“It’s about moving people. Getting people of all ages and abilities around Airdrie safely and efficiently,” says the co-founder of Bike Airdrie, a membership-supported community organization founded last year by local biking enthusiasts James Ash and Cody Bell.
While cycling around Airdrie to do everyday things, from grocery shopping to dining out, Ash and Bell recognized a need for addressing road closures, gaps and failing infrastructure.
Ash points out that activities, errands and chores normally done in a vehicle can be done in about the same time by bike, given the city’s residential speed limits of mostly 30 kilometres per hour.
Bike Airdrie’s long-term vision includes a change in infrastructure to make room for bikes on major routes. “Taking the (current) pathways and channelized intersections is not efficient, and can be dangerous,” Ash points out.
On a larger scale, Bike Airdrie is dedicated to making biking safe, fun and accessible for all ages and abilities. From hosting events to leading rides and encouraging members to get out and explore their community, the organization aims to create a culture of biking that enhances the Airdrie experience.
Spurred on by positive response and participation from the city’s residents, Bike Airdrie’s plan moving forward is to build a community of support.
To encourage and support the biking (or soon-to-be biking) public, Bike Airdrie has some great events planned for 2017. Calendar highlights include Date Night Saturdays, Canada Day parade/fireworks meet-ups with fellow bike enthusiasts, a Bike Your Life Week challenge in July, and the All City Championship – a multi-stop scavenger hunt and race by bike – planned for August.
In a perfect world, Ash would like to see Airdrie adopt the Copenhagen model, considered one of the best cities for biking culture in the world.
He knows the transformation won’t happen overnight, or even anytime soon, but Ash is content to take baby steps in the right direction.
“(Denmark is) light years beyond where I think we will get in my lifetime,” says Ash. “But anything is possible,” he adds with a smile.