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Showing posts from 2012

Urban Fatbike Adventures - COP Eastlands

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It's no secret that we love exploring Calgary by bike. But come winter, many folks simply have to put away the bike and patiently wait for spring to come. Not us! This is the first in a short series of posts all about Urban Fatbiking in some of Calgary's wild places.

Come wintertime, Calgary's famous Multi-use Pathway System (MUP) turns into an epic snowy singletrack network the traverses this city in every direction. You can literally ride completely around Calgary on the trail networks.

Todays ride started in Edworthy Park, heading west along the tracks to the Calgary Olympic Park "Eastlands" cross country trail network, and back again.

Starting into the Eastlands at its east end, at the parking area at the bottom of Sarcee Trail, the loop taken was basically, Slim Shady to Turtle Soup, to Supersize, to Ridgerun, Lame-o, Beater, Beaver Fever, to Jawbone, down Oasis, and back to the start.


The loop has been walked on by hikers so traction was quite good ar…

Top Bike Related Stories for Calgary in 2012

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'Tis the season of lists - lists of the best/worst of everything under the sun are all aflutter this time of year.  What would list season be without a list of Calgary's Bicycle Related Stories, right?

January 

Bike Share Debate - One of the more ambitious, expensive, and contentious action items in the Comprehensive Cycling Strategy was a BIXI-style bike share system for the downtown/Beltline area.  January saw this item land in the Transportation Committee and after debate was finished the idea was sent back to City Administration so they could plan how it would be implemented and paid for.  Hint - no City money will be spent on the system.  Hope exists that a private sponsor will be found to fund the system when it is finally ready for roll out in 2013 or 2014 at the earliest. The Calgary Sun weighs in here.

February 

Downtown Bike Count Breaks 10,000 - Our city's bike advocacy organization - Bike Calgary - broke the news that for the first time ever bicycles travelling i…

Bicycle People Know How to Have Fun!

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Bilenky Bicycle Works is a custom bike manufacturer based in Philidelphia PA and for the last few years have been organizing what might be the only cyclocross race in the world where you need a tetanus shot to compete - the Junkyard Cyclocross. 



I don't know about you but to me, this looks like it is right up my alley, erm, junkyard!

Enjoy!

Fatbiking the Goldilocks Loop

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Another free weekend, another fatbike ride at West Bragg Creek.  This time out I decided to ride the "Goldilocks Loop" which uses new trails that were built specifically for mountain bikers.

The loop uses 3 trails to complete the loop.  Starting at the parking lot the trail heads south and immediately heads straight up the Ranger Summit (South) trail for about 45 minutes of lung busting climbing to the summit, pictured above.  I found the climb to be quite challenging but almost entirely rideable bottom to top.

Once at the top the trails basically heads straight back down along Strange Brew and Boundary Trails. The trail back down was so much fun!  Berms, switchbacks, jumps, and swooping singletrack take you all the way back to the parking lot.  I wish I had brought some eyewear or goggles for the descent though since the cold temperatures werer causing my eyes to sting and water, hardly a bummer but noteworthy for next time out.

Conditions in West Bragg are great right now…

Calgary's First Bicycle Super Highway?

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The much anticipated west leg of Calgary's light rail transit system is due to open on December 10th and along with it, many improvements to Calgary's bicycle network.  There is a comprehensive list of the improvements here but one of the most exciting components is a new multi-use pathway (MUP) that runs parallel to the line from Westbrook to 69 St.


In the past, if you lived west of Sarcee Trail and tried to cycle from there east towards the inner city you would run into the very bicycle (and people) unfriendly corridor that is Sarcee Trail.  Getting across this road required that you either A) detour north to the Bow Trail area B) try to navigate the wretched intersection at 17th Avenue or C) detour south towards the pedestrian overpass near 26th Avenue SW.  All of these options were not the best and made cycling and walking between these areas difficult.

The new MUP is a very direct route, almost a bicycle superhighway (ok, I know its only a couple miles, not 11) an…

Fat Biking the Telephone Loop

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Conditions were perfect to head out to the mountains so we could run our Salsa Mukluk demo bikes through a long ride on XC Ski trails in the West Bragg Creek area west of Calgary.

Hommie and Krocker were up for the challenge so we loaded up the bikes Sunday morning and drove west into what we hoped would be epic winter conditions and lots of sweet single track.  Both were eventually found - as well as a new desire to get out to the mountains in the wintertime on something other than skis. Arriving at the trailhead and were surprised to see a little less snow on the ground than what we had in Calgary, would the fatbikes be overkill?

Once we were organized and ready to go it was decided that Telephone Loop would be the trail of the day.  At 15 kms long and not maintained right now (logging is in progress along part of it) we guessed it would take about 2 hrs of riding to complete.  We also knew that there were no really steep and long sections on the trail so we figured it would be a …

Everyday Bicycling, The Book

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Everyday cycling, it sounds so simple.  But to cycle every day, for every thing, well that is not as simple as it sounds.  I have been living carfree for almost 3 years now (wow! has it been that long?) and in that time I have learned a lot about what it means to use a bicycle as my primary means of year 'round transportation.  But before that, I had plenty of other bicycle riding and bicycle racing experiences that gave me a base knowledge of bicycling in general so the choice to go carfree did not seem like that big a deal at the time. 

Everyday cycling, or transportation cycling, or utility cycling - the terms are somewhat interchangeable - is more than just bike commuting to work or school.  Indeed, bike commuting is one aspect of everyday cycling.  But so is going grocery shopping, so is taking the kids to school/practice, running errands, and even buying/transporting furniture and appliances.  It is simply the act of living out your life most of the time on a bike instead o…

Interesting Bike News Nov.6, 2012

Our (sort of) weekly compilation of interesting bicycle related media and news. 

Enjoy!

- Post Hurricane Sandy Cycling Surge - "that" storm on the East Coast sure did pack a wallop, knocking out power to millions, flooding car and train tunnels, and stranding millions in their communities.  However, if you had a bike you were able to get back to normal simply by hopping on a bike and pedaling away.

- Here is a great video from the night the storm hit New York.  A couple of people on bikes were able to navigate around a deserted downtown Ney York City, wild.

- In local advocacy news, Bike Calgary has been able to have the Alberta Driver's Guide (the book you need to study to get your learner's licence) updated to include proper wording and considerations for bicycles. Sure, it may seem like a small victory but they all count!

- A neighbourhood in Calgary ok's bike lanes, then wants them removed, reasons unknown.  What gives? 

- A bike share system (like Montreal&#…

Heels On Wheels

Wonderful short film about 4 friends riding around on bikes one night.

Heels on Wheels from Nanna Nike Kindtler on Vimeo.

Why You Should Try and Reduce Your Car Usage

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There has been a little more chatter than usual in the media about how people in North America are using cars and how those usage patterns are contributing to all sorts of problems to us as individuals and to our society in general.  Health problems like obesity and heart disease are on the rise for children and adults.  CO2 emissions from transportation are a huge contributor to global warming.  Gridlock in the biggest cities in North America is getting worse everyday.  People are spending hours per day commuting in their single occupant vehicles, wasting time, wasting resources, and slowing productivity. Car crashes continue to be the #1 killer of children and teenagers.

I can summarize it like this - we drive too much, it is costing us zillions of dollars, and it is costing us our health too.

However there is a way forward and it is pretty easy to do. Stop driving so much.

Just to be clear - we are not anti-car.  We understand cars are an integral component to the mobility of our…

LikeLike Your BikeBike!

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You know what time of year it is?  Yes, it's autumn,  Yes, it's costume wearing season.  And yes, it's get-a-good-deal-on-some-Bobbins season, not to be confused with wabbit season.

All  of our currrent inventory of Bobbin bikes as well as select accessories are on the deepest discount of the year.  You'll more than likelike your new BikeBike, you'll love it!  Especially considering that every Bobbin sold during the sale will come with a free Nantucket basket too - a $55 value.

Limited quantities in some colours and sizes.

Birdie 3-speed - light blue, mint, yellow available - regular $699 - on sale for $529
Birdie 5-speed - red and light blue - regular $799 - on sale for $629
Vintage 5-speed - black only - regular $899 - on sale for $649
Vintage DLX 5-speed - black only - regular $999 - on sale for $729
Daytripper 5-speed - rootbeer - regular $799 - on sale for $549
Daytripper 3-speed - blue - regular $699 - on sale for $449

Also on special is the Bobike Mini+ fro…

Calgary's New Cycling Coordinator

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Last May, city council passed the Comprehensive Cycle Strategy and in November they funded it as well.  Bicycle advocates in the city have viewed these developments as huge victories for a more bike-friendly Calgary and those of us involved in advocacy are full of hope that maybe we'll finally see more bicycle infrastructure installed throughout the city.

Have you read the cycle strategy?  If not, here it is, in all of its 82-page glory - Calgary's Cycle Strategy.

One of the most important action items in the strategy was to create the position of Cycling Coordinator and to find a qualified person to fill it.  Enter Tom Thivener - our new city cycling guru!



News Roundup June 11 2012

""Us versus Them" Must Stop"
The “us versus them” divide between cyclists and drivers has to stop, says the founder of a provincial cycling advocacy group.

 "Bicycling can be fun, but can it be a form of transportation?"
Today’s show gets behind a growing appetite for cycling as an everyday mobility option.  Gil Penalosa, executive director of 8-80 Cities, explains the significance of creating lanes that feel safe enough for someone as young as 8 or as old as 80 to use. Councillor Brian Pincott sheds some light on Calgary’s newly-funded bicycle strategy. Mia Birk, president of Alta Planning + Design and author of Joyride, describes how bikeshare can be a game-changer. And Hans Moor, president of Ottawa’s Citizens for Safe Cycling, talks about the pilot project of Laurier Avenue. 

"Can Ditching Your Car Make You Feel More Free?"
Los Angeles once showed the world that the car equaled freedom. Our vast parking lots and spacious two-car garages offere…

Weekly Roundup of Interesting Bike News June 4 2012

The "Weekly Roundup" is a new series we'll be running on the blog to keep you up to date on lots of interesting bicycle related news floating around the intranetwebs (my new favorite non-word!).

Bikes are cool again and everyday there seems to be more news coming from all over the world about how bicycles are changing our communities for the better.

Enjoy! 

"Bike your way to a fitter, happier you."
Look around the streets of any major city today, and it's obvious that the cycling landscape has changed. Once the domain of a lone spandex-clad athlete, the road now hosts throngs of well-heeled cyclists pulsing along, baskets and backpacks stuffed with lunches and laptops.

"Faced with legal and financial challenges, BIXI bike sharing program in a cycle of uncertainty."
Calgary had a short, if heated, debate this winter about launching a service that is painting cities green across North America: a public bike share system.  The concept got a lukewar…

Weekly Roundup of Interesting Bike News May 28 2012

The "Weekly Roundup" is a new series we'll be running on the blog to keep you up to date on lots of interesting bicycle related news floating around the intranetwebs (my new favorite non-word!).

Bikes are cool again and everyday there seems to be more news coming from all over the world about how bicycles are changing our communities for the better.

Enjoy!  

"Chain Reaction."
The cycle-chic movement sprang from a single photograph taken by a Calgarian in Copenhagen. It’s now a worldwide phenomenon, with cyclists choosing style over speed. They’re contributing to a more sustainable city and looking good, sans helmets.

"High school kids suspended for riding to school"  
On Monday, 64 Kenowa Hill High School seniors biked to school in Walker, Mich. Nice, right? Well, the principal didn’t think so. She suspended the kids for the day and threatened to keep them from walking in their graduation ceremony. Somehow, this one story manages to encapsulate everything …

The Tour Divide - adventuring on an epic scale!

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Bike touring can take many forms - from the single overnight trip all the way through to around the world. Some like road touring, some like offroad touring. No matter what style you prefer, the same is always true - adventures are found, people met, and adversity overcome. These fellas decided to tackle one of the toughest adventures possible - The Tour Divide. Enjoy!

Need More Bike Parking? 3-1-1 Your Request

The fact that Calgary is lacking bike parking is no secret to those that cycle in this city.  The vast majority of neighbourhoods have no bike racks at all and most of the major shopping areas in the downtown area are also sadly under-racked, especially true when the City switched over to the Park + system and removed all the parking meters.  Insuring secure places to lock up your cherished bicycle has, in the past, been a non-thought to many new building projects and apartment/condo complexes too.

But change is in the air.  Can you smell it? (no, it doesn't smell like thawing dog poop) You can certainly 3-1-1 it!

When City Council passed Plan It a few years back part of that plan included provisions for bicycle storage in new developments - ya!  So, new developments will be making space for bikes, but what about all the existing buildings and communities? 

There is a solution - Calgary's bike rack sponsorship program.  All you need to do is to request that a bike rack be ins…

The Perfect Bicycles For Summer Charity Rides - Touring Bikes!

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Charity rides like the Ride To Conquer Cancer and the MS 150 have been going on, in one form or another, across Canada for decades and continue to offer an accessible way for very casual cyclists to try a light version of bicycle touring and experience the enjoyment of cycling for longer distances.

I'll never forget my first charity ride - known at the time as the Bike-A-Thon in Toronto.  I would collect pledges from my paper route customers (pennies per km) and was always very proud of the meager amounts of money I was able to raise.  The loop was 35kms and I was 14 the first year I did it.  I'll never forget how empowered I felt after riding that distance on my own.  The next year I decided to do an extra loop to try and raise more money - much to the chagrin of the people who pledged to my ride - they suddenly had to pay twice what they expected!


Will We Ever See A Provincial Bicycle Strategy In Alberta?

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We are all expecting a provincial election sometime in 2012 and with all the talk of austerity measures, deficit budgets, sustained high energy prices, and out of control heath care spending, it got me thinking that many of these problems could me mitigated with a provincial focus on getting more people bicycling.

All the municipalities in this province are facing the same challenges of increasing traffic congestion, ballooning road costs, and a desire to try and get people out of their cars and into transit, carpooling, walking, and of course, bikes.  In some cases, municipalities are looking at trying to create separated bikelanes, which can sometimes run afoul of provincial road laws.  Without any sort of provincial direction and accommodation, all of these individual municipalities are forced to fight the exact same battles as the next community - wasting time and energy - and ultimately making progress at best slow and at worst, virtually impossible.

We need a comprehensive appro…

No Wonder People Stopped Using Bikes For Transportation!

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Found here.

These will give you a quick glance into our society's dominant view of cycling, which is really sad when you consider that the number one cause of death to children and youth is car accidents, not bike riding.

Those of us that want to create safer conditions for cycling are not only battling city council's and planning departments, we are also battling the predominant viewpoint of society that bikes are dangerous and cars are not.

They couldn't be more wrong.

The Economic Case For Bike Lanes

The case for and against installing more bicycle infrastructure in cities all over North America has been raging all over the media in recent years, with the fervor of arguments from both sides growing with every passing season.  On one side of the debate, lets call them "Pro-Bike", are of course bicycle advocates struggling to get safer places to cycle, forward thinking city planners, new urbanists, social justice groups, and health professionals - just to name a few.  On the other side of the debate, lets call them "The Status Quo" are car-centric transportation planners stuck in old paradigms, city politicians using outdated logic, the average Joe/Jane who has subconsciously bought into the idea of "The American Dream" with all of the trappings that come with that concept, and of course the auto-industrial-complex.

Those who are against more bicycle infrastructure on our public roadways love to portray the issue as some kind of "war on cars"…

Urban Bike Fun aka Bike Polo

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If you like riding bikes, have a competitive streak, and enjoy urban environments, you may be interested in one of the most fun urban cycling activities available - bike polo!

Hardcourt bike polo has been experiencing amazing growth over the last few years all around the world and unbeknownst to most, Calgary has a thriving bike polo scene, with 2 main clubs - Calgary Bike Polo Society and Rogue Polo.


In the summer season Calgary Bike Polo has been playing for the last few years at Richmond Knobhill Community Rink on Wednesdays with Rogue Polo playing at Highwood Community Rink on Fridays and Saturdays. In the winter, when temperatures are reasonable and there isn't a show at the Jubilee Auditorium we have been playing on the lower level of the ACAD parking garage on Sunday afternoons.


However, beware. Hardcourt bike polo can be addictive. Like speed? Check. Like big time laughs? It's got that too. Want to practice your bike handling? Yessiree. Looking for a full bo…

26 Months on Without a Car

After reading a post on Lovely Bicycle I was reminded that I too have been without a daily driver for over two years now - wow, has it really been that long?

One of the things that Velouria mentioned in her piece about not owning a car was her desire to not make her decision to be car free as some kind of "if I can do it so can you" narrative - it is simply a lifestyle choice that is easy for her.

However, for me, choosing to live a car free lifestyle was definitely influenced by a desire to lead by example -

1 - I was taking a huge pay cut quitting my job to open BikeBike and I wanted to make sure the business would have enough cash flow to get us through the critical first year so by ditching the car I would pull less wages out of the shop.

2 - Most importantly, I wanted to know what it would be like to live car free in a city known for being very spread out and populated by car loving people so I could better converse with my customers about the realities of daily bike co…

2012 New Bike Brands

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Happy New Year Everyone!

2012 is shaping up to be an exciting year for us - we've made it past the dreaded first 2 years as a new business, we've met and beat our projections (thank you!), and we are diving into a new part of the bicycle industry - touring bikes!

As well of offering a full selection of touring bikes and products, we are also diving deeper into the world of classic city bikes with 2 new brands - one brand new, the other over 100 years old.

First, the brand new brand - Bobbin Bicycles.


Bobbin Bicycles was created by a retail shop in London UK of the same name.  Here is what they are all about, in their own words -

"Bobbin reinvents romantic notions of traditional upright bicycles and makes them relevant to modern life. We’re interested in recapturing the magic and excitement we all felt from riding our first bike. Bobbin bicycles have personalities (and sometimes even names) of their own. The idea that cycling doesn’t have to be sporty is very important to…