CANMORE — The popularity of cycling in the Bow Valley continues to grow and at the Rocky Mountain Professional Centre, businesses have embraced a bike-friendly philosophy with upgrades to the facility.
The Town of Canmore’s bike friendly initiative has encouraged residents to switch from horsepower to pedal power and so far three businesses have signed up as being bike friendly – Bow Valley Primary Care Network (PCN), Rundle Physiotherapy and Back At It Massage and Acupuncture.
At the Rocky Mountain Professional Centre, three new bike racks were added, with parking for 24 bicycles and upgraded signage. The upgrades were the result of collaboration between the Town of Canmore, PEKA Property Management and the professional centre ownership group. Costs were offset by a grant available to business signing on to the Bike Friendly Canmore initiative.
Staff at PCN (1205 Bow Valley Trail), though, which promotes physical activity through its community wellness outreaches, believed more could be done and more organizations were recruited; Fusebox Coworking Studio and Precision Spinal & Wellness Centre, plus a PCN clinic based on Railway Avenue, Ridgeview Medical Centre.
Each business promoted bike culture in Canmore, with small gifts (coffee, ice cream) and draw prizes for cycling to work or appointments. Anyone who biked to an appointment with PCN received a free PCN branded water bottle.
Over the summer months, PCN promoted a ride to work challenge and draw prizes inspired the 28 riders to keep pedalling.
“It was the first year for all the businesses to sign on,” said Randi Lynn Rinaldi, PCN’s active living consultant, who was not a keen biker prior to the initiatives.
“We were happy it was our building. For now, we just wanted to create a culture within our building. I would say before this we would see each other in the halls, but didn’t know each other. Sometimes you don’t even know what businesses are in your building.
“But now I feel people have an idea of who else is around. It was a good fit with my position to start small and see what benefits we could have with a small population.”
Becoming bike friendly also addressed the number one concern at the PCN building, which was parking. Parking is limited at the building and having staffers arrive on bikes meant accessible parking for customers and clients using services provided in the building.
“This year, our main focus was getting staff to try and shift that culture; to get staff to ride. That’s why individual businesses did staff perks. The bike challenge was staff only, though,” said Rinaldi.
“Every day there was likely 10 to 15 staff who chose to ride instead of drive. In summer, when it was super busy, biking was the most efficient way to get around.
Reflecting on this year’s success, he said he was optimistic the campaign would continue next summer.
“I believe we’ve built enough momentum this year to continue to grow the Bike Friendly Canmore campaign in our building next summer. Those who took part enjoyed it and we definitely saw some underground people rack up 30 rides over the summer.
“I think it’s just a bit of extra motivation to say you’re going to do it for yourself. It’s trying to motivate people, like me, to take part. And there was some fun camaraderie around it.”
“I think installation of bike racks was good this year; that was thanks to a grant from the Town of Canmore. Next year we might do something like find some old commuter bikes that we can have in the bike rack all the time for people to use.”
Between mid-June and the end of August, ride to work participants logged more than 600 bike rides to work, resulting in 600 car spaces freed up.