The City of Toronto aims to provide a safe, comfortable and bicycle friendly environment that includes bicycle-friendly streets, bike parks and an extensive paved multi-use trail network. We are developing safe, cost effective, and inclusive recreational cycling programs, and improving the condition and maintenance of our off-road cycling facilities. Parks, Forestry and Recreation also has a Natural Environment Trail Strategy to support and protect our ravines and natural area parks, while accommodating trail users including off-road cyclists. We are building partnerships, educating trail users through programs on safe riding and sustainable trail construction, and engaging women and other groups who typically have had low rates of participation in off-road cycling.
The development of off-road cycling in Toronto is part of a larger trend that originated on the west coast of North America and has spread across the globe. According to the Ontario Cycling Association and other organizations, off-road cycling is growing in popularity among people who prefer individual recreational activities. Some reasons for this are that off-road cycling:
- Is a great way to develop stamina and improve balance and co-ordination
- Lets people enjoy cycling in a natural or urban setting
- Is a flexible and creative sport that can be done using a range of bike types, on different surfaces including concrete, asphalt and more natural hillside trails, and can incorporate various man-made and manufactured obstacles, jumps and other features
- Is becoming more widely recognized, for example through the Olympics with cross-country racing the first form of mountain biking accepted as an Olympic sport in 1996 and BMX racing accepted in 2008