Cycle Tourism Conference 2019 Toronto Canada

Make plans to attend the Cycle Tourism Conference, a full-day conference to be held in downtown Toronto on March 1, 2019 hosted by Ontario By Bike / Transportation Options

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We are pleased to announce the following programming for the 2019 Cycle Tourism Conference

*Program subject to change should circumstances require

8:45am to 5:15pm

Chelsea Hotel, Downtown Toronto


For an abbreviated version of the Conference Program
button program at a glance

Conference delegates are encouraged to register, enjoy a continental breakfast with coffee and tea and network with other attendees.

Cycle Tourism “Made in Germany” – Germany´s Recipe for Success – Frank Hofmann, National Chairman of Tourism, German National Cyclists’ Association (ADFC)

Introduction and Moderator: Michael McCreesh, Ontario By Bike

  • Germany is a trailblazer for the development of cycle tourism. The 4.5 million annual cycle tourists make them the number one bicycle travel destination; leading to €9 Billion in economic impact and 31.5 million overnight stays. There are more than 250 long-distance cycle routes and the number is increasing all the time. Frank Hofmann, National Chairman of the German National Cyclists’ Association (ADFC), will explain how cycle tourism works in Germany and present on the ingredients needed to build up a successful cycle tourism destination. He will offer practical examples of German cycle destinations while having a look at convincing strategies of marketing and product development. Moreover, he will give an overview of the strategies and products of the German National Cyclists’ Association and explain how the ADFC is ensuring quality in cycle tourism with its seals of approval like the Bett+Bike scheme and the ADFC quality cycle routes.

Enjoy a morning break with fresh coffee and tea. We encourage delegates to visit the vendors and booths on site and take advantage of the opportunity to engage with other attendees.

Session #1: Building Cycle Tourism Through Cycling Events

Moderator: Jamie Stuckless, Share the Road Cycling Coalition

Tourism Elements of a Signature Cycling EventJohn Thorpe, Paris to Ancaster Bike Race

  • Join John as he demonstrates how incorporating tourism elements to events can increase visitation and revenues. Learn how Paris to Ancaster Bike Race has used the event itself, ancillary events, and marketing initiatives to increase the tourism component of the event, and in turn, increased participation and revenue.

Beyond the Bicycling: Connecting Guests and Communities – Matt Van Slyke & Doug Haney, Cycle Adirondacks

  • Created in 2015, CycleADK began as a weeklong road cycling tour designed to connect people with some of the most spectacular landscape and communities in North America. Learn how following Cycle Adirondacks’ mission, to grow and support bicycle tourism in New York’s Adirondack Park and the surrounding region has resulted is a world-class ecotourism company that continues to provide unique experiences and connections while helping to strengthen the economy of northern New York State.

Developing Bicycle Tourism with fabulous Bicycle Tour ExperiencesNathalie Lauzon, Vélo Québec Voyages

  • How do cycling events foster and develop the practice of cycling while contributing to the bike branding of a destination? Nathalie will answer these questions using the examples of two Vélo Québec flagship events: – The Go Bike Montréal Festival and its famous Tour de l’Île de Montréal, which are essential in positioning Montréal as the cycling capital of North America, each year attracting its share of visitors; The Grand Tour Desjardins, the ultimate cycling event that since its inception has developed and provided close to 50k travelers with unique cycling destinations and experiences throughout Quebec and beyond.

Session #2: Building Cycle Tourism Through Bike Tours

Moderator: Terrence Eta, Toronto Bicycle Tours

Essential Components of a Cycle Tour Experience: A Case Study of Prince Edward CountyRobbin McKinney, Randonee Tours & Great Explorations

  • Discover the essential elements necessary to ensure a successful cycle tour experience. With a mission to encourage people to ride bikes and to travel actively, Robbin will look at how the three different business units of his company, event management, guided cycling tours [Great Explorations] and self-guided cycling tours [Randonnee Tours], work together to identify and act on new opportunities. With clientele mainly from North America and seeking destinations that meet a set of specific criteria, learn how they’ve built successful experiences focusing on access to a destination, scenery and availability of information on cycling routes. This presentation will also explore how working with local stakeholders can help with itinerary and product development.

The Success of 3-Hour Guided ToursShea Mayer & Diego Salamone, Fitz and Follwell Co.

  • Ten years ago both Diego & Shea started tour companies with 10 bikes in a garage, on separate continents: Shea’s Fitz & Follwell in Montreal, and Diego’s BA Bikes in Buenos Aires. Their paths crossed in Montreal in 2014, and after subsequent visits to Argentina (they had a blast) and Diego’s move to Canada, they are now partners at Fitz. Fitz operates carefully crafted daily bike tours in Montreal. Three new Fitz Tour destinations will launch in 2019, including Toronto, with many more planned. Headquartered at Velo Québec’s Maison des Cyclistes in Montreal, their new bike cafe is opening there this spring. They will share their experience of the sustained growth of guided bicycle tours, and the massive potential for 3-hour tours to be developed in both large urban and smaller tourism markets. They will discuss industry trends ranging from the surge of Airbnb’s slice of the tours and experiences pie, to the bikeshare (and scooter) boom.

An Upstart Operator in an Upstart Region: Tales from the Road Less TravelledSara McEwen, Humdinger Bicycle Tours

  • Sara will provide the reasoning behind starting a fully supported and guided bicycle tour company in Ontario’s cottage country, which has not historically been a cycling destination. Learn more about the process for developing tours and routes and the selection of accommodation, food, and site-seeing partners. Marketing successes and challenges will also be discussed.

Enjoy a working lunch with a variety of offerings.

Award Ceremony and Showcase Presentations: Best Bicycle Friendly Businesses in Ontario

  • With over 1,400 bicycle friendly businesses certified by Ontario By Bike across Ontario, there are many tourism operators that recognize the value of servicing this growing market and taking it to the next level. Join us to celebrate their commitment and learn more about how they cater to cyclists. An award recipient from each tourism region, thirteen in total, will be announced and showcased with lightening presentations from each. Special recognition for best regional bike store or bike tour operators will also be announced.

Accommodating and Catering to the Cycling Market in Cesenatico, Italy –  Silvia Pasolini, Lungomare Bike Hotel & Italy Cycling Holidays

  • Lungomare Bike Hotel has become the number one bike hotel in Cesenatico and recognized as one of the best in Italy. A part of the Italy Cycling Holiday’s accommodation group the hotel offers a full range of services catering to visiting cyclists whether they be professional teams or international cycling enthusiasts, experienced cyclists to the more casual riders interested in exploring from the Adriatic Sea to the Apennine Mountains stretching between Tuscany Emilia Romagna and the most ancient Republic of San Marino. Learn more about the history of the hotel and how it came to recognize this markets potential, the services offered and the success of group marketing efforts behind the larger accommodation group.

Conference delegates are encouraged to visit the vendors and booths on site and take advantage of the opportunity to engage with other attendees.

Session #1: Knowing the Market & Measuring the Impact

Moderator: Louisa Mursell, Ontario By Bike/Transportation Options

Uncovering Ontario Cyclists’ SegmentationsKim Clarke & Rosa Rumeo,  RTO7/Bruce Grey Simcoe & Environics Analytics

  • Ontario By Bike has been working on trying to identify who cyclists are for a number of years. Previously, the profile has come from a variety of sources including surveys, brochure requests and event data. In 2018, Ontario By Bike teamed up with Regional Tourism Organization 7 (BruceGreySimcoe) to take a deeper look at who “cyclists” were by using postal code data from OBB and Environics Analytics PRIZM5 segmentation and other data sets licensed by RTO7. This work has helped to identify and verify who cyclists are and will help build new cycling products, and create more informed marketing plans.

The US Adventure Cycling Market & MoreJoanne Wolnik, RTO1/Ontario’s Southwest

  • Ontario’s Southwest has three border crossings and is an hour away from a fourth. It boasts beautiful rural roads, planned cycling routes & itineraries, a longer riding season than many other parts of Canada, charming port towns, a unique food and wine scene with spectacular views of 2 Great Lakes. But, does any of this matter to the US long-distance cycle tourist? This presentation looks at the process of studying and understanding the demand and market needs before jumping into cycle tourism development and marketing. Learn more about what near-border US cycle tourists are looking for in bicycle tours and trips.

Capturing the Impact of the Cycle Tourism Sector – Louisa Mursell, Ontario By Bike/Transportation Options 

  • Capturing the tourism and economic impact of cycle tourism can be challenging, however there are a number of information sources, modelling templates and new reports with updated data now available. Join Ontario By Bike to learn more about international market research and tools as well as new Ontario data, including an update to the 2015 Ontario Cycle Tourism Sector report.

Session #2: Marketing Cycle Tourism

Moderator: Dr. Rachel Dodds – Board of Directors, Transportation Options; & Ted Rogers School of Hospitality & Tourism Management, Ryerson University

Ride High Country: Marketing Australia’s Premier Cycling Destination (By live video)Matt White, Ride High Country

  • The north east of Victoria, Australia is blessed with rugged mountain passes, rolling valley roads, seven mountain bike parks, the largest rail trail network in the southern hemisphere, stunning mountain scenery and almost no traffic. It truly is a cyclist’s paradise! But it suffered from one problem…almost no visitation. Learn how a new marketing strategy has transformed this region into Australia’s premier cycling destination in only a few short years.

Destination Spin: How Explorers’ Edge Uses Content Marketing To Promote Cycling Product & ExperiencesKate Monk, RTO12/Explorers’ Edge

  • As one of the first tourism organizations in Canada to use content marketing to successfully increase visitation and spend, Explorers’ Edge is now using the same cost-efficient tactic to promote cycling product and experiences, and to differentiate itself in domestic and international markets. Luckily for Explorers’ Edge, one of the lowest-funded Regional Tourism Organizations (RTOs,) the days of needing a big agency or a big spend are over and even the smallest of businesses can use content marketing to reach mass or niche markets. All it takes is good story-telling – good ‘spin’ if you will, and if you can tell a story then you can be a content marketer.

Building the Market & Relationships for Non-Profit Cycling Events – Dana Hensen, MS Society of Canada (MS Bike)

  • Dive deeper into who’s attending MS Bike events, including current event participants and an overview of MS Society’s approach to a big data project for their events. Gain an understanding of how this charity event is building a market through selling a local experience, increasing engagement with participants and utilizing a national ‘teams’ program. Discover some of the challenges facing charity cycling events, while marketing on a limited budget in an increasingly competitive environment.

Enjoy an afternoon break with fresh coffee and tea. We encourage delegates to visit the vendors and booths on site and take advantage of the opportunity to engage with other attendees.

Developing Cycle Tourism Product

Moderator: Rebecca Mackenzie, Culinary Tourism Alliance

Trail Town: A Model for Community DevelopmentAmy Camp, Cycle Forward

  • Amy Camp will speak about the “trail town” model for community development and how communities can better connect trail to town. Her presentation will consider how both physical amenities and a culture of hospitality enable communities to better receive trail users. Examples from within Ontario and beyond will be shared.

HamBur Loop: Building a Destination`s Signature Tourism Cycling LoopMaria Fortunato, RTO3/Hamilton Halton Brant

  • The HamBur Loop is a 50km cycling route designed to leverage the unique assets of the region. The route creates a new cycling experience, inviting visitors to travel on existing infrastructure including a mix of paved trail, gravel rail trail, on road and marked bicycle lanes. The route was developed collaboratively with partners including the municipalities of Hamilton and Burlington, local tourism offices and others with a shared vision for increasing cycling activities. The route is marketed to a diverse audience outside of the region in an effort to attract visitors and extend stays. HamBur Loop development supports province wide cycling initiatives and business opportunities, while also creating alliances with cycling groups, event organizers and stakeholders. The loop is being used as a template for developing additional routes in other parts of the Hamilton Halton Brant Regional Tourism Association (HHBRTA) boundaries. We will share lessons and best practices in developing market ready tourism product experiences.

Story-Telling on the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail: Making the People Connection – Marlaine Koehler, Waterfront Regeneration Trust

  • The Waterfront Regeneration Trust developed its first tourism experience 12 years and 1600 km ago with the creation of the popular cycle tour, the Great Waterfront Trail Adventure. What has 12 years of experience taught us about how to use this incredible tourism attraction to help people create and tell their story? What are the tools, the challenges and what does the future hold?

Haute-Yamaska, Quebec and its Cycling Network: A Success for Over 28 yearsMayor Pascal Bonin, Town of Granby

Introduction and Moderator: Nicki Schiewe Destination Northern Ontario

  • Located in southwestern Quebec, the town of Granby sits along one of the most beautiful networks of bike paths in Quebec. A town with a lively cultural scene, a vibrant downtown core and a commitment to the health and well-being of local residents, Mayor Bonin will illustrate how a long-term vision, as well as the development and promotion of its cycling network have led to over 28 years of success in community, economic and tourism development in the town of Granby and the larger Haute-Yamaska region of Quebec. Through inspiring examples, like the creation of the open-air museum, Artria, along a local cycling route, Mayor Bonin will share insight into the local, regional and provincial partnerships, as well as the leadership needed to not only develop an attractive cycling network, but as local and provincial leader for the rescue of the government-funded maintenance program for Québec’s La Route Verte cycling network, also to maintain it for future generations.

Pre & Post Conference Programming

  • February 28 – Join Toronto Bicycle Tours for a 2 hour complimentary bike tour in downtown Toronto. Bike rental included. Tour runs sun or snow! Start from near Dundas Street West and University Avenue, 3pm to 5pm. Pre-registration required. We will follow up with those who indicate interest during registration.
  • March 1 – Evening – Post conference join us and other conference attendees for a beverage and to continue the conversation at a Duke’s on Gerrard, conveniently located across the street from Chelsea Hotel Gerrard Street entrance.
  • March 1 to 3 – Toronto International Bicycle Show. All conference attendees will receive a complimentary entry to the world’s largest consumer bike show and partner event on all weekend long. Don’t miss your opportunity to check it out.

*Conference program and speakers are being updated weekly, check back frequently for more information. Programming and speakers subject to change. 

As we further develop conference programming, presentations and sessions will cover a variety of topics under the following:

Key Pillars 1

Developing cycle tourism destinations and products
Growing the cycle tourism market through emerging trends
Marketing cycle tourism product and experiences
Serving the cycle tourist market
Measuring the impact on destinations and businesses

Confirmed speakers looking to provide information on presentation are requested to fill out the form available HERE.
If you submited a proposal to speak, thank you. We will be contacting you soon with updates. 

Contact info

For more information on the conference, please call 1-866-701-2774 / 416-827-2774 or contact through email Transportation Options’ Executive Director, Louisa Mursell at or Ontario By Bike’s Project Manager, Michael McCreesh at

The 2019 Cycle Tourism Conference is made possible by the generous support of the following partners and sponsors:
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Platinum Spoke Sponsor
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Gold Spoke Sponsors

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Carbon Spoke Sponsors

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Interested in partnering with the 2019 Cycle Tourism Conference?
Download the 2019 Cycle Tourism Conference Sponsorship Packages

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