Mid-Life Cycling

Mid-Life Cycling

17 June 2019

Keeping Out The Hordes Of Bikes From Canada

The US Department of Homeland Security's mission statement begins with this:

  The vision of homeland security is to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure and resilient against terrorism and other hazards.  

  Three key concepts form the vision of our national homeland security strategy designed to achieve this vision:

  • Security,
  • Resilience, and 
  • Customs and Exchange.

In their efforts to achieve that vision, the DHS has helped to keep out all kinds of threats, including would-be terrorists and weapons.

And, now, bicycles.

One mile separates Prescott, in the Canadian province of Ontario, from Ogdensburg, in the US state of New York.  That mile is the width of the St. Lawrence River. 

Until 1960, ferry service linked the two cities.  That ended when the Ogdensburg-Prescott International Bridge. The US side of the bridge is indeed in Ogdensburg, but the Canadian side funnels vehicles into Johnstown, a few kilometers east of Prescott.

There has been talk of reviving, not only a ferry service for vehicles, but of boat crossings for cyclists that would take 12 passengers and bikes on each trip.  

In fact, Brett Todd, the mayor of Prescott, has met with the Ogdensburg City Council to seek support--which he already has in his hometown--for a pilot project that would shuttle bicycles two weekends this summer.  He suggested the 19-21 July, which is Founders' Weekend in Ogdensburg, and 2-4 August, which is a civic holiday in Ontario.

Apparently, the folks on the New York side of the river are in favor of the project.  But their city council hasn't been able to do something that Todd has managed to do in his town.  He met with Canada Border Security, and they offered to support the pilot project, free of charge for two years. On the other hand, he explains, "Requests made by Ogdensburg city officials have not been met with quite as keen a response."

Those requests to the US Customs and Border Protection and Department of Homeland Security, he recalls, came back asking for new facilities and manpower the committee saw as excessive, especially considering how few passengers and bikes would be involved.  "An average family with a pontoon boat could bring that many people into the country," he said.

And they could start a chain migration of more people--and bicycles. Oh, my!


  1. Coline--Some of us joke that it's the reason why some states are trying to legalize recreational marijuana: He's certainly generating a demand for it!