Strathmore walking trails have been overrun with 'gang activity' — sometimes twice a day

The walking trails in a southern Alberta community have been overrun with
The walking trails in a southern Alberta community have been overrun with

The walking trails in a southern Alberta community have been overrun with "gang activity." But so far, the gang members have been welcomed with high fives and even some friendly racing competitions with local children.

It's a group of seniors on electric scooters. That's the gang.

They try to get out as often as possible.

"When the weather is good, every day," gang founder Allan McKinnon told the Calgary Eyeopener in a Friday interview.

"Yesterday, we were out in the afternoon and we were also out again last night after supper. Strathmore's got some beautiful trails. So we go out and ride for an hour-and-a-half or so and cover quite a lot of territory, different routes every day, pretty well."

It's called the Over the Hill gang and it all started about 2½ years ago when four seniors from Strathmore — about 40 kilometres east of Calgary — decided to hit the trails in a group.

But membership can go up and down over time.

"Sadly to say, out of the four people who really started it, three of them are gone, have passed on. But we now have nine members," McKinnon said.

"We've been very fortunate. The Wheatland Lodge provided us with two storage buildings where we park and plug in our scooters. We have reached a limit. We are a full house now."

McKinnon says the gang is generally well-behaved, and interactions with police have been minimal.

It's more about being among friends and sharing with the community.

"It means quite a bit. It's very relaxing," he said.

"We meet a tremendous pile of very friendly people. Lots of high fives. Cars going by honk at us and wave. It's really very sociable, that's what it is," McKinnon said.

"This Sunday, there is a Hike for the Hospice to raise some funds, and our club has been asked to lead the walkathon, which we are very proud of. It's just a real social thing, and we've been fortunate enough to go in parades and stuff like that."

Sometimes, however, rival gangs show up and show off.

"Lots of fun with the smaller children with their tricycles. We race them and they seem to always win," McKinnon said.

"Lots of high fives with people walking. It's just a tremendous lot of fun."