Tag Archives: CBP

13 Mar

Over the River XLIX

Highlights from my 49th two-wheeled trip to the Great State of New York:

1. While being questioned at US Customs, the CBP officer looked down at my pants and exclaimed, “You’re wearing the same pants we are!” The unusual revelation even attracted the attention of the officer in the next booth, who asked if I was with the CBSA. In any event, I get the feeling the U.S. government paid a lot more for the pants the officers were wearing than I did for mine at the thrift store.

2. Though I’m not sure why one would need it, for the benefit of tourists headed over the river, the Niagara USA Visitor Center offers a luggage storage service for $10.

3. It’s plainly obvious that staff at the Niagara USA Visitor Center say “hello” to guests only because they’re ordered to.

4. Passing a solvent plant on Buffalo Avenue, I spotted, of all things, a fox:

5. Farther east on Buffalo Avenue was a Snoopy aficionado with a doghouse out front. Loyal readers may recall that I spotted a similar homemade Snoopy display hanging from a tree outside a house in North Tonawanda four years ago.

6. Not that I’m big on Arby’s, but I’m sure old-style signs like this are indeed rare:

7. The level of courteousness at the Tim Hortons on Niagara Falls Boulevard as well as the Walmart on Military Road could use a major improvement. It was especially bad at Walmart, where the cashier, the nationwide winner of the Slowest Cashier of the Year Award, was grumpy and hardly said a word.

8. Walmart seemingly goes out of its way to recruit employees who are more than 75 pounds overweight.

9. Parking fail:

10. At the Rainbow Bridge toll gate, two cars lined up in a lane with a big red “CLOSED” sign overhead, while I went around to an open lane. Only when someone came out to tell them the lane was closed did they turn to follow me. More examples of people who just shouldn’t be driving.

23 May

Cycling Across the Niagara Bridges – A Reference Guide

Since coming to St. Catharines almost two years ago, I have acquired a significant amount of first-hand experience crossing the border on two wheels. Having even been asked by CBSA officers and tourism officials on both sides of the border on the procedures to cross on a bike, I have put together a guide for your reference:

Queenston-Lewiston Bridge (known by Americans as the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge)

With the non-intuitive process, I already did a little write-up on crossing this bridge, and I’ll point you to that blog entry here.

Given the heavy truck traffic on this bridge, I would highly recommend not using this bridge during the week and waiting until the weekend when the traffic is lighter.

When crossing from Canada to the U.S., there is a sign instructing cyclists to report to the toll captain before proceeding, but when I was last across, I asked the toll captain if I had to wait for him if no one was around. He said you don’t have to wait for anyone, and as long as you know the procedure, you can proceed.

Whirlpool Bridge

This bridge, connecting the downtown areas of Niagara Falls, Ontario and New York, is only for NEXUS card holders. I had to tell the CBSA officer who interviewed me for my NEXUS card the other day that, as per the NFBC’s website, cyclists are prohibited on this bridge, though there are no signs at the bridge expressly saying so.

Rainbow Bridge

This bridge at Niagara Falls is by far the best for a cyclist to use due to the fact that commercial trucks are prohibited and that it connects residential streets rather than Interstate-equivalent freeways. There are no longer any NEXUS lanes, but simply proceed with the cars and pay your 50-cent toll upon leaving the U.S.

For those looking for an extended journey, there is a stop for the #40 NFTA bus, which links Niagara Falls to Buffalo, at the first light past customs. Most NFTA buses have bike racks, and for $2 US, you can extend your range substantially. For more information, consult NFTA’s website.

Peace Bridge

On this bridge, connecting Fort Erie to Buffalo, cyclists must walk across in either direction. Unlike the NFBC, the bridge authority provides details and maps on their website, and I urge anyone crossing there to visit the site or watch the following video from the bridge authority:



I personally have not crossed into Canada on this bridge on two wheels, but I have walked over in the opposite direction. Do not proceed with the cars and instead approach the building on foot, press the buzzer and wait. Leave your bike outside at the rack provided and enter the building when prompted by a CBP officer. Inside, you will be processed and the officer will wave a handheld radiation detector around you as part of the inspection.

Once cleared, proceed through the parking lot, under the bridge and onto Busti Avenue. Downtown Buffalo will be to the south, and to the north, you can head toward the Shoreline Trail that follows the river north into Tonawanda, going under the South Grand Island Bridge and through Nia-Wanda Park.