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As pandemic lingers, cyclists gearing up for busy summer

Many local businesses on cycling routes operate as destination stops to try to encourage cyclists to visit by providing adequate bike parking facilities
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As cycling continues to become more popular, many businesses are hoping to attract riders as a destination point on popular routes. Rural roads are especially popular with cyclists due to the low amount of traffic.Stock photo from Pexels.

If you live in Simcoe County, you have no doubt encountered groups of cyclists riding on rural roads around the region.

The hills, open roads, and limited traffic on rural routes make the area an ideal location and challenge for many cycling clubs and groups.    

With travel likely to be limited this summer, the interest in cycling as a sport and form of recreation is increasing.

Many businesses along cycling routes have started a 'bicycle friendly' format to encourage riders to stop at their place during the ride.   

Ontario By Bike is an organization that promotes cycling in the province and promotes cycling events and the sport.  

Over 1,500 Ontario businesses have been certified by the organization as bike friendly.  

Awards have been presented to 13 businesses who ensure cyclists are welcome at their business. This includes cycle tourism, those on long road trips, or just local residents who like to ride a bike.  

“As Ontario residents hope soon to be able to make travel plans for the summer, booking any thing closer to home is a far safer bet," said Louisa Mursell, executive director of Ontario By Bike/Transportation Options.  

"With tourism being an extremely hard-hit sector, we are pleased to celebrate all the tourism businesses a part of our bicycle friendly business network, and in the third year of our awards, acknowledge those that have taken it to the next level,” said Mursell.  

Since 2021, Ontario By Bike has experienced a sharp increase in demand for cycling-related resources.  

Cyclists enjoy rides in places other than their home base.  

A survey shows 79 per cent of cyclists anticipate making a non-local regional ride this summer, with 81 per cent saying they are considering expanding their cycling trips beyond that of just day trips.  

Many businesses on cycling routes that operate as destination stops for tourists try to encourage cyclists to visit by providing adequate bike parking facilities. Others provide areas where cyclists can unload their bikes and use the business as a start and end location for a riding route.  

As more and more cyclists hit the road this summer, motorists are encouraged to keep an out for lone bicyclists as well as groups and give ample space when passing.

Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative, New Tecumseth Times. The LJI is a federally funded program.