by Tristan Turner
The Town of Morinville is partnering with the Edmonton Bicycle and Touring Club (EBTC) to bring the 20th Anniversary of the Tour de l’Alberta – the largest single day bike tour in Alberta – to Morinville on July 27. The event was created as homage to the world renowned Tour de France, and travels through many historically French communities in the area. According to the tour’s website, the EBTC seek to “celebrate the Tour de France, our strong French Heritage, and cycling in general” with the popular event that saw more than 1,500 participants in 2013.
Allen Jacobson, Community Development Coordinator at the Town of Morinville, believes the event will have yet another large showing, and that the tour will have a positive impact on the community. “The event [Tour de l’Alberta] used to be hosted by St. Albert, but we moved it here about six or seven years ago, and it’s a really wonderful, positive event,” he said. “We’re hosting it, and the Town has taken more of a partnership role this year, in the sense that it’s an opportunity to celebrate the community and raise the Town’s profile, I believe.” Jacobson said people come from across Alberta, Western Canada, even someone from Hong Kong came to the event last year. “We didn’t want the Tour to diminish too greatly in size, scale and scope, and so we were approached by the Bike Touring Club [EBTC] to partner with them, and we thought it was a great idea,” Jacobson said. “It’s a chance for the Town of Morinville to be recognized… and it’s a great event that brings 1,500 people or so into our community.”
The event has six different routes, including a 5-kilometre kid’s ride, a 15-km family ride, 50-km and 100-km beginner/intermediate rides and 150-km and 185-km rides for more experienced cyclists. All routes start and finish in Morinville, with the higher-tier routes travelling through Legal, St. Albert, Bon Accord as well as Alcomdale, Westlock, and St. Albert. The Tour includes rest/aid stations as well as complimentary meals and entertainment after cyclists complete their routes. Both the 5-km and 15-km routes are completely free, and residents can register by calling Community Services at 780-939-7839. All other routes have fees associated with them with special rates for young participants aged 12-17, and registration for the routes is open until July 22. Anyone interested in participating in the 50km, 100km, 150km or 185km routes can visit www.tourdalberta.ca for more information on how to register.