As we enter Toronto’s 20th annual Bike Week, a celebration of the city’s vibrant cycling culture, it is important to recognize businesses that have lead by example. Sights on Bikes in one such company, providing an environmentally friendly and active alternative to the services provided by tour buses.
Whether cruising though downtown or cycling around the Toronto islands, participants are able to see all major tourist attractions as well as those hidden city gems that are inaccessible by car. According to Jordan Feilders, the company’s co-owner and manager, cycling allows for a holistic experience of the city. â€œOn a bike, you are right up against the cityscape,” he says. “You can move across the cobblestone, stroll right up to the base of a building and experience Toronto from a citizen’s viewpoint.â€
The company was created three years ago by two eco-conscious Torontonians and recent university graduates who believed in the benefits of cycling as a sustainable form of transportation. â€œGreen tourism has been successful in every major city,â€ says Feilders. â€œBicycles are an innovative, environmentally-friendly alternative to automobiles: they relieve rather than add to urban congestion, encourage active living, and allow for local citizens to engage with visitors. All in all, bike tours reinforce a positive, pro-green image of Toronto.â€
Inasmuch as Sights on Bikes has been getting a positive response from tourists and Torontonians alike, guides, being very familiar with the city’s streets, are forced to navigate through a downtown core that largely discounts the needs of the city’s biking population. â€œOur biggest problem is the lack of bike lanes,â€ says Feilders, â€œDecisions made by the city and local businesses seem to favor automobiles and are based on the flawed assumption that cars take priority over bikes and pedestrians.â€ That being said, Sights on Bikes is peddling forward and will be offering tours all summer long.