Active Transportation is Alive and Well in Collingwood

A conversation with Brandon Houston

Brandon Houston is the CEO of Switch Video, owner of the Collingwood Foundry, and a Collingwood B.I.A. board member who is demonstrating simple, effective and reproducible ways for businesses and property owners to facilitate and promote active transportation in Collingwood.

In this conversation, I spoke with Brandon regarding his decision to invest in promoting and encouraging his staff and clients to ride their bikes to and from work and during their workday. He cited an example of a member of the Foundry in his 70’s who rides his fat bike all winter. Brandon was inspired by this and wanted others to be as well.

Having many employees that ride to work highlighted the fact that there was a lack of appropriate and suitable bike storage. He recognizes that bicycles are typically a big investment and felt that access to secure storage away from the elements was a necessity for his clients. With only one bike rack in the back of the building and no town options within a reasonable proximity to the front of their space, Brandon decided to add some storage of his own. He concluded that a dedicated indoor space would be more convenient and conducive to people riding their bikes and feeling comfortable doing so. Brandon built five dedicated bike hangers indoors along an empty wall at the Foundry (bottom floor). On these racks the bikes hang vertically from ceiling to floor. Further to this, he has commissioned the construction of two custom bikes to be built by the Collingwood Bicycle Company which is the pet project of Darren Mueller who works for Medatech.

The Collingwood Bicycle Company builds cruiser style bikes, not performance bikes, which Brandon wants to make available for Foundry members to take out for a cruise when they take a break from working. Brandon sees these bikes as functional pieces of art and he is going to design the wood inlay himself. His investment in the creation of these bikes is about $7,000.00 and they should be ready in February 2021.

Brandon is a firm believer in supporting health and wellness as an essential part of everyday life. When designing the Collingwood Foundry, he added a dedicated relaxation/meditation room where customers can go to take a break and chill out. Brandon recognized that not all companies can invest in these types of resources, but he suggested that if a storefront on Hurontario had some unused space, they too could provide bike storage that would be safe and out of the elements. Further to this, employers could run low-cost programs aimed at incentivizing their employees to ride rather than drive to work.

On a side note, Brandon mentioned that there will be a new business in town, located on Hurontario Street, called the Summit Social House that will be a bicycle shop/repair/café.

Written by Lori Berenz for Collingwood ClimateAction Team – Transportation

To read more about Brandon Houston: od-foundry-27469