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Sharing their love of cycling

Elmira residents happy to provide support for bike repair stations at points along the Guelph to Goderich Rail Trail

The Guelph to Goderich Rail Trail will see three new bike repair stands installed this spring, contributed by Elmira’s Colleen and Dave Brown, who hope others will be inspired by their generosity to help fund the completion of the trail.

As avid cyclists, they’d also like to see their donations and subsequent improvements to the trail encourage more people to get out and enjoy the 127-kilometre long multi-use trail.

“We think the more people that support it and promote it the more likely it is to be finished. And what a lovely thing to be able to get on the trail here and not have to get on the road to go to Goderich, it would just be awesome,” Colleen said.

They use the trail roughly five days a week, either walking or biking. They estimate they’ve been biking it for the past 15 to 20 years.

“We use it a lot and we just think that if you make it more usable more people will be out cycling – it’s a healthier lifestyle for everybody. Everybody needs an opportunity to do that,” Colleen said.

The new bike repair stands are in Elora, where the trail starts in Guelph, and the third will be going in at Millbank.

Dave says they saw them in Florida and thought it was a good idea to bring here. They also purchased the bike repair stand located at the trail head on Arthur Street in Elmira and the Lions Club paid for the base and for it to be installed.

“It’s just something we just decided that we’d like to support, that’s what it boils down to,” Dave said.

And for somebody who maintains his or her own bike they see it as a good option to encourage them to use the trails. They can pump up their tires and use the tools to tighten bits. If you have a smartphone you can even scan a code on the bike repair stand and find out how to repair your bike with what’s included in the bike repair stand.

“You could be living in Elmira and just not have bicycle tools but be able to come down here with your bicycle and repair it yourself,” Colleen noted.

The trail has seen major improvements since it was created where the old railway tracks ran, with bridges and stairs now installed in different places. Colleen and Dave even remember walking on the tracks with their kids after trains had stopped running.

It’s hard to believe that was some 30 years ago.

Over the years they’ve seen more people using the trails for walking, running, and biking.

“I just think it would be neat to see it go all the way to Goderich. I’d like to see it completed. I rode to Millbank today actually at lunch with another couple. There’s about two kilometres that are iffy, it’s really soft, and other than that it’s not bad, really,” Dave said.

He adds that trails are also a great place for kids to learn how to bike, where they don’t have to worry about cars.

The couple has biked in countries in Europe where there’s always a path for bicycles, and usually a dedicated sidewalk for them. They’d like to see that become the norm in Canada as well, and they think that creating an accessible trail from Guelph straight to Goderich, without having to bike on the road, would be a great start.

“I only took up biking 20 years ago, well, biking with him. First he biked with our son and our son went off to university and Dave said ‘I’ve got to buy you a bike, you have to bike with me.’ So I didn’t have any choice,” Colleen laughs as she explains how she got into biking.

Cyclists, walkers, and runners will be all over the trails this Saturday for the Spring on the Trail event. The annual outing raises funds to improve the G2G Rail Trail and increase awareness. All donations to the trail are matched by the federal government.

“We think it’s a really good community builder and it’s a place that we enjoy, so we just think that by supporting it and keeping it in good condition and developing it we’re encouraging other people to support it and use it,” Colleen said.

Checking one more location off their list, the duo is heading to Nova Scotia this summer for their next bike trip.

“Hopefully there are a few more bicycle trips left in us,” Colleen said.

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