Cycling Visionaries Awards – Project Details

Bike Town, Alberta

Bike Town, Alberta

Bike Town is a branding initiative of Devon, Alberta, Canada to create a more liveable environment for its citizens as well as drive tourism. Through a passionate community and supportive town council, Bike Town provides residents and tourists bountiful cycling opportunities, ranging from recreational to competitive and beginner to professional. Life is better in Bike Town so enjoy the ride!

Devon, Alberta, Canada recently branded itself as Bike Town Alberta. This may not be the first community to build a bike park, open a bike repair shop, have volunteer built trails, have sports groups begging to host events, create a non-profit organization linked to the brand, host 5 major provincial/national cycling races, receive over $500,000 of media exposure, engage a local celebrity who endorses the brand, and corporations coming forward to be a part of the movement… but how many communities have accomplished all this in only 24 months? Bike Town came about quickly and the momentum going forward is astonishing.

I am Evan, 21 years old, and this is my home town. I am a proud member of the brand leadership team and a founding director of the Devon Bicycle Association. I am honored and proud to be a part of the new Bike Town Alberta phenomena. Our story is unique in and I look forward to sharing it.

In a time when the oil-field driven economy has become unstable and the future unknown, the Town of Devon arrived on an economic development plan that seemed unrealistic for a small Albertan town built on oil. In 2010 the Town started the process of branding itself as ‘Bike Town AB’ with the goal of setting itself apart from neighbouring communities. Inspired by the adventurous nature of the residents and strengthened by the established cycling community, the branding has become a reality.

Accepted for its economic strengths in tourism, the Bike Town branding initiative has had far more impact than just straight dollar figures. Never before have the Devon youth been as engaged as they are now. In 2011, the youth of Devon proposed a bike park, which lead the town to winning $25,000 toward the park build and the opportunity to host the Kraft Celebration Tour and TSN Sportscentre. The bike park has completed phase 1 & 2 of construction, with phase 3 to start this year.

Not just about engaging the youth, the Bike Town branding also has strong community-oriented goals. The concept behind the Bike Town branding is working to make Devon more liveable as we grow and to encourage and facilitate active transportation. It’s about prioritizing our environment and reducing noise and pollution, increasing community socialization, interaction, and an increasing quality of life.

The Bike Town branding has seen much success already; youth involvement in the community, the construction of new recreational facilities, and the hosting of high level events, including Alberta’s first winter bike race, Alberta’s first fat-bike specific race, and being selected as a starting stage of the Tour of Alberta, the highest level UCI event in Canada! Education and advocacy are a priority for this initiative to move forward, and the work my community has undertaken inspires me to give back and continue being a part of it. I am currently completing the Mountain Bike Operations Certificate Program at Capilano University, and I look forward to returning home to share my new knowledge and passion for building Bike Town Alberta.

Even more exciting than what Bike Town has already achieved is what it’s set to achieve in the future. Imagine the year 2020 as Bike Town, originally home to no more than 20 km of bike paths, now has over 200 km of paths and trails along its ravines and beautiful river valley. Although the city has grown since the initiation of the Bike Town branding, traffic has not; most residents choose to bike to work rather than drive their car. 20 or more cycling events take place in Bike Town annually offering something for everyone, whether it’s the professional racer, or the recreational family. Bike Town truly does include everyone.

That’s the goal going forward. With early momentum, dedicated community members and a town council supportive of Bike Town, it’s getting closer and closer to a reality each day. The next 10 years for Bike Town is exciting, the world is watching and we can’t wait to see what the future holds!

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