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Dec 31, 2013

Top Bike Stories for Calgary in 2013

2013 was another great year for cycling in Calgary.  The city has continued to see more people choosing to cycle more often, even in winter.  Although many wish the pace of bicycle infrastructure installation would move faster, myself included, we should consider 2013 another great leap forward for a more healthy, safe, and connected Calgary.

I have asked the #YYCBIKE Twitteratti to weigh in on their bike story moments from the last year - here are the responses and a few of ours (in no particular order):

1. The Calgary Parking Authority is planning on adding more bike parking spaces in the parkades they operate downtown.  This is welcomed news as there are not enough secure public bike parking spots downtown. 

2.  3 years old?  What?!  Wow!  This festival continues to grow, evolve, and enlight all who enjoy it.  CANNOT wait for 2014!

3.  The floods in June devastated the entire city and disrupted the lives, and livelihoods, of thousands of Calgarians.  Not only were roads and transit affected, the city's beloved pathway system took a very big hit.  3 bridges along the Elbow River as well as all the main bridges in Fish Creek Park were washed away making access by bicycle very difficult, or impossible, for thousands of Calgarians.

At this writing, all of the Elbow bridges are still out.  The bridges in Fish Creek have also yet to be repaired.

4.  I was watching the final stage of the Tour de Alberta late at night, on a sofa in Amsterdam, stoked on the fact that the race went down the Crowbomb!  How cool is that?! Chapeau to all the Albertans that made the event so successful!

5.  A fabulous event, well attended by the fashionable, irreproachable, and otherwise jaunty folk astride bicycles.  Bravo Josh!

6.  There is something about a fun ride through the city, with a huge group of strangers, that just never gets old.  Many of the rides this year saw groups of 70+ - astonishing for us to contemplate.  Exciting to see so many new faces on bikes!

7.  Nenshi on a bike!  On the newly announced 1 St SE cycletrack no less :)

8.  The rise of fatbikes, or more importantly, the rise of winter cycling in Calgary.  More people are choosing to ride deeper into the colder months than ever before.  Winter cycling products are becoming more available and innovative.  New bike designs too, like fatbikes, are making winter cycling more accessible - and fun - than ever before.  And more safe bike infrastructure, like the 7 St cycletrack, encourage more people to keep on pedaling.

Raise your hand if you've seen a huge increase in the number of people winter cycling in your area over the last few years.  

9. Calgary's very first physically separated cycletrack opened on 7 St SW.  While the usual "bikelash" type complaints were levelled against the new infrastructure, its hard to argue with the numbers of people who use it - 4x more than the city expected.  Here is a short video I took of the cycletrack on opening day.

10.  Which brings us to this - if bike lanes are so bad, where is the "bikelash"?  Besides the Calgary Sun ranting and raving that bikes are going to take away your liberty, force you to sell your car, and generally ruin your life, there has been veryu little negative blowback in Calgary regarding new bike lanes.  Personally, I think most Calgarians are reasonable people and as such, understand that making it easier for people to ride bikes in this city is nothing but a good thing.

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