Bikaramba and I (@autom8) started following each other on Twitter soon after I started writing about cycling in Toronto (thanks @blogTO!) And thank you, Twitter. You have proven time and again that you are seriously the iconic face of social media. No one messes with how exceptional you are at connecting people, places and things.
Bikaramba’s mission is to “make the amazing experience of discovering Canada by bicycle more accessible to others – both new and more seasoned riders.” Cycling from Toronto to Montreal (their ‘Classic Canadian Tour’) is in fact a brilliant experience. I have done this route myself in 2000 during the early days of Friends For Life Bike Rally (second annual). And in 2002, I also did a week long cycling tour of Provence in the south of France—so yes, I know exactly what the bike touring experience is like. And I think everyone should do it.
Scenic adventure, peace of mind
“Active travel naturally attracts participants who are adventurous and enthusiastic, so our participants enjoy the trips and are thrilled to have the opportunity to explore Canada by bike,” notes Dorothea one of Bikaramba’s partners.
Those experienced with bike tours know the score: it’s not Tour de France. Racing to the next destination misses the point of savouring the landscape, including some of eastern Ontario’s picturesque countryside, serene lake shore vistas and the gradual but distinct transformation in flora as you follow the St. Lawrence river towards Montreal.
“For our rides, this is a great opportunity to spend time with family members and friends, or meet like-minded travelers who are excited to tour at their own pace, while we take care of all the arrangements – hotels, maps, road support, a tour guide and camaraderie on the road.”
An experience that offers the freedom of the road with peace of mind, as Dorothea puts it, is indeed what you should expect when embarking on a guided bike tour. “Biking long distances without having to carry all your luggage on your bike is pretty great!”
And Bikaramba has had very positive feedback from their participants. One cyclist said,”The level of support and the doable length of the routes are what it took to get me to do this, but I might be looking for ways to increase the challenge. Thanks so much for everything!”
Exploring the true north, strong and free
I am always curious about the initial departing and final arrival points of a tour. To this effect, Dorothea explains that the starting point for the Toronto tours is the hotel where riders stay the night before the start of the trip.
“We hold a Meet ‘n Greet/Orientation session the night before our departure day to talk about the trip and make sure everyone is fully prepared. In the morning, riders have breakfast (which is included) and everyone leaves and rides at their own pace. We always aim to book quality accommodation where riders can feel comfortable and relaxed. We also focus on variety, to create an experience that is diverse and interesting.”
Dorothea also notes that they haven’t had requests to provide return transport, as people usually like to spend additional time in Montreal, fly back to their hometown directly or take the train.
“It is very easy to travel with bikes nowadays and we provide people with information and help on how to pack and transport their bikes. Our goal is to attract visitors from around Canada but also from around the world.”
Bikaramba’s tours tend to be in the summer/fall months but depending on demand they are always flexible in terms of adding more dates.
“We are working on adding more tours and are planning on eventually expanding throughout the country. We are looking to add a new trip from Quebec City along the coast to Bathurst in New Brunswick. There is also some preliminary planning around trips in Alberta and BC.”
- Visit Bikaramba on the web and/or follow them on Twitter
- See also their FAQ page for more useful and informative details