News / Toronto

Rental bikes rolling into Toronto's Beaches

The city has issued a request for proposals to set up a bike rental stand in Ashbridges Bay Park in time for this summer.

New leisure bike rentals in the Beaches could include children's bikes and tandem bikes, depending on the bidder, said local councillor.

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New leisure bike rentals in the Beaches could include children's bikes and tandem bikes, depending on the bidder, said local councillor.

Day-trippers to The Beaches could soon be riding in style.

The city has issued a request for proposals to run a bike rental stand in Ashbridges Bay Park, similar to the one on the Toronto Islands.

“The Beach is like Muskoka to a lot of people, because not everybody has a cottage,” said local councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon.

Unlike the city’s Bike Share program, which serves part of the public transit network, these bikes will be for leisurely waterfront jaunts.

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McMahon would like to see some of the more whimsical designs island cyclists enjoy, like tandem bikes and six-seaters with canopies, though ultimately those details are up to the bidder.

The rentals fit into bigger picture plans to liven up The Beaches and build the area’s cycling network, she said, with the Martin Goodman Trail stretching along the shore and bike lanes planned on Woodbine Ave.

Jared Kolb, executive director of Cycle Toronto, says the proposed system would complement Bike Share, a system designed, and billed, based on 30-minute trips. Anything longer and “people get dinged,” he said, adding unsuspecting cyclists pedal the hulking bikes as far afield as south Etobicoke and along Queen Street East.

A rental system would cater to those tourists and recreational users that want to ride for a few hours.

“A bicycle is one of the best ways to see the city, especially looking at the waterfront and being able to explore the natural heritage,” Kolb said.

He adds that other private rentals exist along the waterfront, and bike shops also often offer short-term rental services.

The request for bids calls to have a system — stretching from Balmy Beach in the east to Cherry Beach in the Port Lands and out along the Leslie Street Spit — up and running by May 1 and operating until October.

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