Approximately 700 cyclists depart from the Ray McDonald Sports Centre Sunday morning. A total of 1,200 riders participated in this year’s Tour de l’Alberta. – Stephen Dafoe Photos
Morinville – Cyclists in record numbers had perfect riding weather Sunday for the annual Tour de l’Alberta, the Edmonton Bicycle and Touring Club’s (EBTC) largest event of the year. For the past five years the event has started and ended in Morinville. This year’s event drew a solid number of riders to participate in the various lengths of ride.
“I’m really pleased with the turnout,” said event director Dan Boonstra. “We’ve had over 1,200 riders today, and on this gorgeous day we couldn’t ask for anything more. Everything went smoothly and it looks like everyone has a huge smile on their face.”
The event began at 7:30 a.m. Sunday morning with approximately 250 cyclists departing on a 175-kilometre ride that took in various portions of the French Corridor, including St. Albert, Riviere Qui Barre, Westlock, Legal and Morinville. The largest component of the day’s runs was the 100-km event, a ride that saw in excess of 700 cyclists departing from the Ray McDonald Sports Centre at 9 a.m. The 100-km trek was followed by a 50-km and 25-km run, both with staggered starts to allow all cyclists to return around the same time. The final event was a 5-km ride around Morinville for children and their families.
Deputy Mayor David Pattison said he was pleased to see the EBTC bringing their main annual event to Morinville once again. “It’s a big promotion for the town,” Pattison said. “It’s nice to have a group such as the Edmonton Bicycle and Touring Club coming here. It’s the fifth year. We’re looking forward to year six. We’re looking forward to on-going years.”
Pattison said there is also some economic benefit to the community in having in excess of 1,000 riders and some 200 volunteers coming to town. “I think the biggest thing is just people get an understanding of what this community is [and] what some of the recreational facilities are. And also the businesses. Many of them will stop at the businesses. Many of them already have.” Pattison went on to say the event is also a great opportunity for the region as the ride encompasses many communities within Sturgeon County.
The annual EBTC event is not a race. Participants are encouraged to enjoy the sights and surroundings of the French Corridor.
The day’s ride ended with a catered meal at the arena. The event is made possible through a number of sponsorships, including a $2,500 grant through Morinville’s Community Grant Program.
Above: A rider is handed a water bottle at the conclusion of the ride. riders return to the finish line along 100 Avenue.
The day’s final ride was a 5-km ride for children and their families.
It is great that this event was held here. Although I do have a few safety concerns that arose today because of it. I noticed that there was very little signage of the event posted along the route on the east side of town. So it was difficult to know if the event was still on and where cyclists were expected to be at. I also witnessed groups of cyclists (approxamately three groups with between 4 to ten riders per group) who did not come to a stop at the four way intersection of 100 ave and Grandin (the 400 to 800 block of Grandin). There was no one there directing traffic to given them the right of way. Since there was no other traffic control they should have stopped, they are subject to traffic safety laws and, several vehicles were present at the intersection. It would be sad to see such a wonderful event marred by inattention or an accident. So I hope for next year they can plan to have something in place to protect the cyclist there.
It was amazing to see such a wonderful turn out. I hope this event can be brought back to Morinville again.
It was wonderful to see this event bring so many visitors to our Town. The organizers deserve our thanks and appreciation. Also, I would like to say “Thank you” to all the cyclists. They were courteous, safety-conscious and generally wonderful folks to chat with before and after he event. Truly a pleasure to have such nice, friendly folks see our Town and I hope they all come back again!