Every year at the Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ Society annual general meeting (AGM), we award two people with awards recognizing their contribution to the cycling community.
The Dale Allsopp Award is awarded to people for bringing something special to the organisation (innovation, volunteering, energy). The Jack Grainge Award is given to celebrate a life-time commitment to cycling in the broader community.
We aren’t the first to set up an award in Jack’s name. There are at least two other awards out in the world honouring Jack’s work as an engineer. As well, he authored the book The Changing North: Recollections of an Early Environmentalist (published by Canadian Circumpolar Institute Press, 1999), a book that he was very proud of.
However we knew Jack in a completely different context. Jack was a dedicated EBC volunteer, committed to cycling and EBC. In fact, he cycled right up until the Monday before he died. In the early years of EBC, Jack was on the board, acting in the role of advocacy, and later he became a director. After he stepped off the board, we knew we could call upon Jack to bike park every day of any festival, and he’d be ready, willing, and able. We remember him fondly.
Jack Grainge was passionately committed to cycling. He sat on the Advocacy Committee when EBC was first inaugurated. He worked hard at making sure cyclists’ needs were met, well before everyone considered cycling trendy.
He also lived what he preached and rode almost everywhere, up to and including to the hospital during his first heart attack.
He had been mowing the lawn - the story goes, as I heard it in the 90s – and was experiencing chest pains whilst doing so. His phone rang before he had completed the task and upon answering it, he found it to be his doctor son from Toronto. They chatted for a while before Jack mentioned his chest and his son asked that Jack hang up and go to the hospital immediately. So Jack did. He got his helmet and his bike and pedaled over to the university hospital, close to where he lived.
Upon arriving he parked his bike and went inside to stand in line. Eventually a nurse came around to see what his complaint was and initially it was about the lack of bike parking! After they sorted the parking issues, he advised of his chest pain in under closer examination, was found to be in the midst of cardiac arrest. Evidently, Jack’s heart was in poor shape and he was told during the course of his treatment that it was only due to his cycling that he was alive at all.
It always makes me smile to think of Jack, standing in line, with his heart failing him, remonstrating the nurse about the lack of bike parking. No wonder cycling has come so far in our city – a city known for being the largest northern metropolis where people are inclined to drive more frequently than not, with heroes like Jack and his big, albeit broken, heart.
Dale joined EBC and eventually brought much of his family to the EBC fold as well. He was on the board, helping new members plan strategy, guiding everyone’s bike repairs, and building trailers. People who have a Dale Allsopp trailer cherish it and its practicality, sturdiness and light weight. Dale assisted with the various moves of EBC, as well as volunteering at bike parking and other events, and helping out at BikeWorks. He was very committed to utilitarian cycling in Edmonton.
Grainge Allsopp Memorial Award
- Eric Filpula, for assisting with Bike Month since inception, and working with the board and others on the vision and mission of EBC
- John Collier, for being a constant volunteer cycling instructor and mentor to Edmonton cyclists, former president, organizing special needs cycling instruction, and helping out as a Bike Month mechanic
Following 2006, the awards were split into the Dale Allsopp Award and Jack Grainge Award. Dale’s award is for people that have brought something to the organization (innovation, volunteering, energy, etc.) and Jack’s award is for personal commitment to cycling, and contributions toward making cycling more accessible in the broad community.
Dale Allsopp Award
- Keith Hallgren received this award in recognition of his hard work and dedication as a volunteer at EBC, especially BikeWorks.
- Rob Drinkwater has been a endlessly-dedicated and talented volunteer, helping to run the shop on Saturdays (and other days) for years without fail, in addition to helping at various events and always cheerfully helping people.
- Coreen has been integral in making BikeWorks a more open, inviting place for all members of the community. Already a longtime volunteer as a mechanic at the shop and at events, Coreen spearheaded initiatives this past year to make BikeWorks more welcoming, and has been running the shop along with some other volunteers on our Women and Trans only Sundays. She is a proficient mechanic and a great teacher to everyone.
- Keegan McEvoy has a great energy when volunteering and makes sure that everyone around him feels included, regardless of their bike knowledge or experience. He is extremely patient when explaining things to people and is a good teacher. Keegan volunteered consistently throughout the year, doing design work, acquiring materials, and promoting EBC and presenting at events, and helping out extensively during Bike Month. By using his people skills, his mechanical abilities and his artistic talents, as well as his passion for cycling and for EBC, Keegan helps makes EBC a stronger and better organization.
- Jordan Hiller has been an outstanding volunteer mechanic at BikeWorks, but also a regular volunteer with our inner-city outreach work, fixing bikes at inner-city centres for free each week. Some weeks he hauls all the equipment (by bike, of course) downtown, fixes bikes for several hours, and then hauls everything back at the end. He even has CANBIKE II certification. Jordan’s dedication to cycling and contributions to EBC have been invaluable.
Jack Grainge Award
- Karly Coleman joined EBC in 1992 as the office manager, little suspecting that she’d stay for 13 years, saturating herself in bicycle advocacy and all things bikey. From office manager to President and back again, Karly worked on making Edmonton Bicycle Commuters’ part of the mainstream Edmontonian’s vocabulary. She was integral to getting additional bike racks on buses for routes 1 and 4, as well as developing a social marketing process to encourage additional cycling, initiating the Bikeology Festival, assisting with yard cleanup days, and overseeing at least 2 of the 5 moves that EBC had made. She helped develop the ideas that people presented and then helped to make them into reality - projects like the the Grainge Allsopp Awards, the EBC winter cycling video, and other videography projects. While Karly is no longer so closely tied to EBC, she continues to volunteer for bicycle training courses and media inquiries. As well, she is Edmonton’s only bike traffic reporter, and can be heard on CJSR FM88.5 on Monday and Thursday mornings.
- Molly Turnbull received this award for her dedication to EBC through many years, both on the board as well as at BikeWorks, throughout Bike Month, and throughout the community. Molly has been helping out at BikeWorks, making sure that new patrons don’t stand around lost but feel welcome and empowered. She also regularly volunteers for all sorts of events, and has been integral in organizing Bike Month and the Bikeology festival.
- Don Iveson bikes to get around, with his dog, with his young son, or to get to work. His work happens to be at City Hall, where he’s been fighting for better cycling infrastructure and has been a strong voice on city council for active and sustainable transportation. He’s fortunately not alone, but for his exceptional work in this car-centric city, he is deserving of this award.
- Sarah Chan runs the blog girlsandbicycles.blogspot.com. She’s appeared in Momentum Magazine, the Edmonton Journal, and various national publications, showing a much-needed side of cycling culture: style. Whether riding in heels and a dress to the symphony, or taking her dog for a stroll around the block, or biking downtown while pregnant, or even riding through Edmonton winter, Sarah shows that you can fit the bike into your regular life, and look fashionable doing it.
- Shaughn Butts is a writer and photographer with the Edmonton Journal. This summer, he wrote a weekly series about bike culture called Crank & File, highlighting many aspects of cycling culture, from racing to bike polo to tech tips. He also wrote about EBC and some more of our friends. For highlighting the diversity, practicality, and fun of cycling in Edmonton, and for raising the profile of the many facets of local cycling culture, Shaughn Butts was selected for the 2010 Jack Grainge Memorial Award.