This is a pre-tour as well as a touring question. I am packing my bike in a box and taking it, by bus, from Kingston, ON to Duluth, MN on Tuesday next week. I have to cross to the U.S. side of the border in S.S.M. to catch a bus for the final leg. I expect to take a cab to the stop for the Bridge Bus on the Canadian side and take the bus to the U.S.
Pre-tour question is: does the Bridge Bus have a luggage compartment that could hold a boxed bicycle, i.e. is it a motor coach-type or city commuter-type bus?
Touring question is: When I retrace my route about a week later, by bike, across the bridge, how accommodating are the folks at the toll plaza on the U.S. side to bicyclists?
I don't know about the Bridge Bus - sorry. Though I live in Sault Ste. Marie, I have never used it. If the bridge bus is not a viable option, I may be able to help you get across the border, skipping the taxi as well. Contact me by PM if you would like to compare schedules to see if I can help.
It is not uncommon to see people crossing by bicycle here, so it can indeed be done. The complicating factor just now is that there is construction going on both ends of the bridge.
You probably know this, but be sure to have documentation for high value item you have with you (like your bike, eh?) to prove you brought it with you from the US. Just in case some zealous customs official decides you maybe should be paying import duties on something.
Thanks for the concern and the offer to help. Everything worked as well as could be expected. The Bridge Bus is actually quite small as I discovered. It is basically a handicapped accessible van but the open floor space provided for wheelchairs was more than adequate to place the bike box and other luggage. The number of people that use the bus is limited so it didn't seem like it would be a problem to get on with that amount of luggage ever. The driver was very accommodating and friendly. Here is a picture of my stuff waiting for pick up at the Station Mall stop on your side of the Soo.100_8017.jpg
Crossing back over was no problem either. I stopped at the toll plaza and even though it's not listed there is a reduced toll rate for bicycles. The traffic on the crossing was also not an issue.
The real scare happened later when I started riding on ON-17 east of Desbarats. Google directions had me follow Government Rd. for the stretch where ON-17 is four-lane divided but from Desbarats to Massey there were no other suggested alternative side routes. That is one scary road! Very narrow (less than bike width) paved shoulders, only loose gravel beyond that and trucks that go by at 100+ km/hr an arm's length away.
Would like to extend a thank you to the Ontario cyclists and others that went out of their way to help me along the route. One from your area, a guy named "Snooks" stopped to give me the details of the best alternatives to ON-17 as I was approaching the point were the old highway merged with the new one in Echo Bay. He gave me helpful landmarks to use to let me know I was on route and helped me know where to go to find Lee Valley Rd. in Massey. A big thanks to him.
Yes - 17 is an unavoidable part of riding from the Sault to Sudbury. Gad you found some local guidance to some of the back routes, and to Lee Valley road further on.
There is a movement to establish a marked bicycle touring route between the Sault and Sudbury, largely avoiding Hwy17, but like any project where one has to convince the Government to spend money, it is slow going. Hope to see it some day though .... waiting ... and waiting ...