HERE.

Missed Industry E-Newsletters?

To catch up on any information you may have missed, check out previous issues. Sent biannually, this is our sixth issue. 

Industry E-Newsletter archives

With Thanks to Our 2013 Sponsors & Funding Partners

VIA Rail

 

  Pedal Magazine 

 

Advermap
 

 

Norco Bicycles

City of Toronto

  

For a complete list of partners, visit:

With the 2013 cycling season rolling to an end, we need to take time to reflect on how far we've come, but can't take our eyes off the preparation needed for 2014! If you have stories to share from last year or news about cycle tourism opportunities in the new year, let us know! We hope to see everybody on the road in 2014 and please stop by the Ontario Cycle Tourism Information Centre at an event in the new year.

 

Please email us with your comments or suggestions at any time. We value your input.

 

We wish you all the best in the approaching holiday season.
 

Sincerely,
Louisa Mursell & Michael McCreesh & Joanne Hurley
  
Phone us at 416-827-2774 or 1-866-701-2774
 
Email: