Some of you might know this, but a few weeks ago, I released a little project I had been working on called Calgary By Bike. It’s a map and guide to the Calgary’s new cycle tracks which were a hot topic of conversation for most Calgarians for the past two years.
The guide has been out for a month now and since then, everything has been a bit nuts. We had ordered a 1,000 for the entire summer, yet found ourselves ordering a second run after the first week. Then we started getting offers from stores to carry it, so now there’s about a dozen or so that do. Then, we decided to make things a little more fun and we added magnets, buttons and then t-shirts and all that culminated this weekend, when I opened the Calgary Herald and saw that Calgary By Bike was #1 on the paper’s non-fiction best seller list!
Did I know a map could do that?
Does that mean I’m going to walk around my house declaring to my cat that I am a best selling author?
Does that mean for Christmas this year, my parents are getting a reminder that their son is a best selling author?
To say the last couple of weeks have been unexpected would be putting it lightly, but I’m not complaining, because for every bike map I’ve sold, I’d say I’ve had countless conversations with people who are discovering Calgary like never before. So many people have told me that they’ve never biked before the cycle tracks were put in. Or that they’re biking for the first time since they were kids. And then there’s the people who’ve told me that they are biking downtown for the first time.
We created Calgary By Bike, because if I was visiting Calgary, I would want something like Calgary By Bike. When we travel, we buy maps all the time that are similar to Calgary By Bike. With the cycle tracks, comes something Calgary might not quite be used to: Bike Tourism. It’s a real thing and once this city decides to take advantage of it, it’ll be huge.
Once businesses realize that putting a bike rack in front of their store is like adding a parking lot, their sales will increase.
Once tourists realize they can come to Calgary and see the whole city safely on a bike, hotels will fill up.
And once Calgarians realize that things like the cycle tracks allows us to get around where we want to go, and never feel like we’re in danger, who knows that’s what going to happen, but I know it’s going to be awesome.
So for everyone that’s picked up Calgary By Bike, a big thank you. Whether you picked it up at markets, in stores or online (and there have been orders from all over the world), I thank you for entrusting me with your $5. It might not be a lot of money to you, but it means a lot to me.