Great article in the Star about the recent trend of hotels providing bikes for their visitors to use. The article includes info on the Drake Hotel offering bikes via SetMeFree, and the Royal York (and all Fairmont hotels) offering swanky BMW bikes for use:
"It's part of the desire now to step back from conspicuous consumption, and even things electronic," says Jeff Weinstein, editor of Hotels Magazine, an Oak Brook, Ill. -based trade magazine. "People want to be more authentic in their approach to travel and relaxation."
Indeed, there is nothing like getting around on a bike to make you feel like a local for a day, or an hour.
And looking good on two wheels has become a style statement too as stilettoed fashionistas get from A to B on cruisers, co-opting cycle culture from the lycra shorts and pants clip crowd.
The Drake hotel on Toronto's hipster Queen St West, has formalized the bike trend by offering a two-wheel themed package. Their Camp Drake programme, in effect till Labour Day, includes an overnight stay, two cruiser bicycles from Set Me Free on Roncesvalles Ave., a picnic lunch and a guide leading guests to ""bikeable events"" around town, such as the Canstage presentation of The Tempest at High Park. And if you're afraid of being bashed by an opening car door on Queen Street, as you gallery hop by bike, The Drake turns guests on to bike-friendly streets away from the scarier thoroughfares.
But it isn't just hotels that cater to the creative class, or even leisure travellers, that are cycle chic adopters. In fact, high-end hotels seem to be the ones hoisting the trend.
Toronto-based Fairmont group, in a recently announced partnership with BMW Canada, has rolled out a complimentary bicycle service featuring a fleet of BMW Cruise bikes. All the chain's Canadian properties now offer use of the two-wheel Beemers. Fairmont expressly chose the luxury level BMW for the initiative. "They are definitely state of the art, high end bikes which we thought fit in with the brand," says spokesperson Mike Taylor.
Fairmont's concierges also craft suggested routes. Nature lovers staying at the Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello, in Quebec, can spot wildlife as they wind bikes through the Canuck Nature reserve. A sample itnerary at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa goes along the Rideau Canal, past Dow's Lake, behind the Supreme Court and Parliament buildings.