The Ontario By Bike Network and Transportation Options are excited to share the presentations of the 2023 Cycle Tourism Conference held on March 2, 2023. We invite you to review them, learn more about these topics, share them with others and connect with the speakers should you have further questions.
France: The Path & Partners to Becoming a World-Class Cycling Destination
Camille Thomé, Director/Directrice, Velo & Territoires also France Vélo Tourisme
Routes, services, marketing, transport, promotion, working with partner regions and businesses, developing a national strategy. Has France managed to become the renowned cycle tourism destination it claims to be? Becoming a world-class cycling destination is a long-haul process with big challenges to overcome and successes to celebrate. Vélo & Territoires along with its network of over 170 partners have an ambitious plan with clear goals to achieve by 2030. Cycle tourism plays a recognized and important part with partner organization, France Vélo Tourisme providing Accueil Vélo certification services across the country and promoting the cycling routes that have put France on the map for cyclists.
Morning Session #1 - Reaching the Cycle Tourism Market through Innovative Trail & Route Development & Marketing
Reaching the Cycle Tourism Market through Innovative Trail & Route Development & Marketing
Véloroute Gourmande: the Little Story of a 235 km Cycling Path – Julie Desmarais & Annie Langevin, Véloroute Gourmande & Tourisme Cantons-de-l’Est/Tourism Eastern Townships, Quebec
Julie & Anne presented on the Véloroute Gourmande, a new 235km bike route that connects Montreal and Sherbrooke with many gourmet stops, various attractions and accommodations for discovery in Montérégie and the Eastern Townships/Cantons-de-l’Est. The development of this route, the resources available for cyclists and the marketing campaign for the Véloroute Gourmande, while in its early days, are indicating this route will be popular with cycle tourists.
Developing the Endless Mountains Gravel Bikepacking Loop – Cain Chamberlin, Endless Mountains Heritage Region & Robyn Cummings, Bradford County Tourism Promotion Agency, Pennsylvania, USA
A two-year collaborative effort between various local agencies has led to the creation of a four-county bikepacking route through the Endless Mountains in northeastern Pennsylvania. The Endless Mountains Gravel Bikepacking Loop (EMGBL) takes cyclists approximately 670km (415 miles) across the pastoral landscapes and through historic towns in Bradford, Sullivan, Susquehanna and Wyoming counties and boasts over 9,750 meters (32,000ft) in elevation changes throughout. For those keeping track, that’s collectively taller than Mount Everest! We developed an interactive map of the route on the Endless Mountains Heritage Region’s website, complete with all of our desired points of interest like museums and historic sites, scenic overlooks, state and local parks, restaurants, lodging, breweries and wineries along with links to each of their websites and social media pages. The map allows EMGBL users to plot out their adventure before even downloading the route to their GPS or mobile device using the RidewithGPS or Strava apps.
Building a Binational Trail Experience Around the Great Lakes – Marlaine Koehler, Waterfront Regeneration Trust / Great Lakes Waterfront Trail, Ontario
Internationally recognized as one of the world’s great rides, the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail has played an important role in building Ontario’s cycle tourism experiences. Learn how the Waterfront Regeneration Trust and partners are working to complete the trail with the upcoming Lake Superior expansion, creating a fully connected route by 2027 along the Canadian shores of the Great Lakes. Creating a world-class cycling experience also means building a Binational experience around the Great Lakes. With the completion of the Gordie Howe International Bridge in 2024 the trails and greenways on both sides of the border between the cities of Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan will be linked making the first-ever cross border trail tourism experience possible. This historic connection and partnerships formed serve as a model for future connections.
Michigan Trails & Cross-Border Partnership for Expanding Cycle Tourism – John Hartig, The Great Lakes Way Advisory Committee, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, Michigan, USA
With the opening of the Gordie Howe International Bridge in 2024 or 2025, four major trail organizations have come together to expand cross-border cycle tourism experiences, including the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan which champions the 160-mile Great Lakes Way stretching from southern Lake Huron through western Lake Erie, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources which champions the more than 2,000-mile Iron-Belle Trail, the Waterfront Regeneration Trust which champions the 2,250-mile Great Lakes Waterfront Trail; and the more than 15,000-mile Trans Canada Trail. This partnership will develop binational trail destination experiences, collaborate on marketing strategies, and explore opportunities for using technology to enhance the trail user experience. Good examples of cross-border outdoor trail experiences include binational bicycle tours and cycling events, Canada-U.S. open street events, joint Underground Railroad tours and First Nations celebrations, joint celebrations of World Migratory Bird Day and Earth Day, and more.
Developing Cycle Tourism Product to Reach Emerging Markets
Understanding and Attracting the Growing E-Bike Market – Jamie Stuckless, Stuckless Consulting Inc.
Electric bicycles (e-bikes) can help more people cycle longer, further and for more trips. Research from around the world, and right here in Ontario, shows how e-bikes are helping to grow cycling and the potential for e-bikes to help increase cycling tourism is huge. This presentation will look at the e-bike opportunities that exist for municipalities and tourism operators and how jurisdictions around the world are creating great e-biking experiences for tourists. We will also discuss the challenges and policy barriers that need to be addressed to help Ontario and other destinations meet their full e-biking potential.
Developing and Marketing Mountain Biking and Fat Biking Trails – Travis Anderson, Tourism Sault Ste. Marie / City of Sault Ste. Marie
Sault Ste. Marie has been actively developing mountain bike trails as a means to increase tourism product offerings in the northern city and surrounding areas. To capture the winter cycling market, trails for fat biking have also been developed and are maintained through snow season. To attract cyclist to ride the trails, a far reaching promotional campaign was activated over the past year, creating exposure for the city’s cycle tourism product. Relevant examples will be shared showing how Sault Ste. Marie’s trails have resulted in an increase in visitation to the area and attracted new residents to the community.
Gravel Cycling Market: Events & Building the Gravel Community – Jody Wilson, Growing Beaver, Photographer, Go Cycle Collingwood
The state of gravel riding in the Southern Georgian Bay area has significantly increased in recent years. The small town of Collingwood, set directly in the middle of the region, has become a hotbed of activity, boasting one of the top gravel charity events in Canada (The Growling Beaver, est. 2015), a key portion (the hardest section) of the BT700 bike packing route, and a prime destination for countless weekend gravel warriors escaping the city. It is also home to non-race gravel events such as Creemore’s very own Turas Mor and competitive events like Sea Otters Scare Crow gravel race. In 2023, the region will also host the UCI world amateur gravel qualifying events. This presentation will take a quick look from a local cyclist’s view point to why and how so many people are attracted to the Southern Georgian Bay area (specifically Collingwood) for the increasing trend of Gravel Cycling, why it is such a popular destination, and the impact this has had on our communities.
Award Ceremony and Showcase Presentations: 2023 Bicycle Friendly Business Awards, Ontario
- With over 1,620 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.
- Find out more information at: www.ontariobybike.ca/2023-awards
Capturing & Growing the Cycling Event & Tour Market
Finding our Cycling Niche in Lennox & Addington – Rob Plumley, Lennox & Addington County
Lennox & Addington County is blessed with scenic roads that travel through authentic rural Eastern Ontario landscapes. With great places to stay and many fun stops along the way, Lennox & Addington has invested in events and infrastructure to make their community a prime destination for cyclists. In creating the Discover L&A Ride seven years ago the goal was to showcase the great road riding opportunities in the area as well as the unique attractions and businesses that include apiaries, wineries, breweries, historic sites and parklands. Now with over 400 riders participating annually, the Ride has brought all types of cyclists to the area to discover for themselves, Loyalist country, Lennox & Addington County.
The Bicycle Touring Market and Voyager à Vélo – Nathalie Lambert, Voyager à Vélo / St Lawrence By Bike
Voyager à Vélo Inc. has been bringing its logistical know-how to the world of cycle tourism for nine years. A lot of ground has been covered since day one, when The St. Lawrence by Bike cycling route was created. This presentation will introduce you to the places where the company collaborates with regions, cycling routes and travel agencies as well as the services it offers. The target clientele, both foreign and domestic, the challenges and opportunities to improve the offer of services to cycle tourists will be discussed and unique business model shared. We will introduce you to a system that allows the whole community to work collaboratively in order to encourage bicycle travel and where cyclists can ride, happy, freely and safely.
Cycling Tour Operators and the View from the Front – Peter Donato, Niagara Cycling Tours
Many visitors from Ontario and adjacent USA border states enjoy visiting Niagara already for day trips or simple overnight vacations. Niagara Cycling Tours aims to fill a void in the local Niagara market by offering and promoting longer, multi-day destination stays, that include cycling. By sharing stories and info from our direct experiences and our customers wants and needs, we’ll assist others interested in providing more value to their respective audiences to create an authentic “cycling vacation.”
The Successes and Challenges of Charity Cycling Events – Brendan Ellis, Ride to Conquer Cancer & Northern Pass to Conquer Cancer – The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation
Like many events and many charities, Princess Margaret faced many challenges and difficult decisions when it came to it’s events these past few years. Do we go virtual? Can we go live? Our events generate significant revenue fueling cancer research, and along with our cycling community and partners, regardless of the path, we knew we had to find a way forward. During this presentation we hope to highlight the choices we made on our two bike programs, the results, the challenges we still face and how we are continuing to grow.
Using Digital Resources, Data & Tools to Engage & Measure the Market
Route Promotion, Planning, and Navigating using Ride with GPS – Alex Gay, RidewithGPS, Oregon, USA
Since 2006, Ride with GPS has provided route planning and navigation for all types of cyclists. This presentation will provide an overview of how to utilize Ride with GPS’ tools to manage and display your content, how your area visitors can discover and ride your area’s best routes, and measure route’s performance on our platform. Examples and information will be shared on how destinations can make use of the Ride with GPS Tourism Account that is focused on providing the means to develop and market routes with robust embeds that can be placed on a website. Bulk management tools allow destinations to handle all their routes and points of interest in easy to use libraries, and visitors can download and navigate routes offline with voice navigation.
Market Insights Through Data and Analytics – Sam Lau, Environics Analytics
Explore how industry leading data and analytics can help better define your target market and travellers. Understand your market’s behaviours, values, demographics, lifestyles and more! Leverage these insights to craft compelling campaigns that will lead to more effective marketing and services that most aligns with your customers. In this presentation we’ll explore the art of what is possible with data and walk through a case study seeing the data in action!
Making Trails Count: Understanding Usage and Trends – Andrea Shillolo, Eco-Counter
Measuring traffic on trails is crucial for understanding seasonal trends, making informed planning decisions, and justifying future investments. This presentation will cover how to build a cyclist count program to quantify trail users, as well as how to combine count data with qualitative data to gain a clearer picture of who is using your trails and why. It will draw on case studies to give clear, practical examples of how organizations have used count data to help them better understand their market and even measure the impact on destinations.
Marketing Cycle Tourism, Telling the Story – Christopher Mitchell, Traveling Mitch, Toronto Blogger Collective, Ultimate Ontario & We Explore Canada
An award-winner travel writer and content creator based in Toronto, Christopher is an avid cyclist and has helped many destinations in North America and Europe create engaging cycling content and tell meaningful stories through cycle tourism. The presentation will showcase how authentic storytelling can empower audiences to discover the cycling opportunities at travel destinations and develop a lifelong passion for the sport.
National and Regional Trail Development with Rails-To-Trails Conservancy
Liz Thorstensen, Vice President, Trail Development, Rails-To-Trails Conservancy, USA
Since 1986, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy has served as the national voice for the rail-trail movement in the U.S. As the country’s largest trails organization, it’s been their role to speak up for trails, showcasing the incredible impact that trails have on strengthening and transforming communities, and elevating the passionate work of trail supporters and advocates.
Conference programming, presentations and sessions will cover a variety of topics under the following:
The 2023 Cycle Tourism Conference was coordinated by Ontario By Bike, a program of Transportation Options, a not for profit organization. For over thirty years, Transportation Options has been dedicated to fostering sustainable mobility and tourism solutions across Ontario, developing and supporting a range of innovative programs. Transportation Options has coordinated a number of significant conferences in the past, including four cycle tourism conferences. See the reports, agenda and speaker bios from 2019, 2016, 2013 and 2009.
For more information on the conference, please call 1-866-701-2774 / 416-827-2774 or contact through email firstname.lastname@example.org