Dec 31, 2010

Top 10 Cycling Stories in YYC

In the spirit of this time of year, and the inevitable Top 10 lists of everything under the sun, we have decided to compile our own list of Calgary bicycle related stories - according to us and in no particular order.

Did we miss something or do you disagree? Let us know in the comments.


















1. More People Riding - I don't know about you, but I think I saw more people riding bikes this year.  I know, I know, you're all going to say "Sure you saw more riders, you just opened a bike shop"! And perhaps you might be right except that many of my friends have also made the same comment, so I think I might be onto something.  More people riding to work, more people on bikes in general.  The reasons for people choosing to ride more are probably as diverse as the people themselves - saving money, better health, frustrated with traffic or transit - all very hard to pin down for me.  I hope there is someone in Calgary asking these questions because the answers could be very interesting.  

2. Riding on the Sidewalk - Well, in winter at least.  Riding on the sidewalk is not a very safe thing to do but what's safer -  riding on the sidewalk or riding on roads that have been narrowed by snow plows with motorists who are passing too close?  To be clear, I am not advocating this practice but have noticed a lot more people doing it.  Could this be a sign that more people are choosing to ride in the winter too?  Could this be a response to our lack of safe bike routes and on-street lanes? 

3. Pathways Torn out With no Warning and no Detours - Oh boy, did the city piss off an awful lot of people this year.  There were 2 glaring examples of this - here and here both of which occurred without any advance notice or suitable detours on sections of pathway that are heavily used by commuting cyclists and recreational cyclists alike.  I had a chance to ask one of our bike friendly alderman (or "councillors" now I guess) about these occurrences and he was equally upset and sadly, not really surprised that they had happened they way they did.  Our parks department has demonstrated time and again that they do not care enough about area cyclists to create usable detours or at least warn users ahead of time.  Hopefully 2011 will see some positive changes in the way the parks department handles these pathway closures and detours.

4. The MUP System - Say what you want about our lack of on-street bike lanes (I think we need 'em bad!), one piece of cycling infrastructure that continues to define Calgary is our extensive multi use pathway (MUP) system.  Currently around 700kms in total length and stretching from the core to the farthest flung suburbs, the MUP is well used by many Calgarians for recreation, exploring, and for some - commuting.  Jack Leslie - former Mayor of Calgary, can be thanked for fighting against CP Rail's plan to put their main line along the banks of the Bow River.  By winning that battle - he set the stage for the creation of our pathway system and should be remembered for his vision and determination to create a more livable Calgary.  The MUP does have it's challenges though - especially during the last few years.  With our lack of direct bike lanes for commuters many more conflicts have been occurring, sometimes with serious injuries.  The MUP was never conceived as bike commuter infrastructure and the vastly different speed differential between cyclists, joggers, moms with strollers, and dog walkers has created a situation that (during busy times) can be scary and dangerous for all users.  Overall though, the MUP system is an incredible piece of cycling infrastructure that allows you to access numerous natural areas along the Bow and Elbow Rivers.  The MUP does have its challenges but we love it and hope that the city continues to improve the dangerous areas that exist.

5. Mainstream Media Coverage In Calgary - Was it just me or did it seem like there was more coverage of cycling in the news this year?  It all started in February with our city council voting to not raise the speed limit for bikes on the MUP and seemed to gain momentum throughout the rest of the year.  The Calgary Herald featured a handful of Calgarians who choose to bike commute (including your truly) and Calgary's other daily's (here and here) also got in on the action.  Even the local weekly arts and culture paper - FFWD Calgary had to take a stab at it.  Oh yes, I forgot to mention The Calgary Journal's feature on all things cycling here, here, and here.  Even Macleans magazine was seeing something happening - this time in Toronto.  All the coverage is great - whether its a sad story about a collision on the pathways or an inspiring story about someone who has chosen to cycle more - all these stories add up into a big year in the news for bike here in YYC.

6. Nenshi! (and the election in general) - Much has been written about Naheed Nenshi's incredible, come from behind win in the fall civic election and it was exciting to witness it.  His advocacy for more bike lanes and more bike infrastructure as part of his overall transportation plan was refreshing and welcomed by a majority of Calgarians, as evidenced by the very high voter turnout and his complete trouncing of the supposed frontrunners.  Now, we all know that the Mayor is but one of 15 people on council, but thankfully the overall makeup of our new council is a little more "urban" with the addition of a few new council members, and probably more importantly, a few of the more right-wing alderman are gone from the council chambers, giving us a much more progressive looking group for the new three years.  We will watching and hoping that infrastructure improvements - as Nenshi promised - show up during his term in office.

7. City of Calgary Investments in Bike Infrastructure - I find it amazing that I did not hear about this - especially considering I like to think I am pretty plugged into what is happening regarding bicycle infrastructure spending here.  I guess I'd better up my game!  Quietly, the city has been quite busy adding bicycle infrastructure in and around the city in the form of a painted bike lane here or a bike lane there.  Local bike friendly Ald. Brian Pincott also told me that they city is adding 20kms of painted bike lanes per year for the next 9 years - which must be part of the $47 million over 9 years that I linked to above.  Exciting!  I have to think that they have not been announcing these improvements to keep the "complaining class" from freaking out on them for spending money on these improvements than on more roads.  Hard to say.  Regardless of the reasons why the city is keeping things quiet, they deserve our thanks and support for their courage in allocating funds to build these important parts of our bicycling network.

8. Lack of Bike Parking - Ever since Calgary introduced the Park Plus system finding a place to lock up your bike has become a nightmare.  By installing this new system, all of the standard parking meters were removed leaving a huge gap in the available bike lockup options in the core.  Bike parking was a real problem before and now is even worse.  On top of that, there is a serious lack of secure bike parking at C-Train stations meaning people are reluctant to ride to a station and leave their bikes there.  Many office buildings downtown have their own secure lockups (usually some kind of key fob or swipe card) which is fantastic.  However, many of these lockups have waiting lists that are over a year long.  There is a real need in the downtown area for a "bike station" type of facility to encourage people to cycle.  More bike parking is on the way for downtown office workers at 8th Avenue Place in the form of a secure space for 300 bikes, with a change room and showers too!  Nice!  One other item that is equally important is that the city now has requirements for new developments to include secure bike parking so perhaps going forward more spaces will be available.  Unfortunately this requirement doesn't fix the lack of parking in the popular shopping districts, that will need to be solved by working with local BRZ's and area alderman.

9. BikeBike Arrives in YYC!- Our list wouldn't be complete with some self congratulations would it?  We are very excited to be a part of the bike scene in Calgary and we hope we have made a positive impact on the conversation happening around cycling since our arrival.  Our hope is that we have shown people that cycling does not have to always be about speed, or lightweight gear, or performance - cycling can mean many different things to many different people and be as diverse as the individuals that choose to ride.  We feel blessed to have met so many amazing Calgarians and are honoured by everyones patronage and support - thank you!  Hopefully we can help inspire more people to choose cycling as a way to stay healthy, have fun, and create a more humane city.

10. What's your choice for a cycling story from 2010 in Calgary? - Tell us what you think was a significant bicycle story.

Happy New Year to all, may 2011 be even more exciting than 2010!

Dec 15, 2010

Tough Stuff

Winter unofficially arrived a few weeks back with those nasty temperatures and corresponding dump of snow, shocking many of us into the realization that we may be in for a long cold winter, especially considering winter wasn't to officially arrive for at least another month.  Officially or not, winter cycling was now in full effect.

For many people in Calgary the bike of choice (rightly or wrongly) for winter commuting is a mountain bike of some kind with some slight modifications like fenders and perhaps studded tires.  And while a mountain bike might be considered nice for the extra frame clearance for wide tires and extra wide gear range they require an awful lot of maintenance of the drivetrain precisely because of that cluster of cogs in the back, rear derailleur, and skinny chain.  On top of that, with a derailleur system, there is no possibility of protecting the drivetrain with a chaincase like you can with a Internally Geared Hub (IGH).

KMC Z410RB Zinc Coated Chain $20


To be clear, I know lots of people have perfectly good mountain bikes lying around and that these bikes will work, I am just saying that if you are getting tired of the maintenance required, there is another way forward - tougher chains and IGH's.

My Batavus BuB after one powerwash so far this season and not a drop of oil applied to the chain - ever!

IGH's come in many configurations with the most prolific model being the 3-speed Nexus hub from Shimano.  This hub has been in their range forever and is available with a coaster brake, no brake, or a drum brake.  Shimano also makes 7 & 8-speed versions which are amazingly tough, simple to use, and require minimal maintenance.  There are a few other IGH manufacturers out there with excellent product including SRAM, Sturmey-Archer, NuVinci, and Rohloff.

Generally speaking, if your riding has you primarily in the bottom of the river valley (Beltline, Bowness, Bridgeland) a 3-speed will suffice.  However, if your riding takes you out of the valley bottom more gears are in order.  7-speeds at minimum and 8-speeds if you want even more range.  To give you an idea of how the gear range of some of the IGH's compare to a standard derailleur setup, check the comparison chart below -


Check out the comparison to the Nexus 8-speed and a mountain triple - basically the same range with the exception of the ultra-low and ultra-high gears on the mountain triple.  In our view, especially when speaking specifically about commuting, why bother with the complexity/maintenance of a derailleur system if you are rarely in those gears?  How often are you in either your low gear or your high gear on your mountain bike that you commute on?  Do you enjoy dealing with the maintenance required?  Do you like skipping derailleurs?  My guess is you would answer no to the questions above and were simply unaware of the benefits of IGH systems.

If you have a bike with a singlespeed, fixed gear, or IGH - you can look at running a rust resistant chain as they are only available in 1/8" size (chains for derailleur systems use 3/32").  They are relatively cheap at $20, easy to install with their master link, require no lube, and hence - no maintenance.

*** Update - apparently the rust resistant chains are available in 3/32" through one of our new vendors in 7, 8, and 9-speed versions.***

Standard 3\32" chains are thinner and less durable than 1/8" chains resulting in the need to replace them more often because if you don't, you run the risk of wearing out the cogset and/or the chainrings too, which can get very expensive very fast come replacement time.  Sure, if you replace your chain regularly (every 1000kms or so) you might be able to delay the inevitable, but eventually your cogset will wear out and you need to replace the chain at the same time as the cogset.

If you are considering a new bike for commuting you owe it to yourself and your pocketbook to check out bikes that have IGH's and rust resistant chains.  They are purpose made for commuting and are worth every penny - both in durability and reduced maintenance requirements.

Happy Winter!

Dec 6, 2010

Every Journey Starts With One Step

My "gateway drug" aka my first cargo bike, September 17 2008





















September 17, 2008 - little did I know that this day would change the way I live my life and start me on the path that led to creating BikeBike Inc.

A brief history - before creating BikeBike I was working from home as a sales rep in the bike/sporting goods business for the better part of 12 years.  I drove on average between 40,000-50,000 kms per year all over the prairie provinces of Canada alone in my minivan and flew across North American 3-4 times per year.  I loved the job but there was one thing that kept on nagging at me - like a splinter you cannot get out -
I hated the fact that I spent so much time in my vehicle and felt guilty for driving alone most of the time.

I was spending a lot of time reading about the ecological consequences of our society's driving habits and peak oil theory had just popped onto my radar - remember when oil had hit $147/barrel that year?  I wanted to find away to alleviate my guilt, and perhaps, reduce my own personal impact on the enviroment, even just a little.  Saving money was not really a consideration.

Then I read about a new product that piqued my interest - the Xtracycle Freeradical.

After cruising around the website and reading a bunch of the testimonials I said to myself -

"Self, why not get one of these contraptions and use it for groceries".
Self replied - "Sounds like a good idea.  The grocery store is only 5 blocks away - it will be easy, even in crappy weather".
So I say to Self - "Ok, lets try.  Its not expensive, I have a bike I can put it on, perhaps it will be fun to go shopping by bike".

So, as luck would have it, I ended up finding one at a local shop that was shutting down, and a day or two later the "Tankbike" was born.  It was easily the heaviest bike I had ever owned - tipping the scales at 55lbs - however it quickly became the bike I wanted to ride everywhere.  Heavy?  So what.  Terrible brakes?  Who cares.  It was fun to ride - kind of like the bike equivalent of a bus.  Everywhere I rode it people would ask questions.  All my friends wanted to try it.  Many laughed at its weight and mish-mash of components.  The best part was I could now ride anywhere with my son (and frequently his bike too) and trips to the farmers market, grocery store, everywhere really, became an adventure. 

Suddenly I became part of this subculture in the bike world - a cargobike owner.  I showed it to all my bike shop friends who I knew were into kooky bikes.  They thought I was a kook.  Perfect!  More importantly, owning the Tankbike got me into researching what other cargo bikes were out there - and by extention, what was going on in a macro sense in the cargo bike/utility cycling world.




















What I found was that this category of bike and the shops that were carrying them were experiencing explosive growth in their respective markets.  It didn't matter if the shop was in New York or Vancouver, Toronto or San Diego.  It was growing everywhere - yet here in Calgary the existing bike retailers were mostly oblivious to the possibilities that these bikes could offer.

So, Self says to me - "You've always dreamed of owning a bike shop, why not open a utility bike shop in Calgary"?
My response to Self was - "Hmmm - you might be onto something".
Self then says - "It'll work!  Think about how your life has changed for the positive since you got Tankbike.  Don't you think others would want that sort of change in their life"?
My response to Self was again - "Hmmm - maybe".

(this went on for awhile more...)

Well, the result of that conversation is pretty obvious by now.  BikeBike is now a part of the cycling landscape in Calgary and our customers are telling us their own stories of how their new utiltiy/city/cargo bikes are positively impacting their lives.  We could not be happier and are constantly being inspired by them to continue to spread the message that city/utility/cargo bikes offer:

- Fun!
- Community
- Sustainability
- Responsibility

You too can make a positive impact on your life and community.  All it requires is one small step.  Set a goal of using your bike once a week for, well, anything.  Groceries?  Sure.  Errands?  Sure.  Anything really, it doesn't matter.  What matters is the commitment to try - simply try to ride more often.

You will not be disappointed!

Nov 27, 2010

Holiday Season Gift Guide

With the holiday gift giving season just around the corner we thought we would whet your whistle with a few products that we think would be great to receive and equally fun to give.

We have broken down the gifts into a few categories based on price, so, find your comfortable price level and come on in for a visit.

Under $25

Items in this range are great for your bike riding friends or as stocking stuffers.  Here are a couple of our favorites -

DringDring Bells - Handpainted in beautiful Montreal, these bells come in many whimsical flavours and, as the name implies, have that classic "dringdring" sound when rung. $25
Crane Bells - quite simply, some of the most classic looking bells around and our #1 selling bell.  There are 4 models to choose from, all with slightly different tones.  $18
NiteRider Lightning Bug and Stinger Lights - available in 6 colours with easy on/off removal these little lights pack a punch.  The 1/2 watt Stinger taillight is visable up to 1km away.  $17-$25


$25-$75

PDW Radbot and Spaceship Lights - straight outta Portland, these lights offer amazing visability and great design.  The taillight is one of the brightest we've seen with some interesting flash modes and an built in reflector.  The headlight offers a cool blue tint and plenty of light for roaming around the city.  $30-$35
Peterboro and Nantucket Baskets - we have many different colours, styles, and shapes for the perfect look and added carrying capacity on your bike.  A great addition to any bike. $50-$60
Basil Shopper XL and Blossom Panniers - Basil style and value are hard to beat.  Numerous styles and colours - everything from the feminine Blossom to the more masculine D'Azur series. $65 and $70 respectively. 
Nutcase Helmets - our #1 helmet line with colours and patterns for every taste.  Keep it classic with the solid colours or go a little wild with many of the patterned versions.  Price range $50-$65.





$75-$150


Brooks B17 Leather Saddle, Brooks Small Saddle Bags, Accessories - we are very proud to have Calgary's largest selection of Brooks saddles and accessories.  Brooks products add a touch of class to any kind of bicycle.  We have 9 different models of saddles, bags, tape, grips, toestraps, and even the Oxford rain cape.

Po Campo Bags - handmade in Chicago these bags are perfect for those gals that want to cycle, bring some goodies, and do it in style.  3 styles to choose from - the Handlebar clutch, Bungee handbag, and Rack bag.  Simply gorgeous!  $95-$170 
Strider PREBike - available in 5 colours, Strider PREBikes (also called run bikes) are the best way to teach your youngster to balance a bike, giving them the skills and confidence to ride.  So much fun!  $129





  



 $150+

Brooks Colt Leather Saddle - This "new" saddle is a reintroduction of a classic model from a decade or two ago.  Hand hammered copper rivets, colour options, included rain cover, and a shape similar to the venerable Turbo - this saddle is perfect for that classic stell road bike restoration or as a nice addition to your current steed.  $220
Brooks Oxford Rain Cape - One of the nicest bike wear items we have ever seen!  Seam taped, waterproof, reflective, rolls up and attaches to your seat.  $330
NiteRider MiNewt Cordless Light - Bright enough for use on trails, with 3 light levels including flash mode.  Built in Li-Ion battery that can be charged on the wall or with a USB cable included.  The commuter's dream light.  $155

Our gift guide isn't complete without mentioning the ultimate gift - a new bike!  We have bikes starting from under $300 for a simple 3-speed city bike and new 2011 bikes are already starting to trickle in.  Give us a call or pop in for a visit - we'd love to chat!



*** UPDATE ***  We are having a sale all through December with some crazy deals.  Here is the info -

IN CELEBRATION OF THE GIFT GIVING SEASON AND AS A THANK YOU FOR ALL THE SUPPORT WE'VE RECEIVED DURING OUR FIRST SEASON IN BUSINESS, WE WOULD LIKE TO OFFER SOME AWESOME DEALS ON THE FOLLOWING PRODUCTS:

 ALL IN-STOCK KHS BICYCLES - AT COST!
ALL IN-STOCK BASIL BAGS - 25% OFF
57cm Brodie Romax - AT COST!
56cm BRODIE OCHO - AT COST!
53cm Brodie Remus - AT COST!
57cm Batavus CS - AT COST!
54cm Batavus Lento Classic - AT COST!
Batavus Breukelen and Staccato Bicycles - 10% OFF
ALL IN-STOCK PASHLEY'S - AT COST!
Dahon Ciao! P8 - AT COST!
53cm PAKE TRACK FRAME/FORK/HS - AT COST!
ALL TRACK/SINGLESPEED WHEELS - AT COST
!

ALSO CHECK OUT THE 50% OFF TABLE AND $30/pr OLD STOCK SHOES

Sale Ends December 31 2010 or when specified products are sold out.

Nov 10, 2010

Winter Cycling Thoughts and Strategies

The MUP near Silver Springs, Late winter 2010
Winter Warrior

First off, let me confess that I live car-free and ride my bike all year ‘round, including winter, and have come to love the “frigid season”.  Cycling in winter is fun (all that slipping and sliding), you generally keep really warm (due to the extra effort required to pedal in snow and ice), you have the pathways almost to yourself (fair weather cyclists are hiding till spring), and motorists are going much slower (generally) than summer due to the road conditions and often leave more space between themselves and you.

The keys to a successful season of winter cycling are preparation of your bicycle and planning of your clothing choices and desired routes around the city.  More information can be found here at Wikipedia.

Your Bike

If you already have a bike you use for commuting or running errands, you can do a few things to that bike to get it ready for winter.  The most important accessory is a set of full fenders, if you don't already have them. Full fenders will keep you dry and keep the nasty road salt off your bike too. Also, consider giving your bike a pre-winter service to make sure all your cables and drive train are well lubricated and that your brakes are working well. For icy conditions, consider a set of studded tires to prevent/slow down wipe-outs.  If you get cold hands, consider a set of “pogies” - basically covers that go on your bike that you slip your hands into.  And perhaps most important, bright lights on the front and back of your bike so drivers can see you.

Your Clothing

One word for you - Layers! We’ve all heard this before but it bares repeating - layer your clothing for maximum warmth but also the ability to remove layers if you get too warm. Thinner layers close to the skin, thicker layers on the outside. Being really cold can be dangerous, being really cold and damp is even more dangerous! If you have a good ski/snowboard coat, that will probably work for those really cold days. On the “warmer” winter days, you might find it tough to get the perfect combination of layers - just keep experimenting and find what works best for you and your style.

Personally, I find merino wool layers are unbeatable in winter. Although they can be more expensive to purchase then other options like cotton "longjohns" or techie-poly base layers, they are unmatched in their performance characteristics, which include -

- Anti-stink: Wool is natures wonder material and has anti-bacterial characteristics which keeps you from smelling like a sweaty hockey bag
- Moisture wicking: Wool maintains its insulating properties even when it's soaked and is amazing as moving moisture away from your body
- Warmth: There is no better material out there for keeping you warm. There are many different "weights" of merino available. We recommend purchasing some micro-weight base layers and a couple mid-weight mid-layers.



Keeping fingers and toes comfortable can be tough and everyone has different comfort levels. There is no magic bullet here, simply try different combinations of socks and gloves. The “layering” principle discussed earlier is worth trying too.  For those who have the budget, and prefer to be clipped in, there are now companies making very warm footwear. Finally, a selection of toques and neckwarmers or scarves will go a long way to keeping you comfy and if you wear a helmet, covers are available to keep the wind out of those helmet vents.

Your Routes

Here is Calgary we are blessed with a great pathway system - and in winter, the pathway is cleared of snow regularly making it the ideal choice for getting to downtown. (The pathways are almost always cleared before the roads, but shhhhhhhhh - don’t tell motorists!) If the pathways are not part of your cycle route, consider using the following strategies.

- Use the City of Calgary's Park-n-Bike locations to get in and out of downtown.  Not only will you have a great time cycling, you'll probably miss a lot of the usual winter gong-show that is getting out of the downtown on poorly maintained streets.  By the time you get to your car, traffic will be lighter, your day will have eased away, and your daily exercise has been taken care of!  Win-Win-Win!

- Turn on your lights during the day so cars can see you easier.
- Take your space on the road by riding in the right-most tire rut.
- Signal your turns so motorists can anticipate your actions, be predictable.
- Take quieter side streets so you can be separated from heavier trafficked roads if they are rideable.
- Simply slow down and take it a little more easy, especially if you are sharing road space with cars. Ice can be hiding under the snow or that "brown snow" or "brown sugar" can send you to the ground in a heartbeat.

Finally, have fun out there and remember that not only are you having a blast in the snow, you are getting fitter, saving money, and making your community more livable - all by simply riding your bike.

Get out there this winter!  You'll love it!

Nov 1, 2010

YEAR END CLEARANCE SALE! HUGE DISCOUNTS ON 2010 BIKES!

Alright folks, now is the time to get in on some ridiculously good deals on remaining 2010 bikes.  The sale will run until these bikes are all gone to happy new owners.  Here is the breakdown...

Brodie Ocho regular $1150 now $950! - 53cm and 56cm only
Brodie Romax regular $1899 now $1499! - 57cm only
KHS Urban Soul regular $419 now $359
!
KHS Green regular $379 now $289!
Batavus BuB regular $649 now $549!
Dahon Ciao P8 regular $1199 - now $899!
Pashley Sonnet regular $999 - now $749! - 22" only
Batavus CS Spirit regular $1250 - now $799! - 57cm only


Also ongoing is our 50% off table!  There are all sorts of items on the table - everything from baskets to fenders, grips to cablesets - hurry down!  

Finally - we found about a dozen pairs of Diadora cycling shoes in the basement, various sizes, all brand new but around 7 years old.  ALL SHOES $30/pair!



 

Oct 30, 2010

Alberta's Only "Brooks England - Dealer of Excellence!"

London Tweed Run
Brooks England is world-renowned for its incredible leather saddles, quality, style, and longevity.  They have been creating these masterpieces since 1878 and have amassed an army of devoted fans who appreciate the quality, comfort, and old-world charm that wafts from every Brooks product.

We are very proud to be selected as Alberta's first "Dealer of Excellence".

Saddles, Bricklane Panniers, and the most beautiful Rain Cape you've ever seen!

Grips, bartape, mudflaps, saddle covers, and seat bags.

What wewill have in stock - 8 different saddle models including the B17, Colt, Imperial's, Aged, and Classic models.  We are also the only bike shop in Alberta that will have their incredibley beautiful and tough backpacks, sachels, and holdalls.  Plus, we have the full line of saddle bags and accessories - including toestraps, grips, bartape, mudflaps, Proofide - and wait for it - the Oxford Rain Cape!

B17 Special Honey

With the holiday season just around the corner, consider the gift of style and durability for that special bike-person in your life - or perhaps yourself!  Brooks products are the perfect upgrade to your current cycle or project bike.  Come check out what handmade quality is all about.

Oct 24, 2010

Airdrie's InterCityExpress (ICE) Allows Bikes on Board

Photo Airdrie Transit
Airdrie Transit launched their new service this month for commuters looking for an option to leave their car at home, and by all accounts, this new service was welcomed by many people in both Airdrie and Calgary.  Of particular note for cyclists is that AT will have bike racks on these buses once spring arrives - however, in the meantime, they are allowing people to board this service WITH THEIR BIKES.  Here is a Twitter conversation between me and Airdrie's Transit Coordinator -

@ Any idea if the ICE service will have bike racks on buses? Some customers have asked.

@ Transit Coordinator for Transit here...we've removed the bike racks for the season. Back in the spring

@ - Wow! Awsome! Will be sure to promote that service. Bike commuters thank you!

@ Yes, our fleet to will have bike racks back in the spring. In the meantime riders are permitted to board with their bikes

Wow! 

On the other hand, Calgary Transit has done a mediocre job of showing leadership with regards to integrating bikes and transit.  Right now, CT shows 3 routes that are supposed to have bike racks on ALL buses on these routes.  Unfortunately, this does not seem to be the case (customers who use these routes have told us), and CT's response to complaints about their inability to insure all buses on these 3 routes have racks has been the same answer - "we cannot guarantee that the buses leaving the garage for certain routes will have racks".

What's the point then of promoting it?  Why can't Calgary Transit have bikes on all buses like other cities?

Kudo's to CT are deserved however for cyclists ability to bring bikes on the C-Train for sure, but to be fair, it's not always easy to get on or off the trains due to the narrow doors and many trains have a pole right in the middle of the doorway making it really tough to use the train if you have wide bars or panniers on your bike.  Also, bikes are not allowed on the trains during rush hour (exactly the time you need to be able to make the biggest impact) - the ICE service however does allow bikes onboard anytime.

Congratulations Airdrie Transit on showing amazing leadership on integrating alternative modes of transportation. 

Oct 10, 2010

2011 New Bike Brands!

We are very excited and pleased to be Calgary's exclusive dealer for two cool bike brands - one is very new, one is very old.  Say hello to LINUS and Raleigh!

First, lets talk about LINUS.  Based in Venice Beach, California, LINUS arrived on the scene just last year and in that short time, has received a ton of positive press about both their designs and ride quality.  I think you'll agree, LINUS bikes are very classic looking, chic, perhaps even fashionable - with a ride quality that is both comfortable and nimble.

The 2011 lineup includes the Roadster's and Dutchi's in singleseed, 3-speed, and 8-speed options as well as two "retro" styled bikes - the Gaston and Dover - with 5-speed internal gearing with downtube shifter.  The Mixte model is available in 3-speed and a new 8-speed version too.

Delivery of these fine bicycles is still a little ways off - perhaps March 2011- but we are so pleased to add them to our lineup we just had to tell you now!

LINUS Bikes

Since we opened the shop in February 2010, we have had many customers bringing in their old Raleigh bikes for service and upgrades and have been touched by the passion that these customers have for their old bikes.

Generally speaking, these customers !adore! their Raleigh bikes and will do whatever is necessary to keep them rolling.  In all honesty, that passion for this grand old bike brand was probably the biggest reason why we wanted to offer them.  Well, that, and the fact that their city bikes are really nice looking and offer a ton of value. 

We will be offering two models to start - the Sprite ($350) and the Roadster ($550).  The Sprite is their entry-level city bike with full fenders, 3-speed internal gearing, and classic city bike design - available in both classic frame and step-throughs.  (Oh, did I mention its is actually made in Canada?)  The Roadster is another full-fendered city bike, but with an 8-speed derailleur setup - offering a wider gear range and more versatility.  The Roadster is also available in classic and stepthrough frames.

Raleigh Roadsters


We will also have access to the other cool bikes in Raleigh's lineup like the Alley Way, One Way, Clubman, and Sojourn.

We are expecting our first shipment of Roadsters this week and Sprite's around Christmas time.

Steel is real baby!

Oct 4, 2010

Glenmore Tr & 37 St SW


View Larger Map




Much has been said and written about this notorious intersection here in Calgary - mostly because it is a choke point for traffic and has been, until recently, the last stoplight on Glenmore Trail causing massive traffic headaches. From a cyclist point of view, this area was pretty scary and needed help. It is a very popular route for getting south towards the Weaselhead area (and even further south towards Fish Creek) and is also the northern route for cyclists heading towards Edworthy Park, the Bow River Pathway, and downtown. Bike route signage was spotty at best, useless at worst.
South side of Glenmore Trail roundabout.  The new pathway comes into the picture from the left and gives you 2 options for crossing 37 StSW.  Cross at the crossing shown or you can proceed left out of the picture to Lakeview Dr SW and cross there.

There was much specualtion that the Ring Road would eventually go through this area but the Tsu Tina Nation, the Province, and the City could not come to an agreement on the SW section of the Ring Road, leaving this intersection as a huge traffic problem that needed some improvements fast. The City has since changed the whole intersection - removing the traffic lights, installing roundabouts on the north and south side of Glenmore, and building a bridge connecting the 2 roundabouts. Also included was a pathway connecting the north and south to MRC and Lincoln Way SW.

View from the top of the bridge north towards MRC and Lincoln Way SW.  The pathway connector is shown or you can continue down to the left on the pathway towards 37 St SW and follow the pathway/sidewalk to 46 Ave SW/Richardson Way SW.

Overall, and considering the limitations that were in place (neighbouring homes), I think the city has done a good job of providing for bicycle access through this area and, in fact, offering a safer alternative to getting across Glenmore Trail than existed before. Signage is currently non-existent but, to be fair, the project appears to still be months away from completion. Previously, if you were cycling, you had to choose between "the lesser of 2 evils" - ride the road with aggressive, speeding motorists who were rushing to get on/off Glenmore Trail or 37 Street - OR - ride on the sidewalk. If you are cycling with children, the road is not an option, leaving the sidewalk, and the sidewalk is only on the east side of 37 St Sw with crappy connections everywhere.

Now, there is a much safer route. Here is my personal favorite:
- approaching from the north, ride north on Sarcee Rd SW (29 st sw turns into Sarcee Rd at 33 St Sw) till you get to the intersection of Sarcee Rd and Richardson Rd SW
- proceed straight through the intersection, with the road now being Lincoln Way SW. Follow it around until you see the new bridge over Glenmore Trail
- take the pathway up and over the bridge
- at Lakeview Dr SW you can cross 37 St SW and proceed south towards Weaselhead on a pretty safe road

This new link is by no means perfect - especially for pedestrians (adds at least 250m to cross Glenmore) - but it is a start. It would also be useful if bikeway signs are moved/replaced/added/changed to reflect the new route possibilities through Lincoln Way, MRC, and along the sidewalk on the east side of 37 St SW.

Thank you City of Calgary for ensuring there is ped/bike access through this vital area.

Oct 1, 2010

Movie Night at BikeBike!



















We are very excited to announce some bikefun happening over the winter months - Movie Night at BikeBike!

What is Movie Night at BikeBike?

Basically, we will clear out the shop and setup as a mini-theatre complete with popcorn.  All you need to do is show up with a chair or pillow and a donation to the Calgary Food Bank.  Cash and non-perishable food items will be accepted, so please give generously to Calgary's less fortunate families.

We have 6 dates lined up from October to March, with 6 different bike-themed films to keep your fire for bikes burning throughout the wintertime.  Here is the tenative line-up...

October 15 - Triplettes Of Belleville
November 12  - Quicksilver
December 10 - B.I.K.E.
January 21 - The Bicycle Thief
February 18 - Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
March 18 - Breaking Away

Please help us help our fellow Calgarians, and stoke your bikelove at the same time!

Sep 23, 2010

Brilliant Batavus Commercial

Bicycle companies have historically been terrible at creating television advertisements that appeal to the average Joe/Jane- if creating them at all!  The only bicycle ads I have ever seen on TV usually coincide with the yearly doper circus we know as The Tour de France, and those ads, 99.99999% of the time show some superfit, emaciated, pro rider scaling some mountain or winning a bunch sprint on a $10,000 carbonfibre-whiz-bang-speed machine - hardly average Joe/Jane activities or products. 

Thankfully the Dutch have come to the rescue with their reknowed sensibility and dry humor.  The commercial is in Dutch, but is translated as follows -

The first guy says "Hey neighbour, ESP, ABS, fog lamps, 16 inch rims and 6 gears."
The second guy says "28 inch rims, 8 gears, high power lights and computer integrated in the steering. My wife and daughter have the same."

Great stuff!

Sep 21, 2010

3-1-1 and You

I am not sure how things work in other cities, but here in Calgary, when you notice a problem with city infrastructure - like a broken water main or brutal non-detour like we see here, you are encouraged to call 3-1-1 and report it.

This service is something that Calgary cyclists should be using as often as possible, for a few reasons:

- All reports are logged by the city for future (and sometimes) immediate consideration of where upgrades and repairs are needed.
- Transportation Solutions logs all of the bicycle and pedestrian focused reports and reviews them when looking at ped/bike upgrades.  In fact, I have been told by a staffer inside TS that this is the best way to log concerns and complaints with the city specifically regarding bike routes and paths.
- It works!  I have proof!  Check out the image at left with the asphalt ramp.  I took a photo of this area, complaining that there were no ramps here, making it difficult for people to get through here safely and efficiently.  I submitted it to to the city through Twitter (@cityofcalgary) as well as logging the complaint through the city's online 311 page and this ramp appeared very shortly thereafter.

We all know that cycling in this city can sometimes be an exercise in frustration as the Roads Department has demonstrated time and again that efficient cycling detours are not on their radar (witness the construction at Memorial/10 St, under the Crowchild, or Memorial near the Peace bridge).  3-1-1, at the very least gets these issues brought to the attention of the city, and more importantly, shows the city how many people are using cycling as a transportation mode.

Be a part of the solution - take the time to register your concerns as often as possible, and perhaps the city will one day soon begin to make real improvements to our cycling network.

Sep 20, 2010

Copenhagen Cargo Bike Culture

Great video showing all sorts of people who ride cargo bikes, why they ride them, and some of the styles that are available on the market.

(pssst - we can sell you one too!)


Copenhagen Cargo Bikes from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Sep 5, 2010

For Fun - Videos Featuring Bikes

Here are a few of our favorite videos that feature bikes - enjoy!

Queen - Bicycle Race
(warning - a wee bit of skin)


30 Seconds To Mars - Kings and Queens


Mark Ronson - The Bike Song

The Bike Song
Uploaded by rockohoward. - See the latest featured music videos.

BFF 2008 Tokyo BMX Jam

Bicycle Film Festival TOKYO '08 PART 1 from Eli Tokyo Jitensha-Jin on Vimeo.

Aug 26, 2010

Bike Commute to BikeBike Photo Essay by Andreas

My son Andreas wanted to take some photos on the way to work this morning - so, I present to you, Bike Commute in 13 Images by Andreas Carter.
Peace man!
He loves VW's.
Daddy!

Westbrook Mall parking lot.
West LRT consrtuction is going fast!
Scarboro at speed.
Scarboro United church.
17th Ave SW going over Crowchild Trail.
Parking the bakfiets.
The storefront - cool grafitti!  Thanks Jaryd!

Jul 30, 2010

Family Transportation Demo Day!

We are very excited to be a part of (what I think is) Calgary's very first Family Transportation Demo Day.  First, the details:

- When?  August 7th, 9am - 3pm
- Where?  Kingsland Farmers Market - 7711 MacLeod Trail S. - you will find us in the parking lot.
- What?  Test ride a selection of cargo bikes, kid hauling bikes, cargo trailers, bikes with child seats, classic European city bikes, and electric bikes from Green City Motors

Is it just us, or has cycling been in the media more than  ever?  Is it coincidence or is it finally cycling's time to shine?  Some recent media items here, here, and here.  Other related news items are here, here, and here too.

We believe cycling is on the cusp of a huge renaissance, with commuting, utility cycling, and cycling for daily transport leading the charge.  Gone are the days of only riding bikes in tight shorts and flashy jerseys, all hunched over, pretending you're Lance Armstrong.  These days people are choosing bikes that are more classic and upright - downright civilized even - bikes that are comfortable, easy to use and maintain, and built to last a lifetime.  Bikes for going to the grocery store.  Bikes for exploring your community with your family.  Bikes for riding to work all year 'round. 

Make some time on August 7th to come down to the new Kingsland Farmers Market to try out some of these amazing bikes - and of course, pick up some fresh food and goods from the market.

Hope to see you there.

Jul 10, 2010

The BuB Days of Summer Sale Event

There has been quite a bit of excitement surrounding Batavus' introduction of this cool new bicycle - including winning the IF Gold medal award for design.  Much has been also written by various cycling bloggers about the ride, function, and style of this cool bike - so i won't bore you with more of the same.

What I will say is this - if you are looking for a durable, comfortable, and stylish city bike, you definitely need to consider the BuB.

Our order of Batavus BuB's are here and we are thrilled to be able to offer a unique special on these equally unique bikes.  While quantites last, and with the purchase of a new Batavus BuB - you will receive $50 of free BuB accessories.  What a deal!

Accessories you say?  What kind of accessories?  Well, front and rear integrated racks, lighting, coloured grips, and coloured frame accessories are all available so you can personalize your new city bike.

Retail price on the BuB is $649 - for more information, give us a call at the shop - or better yet - come on down to the shop and take one of these unique and elegant machines for a test ride - you will love it!