With SweetSingletrack.ca, Andrew Drouin did something others had no interest in.
The former president of the Penticton and Area Cycling Association revealed where bike trails are in West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Penticton, Okanagan Falls and Oliver.
“People were secretive about trails. Nobody was sharing information,” said Drouin, author of the book linked to the website by the same name. “I thought, that’s ridiculous. Screw those guys. I’m going to produce a map that is going to show everybody everything.”
Drouin said the move did upset those people. Then they saw the book and their opinions changed. In order to understand the maps, riders have to read the articles, which are condensed compared to the website.
After having the information available through www.sweetsingletrack.ca for a couple of years, Drouin published it in a small notebook-format in December. He has sold 500 copies.
“The people who bought it were really impressed,” said Drouin, who is part of the South Okanagan Trail Alliance and spoke at Okanagan College Monday night about the trails. “I have saved every comment I received. It’s great. You realize that all your time and effort is justified and respected.”
Among the feedback he received is that it’s a great trail guide and that riders looked forward to hitting the trails. It’s a book that riders simply feel is a useful tool.
The responses gave Drouin the feeling he was helping people get in touch with nature.
Bike shops and local businesses have given support by informing customers about the website, which Drouin was able to link with an iPhone.
The feedback led to people asking for a book. Drouin sells access to the website and uses the money towards maintaining the trails. Initially he was using his own money, but that was hurting his pocketbook and he had to stop.
Drouin said he makes 20 per cent profit from the book, while the rest goes towards trail maintenance. People who purchased the book have unlimited access to the website for three years.
While the book itself took him two years to complete, Drouin’s 25 years of riding experience in the area is poured into it.
“The plan is to keep on expanding this,” he said, adding a new book will come out next December. “The website now has more trails than the book.”
The only area of trails that Drouin kept out are on reserve land and private property as he doesn’t feel people should be going there.