Meet the Blue Route Staff – Alison Carlyle
Meet the Blue Route Staff – Alison Carlyle
Alison Carlyle is the Blue Route Development and Cycling Advocacy Director with Bicycle Nova Scotia. Alison studied in the Environment and Business program at the University of Waterloo, where she developed a keen interest in using marketing principles to encourage positive social behaviour. She went on to complete an MSc in the field of Social Marketing at the University of Brighton. Alison started her active transportation career working with Sustrans Scotland, the charity making it easier to walk and cycle. In the Research and Monitoring Unit she was able to assess a variety of projects across the UK to promote active transportation. She sees the bicycle as a wicked solution, since it can address a wide variety of social problems.
We asked Alison some questions about cycling to get to know her a little better.
Q: What is your cycling origin story?
My interest in cycling definitely comes from a place where I see the value of cycling to society, which grew to an enjoyment of cycling. When I was growing up I always had a Canadian Tire mountain bike in the garage, that didn’t get used very much. I was actually lucky enough in highschool to take two courses where we learned how to cycle safely in traffic, which gave me a bit of confidence to cycle to work at one of my summer jobs during University. But it wasn’t until I started working at an active transportation charity that I really got into cycling. In that environment I was constantly exposed to people who were doing all different types of bike rides, for all kinds of reasons.There were a lot of people around with tips and tricks on where to go and how to plan trips that were within my comfort level. And also where to go for the best mid-ride treats!
Q: What kind of bike do you ride?
A: I have moved around quite a bit in my adult life, so I have had a number of bikes come and go! Currently I have two bikes. My main one is a Trek hybrid bike. It isn’t too heavy, it’s tires can handle rail trails (and the rough Nova Scotia streets!), it’s a great teal colour and the bar is lower so I can mount and dismount with ease. However, when I first moved to Nova Scotia, during the pandemic, I left my bike behind thinking I would buy a new one. I am a victim of the bike shortage! I was able to get one in the short term from Bike Again. It is an old school mountain bike, and the frame is a bit small for me. I did end up getting my Trek shipped here, and I plan to get different tires on the mountain bike so it can be my winter bike.
Q: Can you share your favorite bike ride in Nova Scotia?
A: Around the Citadel at sunset. And I know I am not the only one, I see lots of people doing it! It has everything you could ask for in a Nova Scotia bike ride: low traffic and ocean views. The best bike rides for me mean I can leave the house on my bike, I am not experiencing a ton of traffic, there aren’t too many hills, and I am either cycling to, or ending at a nice coffee shop or brewery for a well-deserved treat. Halifax has some amazing rail trails just outside the city, but at the moment, getting there from where I live involves major detours or high discomfort on high traffic/speed roads, so they drop down the list a bit due to frustration. There is a lot of potential though, and I am very excited for future connections.
Q: Describe a day trip by bike that you would recommend to someone visiting from outside of the province.
A: I get this question a lot from people wanting to visit, and always give them a different answer. We just have so many great options for all kinds of interest and skill level. To my mother, I say she should go on a little wine & bike tour in the Valley. To my more experienced cyclist friends I would of course say take a few days and bike the Cabot Trail. I have also told my brother he should go to Keji and ride those trails.
Q: What excites you about the Blue Route?
A: The Blue Route is such an opportunity for Nova Scotia. I probably feel like highway builders felt in the 1950s. Connecting this infrastructure will be a gamechanger in getting people to cycle, for leisure, for tourism, for transportation. The key difference of course, is that cycling is healthy, environmentally friendly, and affordable. Bikes make people happy, and I love working to spread that joy by giving more people in Nova Scotia the opportunity for cycling safely.
Learn about our other Blue Route staff member.