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Cochrane to Calgary trail organizers gear up for June Bike-A-Thon fundraiser

The event runs through the month of June and all funds raised will be used in support of building the Cochrane to Calgary trail

The Cochrane to Calgary Trail Steering Committee is ramping up its fundraising and awareness efforts for the trail project through an event starting next month.

People of all ages from across Alberta are encouraged to strap on their helmets and hop on their bicycles for what is being called a month-long Bike-A-Thon this June.

“It’s really quite easy to describe its value,” said committee member Dan Kroffat. “It may not raise a lot of money – we don’t have a particular goal – but what we want people of all ages to do, [from] kids to seniors to cycling groups, is to get out through the month of June, get on your bike, find a sponsor and go for a ride no matter what the distance is.”

The Bike-A-Thon is the group’s latest effort to realize its vision of a trail that connects Cochrane to Calgary by paving a path linking the town to Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park, through to Haskayne Park and eventually to Calgary on the other side.

The long-term goal is to also connect the project to the Legacy Trail in Canmore.

The project is estimated to cost around $20 million and is being spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Cochrane and Area.

Money raised from the Bike-A-Thon will be used to help engineer and plan the trail. 

“The impact [the trail will have] from a business perspective, from tourism, is immense,” said Kroffat. “All the initiatives that we do along the way to keep the awareness going and raising money will have an impact.”

Everyone is welcome to participate in the cycling event anytime and anywhere throughout the month of June, according to Kroffat.

“Whether it’s one kilometre or 100 kilometres, go out and ride, but find a safe area to do your ride,” he said.

Executive director of the Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation, Sarah Parker, said Cochrane’s nearest provincial park is a great place to consider participating in a bike ride to take in the sights of what will eventually become part of the trail.

As a bonus, Parker said the foundation recently printed bike maps that are available at the park’s visitor centre.

“You can come by and grab a map and ask questions … and then if your kids complain on the hill back up, you take them into town for ice cream and all is well in the world,” she said.

On July 3, the Bike-A-Thon will wrap with a closing event at Cochrane Toyota from 1 to 3 p.m. with refreshments and prizes, including a draw for an e-bike courtesy of Big Hill Cycle and various prizes from Garmin.

Kroffat gave praise to the various sponsors of the event. Those in attendance for the Bike-A-Thon press conference at Garmin Headquarters May 13 included Jim Rooney, managing director of Garmin Canada; Ashley Fox, vice chair of Sport 4 Life Cochrane; Shane Campbell, owner of Big Hill Cycle; Robert Martens, president of Bike Cochrane, and Mayor Jeff Genung.

A name for the trail project from the Name the Trail contest has not yet been announced, but Kroffat said the naming committee should have a selection to announce before July at the latest. From the 1,300-plus submissions made, the choice is down to two – both with connections to Stoney Nakoda First Nation.

Posters for the event will be on display around town leading up to and during the Bike-A-Thon throughout the month of June.

For more information and to register, visit supporthetrail.com.