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Train west from Kingston that allows bikes?

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McKees Rocks, PA
posts: 436
Train west from Kingston that allows bikes?

I will be circumnavigating Lake Ontario by bicycle, going counter clockwise starting in Buffulo. As a last minute decision, I decided to add the Boldt Castle into my tour. Because of scheduling issues I will need to make up a day using public transit if I visit the castle.

I am figuring on being in Alexandria Bay the day I see the castle (I will be coming from Watertown). The the next day ride to Kingston via the Thousand Islands Bridge and then jump on a train to the next town.

I am familiar with the Go Train near Toronto that allows bicycles but it seems that train doesn't come from much past Ajax.

Is there a similar train where I can head west of Kingston that allows bikes?

Can anyone think of a better option than Alexandria Bay, for me to visit the Boldt Castle? I was hoping the leave from the Island on a Canadian ferry but due to customs that is not allowed.

12 replies to this topic
SE Ontario
posts: 7,241
reviews: 8
1. Re: Train west from Kingston that allows bikes?

GO transit is commuter train ... it stops at Oshawa.

VIA Rail, which is the national rail service ( a la Amtrak) allows bikes.

http://www.viarail.ca/

You can pick it up in Kingston.

Concerning Boldt Castle cruise - you can either do it from Alexandria Bay, or from Gananoque on the Canadian side.

www.visit1000islands.com/visitorinfo/…

Edited: 1:52 pm, May 17, 2014
McKees Rocks, PA
posts: 436
2. Re: Train west from Kingston that allows bikes?

Thanks phpr,

I saw Via's website but I was a bit confused. Looks like there is a $25 charge for bikes. Do you know if that is just if you need to check bikes as baggage? I see that certain trains have a RORO service while other trains require boxing.

I thought about leaving from Gananoque instead. I am not sure what my best option would be. Have you seen cost comparisons between the providers? Seem Alexandria Bay would be cheaper since it is closer, it might also give us more options as far as schedule.

SE Ontario
posts: 7,241
reviews: 8
3. Re: Train west from Kingston that allows bikes?

Only one train with bike racks that doesn't require boxing - #63 Not sure how the fees work ... you could email or call them to inquire.

#63 goes Kingston - Belleville -Cobourg - Oshawa - Toronto. But I believe it leaves Kingston about 1pm or so.

Can't help on the cruises.

Ottawa, ON
posts: 1,839
reviews: 59
4. Re: Train west from Kingston that allows bikes?

For visiting Boldt Castle, your best option is Uncle Sam Boat tours from Alexandria Bay. A ten minute journey, boats every half hour, stay as long as you want on Heart Island. The option from Gananoque is a 5 hour cruise, with a 2 hour stop at Boldt Castle.

Ottawa, Canada
posts: 1,015
reviews: 5
5. Re: Train west from Kingston that allows bikes?

http://www.viarail.ca/en/bike

It looks like the train listed above (63) does have bike racks. There is still the $25 charge for the bike, but you should not have to box it. Not sure if you can prebook a spot for the bike.

As for Bolt Castle, I would personally take the Uncle Sam one from the US side.

McKees Rocks, PA
posts: 436
6. Re: Train west from Kingston that allows bikes?

Thanks everyone for the advice and information. It was very helpful.

That $25 charge might change things. Need to check with my touring buddy. Seems a bit excessive just to haul a bike. This is done for free on tons of trains in Europe. I can't figure out why Canada and the US can't get it right with bikes. At least Canada has the service on a number of trains. Only a few trains in the US allow you to roll the bike on.

Kingston, Canada
posts: 66
reviews: 143
7. Re: Train west from Kingston that allows bikes?

Hello Spinnaker

I have a few suggestions you might want to consider. Ride your bike to Rockport on the 1000 Islands Parkway (the nicer and more direct route down along the river, the actual road off the parkway is Headlands Way) Rockport has two cruise lines which will take you on very nice tours of the islands including stops at Boldt Castle. You may wish to confirm with the 1000 Island Bridge Authority regulations concerning crossing with your bike. I took a quick look at their rules and it seems to suggest that you must walk your bike on the sidewalks over the two bridges. While the views are spectacular the traffic could be quite hazardous on a bicycle. Another alternative you could consider would be taking a boat cruise from Gananoque with a stop at Boldt Castle, then ride back to Kingston and cross using the Wolfe Island Ferry and Hornes Ferry to Cape Vincent, NY. These are smaller crossings, without the challenging inclines of Ivy Lea, the Wolfe Island Ferry is free, Horne's Ferry is $2 for passengers, they don't show any price for bicycles, The ride across Wolfe Island is very nice and if it is a nice day you could consider a stop at Big Sandy Bay, a popular swimming beach with kids from Kingston.

Hope this information is helpful. Enjoy your visit and I hope you are leaving time to visit Kingston.

detroit
Destination Expert
for Niagara Falls
posts: 5,134
reviews: 18
8. Re: Train west from Kingston that allows bikes?

We are more car friendly then bicycle friendly here in North America, not everybody still loves it this way but change doesn't come quickly. Guess the train companies would rather you rent a car then take your own bike along. Its big money helping big money the way I see it.

What really gets me is seeing those double baby strollers that are big as my bike allowed on to buses and nobody will ever compliant, they quickly move over to make extra room. Yeah babies should come first but.....

Edited: 2:42 pm, May 26, 2014
Ottawa, Canada
posts: 440
reviews: 13
9. Re: Train west from Kingston that allows bikes?

At least VIA is making allowances for bikes on some trains (however limited the number). A few years ago my husband and a friend wanted to take a train from Ottawa to Toronto - with their bikes - then cycle back to Ottawa. The only option offered by VIA was to have a courier service pick up the packed bikes a few days prior to their departure (meaning someone would have to take a day off work to be home for the pick-up) then have the travelers retrieve the bikes from Union Station. I believe there was a cost involved, though I can't remember how much.

It sounded so complicated that I ended up driving the guys to Oshawa with their bikes. Having now cycled -- and taken trains with our bikes, without any hassle - throughout France, Belgium, England and the Netherlands, we find it doubly frustrating that the same ease of transportation just isn't available here in our own country. It's unfortunate that the tourist industry has so far ignored the huge potential for cycle tourism in this part of Ontario. Thus endeth my rant.

McKees Rocks, PA
posts: 436
10. Re: Train west from Kingston that allows bikes?

stillssmoking,

Your comments are spot on. And what is worse is what airlines charge for bikes these days. I would be willing to bet the price of my ticket that the combined weight of me, my bike and my luggage is less than the weight of the average passenger and their luggage. Yet they don't pay the extra amount.

I weighed myself on one of those truck scales on a recent tour of the Oregon coast. My combined weight of everything (including me) was 250lbs. There are plenty of Americans that weigh that without their luggage.

I was a little shocked that I weighed that much. I could probably downsize a bit on what I carry. But it was the wet cold Oregon coast so brought along plenty of warm clothes and rain gear.

Edited: 8:28 pm, May 26, 2014
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