Calgary tour de nuit Society

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The Calgary tour de nuit Society, which has now become Canada’s fastest growing active and sustainable transportation organization (ASTO), is able to report success in its plan to form a national cycling advocacy organization. CtdnS was asked to participate in the planning of this summer’s River Festival (aka the Bow River Flow) by the City of Calgary and organized Calgary’s first on-street, closed-road ride to highlight the need for commuter cycling infrastructure in Calgary. (Sorry, multi-use pathways limited to parks to not constitute transportation infrastructure.)

The ‘Ride the Road’ Tour is modeled on Montreal’s transformative tour la nuit which put thirteen thousand cyclists on Montreal roads normally choked, at the best of times, with car traffic. 2009 is the twenty-fifth anniversary of Montreal’s older tour d’ isle which now has thirty-five thousand participants.
The ‘Ride the Road’ Tour and the Calgary Bicycle Festival are the two largest commuter cycling events that have ever been held in Calgary.
Calgary tour de nuit Society, which has expertise in accomplishing a lot with almost nothing, utilized resources from around the world: the Cycle Tourism Club and Bike Week (both UK cycling organizations), Bicycle Victoria (the world’s most successful ASTO which extensively utilizes Canadian consultant Dr. Douglas McKenzie-Mohr for program development), the City of Toronto, Alliance for Biking and Walking (a national US cycling organization) and the Cascade Bicycle Club.
CtdnS has a broad base of funding including the Council Strategic Initiatives Funding, Alberta EcoTrust, and North America’s most successful Independent Bicycle Dealer Sponsorship program which 17 of 21 Calgary bike stores support (as well as two out-of-town IBDs).
Two recent events sparked consternation among the leaders of municipal and regional active and sustainable transportation organizations. Snowmobile and all-terrain manufacturers created an organization called the National Trails Coalition and green-washed it with representation of hikers and mountain bikers. It received twenty-five million dollars of federal stimulus money to develop trails across Canada. The grant is one hundred times greater than the operating budgets of all cycling promotion groups in English Canada put together. Of course the greatest environmental impact to decrease carbon emissions and greenhouse gases can be achieved by transportation mode shifting from single occupant vehicles to bicycles in an urban environment.
A second issue was a surprising move by an obscure Ontario cycling advocacy group to intervene directly with senior managers of a US industry supplier to have its entire advocacy budget for Canada directed to its program. Only about $30,000 dollars will be misappropriated but US-based bicycle suppliers and distributors have under funded bicycle mode development in Canada because of the poor commuter organization in English Canada for years.

In 2004, the British Columbia Cycling Coalition and Vélo Québec, Canada’s only functioning provincial organizations discussed the need for a national organization but decided that a lack of funding made it prohibitive to start. Montreal is home to one of the world’s most influential commuter cycling promotion organizations.

In the spring, the Calgary tour de nuit Society convinced the Centre for Sustainable Transportation at the University of Winnipeg to become the lead organization to promote a national active transportation organization. Eight months after filing a funding application to the Federal Government, the Centre is still waiting for a response to its proposal. One of its explicit objectives is to equalize the bicycle industry’s investment in sustainable transportation market develop between Canada and the United States. The empirical evidence suggests a classic branch plant economic relationship.

The leaders of Canada’s active and sustainable transportation organizations are under an accelerated timetable as the bicycle industry’s key players finalize marketing budgets for 2010.

The issue is no longer whether cycling organizations can afford to form a national cycling organization but whether those very groups, as well as the environment and the planet, cannot afford it.

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One Response to “Calgary tour de nuit Society”

  1. Sounds like someone is trying to get themselves a full time job at taxpayers and bicycle manufacturer’s (i.e. consumers) expense.

    Perhaps CTDNS is the “obscure” bicycle advocacy group trying to “misappropriate” funds.

    Those in glass houses…

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