Bicycling Lake Erie
Cycling Around Lake Erie; Detroit River Crossing New information
Rock & Roll Museum, Cleveland, Ohio © Harvey Botzman, 2004.
Cycling around Lake Erie is a wonderful experience of sights and
sounds. Wonderful rural bicycling on both the USA and Canadian sides of the Lake will make
your legs spin with joy. On Lake Erie or within a mile of the waterfront are diversions
ranging from the Rock & Roll Museum to high rolling casinos.
This Great Lake has a cycling circumference of 725 mi. or 1170 km.
Through the cities of Windsor, Leamington, Cleveland, Detroit and Buffalo; along the rural
roads of Southwestern Ontario, Western New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio; across the Lake
via ferries and Islands the cyclotourist travels!
Jutting out on a peninsula into the Lake, Point Pelee National Park is
a gem in Canadas National Park System. Noted for its extensive system of paths
and its avian wildlife this unique Park will delight your senses.
Riding through rural Southwestern Ontario the many port villages along
the Lakes North shore will provide entertainment and fine dining experiences.
Provincial Parks and Conservation Areas provide camping facilities and outdoors
experiences. Almost every small Ontario village has a fine bakery too. Ontarians greet
touring bicyclists as friends rather than tourists.
New York's shoreline begins at Buffalo's rejuvenated waterfront with
its Naval Museum, Erie Canal Historic docks and Riverview Trial to Tonawanda (Erie Canal)
and Niagara Falls. Buffalo has a vibrant downtown with theaters, historic sites and
wonderful architecture, a city not to be missed. From there, the shoreline goes into rural
areas with State Parks and small cities with historical links to the War of 1812. A bonus
tour in this Guide Book is the route around Chautauqua Lake with its famed Chautauqua
Presque Isle with its 17 miles of trails and beautiful beaches will
delight your senses with its unique flora and fauna. Its on a peninsula and
accessible by bike from nearby Erie, PA via road or aquabus.
Rounding the broad sweep of the Lake's shoreline in Ohio are small
towns like Geneva-on-the-Lake. The village's traditional amusement park rides will bring a
smile to your face as much as the mega-sized Cedar Point Amusement Park outside of
Sandusky brings thrills to you. The beaches at Port Clinton on the South shore will amaze
you as much as the resort villages on the North shore.
Riding through the industrial heartland of North America you will visit
industrial and social history museums as you go from Cleveland to Detroit. Cross the
Detroit River by a unique ferry rather than waiting for the bridge pick up truck or
hitching a ride with a passing motorist.
The trails along both sides of the Niagara River from Buffalo, NY or
Fort Erie, ON to Niagara Falls are in this tour guidebook.
The only map and itinerary of the entire bicycle route along the
Welland Canal connecting Lakes Erie and Ontario is in this wonderful bicycling tour book.
Just plain enjoy yourself on this cyclotour
For general rules about crossing international borders, please scroll down to or simply
click: Crossing International Borders
For Niagara River Bridge crossing information, please scroll down to or simply click: Niagara River Bridges
'Round Lake Erie: A Bicyclist's Tour Guide, 2nd
156 pages. 21 maps. 25 illustrations. 8.5"x5.5"/21.6cm.x14cm.
book size. Perfect bound.
ISBN: 188960223X or ISBN: 978-1-889602-23-3: LCCN: 2003-091855
to order 'Round Lake Erie: A Bicyclist's Tour Guide, 2nd Ed.
Click on the icon below to use a credit/debit card to order our book
& maps. Please send us an email, firstname.lastname@example.org
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description of this book, 'Round Lake Erie: A Bicyclist's Tour Guide, please
scroll up to or simply click:
Cycling Around Lake Erie, which is immediately above the following
information about crossing the Detroit River.
Go to these Lake Erie web sites for special enhanced topical information:
State (NY) Council on Waterways: http://www.scow.net/scow_links.htm
PA Visitors Network: http://www.pavisnet.com
Info Buffalo: http://www.infobuffalo.com/bike.htm
Brock Univ., St. Catharines (northern end of
Welland Canal), Summer Accommodations, www.brocku.ca/sportsres,
2008 Information: Detroit River Crossing: 'Round Lake Erie & 'Round Lake
A. As a cyclotourist you will be traveling overland. The USA passport
requirement does not apply to you until January 1, 2009.
C. Canada does not require a passport from USA citizens to enter
Canada. USA citizens only need to have some form of official government issued picture
identification to enter Canada.
II. Bridges, Tunnels & Ferries
A. Crossing the Detroit River is a problem for both residents of
Detroit/Windsor and touring bicyclists. There are no bike racks or baggage holds on the
buses going through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel (folding bikes can be brought inside the
buses); the Ambassador Bridge absolutely forbids bicyclists on either the roadway or the
walkway; sometimes there is and sometimes there is not an Ambassador Bridge/Michigan DOT
pick-up truck to take cyclists across the River via the Bridge.
1. Get your thumbs ready! To cross the Detroit
River, you will have to hitch a ride with a friendly motorist.
2. As of mid-August, 2006, is no longer
permitted to transport passengers or cyclotourists with their bicycles across the Detroit
River. Of course, neither the USA's Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency nor
Canada's Border Services Agency (CBSA) ever thought about cyclotourists traveling from the
USA to Canada or from Canada to the USA!
3. The Pelee Island Ferries between
Leamington/Kingsville, Ontario and Sandusky, Ohio are the alternative to crossing Lake
Erie near the western end of the Lake.
a. These ferries are
operated by Owen Sound Transportation & the Ontario Ministry of Transportation. A
current schedule and other information is available at: www.ontarioferries.com. We enclose the Pelee
Island Ferries schedule with any 'Round Lake Erie book ordered directly Cyclotour
b. Using the Pelee
Island Ferries will eliminate approximately 150 mi./240 km. from the Lake Erie
circumnavigation route. If you must fully circumnavigate the entire Lake then you
have to go to Detroit/Windsor and hitch a ride across the River.
c. The Pelee Island
Ferries have a limited cross Lake Erie schedule in the Spring & Fall.
d. The Pelee Island
Ferries alternate their departures from either Leamington or Kingsville depending upon the
month. Make certain you go to the correct departure city.
e. You must telephone
the ferry on the day you plan to travel across the Lake to make certain the ferry is
f. As of January 1,
2009, only a government issued passport will be accepted as identification for entering
the USA by land or via ferry. You can enter Canada with an alternative form of a
government issued picture identification.
4. There are no USA based ferries or excursion
boats crossing Lake Erie from mainland to mainland.
a. During the Spring
and Autumn birding seasons there is one excursion boat taking birders from Sandusky, OH to
Pelee Island, ON on one day in each season. You will not be able to go to or from the
Ontario mainland from Pelee Island during these birding excursions.
Use the click overs at the top or bottom of this page to pedal around our web
Here's a modified map from the 1st Edition. It now includes the
Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry.
Click on any of the page titles at the top
or bottom of this page to discover more information about our bicycle tour guides for awe
inspiring cycling areas in North America and 'round the world.
I. General Rules for Crossing International Borders
A. As a cross border traveler you are subject to all the rules and
regulations of both nations in regard to customs and immigration. You might be asked to
show each item in your panniers.
B. Do not try to avoid the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) or the
USA Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
C. Use the Equipment Lists in the appendix of each Cyclotour Guide Book
to inventory what you are bringing into either the USA or Canada.
1. When first entering either nation have the
CBP or CBSA officer officially stamp your Equipment Lists (each page).
a. A better way of
handing these officially stamped Equipment Lists is to have the Lists stamped when leaving
one nation and entering the other nation. However, it is rare that you will be questioned
upon departure from either nation.
2. Show the officially stamped Equipment List
to the CBSA or CBP officer when re-entering either nation.
II. Identification needed for crossing the USA-Canada Border
A. As of January, 2007, only a government issued passport will be
accepted as identification for entering the USA by air.
B. As a cyclotourist you will be traveling overland. The passport
requirement does not apply to you, land travelers, until January 1, 2009.
C. Canada does not and will not require a passport from USA citizens to
enter Canada. USA citizens only need to have some form of official government issued
picture identification to enter Canada.
D. Passports: If you do not have a passport then Cyclotour Guide Books
strongly urges you to apply for one immediately. Do not wait until January 1, 2009 to
apply for a passport.
1. Follow the instructions on the passport
application. Any variation from the instructions will delay the issuance of your passport.
2. It takes from 2-12 weeks to receive a
passport from a government.
3. You will need an original "raised
seal" birth certificate and other documents.
a. It may take from 1
hour to many months to acquire these other documents.
4. You will need at least 2 identical
photographs of a specific size and photographic paper quality. Usually only photographs
taken by a commercial photographer or an agent of the government passport office can be
used as passport photographs.
5. Visas are not necessary to enter either
nation unless you are a citizen, with a valid passport, of a nation other than Canada or
6. You can obtain a USA passport application
online, at most US Post Offices and at most county clerk offices.
7. You can obtain a Canada passport application
online, at Canada Post outlets and at Service Canada Centres.
1. USA Passport Services Office: http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html
2. Passport Canada/Passeport Canada: http://www.ppt.gc.ca/index.aspx?lang=e
III. Niagara River Crossings
A. Peace Bridge: Fort Erie, ON - Buffalo, NY
1. Web site: www.peacebridge.com
2. No tolls for bicycles.
3. You must use the Bridge sidewalk/walkway.
You can not ride on the sidewalk/walkway, you must walk your bicycle. Very late at night
or very early in the morning when there is very little traffic the toll booth attendant
may allow you to bicycle across the bridge on the roadway. Avoid hassles use the walkway.
B. Rainbow Bridge: Niagara Falls, ON - Niagara Falls, NY
1. Web site: www.niagarafallsbridges.com
2. Toll: Bicyclists & pedestrians: 50 cents
($.50) in either USA or Canadian currency
3. Bicyclists must use the Bridge
sidewalk/walkway. You can not ride on the sidewalk/walkway, you must walk your bicycle.
You may have to remove your panniers in order to go through the pedestrian gate/turnstile
on this bridge. For this reason many loaded cyclotourists ride on the roadway regardless
of the traffic. Very late at night or very early in the morning when there is very little
traffic the Bridge authorities may allow you to bicycle across the bridge on the roadway.
Avoid hassles use the walkway.
C. Lewiston-Queenston Bridge: Lewiston, NY - Queenston, ON
1. Web site: www.niagarafallsbridges.com
2. No pedestrians allowed on the walkway.
3. The Lewiston-Queenston Bridge is the major
truck route to cross the River.
a. The toll booths are
on the Queenston side of this Bridge.
b. No restrictions
concerning bicycles are listed on the Bridge Authority's web site or in its printed
c. As of the 2008,
cycling season there does not appear to be any problem, other than slow traffic, for
cyclotourists crossing the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge. Previously, some cyclotourists
reported they were stopped from using this Bridge; other bike tourists reported they paid
a toll or did not pay a toll and then were allowed to cross this Bridge on the roadway or
walkway (very narrow walkway).
d. If you are forbidden
to use the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge do not argue with the toll booth officer.
1) Simply bicycle to the bikeway which parallels the Niagara River, on either side of the
River (see the maps in our guide books), and cycle to Niagara Falls or Buffalo/Fort Erie.
Cross the River using the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls or the Peace Bridge in
2) You will be bicycling ~10 mi. or ~16 km. out of your way. It is preferable to bicycle
the distance than have your panniers completely searched and you interrogated by the CSA
3) It is a steeper climb up to the Bridge from Lewiston than from Queenston to the Bridge.
4. If a bicycle toll is assessed then it will
be: 50 cents ($.50) in either USA or Canadian currency
D. Whirlpool Bridge
1. Bicyclists must have NEXUS certification to
use the Whirlpool Bridge.
2. Bicyclists may be forbidden to use the
Whirlpool Bridge. Do not argue with the Bridge Authority officer, simply bicycle & use
to the Rainbow Bridge to cross the River.
3. If a bicycle toll is assessed then it will
be: 50 cents ($.50) in either USA or Canadian currency
IV. Detroit River Crossing: 'Round Lake Erie & 'Round Lake Huron
Crossing the Detroit River is a problem for both residents of Detroit
& Windsor; and touring bicyclists. There are no bike racks or baggage holds on the
buses which go through the Tunnel (only folding bikes can be brought inside the buses);
the Ambassador Bridge absolutely forbids bicyclists on either the roadway or the walkway;
and there sometimes is and sometimes is not a Bridge/Michigan DOT pick up truck to take
cyclists across the River.
Our most recent communiqué with the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry has
made us very sad. The Canada Border Services Agency and the US Customs and Border
Protection Agency have prohibited the Truck Ferry from transporting bicyclists & their
Now, crossing the Detroit River involves making a sign and using your
thumb to hitch a ride. Grab a bit of a discarded box and write in 3 in./7.3 cm to 5 in./12
cm. high letters: To Windsor or To Detroit. Wait at the entrance/on ramp to either
the Bridge or the Tunnel with your thumb extended and the sign on your chest. A friendly
motorist will stop and help you out.
Thumbing your way across the Detroit River can not be considered an
adequate way for bicyclists to continue their journey.
Cyclotour Guide Books encourages all bicyclists (tourists and locals)
to continually write to the: Michigan Department of Transportation; Ontario Ministry
of Transportation; County Executive, Wayne County, Michigan; and the
The Detroit River International Crossing Project is evaluating the
efficacy of the various Detroit River transportation crossings. In bicycles are not
mention in any of the reports of this Project. Cyclotour Guide strongly urges all
bicyclists to write to the following transportation project leaders requesting that
bicycling facilities be included in any new or reconstructed international transportation
crossings of the Detroit River.
Our experiences with this type of handwritten and emailed
advocacy at the start and during the reconstruction phases of the Peace Bridge (Fort Erie,
ON/Buffalo, NY) resulted in significant changes in design of this Bridge to better
accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians. Simply state the point that bicyclists need to be
able to cross the Detroit River by their own power on a walkway or via bike racks on the
trans-River buses. Don't forget to sign, legibly print your name and include your full
address in the letter/post card. Here are the important addresses:
Mr. Dave Wake
Windsor Projects Coordinator
Ministry of Transportation
659 Exeter Road
London, Ontario, Canada, N6E 1L3
Fax (519) 873-4789
Mr. Mohammed Alghurabi
Senior Project Manager
Michigan Department of Transportation
Murray Van Wagoner Transportation Building
425 West Ottawa Street
P.O. Box 30050
Lansing, Michigan, U.S. 48909
Phone: (517) 373-7674