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Cycle Tourism

Cycle Tourism Success Stories

The following case studies are how some regions of Ontario and Quebec, and in Germany and Scotland, have come together to realize ways to accommodate experience driven travellers in their areas. Out of their programs, tourism of the regions themselves have changed, and grown into something valuable to tourism marketing.

But you may find that while each of these regions has created a special niche, it is a narrow niche when compared to the immensely wider potential… here. 

Ontario By Bike 

The Ontario By Bike Network (formerly the Welcome Cyclists Network) is a project of Transportation Options, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering sustainable mobility and tourism solutions across Ontario. It engages in projects that research, develop and promote new transportation and tourism choices, focusing on those that are integrated, environmentally sound, healthy, service-oriented, and improve the experience of users.

Past projects include:

New Mobility HUBs Program, Moving the Economy, Ontario Cycle Tourism Forum 2009, the Bike Train InitiativePark Bus, Ontario By Bike Partnership, Ontario By Bike Network

The Ontario By Bike Network offers a variety of information on cycling in Ontario, inspiring visitors and residents to explore more by bike.

The Network is open to accommodations, food services, attractions, cycling related businesses and organizations interested in cycle tourism. The Ontario By Bike Network is launched in each region with an informative workshop, after which local businesses may register on-line, at no charge, to participate and ultimately reach the growing number of cycle tourists in Ontario.  

For more on the Ontario By Bike Network Project, contact:

Email: info (at) ontariobybike (dot) ca

Phone: 416-827-2774 or 1-866-701-2774

Fax: 416-392-0071

Mailing Address:

c/o Transportation Options

850 Coxwell Ave

Toronto, Ontario  M4C 5R1

The Route verte

The Route verte began in 1995, with the collaboration of Vélo Québec and the Québec ministry of transportation and numerous regional partners.

The Route verte will comprise 4,000 kilometres of bikeways linking the various regions of Québec. The Route verte was inspired by the world’s greatest cycling routes:

  • Denmark’s national cycle routes;
  • the National Cycle Network in Great Britain;
  • the Danube and Rhine bikeways (crossing five countries);
  • the greenways and bikeways developed in the United States by the Rails-to-Trails
  • Conservancy and Adventure Cycling
  • and in Europe’s Eurovelo initiative.

These cycling routes, though, were aimed at mapping great cycling tours… but the route was the thing. The routes didn’t address how cyclists travelled… just where they might have great experiences. 

The success of the Route verte was connecting cycle routes to cyclists’ needs. A program Bienvenue cyclists was developed to certify establishments providing bike-friendly services to the cycling community. The program covers three main types of accommodations: B&Bs, hotels and campgrounds.

B&Bs, Inns, Hotels, Motels:

  • These types of establishments have a covered and locked place where bicycles can be stored at night, and while the cyclists are guests.
  • If food services are available, menus include meals that are high-carb, and with higher than average portions of fruits and vegetables.
  • There will be tools available to cyclists, including a tire pump, for basic repairs.
  • Provided will be information on local bicycle repairs and service, rentals and cycling routes.


  • There will be dedicated camping spaces for cycing visitors, with or without reservations, providing they are arriving by bicycle.
  • There will be a sheltered location where cyclists can eat in bad weather.
  • There will be tools available to cyclists, including a tire pump, for basic repairs.
  • Provided will be information on local bicycle repairs and service, rentals and cycling routes.

More on The Route verte:

The Route verte is a bikeway that meets the safety standards associated with its users. Published in 1997, the Guide de réalisation de la Route verte outlines the technical parameters for the development of the bikeway. The Route verte is marked with standardized way-finding signs. These are often accompanied by signs displaying route information, and highlighting nearby services or attractions.

The key to the development of the Route verte was, and remains, cooperation of various regional authorities: development councils, regional/county municipalities, tourist associations, and area organizations.

To measure spending by cyclists in Québec, various customer segments were identified: 

  • Athletic cyclotourists: tourists who travel primarily to cycle.
  • Vacationing cyclotourists: tourists for whom cycling is one of several activities.
  • Excursionists: people who take trips over 80 kilometres long but lasting less than 24 hours (without an overnight stay).
  • Route-side residents: people who live near the Route verte.

All contribute to the economy, but it is the first three groups that create the creates opportunity and impact.

Spending by cyclists in Québec totaled over $166 million in 2000. In 2000, Route verte cyclists spent a total of $95.4 million. This corresponds to approximately 2,000 jobs (person years) and revenues of $15.1 million for the Government of Québec and $11.9 million for the Government of Canada.

At that time, Québec’s athletic cyclotourists spent most (57%) of the money associated with the use of the Route verte, for a total of $54.6 million. People who live near the Route verte also spend a considerable amount along the Route-related activities — over $24.5 million.

By 2006, the amount spent annually by cyclotourists increased to $134 million, generating over $38 million in government revenues and helping to support 2,861 jobs (person years).

Cycle and Stay Niagara:

Cycle and Stay Niagara is a network of "cycle-friendly" Bed & Breakfasts throughout the Niagara, Ontario region. It is located along the “Greater Niagara Circle Route” – the regional tourism initiative encouraging the exploration of the Niagara Peninsula.

While Cycle and Stay Niagara does not have the depth of requirements for certification (which is displayed by decal on accommodations’ windows), is does require:

  • secure lockup for bikes provided at each location.
  • luggage transfer available between the accommodations listed.

The Greater Niagara Circle Route attracts thousands of cyclists annually. It is, in comparison with the routes mapped for the Frontenac Arch Biosphere region, a relatively small system of over 140 km of paved, off-road trails and roadways. It winds along the Niagara River bordered by fruit orchards and vineyards, runs past the Niagara Falls, and follows the shores of Lake Erie. It offers views of the ships passing through the locks of the Welland Canal and the historic towns such as Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Cycle and Stay Niagara is a success story of attracting experience-driven travellers, with frequent return stays.

Bett und Bike (Bed and Bike) – Germany

Europeans not only enjoy touring by cycling and hiking – they are passionate about it. Bicycles are an integral part of urban and rural transportation, and a major driver of tourism. Hikers follow in the thousands of years of footsteps of peoples who traded and travelled across counties and the continent. Today, accommodating such travellers is purely second nature, and good, practical business. And, these European travellers explore internationally. 

While any of Denmark, Scotland, Holland, and a dozen other countries could provide case studies, Germany is example of organization and certification that begs to be copied. Bett und Bike integrates regional transportation planning with tourism business. It has a depth of requirements beyond the Canadian experience, and is yet not beyond easy reach. Adopting these standards would set this region as a cut above the rest.

Bicycle friendly overnight accommodations offer the at least the following services: 

  • Guests are welcome to stay for only one night.
  • Bicycles are securely stored in a locked, covered space.
  • A washer and dryer is available for wet clothing and gear.
  • Basic tools are available for simple bike repairs.
  • In the case of more major breakdowns, staff can contact a repair shop to help.
  • Staff are knowledgeable about regional bike trails, and schedules for bus and train; and have informational materials available for more attractive excursions in the area.
  • A hearty breakfast will be served 

Additional service of Bett+Bike accommodation: 
(at least two must be offered)

  • Information about arrival by public transportation
  • Shuttle service to and from for cycling guests
  • Good-quality bicycles available for hire
  • Bicycle day trips
  • Luggage transfer from the last and/or to the next accommodation
  • Overnight reservation
  • Important replacement parts
  • Information about next accommodation
  • Packed lunch
  • Guestbook for cyclists

Bicycle friendly camping sites offer the at least the following services:

  • A separate tent site, not accessible by car or caravan, for bicyclists and other guests travelling by non-motorised vehicle.
  • A flat grass lawn to pitch the tent. Gravel, pebbles, or heavily compacted soil is not acceptable for campers
  • A place with bicycle racks to secure bicycles at the tent site or near it (within sight).
  • It is possible to dry wet clothing and gear.
  • No additional fees for admitting bicycles to the camping site premises.
  • Informational materials, such as regional cycling maps and schedules for bus, train and ferries are available.
  • Basic tools are available for simple bike repairs.
  • In the case of more major breakdowns, staff can contact a repair shop to help.

Additional service of Bett+Bike camping sites: 
(at least two must be offered)

  • Roofed bicycle storage place or secured room
  • Table and seats at the tent site
  • Opportunity for guests to cook
  • Possibility to purchase necessary supplies
  • Routes to tent area sufficiently lit
  • Information about other bicycle-friendly camping sites in the region
  • Rental tents and campers, huts, bungalows, etc. available
  • Good-quality bicycles available for hire
  • Informational materials, such as regional bike trails and schedules for bus and train, are available to find out more about attractive excursions in the area.

ADFC Baden-Württemberg

Regional Manager Kathleen Lumma

Reinsburgstraße 97

70197 Stuttgart

Phone: 07 11 / 6 15 77 30

Fax: 07 11 / 6 15 77 37


The Home-To-Home Bed & Breakfast Network

The Home-To-Home Bed & Breakfast Network operates along the Bruce Trail, along the backbone of the Niagara Escarpment, from Niagara Falls to the top of the Bruce Peninsula at Tobermory. The Bruce Trail crosses many private properties, and the Bruce Trail  Association has many easement agreements with landowners to make the trail possible. Because of the concerns of landowners, the Association and landowners restrict the use of the trail to hikers, snowshoers and cross-country skiers, reducing risks and liabilities, and user conflicts.

The Home-To-Home Bed & Breakfast Network offers an accommodation package allows the traveller to plan daily excursions without being concerned about returning to the starting point each night. The Network has a Coordinator to help plan hiking and cross-country ski holidays. 

The B&Bs of the network offer a hearty breakfast, a nourishing packed lunch, and assistance in planning for the day. Following the hike or other adventure, the next B&B along the Bruce Peninsula is ready and expecting the travellers. The luggage will already have been delivered.  As well, B&B homes can be a "base" for local tours of the Bruce Peninsula. 

Economic Impact of Cycle Tourism in Ontario

  • In 2010, 2 million Canadian/Ontario visitors participated in cycling activities in Ontario, spent around $391 million, an increase of 25% and 18% respectively from 2009.
  • In 2009, 1.5 million Canadian/Ontario visitors participated in cycling activities in Ontario, and spent approximately $332 million
  • In 2010, Ontario attracted 38% of Canadian visitors who went cycling anywhere in Canada. Approximately 3% of all Canadian visitor expenditures in Ontario can be attributed to those who went cycling in 2010
  • 438,000 cycle tourists from Canada cycled in the following four areas in 2010: Toronto (223K); Ottawa (110K); Niagara (84K); Windsor (21K). The spending of these Canadian cycle tourists contributed $104 million to economy in 2010. 

Economic Impact of Cyclists in the Niagara Region

On top of accommodation costs, the average amount spent by cyclists staying one or more nights is $148 and breaks down to daily expenditures as: 61% on combined food and beverages, 12% on attractions and 27% on retail purchases.

52% of all cyclists stayed one or more nights: 69% one night; 19% two nights; and 12% 3 or more nights. Accommodations choices included 43% staying in a range of hotels or motels, 29% staying at Bed & Breakfasts.

85% of cyclists surveyed came from Ontario.

Great Waterfront Trail Adventure, 2012

The 2012 8 day Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail Adventure, end to end: Niagara-on-the-Lake to Cornwall; had the participation of 250 cyclists

Economic Impact of the event:

Approximately $73,000 spent by participants on accommodations & food, above nightly camping and 3 meals included in registration. As well:

22% stay at hotels every night;
44% spend at least one night in hotel;
71% sign up for optional activities
83% plan to return to communities;
48% from GTA
43% spend up to $25 per day on food;
48% spend $25 - $34 on food each day
74% spend up to $50 on bike supplies and similar amount on other retail purchases





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