Red Deer is home to nearly 100,000 people, and in the recent integrated movement study it was found that nearly 80% of those work within 5km of their home.
Evan Harbinson, secretary of the Central Alberta Bicyle Club (CABC), said that knowing how close people work to where they live, it’s curious as to why more people aren’t on bicycles.
“People just need to get out of their cars and big trucks and hop on a bike. It might be five to ten minutes longer than driving, but with bike lanes and the trails there is no reason why you couldn’t get around cycling,” said Harbinson.
As a part of the CABC Harbsinon takes part in many weekly rides including the mountain bike rides from Wipe Out Ski & Bike on Monday’s and Thursday’s.
“We have a very mixed group some beginner and entry level but we also have some provincial and national racers in road and mountain bike riders.”
He said the general public are more than welcome to join the CABC for these rides. People are also invited to become a member of the CABC for a nominal annual fee, which also provides them a discount at Wipe Out Ski & Bike.
“Our rides always depend on the group. If we have a lot of beginners we do about an hour, or if we have a lot of advanced riders we will go as long as three hours or anywhere in between.”
He pointed out that the rides are not regimented and if people only want to ride half of the route they are welcome to do so.
The trail system in Red Deer is one feature of the City that many walkers, cyclists, hikers, joggers and runners utilize frequently.
“The trails are extensive and you can get from one end of the City to the other and really not touch the roads. They’re all linked whether it be from Bower Ponds, Heritage Ranch, Mackenzie Trails or anywhere else. They’re really well looked after and very kid friendly.”
Harbinson also pointed out that people are welcome to bring their children whether they be in bike trailers or trying the trails out for themselves.
“Last year we had about 20-25 people riding and six or eight of those were kids.”
The CABC even rides in the winter, within reason.
“We ride to about -20 and try to stay in the trees and out of the wind. It’s a good work out in the snow and we usually end up following a path that someone has walked.”
He added that the group is very friendly and there are a lot of years of experience behind many of the cyclists.
“People can come and learn a lot too just by coming out and asking questions or taking part in the whole or part of the ride for the evening.”
The Monday and Thursday night bike rides start at 6 p.m. so they are at a time where even someone who works full time could attend. Harbinson did say that vehicular commuters could be a bit more bike friendly but that over all the City is well set up for cyclists.
“People just need to be more bike friendly whether that means sharing the road with us or getting on their own bike and joining us. We’re just out to get some air and stay fit, we all have kids and don’t want to get hit by a car or anything. Just watch for bikes and share the road.”