Niagara Falls Bicycling
The bicycle was invented in the 1600s, originally a wood vehicle to be powered by people instead of horses. By the early 1800s, bicycles were consistently being built of metal, with two wheels, and were being driven by one person. The sport of cycling, and more recently mountain biking, has gained in popularity. Many us it as an environmentally-friendly form of transportation.
Cycling provides good exercise, fresh air, and a competitive challenge. It exercises most parts of the body including the legs, arms, hands and cardiovascular system. Cycling is also an Olympic racing sport with track and cross-country events. Mountain biking competitions continue to grow in popularity, combining speed with rugged terrain.
There are thousands of brands and types of bicycles, from touring to mountain bikes, even tandems and unicycles. Costs range in price from under $100 to thousands of dollars. It is important to maintain the bike so it is at peak running condition. Check for thinning tire treads, squeaky brakes, sticky cables or a bent frame. Before each ride, squeeze the tires to make sure there is enough air pressure (the tires shouldn't squeeze much).
Riders should also invest in a CSA-approved helmet, with costs ranging from $20 to more than $100. This means the helmet design has completed the Canadian Standards Association's durability testing. Other accessories include a quality lock & cable, a water bottle, and a tire pump. Many cyclists also want toe clips, to improve peddling efficiency. Serious cyclists also invest in cycling clothing including cycling shoes, spandex pants shorts (usually with soft chamois crotch padding) and cycling gloves.
Niagara has an increasing number of maintained and signposted cycling trails. Cycling Niagara, a cycle trail map is available from the regional tourism authority, the Niagara Economic and Tourism Corporation. Here are the most important rules for cyclists on Niagara's roads:
- Bicycles are considered vehicles, and must obey the same traffic laws as cars.
- Bicycles are not allowed on controlled access highways.
- All motorcyclists on provincial roads, regardless of age and including children, must wear standard protective helmets.
- Cyclists under the age of 18 must wear bicycle helmets. However, the Ministry of Transportation urges all cyclists, regardless of age, to wear a helmet.
There area a few cycling clubs in the Niagara area: Niagara Freewheelers Bicycle Touring Club, St. Catharines Bicycling Clu, and Sweeney's / Liberty MTB Team (no phone numbers were provided).
There are a number of popular trails for cyclists in the Niagara area:
- Welland Canal Trail, sections extend from Port Colborne to St. Catharines
- Niagara Parks Commission Recreation Trail, 56 kilometres from Niagara on the Lake to Fort Erie. Walk or bike this scenic 2.5 metre (8 foot) wide paved trail which runs parallel to the Niagara River, and includes 9 over creeks and historic markers. Trail users are cautioned that the trail was not designed to accommodate small wheel devices such as roller blades, roller skates or skateboards. Helmets are encouraged for cyclists of all ages.
- Friendship Trail newly developed 13.6 kilometer scenic pathway is Fort Erie Friendship Trail, paved between Historic Fort Erie west to Crystal Beach.
There are a number of bike routes in the New York ide of Niagara (from north to south):
- Four Mile Creek State Park Lake Road, Youngstown, NY 14174
- Fort Niagara State Park Robert Moses Parkway (Route 18F), Youngstown, NY 14174
- Reservoir State Park c/o Niagara Frontier Region, Niagara Falls, NY 14303
- Whirlpool State Park c/o Niagara Frontier Region, Niagara Falls, NY 14303
- Niagara Falls Riverwalk Niagara Falls, NY 14302
- Niagara Falls State Park Prospect Street, Niagara Falls, NY 14303, Phone: 716 278-1796
- Niagara Riverview TrailRobert Moses State Parkway, Niagara Falls, NY 14304
- Carveth Packet Park Market Street, Lockport, NY 14094
- Lockport Memorial Tree Garden Along south side of Erie Barge Canal, Lockport, NY 14094
- Samuel C. Pecoraro Park Market Street, Lockport, NY 14094
- Scalzo Park Market Street, Lockport, NY 14094
- Upson ParkClinton Street, Lockport, NY 14094
- Pendleton Town Park Campbell Boulevard, Lockport, NY 14094
- Golden Hill State Park9691 Lower Lake Road, Barker, NY 14102
- Nelson C. Goehle Widewaters ParkMarket Street, Lockport, NY 14094
- Margaret Droman Park - Middleport North Vernon Street, Middleport, NY 14105