If you’re on two wheels Thursday morning and find yourself on the Red Willow Trails behind St. Albert Place then you might bump into a group of fellow two-wheelers. Say hi to Christina Herbers and the local YEGBike contingent who meet periodically with the enticement of free coffee to other newcomers.
The group is simple in its concept: bicyclists meeting outside to establish a stronger sense of community.
“Coffee and conversation and cycling,” Herbers said, adding a quick “CCC” for the hashtag crowd.
For her, it all started five years ago when she started to engage with #YEGBike on Twitter. She would send messages about commuting to work from her St. Albert home to where she worked on St. Albert Trail just off 137 Avenue in Edmonton.
After she was profiled as a bicycle commuter on that Twitter site, she started to learn more about another one called YEGCoffeeOutside, which organizes weekly meetups – for those on bicycles or on foot – at Ezio Faraone Park near the Legislature Building.
That was too far from home, she thought.
“Over the last kind of two or three years I’ve tried to organize a St. Albert Coffee Outside cycling group. There were originally just a couple of us. We were looking for different places to meet in St. Albert. (St. Albert Coun.) Natalie Joly is a parent at my kids’ school so her and I connected through our kids. She’s a cyclist. She said, ‘Why don't we start meeting at City Hall?’ That’s a great convenient place. We made that our central meetup spot.”
The spot also has one of the city’s two free bicycle maintenance stations, making it an ideal location. Often the topic of conversation is on ways to be more sustainable but that doesn’t mean they won’t talk your ear off about the Mission: Impossible movies either. Everything is fair game.
Look for the gang between 7 and 9 A.M. on Thursday, Aug. 15. Bring your own mug, Herbers added. It’s only their second meetup of 2019 but they hope to continue on through the fall, and even the winter, if interest is strong enough. There were more than 10 cyclists who stopped by last month’s meetup on July 18, marking their biggest gathering to date. The Edmonton group can grow up to 30 attendees, but Herbers thinks St. Albert has a strong chance of besting that number.
“I know we’re smaller compared to Edmonton but I do see a lot of people cycling.”