The Red Deer Association for Bicycle Commuting (RDABC) is hosting an event this weekend aimed at encouraging inclusive and safe physical activity for all.
The first ever Cyclovia Red Deer is an ‘Open Streets’ event taking place from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. on August 12 and will see the downtown core temporarily closed to car traffic so people of all ages and abilities can use them for any non-motorized activity such as bicycling, rollerblading, walking and battery assisted wheeling like e-bikes and scooters.
In addition, satellite stations at the Collicutt Centre, Safety City and Dawe Branch of the Red Deer Public Library will be open to provide information and maps to the downtown activities. Once downtown, participants will have access to the various shops, activity booths, vendors and restaurants in the area.
Elizabeth Hagell, Team Lead for RDABC describes it as a global event that encourages people to be active.
“For health reasons, for mental health reasons, for the environment, just to get people moving,” says Hagell. “In Red Deer, most of all journeys are made by car and the median commuting distance is only three to four kilometres, so a 12 minute cycle ride. With new developments in downtown, trail extensions, the idea is the City believes Red Deer is ready for wider changes for bolder moves and more exciting possibilities to increase people in terms of active transport and mobility.”
She says an initiative such as this also helps build community.
“Lots of stuff gets talked about in terms of downtown and I think once people get down there, the fantastic food, coffee options, we’ll have shops open and local, all of that is owned by local people,” says Hagell. “So when we invest in local businesses, that money stays here and I think that’s key.”
Bill Franz, RDABC President says they’re hoping to get Red Deerians out to ride, walk, long board or roller blade in a vehicle-free environment on Sunday.
“One thing that Red Deer is failing on, is on meeting their air quality objectives in the Environmental Master Plan,” states Franz. “So one of the things we can do as individuals is to reduce our own contribution to air pollution by driving less. So we’re helping the City towards their environmental goals by promoting active transportation.”
Thanks to event partners like the Red Deer Primary Care Network, Stuart Olson, Canadian Western Bank, Berry Architecture Community Wellness Ride, the City of Red Deer and many others, Cyclovia Red Deer is offered at no cost to participants.
Red Deer Transit will also be providing free rides out of the downtown core between 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. to help those who might find it too difficult to get up some nearby hills. Tokens for those rides will be provided at the RDABC booth which will be located at the corner of 49 Avenue and Ross Street.
Motorists heading downtown can expect a few detours as multiple roads will be closed for the event.
The following streets will be closed on Sunday, August 12 from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.:
49 Avenue from 49 Street to 52 Street
50 Avenue from 49 Street to 52 Street
50 Street from 51 Avenue to 48 Avenue
51 Street from 50 Avenue to 48 Avenue
52 Street from 50 Avenue to 48 Avenue
Detours will be in place along 51 Avenue, 49 Street and 48 Avenue. Drivers are reminded to use extra caution and watch for pedestrians and cyclists in the area.
Also, Red Deerians are encouraged to attend the Snell Auditorium in the downtown branch of the Red Deer Public Library Friday night as former U.S. Olympic cyclist and Lance Armstrong teammate Tyler Hamilton will be signing copies of his New York Times Bestselling book: The Secret Race: Inside the Hidden World of the Tour de France: Doping, Cover-ups, and Winning at All Costs.
Hamilton is in Red Deer for the Berry Architecture Community Wellness Ride on Saturday, August 11. The Berry Architecture Community Wellness Ride is in support of the Canadian Mental Health Association (Central Alberta) and the Central Alberta Brain Injury Society. Supporting both of these organizations is important to Hamilton because of his commitment to mental health issues and the importance of brain injury prevention in cycling and sports in general. For more information on this event, visit www.wellnessride.ca.
For more information on Cyclovia Red Deer, visit bikereddeer.com.
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