Activists on 1,300-km bicycle ride make a pit stop in Calgary





Dylan Sparks and Tim Murphy lead a group of cyclists through North Glenmore Park yesterday, as the activists passed through town on their 1,300-km trek to the Alberta oilsands.


“I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about the impact of economic boom in Alberta.”

Twenty cycling environmental activists rode into Calgary’s North Glenmore Park yesterday as part of a 1,300-km journey designed to gauge the impact of big oil on the province’s landscape.

The ride that began Aug. 15 at Waterton-Glacier National Park will eventually take riders from the Sierra Youth Coalition to a small community in northern Alberta where they plan to get a first-hand look at Alberta’s multi-billion-dollar oilsands.

Dubbed ‘To The Tar Sands,’ the ride began Aug. 15 and will finish on Sept. 7 when it rolls into Fort McKay — a town located near Fort McMurray.

Local organizer Teal Bonaroff says the tour is designed to “to get information out about the impact of the tar sands on Alberta.”

The group is also filming a documentary along the ride featuring residents, oil industry stakeholders and politicians who they plan to interview during their three weeks on the road.

Atfab Erfan, one of the riders on the trek, said she wants to see for herself what’s happening in Fort Mac. “I’ve heard a lot of horror stories about the impact of economic boom in Alberta,” Erfan said, adding she’s been pleasantly surprised by a variety of environmentally-friendly projects the two-wheeling posse has visited during its brief time in southern Alberta.

A native of Halifax, Erfan says she’s trying to prepare herself emotionally for the moment the tour reaches the oilsands in northern Alberta. “None have us have been there before,” she says. “We’ll be riding through Boreal forest before we get there so we’ll see what was there before and then we’ll ride to the tar sands and see what’s there now. We’re prepared to be shocked.”