Three locally based tourism transportation services see the value of working together and promoting each other for the benefit of tourism in Norfolk County.
Ride the Bine, Ride Norfolk and Red Apple Rides provide a variety of ways people can move between attractions, wineries, farm markets and restaurants in several towns. Their paths overlap in some cases – and the operators of each service plan to collaborate to better serve their collective customers.
Ride the Bine – Norfolk County’s first beer, wine and cider tour company – offers two regular tours focused on local wine, craft beer and food. The Com’Bine’Tour and the Tur’Bine’Tour are centered in parts of Norfolk County with clusters of wineries, specifically the Turkey Point and Waterford areas. The company also provides customized itineraries. Customers ride in “The Bine”, a Mercedes Benz 11-passenger van. Tours are priced at $95 per person. More at ridethebine.com.
Red Apple Rides offers guided scenic, historic, and culinary bike tours and bike rentals in Port Dover and Norfolk County. The company centers its operations in “Big Red”, a delivery van retrofitted to house 32 comfortable bicycles. The company employs guides to take customers on scheduled cycling tours with pre-arranged stops. Red Apple Rides currently focuses in the Port Dover area, including the culinary Foodie Tour ($89.99 per person) and the Historic Hidden Gems Tour ($39.99 per person). Private tours also available. Red Apple Rides also operates a bike and wine tour in Turkey Point and Bike and Yoga Tour, both through Long Point Eco-Adventures. More at redapplerides.com.
Ride Norfolk – Norfolk County’s municipally owned and operated public transit system – operates the “South Coast Shuttle” on weekends from May through September. Three 14-passenger vans connect the towns of Port Dover, Simcoe, Turkey Point, Vittoria, Normandale, Port Rowan and Long Point. Stops include wineries, restaurants, and farm markets. The service isn’t a tour per se, but a convenient way to get from place to place quickly and efficiently at a very low cost. A day pass costs $8 per person. More at ridenorfolk.ca.
The operators of the three services reacted with humour to the suggestion that they are hard competitive rivals, each trying to best or undermine the other. Such is not the case, they say, as each service offers something unique. Anyone who tries all three services will see they are each distinct from one another, opening up opportunities for joint operations rather than working in silos.
“Norfolk County has such an abundance of offerings and will only continue to grow,” said Susan Judd of Ride the Bine. “We all have such an excellent opportunity to encourage locals and visitors to experience Norfolk County in a way they haven’t been able to before.”
“Seeing Norfolk County is a must for both tourists and locals, and having our three business’ working together, everyone now has the opportunity to travel, learn, and experience everything Norfolk has to offer,” said Phil Poss of Red Apple Rides.
“Visitors and residents in Norfolk County now have a variety of options to get out and experience all that we have to offer without the worries that come with driving and parking,” said Brad Smith of Ride Norfolk.
Photo: The operators of Norfolk County’s tour services – Ride the Bine, Ride Norfolk, and Red Apple Rides – met recently to discuss collaboration and cross promotion. From left to right: Ride the Bine Co-owner Susan Judd, Ride Norfolk Coordinator Brad Smith, and Red Apple Rides Owner Phil Poss