Bikeology is an online hub for Edmonton’s cycling culture, brought to you by VELOfest Edmonton League and Organization (VELO). VELO is a non-profit society made up of volunteers representing Edmonton and area cycling organizations and agencies. We want to encourage more Edmontonians to try out cycling every year, help cyclists find the tools and resources they need, and strengthen Edmonton’s cycling community and cycling culture.
Velo, the French word for bicycle, is also an anagram of Love and we love bikes – all shapes and sizes. A velofest conveys the idea of both a festival devoted to bicycles and a group that is equally devoted to celebrating the bicycle, primarily by hosting and managing bicycle festivals.
In the past, VELO has hosted the annual Bikeology Festival during Bike Month in June, chalk full of fun, family-friendly cycle-centered activities and entertainment.
At the core of VELO’s vision is the belief that Edmonton is a city in which bicycling is increasingly celebrated, supported, adopted, and enjoyed. As such, it is VELO’s mission to act as an umbrella organization for local cycling groups and it continually positions cycling and cycling culture as a positive component of Edmonton’s urban fabric.
In the early 1980’s the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ Society (EBC) initiated an annual Lunar Cycle Month that ran for about six years. It was a month-long celebration of all things bike-y, with events like bike-to-work breakfasts, a silly summer parade with EBC’s lovely cow-on-a-bike mascot, advocacy outreach, and a critical mass ride.
Biker Bill, of the Association of Cycle Messengers of Edmonton (ACME) created the next incarnation of our city’s Bicycle Festival. Bill worked to bring together all sorts of folks in the cycling community when it was decided that Edmonton would be the host of the North American Cycle Courier Championships (NACCC).
Rainbow Bridge Communications Company, headed by the fabulous Ms. Barb Allard, got involved at this point. Barb spearheaded the eco-friendly vibe of the festivals, like having solar powered music and environmental activities for kids. Barb was fundamental in creating Barb’s Bike Shorts, independent films created by local film-makers. Barb’s Bike Shorts were viewed before each feature film at Metro Cinema.
Karly Coleman attended the NACCC event, representing EBC. Karly brought various others, including Molly Turnbull and Eric Filupla, to the planning table, ensuring a strong cross-pollination of cycling advocates and interested citizens.
Meanwhile, the City of Edmonton hired Claire Stock to do bicycle transportation planning in 2000. Devoted to the bicycle and instrumental in bringing all the various biking elements together, she liaised between local cycling groups and all types of cyclists, bolstering Edmonton’s cycling community. Claire Stock was Edmonton’s only Bike Traffic Reporter for the duration of her stay in our fair city. She also brought another Claire to the table: Claire Ellick. From 2005 onwards, the Claires worked jointly on all things velo-tastique in Edmonton.
In 2005, Claire Stock moved to Australia to run Everyday Cycling Solutions in Myrtleford, ruling the cycling world in that hemisphere. In 2009 Claire Ellick moved on to climb mountains and teach others to do that too.
Mountain Equipment Coop (MEC) came to the planning table in 2002, eventually moving on to develop it’s own bicycle festival in 2010. Between those several years, the renowned Canadian retail co-op helped design and deliver the Bikeology Festival.
2009 was a benchmark year for VELO, when we officially became a non-profit organization.