Cana­dian Club

Saint John Cy­cling is build­ing a bike-friendly Loyalist City

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - By Rob Stur­ney

Saint John, N.B., the old­est in­cor­po­rated city in Canada, is sit­u­ated on the Bay of Fundy and sur­rounded by the Cale­do­nia and St. Croix High­lands. This rocky, hilly city is home to a rel­a­tively new but very dy­namic cy­cling club, Saint John Cy­cling, one that is en­gaged fully in ad­vo­cacy, de­vel­op­ment and com­mu­nity.

Af­ter the tragic death of New Brunswick cy­clist Ellen Wat­ters, a mem­ber of the Cy­clery-opus team, on Dec. 28, 2016, Saint John Cy­cling was in­te­gral in lob­by­ing for Ellen’s law. This reg­u­la­tion, oblig­ing driv­ers to give cy­clists oneme­tre of space when over­tak­ing, went into ef­fect on June 1. Club pres­i­dent Gary Crow­ley iden­ti­fies the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s “very quickly de­ployed rally in Jan­uary” and the pass­ing of the law as key events for the sjc. He sees a marked im­prove­ment in driv­ers’ be­hav­iour but ad­mits, “There are still some mo­torists who don’t seem to re­spect cy­clists on our road­ways.”

There are many ride op­tions for the 100 or so sjc mem­bers around the city. Rock­wood Park is sit­u­ated in the city’s north. There, moun­tain bik­ers can link to­gether 55 trails of var­i­ous lev­els of dif­fi­culty for a grand to­tal of 26 km. The park is the cen­tre of many of the events that the club or­ga­nizes, such as the Rock­wood Chal­lenge. “We had more youth par­tic­i­pants, 60-ish, this year at the Chal­lenge than adults, which is very promis­ing for the fu­ture,” Crow­ley says. Since 2015, there has been a moun­tain bike skills course on an acre of the park; the sjc Trail Crew was cen­tral to its cre­ation. “The Trail Crew main­tains the trails for Rock­wood Park through­out the year at no ex­pense to our city,” vice-pres­i­dent Holly Mckay says with pride.

The Saint John and Ken­nebe­ca­sis Rivers have many se­condary roads run­ning along their lengths. The six ca­ble fer­ries that cross the rivers give cy­clists plenty of op­tions for ty­ing to­gether rides. Crow­ley rec­om­mends rid­ing the Bluffs in Sussex, 75 km north­east of Saint John for the views alone. He says, “You are hard-pressed to find a route that doesn’t in­clude a chal­leng­ing hill or two around here.”

About a quar­ter of the club races and mem­bers have sev­eral op­tions beyond the Rock­wood Chal­lenge. The Bloom­field time trial series takes place from May to Septem­ber, of­fer­ing chronos of 20 km and 40 km and even a 7-km hill climb. Au­tumn brings cy­clocross sea­son with two races on tap for the cow­bell crowd.

Two re­cent club ini­tia­tives ad­dress dif­fer­ent kinds of new­com­ers to the city. Mem­bers have started to take Ger­man cruise-ship pas­sen­gers on rides around Saint John and Rock­wood Park. “A cy­cling tour is the best way to show off our city,” Mckay says. Along­side the Cres­cent Val­ley Re­source Cen­tre, finds and re­pair bikes for new Saint John­ers from Syria. For more es­tab­lished Saint John­ers, sjc launched a pi­lot Cy­cling Without Age pro­gram at the Loch Lomond Villa, the first se­niors home to run cwa in Canada.

Mckay says, “Our city is just be­com­ing cy­cling friendly, thanks to our friends in city gov­ern­ment who are more aware and on-board. The sjc mem­bers have been very in­volved in mak­ing real change.”

“Club pres­i­dent Gary Crow­ley iden­ti­fies the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ‘very quickly de­ployed rally in Jan­uary’ and the pass­ing of Ellen’s law as key events for the SJC.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.