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HRT Ranking – Perth County Cycle Tour

Perth County Cycle Tour

Submitted July 29 2020

Idea/Project Title:
2nd Annual Perth County Cycle Tour

Please provide a brief description of your idea/project:

Cycle Stratford is asking for $5,150 (DDG NOTE: RTO4 HAS AGREED TO COVER $2,400 OF THIS AMOUNT FOR THE SIGNAGE AND WAYFINDING EXPENSE, SO THE HRT ASK IS $2,750) to support two aspects of the Perth County Cycling Tour taking place on Sunday, Sep. 13, 2020. With an extremely tight organization time, we need organizational labour support and purchasing sustainable, reusable supplies.


Cycle tourism is exploding all over the world and is a key tourism driver in many countries. More and more tour companies offer packages at a variety of price points that emphasize local culture, food, and events as tourists sample the infrastructure of a particular area. Many tours are guided or use local transportation systems such as bike and barge, and so local employment is generated. The economic impact of cycle tourism is measurable and substantial.
Canada, and our area of it, is starting to get the message that cycling tourism is a viable economic and recreational driver, and can stand on its own or enhances the experience of other kinds of tourism. For example, visitors to Stratford should be able to rent or bring a bike and find their way with appropriate signage on safe roads both around the city and outside of it. They should also be able to find their way on safe roads to nearby centres, such as St. Marys and Mitchell. Cycling amenities should not be “add ons”; they should be integral to the area’s infrastructure. Reference: Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries Ontario’s Cycling Tourism Plan: https://bit.ly/2OZDUNU
, Ontario Ministry of Transportation CycleON Action Plan 2.0: http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/publications/cycle-action-plan.shtml

With that focus in mind, the Perth County Cycling Tour was established in 2019 as a pilot project, integrated with a longer-term vision to extend and expand the event and to establish infrastructure. Eventually, we would like the PCCT to be the premier cycling event in southwestern Ontario. In doing so, the PCCT can help to expand the tourist base to include active outdoor activities. The PCCT can introduce new riders to the area. As cyclists, we know that other riders will travel a few hours to find a good cycling hub (quiet roads, coffee shops, restaurants for the apres-ride, shopping, good hotels). Stratford has the added benefit of being centrally located to several “destination level” cycling trail systems (such as Wildwood Conservation Area, Goderich-to-Guelph RailTrail).
A core group of six volunteers organized the 2019 event, with the support of 25 Cycle Stratford members and other community members. The organizational phase took four months and was rewarded with 120 registrants. We felt that our hard work was justified by that number of participants and by their reactions to the event, as evidenced in the follow up survey. Details are noted later in this application.

The Perth County Cycling Tour is a one-day event which is designed to promote Stratford as a cycling tourism destination. Cyclists select from three routes of varying lengths and difficulty, all of which start and finish in Stratford’s Market Square. Rest stops are included at strategic points. Riders return to Market Square for lunch, which is included in the 2020 registration fee. The 2019 Tour stopped in St. Marys, Avonton, Mitchell and Wartburg. 2020’s Tour routes are in the planning stages and will likely highlight the North-East part of the county, with stops in Wellesley, Milverton and Mitchell.
In 2019, participants were attracted from Brampton, Cambridge, Goderich, Oshawa, London, Kitchener, and many other locations. In fact, 75% of the participants were from outside Stratford. However, with the Covid pandemic, Cycle Stratford’s Board of Directors decided to postpone the 2020 event until such time as it was safe to move forward.
After the HPPH was allowed to move to Stage 3, the Board very recently decided to organize for Sunday, September 13. This decision reflects the large increase in cycling this year, when organized sports are curtailed, and when being active outdoors is safe and even more important than usual.
Due to the pandemic, we have enacted several changes, including a hard cap of 100 cyclists, and will implement the appropriate Covid-19 protocols with the guidance of Huron Perth Public Health. A major change is a food voucher which participants can use at Stratford restaurants. We anticipate that participants will have their choice of up to seven restaurants where they can dine indoors or take advantage of the Al Fresco tables and umbrellas. This change will benefit those restaurants, utilize the Al Fresco tables and encourage riders to shop and to linger a bit longer in the city.


Labour Support: $2,000

Our 2019 implementation period of four months has shrunk considerably in 2020! The event needs dedicated labour support to focus on four areas:
1. Implementation of the voucher program – liaison with restaurants and media
2. Publicity within Stratford, focused on retail and accommodation
3. Publicity outside Stratford, including 2019 participants, cycling clubs, media
4. Organizational assistance: volunteers, registration, pre-event information and post-event follow up

This support is the backbone of the 2020 event. Without it, our volunteer organizers will be very hard pressed to complete preparations in a way that builds on past successes toward a maintainable future.
Reusable, Environmentally Sustainable Supplies: $3,150
The most important infrastructure need for the event is reusable signs and banners. We want the event to look and feel professional, and to bring it in line with the other tourist attractions and events in Stratford. To that end, having professionally-manufactured, all weather signs for wayfinding, rental signs, feather signs and a start/finish banner are desirable. For safety reasons, it is important to outfit key volunteers in distinctive clothing, such as safety vests. A megaphone is important for organization and security. These items and others can be stored and used for several years while the event grows to maturity.

(all comments are verbatim)
Well done for a first time event

Road directional signage could have been placed ahead of turn at a couple of points

The first part of the ride that was lead was a bit unorganized and too slow. The signage could also have been improved. A bigger finish line.

There was a missing sign/painted arrows at the end in the neighbourhood. I didn’t know where to go.
Printed map should be provided including turn by turn directions. A loop shorter than 66 would be nice so you can end where you start. A little fan fare at the end would be nice. Signage was a huge problem. Use different colours depending on distance, mark up coming turns earlier as well as at the turn so you dont have to slow down. More signage. Volunteers should know the route so they dont send riders in the wrong direction (which did happen).

signage – especially when we got into Stratford there weren’t any signs so if you hadn’t downloaded the route you wouldn’t know where to go.

Maybe a little earlier in September. We got lucky with the weather but it’s usually iffy this late in September

The routes were great. Being a Sunday morning meant the roads were quiet. Some signs were missing, two of the stops were a bit difficult to find if you did not know where they were. The yellow road markings could be a bit larger.

very enjoyable; great route

OK, anything I say is just going to be nitpicking. Truly, if it goes the same again next year, it’ll be awesome …. so please bear that in mind when reading the next bit. Road signs. These were adequate but not great. Some were a little difficult to spot. It was also difficult to discern the direction of the arrows until you were quite close, necessitating a loss of speed in order not to miss a turn. I was at risk for getting lost in St Marys as I missed the road signs in town and for those for the rest stop completely. Thankfully I remembered that the route out of town was Queen St and knew then that I was still somehow on the right track. Missing the rest stop was not a biggie for me as I was doing the 104km but it might have made a difference for any riders doing the shorter courses. The rider leader and sweep did an awesome job. The only thing that might have helped there is more distinctive clothing. I’d recommend your elicit their feedback for improvements.

I found the event to be very positive and enjoyable!! There was a tremendous amount of work and prep completed by volunteers. And a job well done!!! THANK YOU to all involved!!!!!

Fantastic event. Fantastic routes. Please do again.

I was very impressed overall. Well done. Amazing job by all especially the volunteers. Thanks for a great experience.

more visible signage at turns or prior to turns in route. The volunteers were great; just not enough of them. Thanks for a most enjoyable ride.

Great job, especially considering this was your first time at this! Glad to see you did not just mindlessly copy what others do, but went your own way with lead and sweeper. Nice to have a ride later in the season, although I am sure you will have years when you question that timing! I would recommend a few more signs, even when going straight. Somehow missed a sign in St. Mary’s. Very helpful when volunteers guided us in to the rest stops. Loved the volunteers and their enthusiasm. You are to be commended for your work!! Looking forward to next year.

Keep the great food and it was a nice route.

What is the proposed timeline for your idea/project? :
With the event in just 47 days from date of submission, our timelines for organizing, advertising, purchasing, distributing, training and all the other necessary activities are very tight.

Which Provincial reopening phase will allow this idea/project to be launched? :
Stage 3 – i.e. allowing 100 outdoors participants. For that reason, registration will be capped at 100 participants for this falls event which the Board approved on July 22. Our original plan was 150 and in future years we hope to grow this annual event to 250 -300 riders from across Southwestern Ontario.

Briefly describe the potential economic impact of this idea/project for our community. :
Our goal is to help the hospitality, retail and accommodation sectors. Potential impacts are hard to know, but we estimate the following:
100 participants (70 from outside Stratford)
Restaurants: 70 participants + 20 volunteers = 90 lunches @ $20 average = $1,800
Retail: 50 participants @ $50 = $2,500
Accommodations: 20 room nights @ $120 = $2,400
Some out of town cyclists may bring non-cyclists with them, which has its own potential economic spin-offs.
The week after Labour Day will not be busy this year for retail and accommodation operators, so we see this initiative as a small boost for those sectors.

Please provide any budgeting details you may have, including cost estimates required to implement this idea/project. :
Registration fees 3,625 75 @ $40; 25 @ 25 = $3,625
Economic Recovery Grant 5,150 See * below (RTO4 TO COVER $2,400)
Total Revenue 8,775

Registration expenses 250 online software, buttons, printing
Lunch vouchers 1,400 to be used at local restaurants
Rest stop refreshments 250 healthy snacks
Volunteer training, expenses 500 *`organization, safety vests, implement Covid protocols
PPE, sanitizer, etc. 300 safety
(RTO4 TO COVER) Signage 2,400 * on-route signs, start/finish banners
Administration and insurance 200 event insurance
Bicycle technician 200 * pre-event maintenance, roadside assistance
Labour support 2,000 * one or possibly two persons, honorarium inc. travel
Advertising and social media 750 Facebook, Instagram, other media
Total 8,250
Net surplus 525

Do you have a project lead or coordinator? If so , please provide contact info. :
Geoff Love, President, Cycle Stratford: geoffloveenvironment@gmail.com

Please advise if there are any other collaborators or organizations involved in this idea/project. Have they been contacted?:
At this point, there are no other collaborators or organizations involved in this idea/project.

Perth County Cycle Tour

  • Rank this idea for the following 5 metrics from 1-10 (Terrible-Excellent):
  • How affordable is this idea to implement?
  • How easy and fast will implementing this idea be?
  • How well does this idea align with Stratford as a unique cultural destination?
  • How well does this idea retain value over time?
  • Rank the Overall Economic Impact of the idea by tourism sector for the short-, mid- and long-term (2020, 2021, 2022+):

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