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  1. #1
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    Buy or rent a bicycle

    Dear posters,
    Arriving in Toronto 2nd of May and get a Cruise Canada Camper the next day in Bolton for a 3 weekst trip to Vancouver.
    Spending some days in Toronto.
    To get around I often cycle and intend to carry one, and so I am wondering to rent one for some days or buy a steed in Toronto.
    On the way I like to cycle distances up to about 50 miles, a bit hilly no problem. But especially to explore the area a bit when my wife needs some rest.

    1. Are there bicycles to rent in the Quality Inn and Suites area near the Aiport (I found out there are no shops for buying in the Yorkdale Mall IMO the nearest shopping-centre?)
    2. Is my info right that it is probably better to buy one when I will enter the USA after about four days, itinerary through Chicago?
    3. There is conflicting info about cycling in Toronto. Is cycling in and to the downtown/centre a wise (and safe) way to enjoy it?
    And going to Bolton in the north, to get the motorhome, will that be a good idea.
    (There are taxis of course and found out some public transport by line 38. Side related question, is there a busstop near my first night hotel/inn)

    (NB. I've got some cycling experience in San Fran, Phoenix and Tucson if that matters)

    Thanks so much for some hints.

  2. #2
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    Hi Arie,

    Let's see if I can answer at least some of your questions.

    If you think you'd like to have a bike handy for the duration of your trip across Canada, then you're going to need to buy one. Not sure what kind of a bike you're looking for, for department store-type lower end bicycles you can look up Canadian Tire http://www.canadiantire.ca and Sport Check http://www.sportchek.ca/home/index.jsp. I think they should start bringing in bicycles soon. For something better, there are many bike stores in Toronto, depending what you're looking for.

    Toronto is a busy city and as much as we try to make it bike friendly, there's lots to be done. Roads are busy and drivers not as friendly as they should be in some cases. If you're comfortable riding in traffic, you will be fine. There are some nice trails that you can take along the lake and up the two rivers we have, that are car free. Have a look at bicycle routes around the city here: http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/map/index.htm
    You can plan your route here: http://www.ridethecity.com/toronto

    I'm not quite sure what's the best route from the airport to downtown, haven't done that on the bike.

    You're best to ask your hotel about the rentals, not sure if they would have any.

    All TTC buses have a bike rack with room for two bicycles at the front of the bus. During the week, you are allowed to take a bike on the subway in off-peak hours only. After 10:00 am to 3:30 pm, and after 7:00pm. Weekends are fine at any time.

    I just checked Google maps for getting from the airport to Bolton. Looks like you have three buses to get there. http://maps.google.ca/maps?oe=utf-8&...&ved=0COMBELYD

    I'm trying to find another mode of transportation, GO bus, but will have to come back to it later. I'm sure others will be along shortly to help as well.

  3. #3
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    Great replies, thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by lucille View Post
    Hi Arie,

    Let's see if I can answer at least some of your questions.

    If you think you'd like to have a bike handy for the duration of your trip across Canada, then you're going to need to buy one. Not sure what kind of a bike you're looking for, for department store-type lower end bicycles you can look up Canadian Tire http://www.canadiantire.ca and Sport Check http://www.sportchek.ca/home/index.jsp. I think they should start bringing in bicycles soon. For something better, there are many bike stores in Toronto, depending what you're looking for.

    ===>Some homework to do, appreciate your elabborate answer Lucille.
    Im thinking at a low end road bicycle, giving it away in Vancouver after the trip or taking it with Air Transat (pretty cheap: $ 30)

    Toronto is a busy city and as much as we try to make it bike friendly, there's lots to be done. Roads are busy and drivers not as friendly as they should be in some cases. If you're comfortable riding in traffic, you will be fine. There are some nice trails that you can take along the lake and up the two rivers we have, that are car free. Have a look at bicycle routes around the city here: http://www.toronto.ca/cycling/map/index.htm
    You can plan your route here: http://www.ridethecity.com/toronto

    I'm not quite sure what's the best route from the airport to downtown, haven't done that on the bike.

    You're best to ask your hotel about the rentals, not sure if they would have any.

    All TTC buses have a bike rack with room for two bicycles at the front of the bus. During the week, you are allowed to take a bike on the subway in off-peak hours only. After 10:00 am to 3:30 pm, and after 7:00pm. Weekends are fine at any time.

    ===>That's a great venue, good to know!!!

    I just checked Google maps for getting from the airport to Bolton. Looks like you have three buses to get there. http://maps.google.ca/maps?oe=utf-8&...&ved=0COMBELYD
    ===>I also saw, it's about 30 kms to Bolton, very viable. Having been accustomed to busy Dutch traffic I don't expect Toronto drivers'behaviour worse.

    I'm trying to find another mode of transportation, GO bus, but will have to come back to it later. I'm sure others will be along shortly to help as well.
    Again, thanks very much.
    I still wonder if it's much cheaper to buy one in the USA. I did some 5 years ago - rather cheap - and everything went smoothly, left it.

    Cheers, Arie

    NB. Some nice topics on thei Forum, I remeber the vintage Batavus item.

  4. #4
    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    U.S. tends to be cheaper for bikes, but then you have to ship a bike to Canada from Chicago, and that will probably cost you more than the bike price savings. (Airlines charge for large packages.). Renting has the same problem. There's no way you could rent a bike in Toronto and return it in Vancouver. You could do as Lucille suggests and buy a department store bicycle, or you could look at Craig's List or Kijiji when you get here and buy something used.

    She's spot on on the city riding. We have streetcar tracks (tram tracks), which can be lethal if you don't get them right, and we have irritating drivers who park in the few bike lanes we have. The further out of town you get, the better the riding (and the steeper the hills).

    Did you think about a folding bike too? It would fit into the camper van more easily, and some of 'em are pretty spectacular. (I speak as the proud owner of a Bike Friday Pocket Rocket (road bike) that I just took on a week-long tour of Arizona.)
    Zero gallons to the mile

  5. #5
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I understand the Bolton part... Are you planning on riding up there or taking transit? The other option for transport I mentioned would be GO bus. Looks like it you would need to make a connection, I think it's best if you call them and ask, don't want to lead you astray. 1 888 GET ON GO (438 6646) or www.gotransit.com
    All GO buses have bike racks also.

    It may be cheaper for you to get a bike in US, you'd need to google around to see the prices.

    One more idea, you said that you will be spending a few days in Toronto. Why not drive to Niagara region with your bike and ride along Niagara Parkway? You can ride from Niagara Falls to Niagara-on-the-Lake (about 25 kms). http://www.niagaraparks.com/nature-t...ion-trail.html End of May is a gorgeous time with apple trees in full bloom.
    There's also a GO train you can take there on the weekends. No information on their website yet, the service starts running after May 24th weekend.

  6. #6
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    +U.S. tends to be cheaper for bikes, but then you have to ship a bike to Canada from Chicago, and that will probably cost you more than the bike price savings. (Airlines...)+

    Hi Boudicca, I had to explain more clearly: we drive from Toronto throught the USA (and re-enter Canada near Estevan) and I'm considering to buy one for the whole trip as soon as possible, also to use it in Toronto to get that RV from Bolton (taxi 60 dollars). We're a bit on a budget and make use of that excellent CruiseCanada offer to drive a RV Toronto-Vancouver.

    If the price difference is big (but not too big I see after Lucille's link) I might buy one immediately after entering the USA. The Bike Friday is indeed a good alternative (nice to hear you rode in Arizona, I'm a pretty frequent Tucson and around rider).

    As an extra note, I'm together with my wife, she's slightly handicapped so I want to drive that RV to the airport hotel, to pick her up.

    From all your information I think it's not too complicated. A simple bike (I saw $ 99 rate) will do, and if not succeeding pretty soon, I'll take the public transport to Bolton.

    Lucille, thanks for more ideas.
    Unfortunately we are early for the Niagara blossoms ??? Being in Toronto 2nd of May. And that GO train should fit us very well.
    Later, so much to do and see.

    Great thanks for tips, also Cecille

  7. #7
    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    I misunderstood on the Chicago/Toronto bike idea. Toronto would get you a bike a little earlier, which might be more fun, especially if the price difference isn't that great. And you could ride Niagara even if the blossoms are not out yet. Niagara on the Lake is a nice little town, and your wife could hang out there while you go for a ride.

    You never know, we could have an early spring. It's almost springlike here today. Above freezing anyway.

    Back to the van, and is it worth asking if the rental people will come and pick you up in Toronto/Mississauga rather than having you trek out to Bolton? Many companies do that, perhaps for a small fee. But add in the hassle factor of getting to the Go bus, which probably leaves from Toronto, and then from the Go bus to the rental place it might be worth trying. Toronto's suburbs are one big ugly sprawl.

    Does your wife drive? Could you do a one-day car rental, and you both drive out to Bolton, and she drives the car back to the hotel while you drive the RV. Then you take the rental car back to the rental place.

    Send a PM if there's anything more you need.
    Zero gallons to the mile

  8. #8
    Senior Member lucille's Avatar
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    I found that there is a GO bus stop at the airport, but going to Bolton would take two GO buses, plus getting to the van rental place from the station.
    I think asking if they can come to get you, or even drive the thing down for you is a great idea. Doesn't hurt to ask. With you riding there and driving back it would probably take most of the day, while your wife is sitting alone at the hotel room.

  9. #9
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    Boudicca and Lucille, unfortunately my wife does not drive, I also considered the car rental idea. After all, she will need more time for the jetlag recover, I think I'm going to buy a bike then. [This one looks good, reviews are pretty positive|
    http://www.canadiantire.ca/AST/brows...jsp?locale=en]
    Next day we'll do some easy sightseeing in the centre/loop. And Hancock or Willis (we want to see all Toronto;-)
    In the afternoon when she takes a long nap in the hotel (lobby, no problem for her) I'll go to Bolton on bicycle to get the camper (should be around 14.00 h.).

    Or, when the sightseeing will go relaxed enough and the weather is ok, we can go from the centre to the north (Bolton) by public transport, to CruiseCanada.
    Later we get the luggage. by 'car'.

    What do you think?

    Sorry to hassle you with some at first sight basic logistical problems.
    Though taking a taxi should be the simplest.

    NB.

    As for the CruiseCanada fee for transport hotel - Bolton, I'll give the phonecall a go, why not, though the travel agency's offer was about $ 200 for both Toronto and Vancouver! And there could be more people to pick up for them?
    so combining.
    Apart from this, the whole packagedeal was very attractive.

    The idea of going to Niagara Falls is appealing more and more. (though honestly speaking I was a bit reticent due to the commercial chaos and blingbling around the Falls itself) But being there ... a once in a lifetime experience of course.

    Thanks again for your time and sorry for more stressing the logistics than the cycling part.
    Last edited by arie; 03-10-13 at 05:56 AM. Reason: misspelling (less now I hope)

  10. #10
    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    The Falls themselves are wonderful, and there is a park right along the water where you can walk and watch. My favourite bit is at the Horseshoe Falls, just standing and watching the water roar over. It's mesmerizing.

    Hancock Tower is Chicago. Toronto has the CN Tower. Viewing platform at the CN tower has a section of glass floor, so you can stand there and watch the ant-like people underneath. This is admittedly not everyone's cup of tea.

    I'm sure you did this one too, but Google Maps just offered a 90 minute series of public transit connections from YYZ (the airport) to the rental place. That's pretty good, if true, for that distance and three different buses. It can be done.
    Zero gallons to the mile

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boudicca View Post

    Hancock Tower is Chicago. Toronto has the CN Tower. Viewing platform at the CN tower has a section of glass floor, so you can stand there and watch the ant-like people underneath. This is admittedly not everyone's cup of tea.

    I'm sure you did this one too, but Google Maps just offered a 90 minute series of public transit connections from YYZ (the airport) to the rental place. That's pretty good, if true, for that distance and three different buses. It can be done.
    Thanks for adding to the tower (yes, CN Tower of course) but still more about that Google Maps tool I've always overlooked re public transport!!! Feeling rather stupid about that.

    I think now we should manage. I was also a bit doubtful about time and willingness of the quality Inn and Suites Staff to adequately help us, a bit basing on the reviews.

    Hope and intend to give some feedback after the trip. And especially of course for the cycle part.

    Again thanks to (both of) you.
    Last edited by arie; 03-10-13 at 11:45 AM. Reason: spelling

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