Saturday, April 12, 2008

Calgary: Get back in the saddle

Image of a bicycle in Calgary
From the Calgary Herald, 04.11.08:

Biking to work is one of those activities that sounds great in theory, but putting it into practice requires a considerable leap of faith.

On the plus side, bicycle commuting kills three birds with one stone: it integrates exercise into your daily routine, cuts down on pollution and saves you a ton of money in gas and parking fees. Bonus: With Calgary's ever-worsening rush hour, cycling can also potentially save you time.

But safety concerns, logistical worries (weather, where can I fix my helmet hair?) and a fear of the unknown can prevent commuters from taking the plunge...

A lot of those questions are answered on user forums at, where about 400 cyclists share information and sound off about their concerns.

The site acts as a virtual support group for cyclists, with tips for newbies, links to local bike shops and a guide to city pathways. "One of the purposes was to support new bicycle commuters," says (Stewart Midwinter, a member of cyclist advocacy group Bike Calgary), who started the site.

He sees Bike Calgary as bridging the gap between events like Bike to Work Day and year-round behaviour by providing a support network and advocating for improved infrastructure.

"We need a strong advocacy group to push for infrastructure improvements. They don't happen unless people are asking for it," Midwinter says. The results can be impressive, he adds, noting Portland, Ore., tripled its number of cyclists in the past 10 years through similar initiatives.(Read more.)
Comprehensive article from Calgary, which celebrated Bike to Work Day on April 11. The Alberta city appears to have an emerging bicycling advocacy movement, calling for more bike lanes, better transit access, bike racks.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Bike to Work Day was a snow-free success, Calgary Herald
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips Site
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John in Calgary said...

Bike day in Calgary on April 11th? I am not sure how they picked this date but let me tell you about weather in these parts. On April 10th we had record breaking snow fall in Calgary. 8 inches of the white stuff fell. Sure, it started melting right away but that night it froze. On the morning of the 11th we had snow and ice everywhere. I rode to work but only after I got out my full suspension bike with two studded tires. All of the ice and much of the snow melted during the 11th making for a pleasant ride home (but I didn't have much company on the bike paths since only the certifiable were on their bikes in the morning). Maybe bike day in Calgary should be held in July next year. Ya gotta love east slope Rocky Mountain spring weather in Canada.

Kim @ Socius: Daejeon Central said...

@ John- That's funny but true. A good friend of mine was the MUP engineer for the city of Edmonton for years. She's now in Oz on mat leave but she has inspired me to go full time on the cycle commuting. Anyone who cycles year round through an Alberta winter is enough to convince me that it's possible. Granted, the winters here in South Korea are more like autumn in AB, but you have to start somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Virtual Cycling - Tacx have a great product called the Tacx Fortius, it is basically a turbo trainer connected to a PC so you can ride or race in a virtual environment.