The trail follows the bed of the former railway, which was lifeline of the Cape (it was killed-off by government-subsidized highway construction …) and therefore went through many villages. The bike trail then goes through the centre of many villages. It is common to find services along the trail, as shown in the picture above. Many commercial establishments recognized the value of the trail riders, and provided facilities:
Sometimes businesses put their signage on the trail. While this example isn’t of the highest aesthetic quality, it does tell what is available. Note that the roadside restaurant also provided its own cyclable trail to the restaurant and the prominent bike racks (we used another set nearer the front door, so we wouldn’t have to lock our bikes). This restuarant-outfitter-bike rental shop also had a fetch service with a van and trailer to pick you up at trail end.
The large roadside stop shown above was closed weekdays (October was end of season) but still had its bike racks and tables out. It had a large parking area with signage inviting people to park there (no charge) to go cycling. Outside vending machines and a washroom trailer provided facilities. And they had FREE air:
What a welcome change from the cyclist-as-annoyance attitude that prevails at so many businesses. I don’t mind paying for air — the machine does have a cost and requires a lot of maintenance — but it really annoys me to find Ottawa gas stations with coin operated air for cyclists and free air at the pump islands just for motorists. Grrr.
There were many “official” facilities too. In addition to benches, lookouts, and picnic tables
there was this “whistle stop” passenger shelter in a village centre close to the Sparrow hot chocolate and bakery shop.
A number of roadside motels were very close to the trail. Several featured their proximity to the trail on the front highway signage: AC, WiFi, Colour TV, direct access to the bike trail. It made the cyclist in me actually feel important, wanted, and valued. I haven’t felt anywhere nearly so loved when I deal with Ottawa BIA’s.
Other signs that the trail is important included marked entrances to campgrounds, subdivisions, and motels, often with brochure racks right on the trail:
Real estate along the trail is more valuable that places that aren’t. Adverts in real estate booklets and realtor shop windows often specified that they were close to or backing onto the trail. This house even put a sales sheet out on their lawn close to the path:
The signage still takes up a minuscule amount of the trail, and never felt intrusive. One could go for several kilometres and see nothing commercial. In other places, there were views of the backs of industrial properties, utility lines, and house backyards. Farms, creeks, subdivisions, country lot houses … it was all there for eye entertainment.
tomorrow: end of the trail … at the seashore