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Calgary sees notable uptick in the number of winter cyclists

The addition of downtown cycle tracks has seen four times as many riders take to Calgary's streets in winter

Calgary’s cycle tracks are located in the downtown core. (Image: City of Calgary)

According to Global News, Calgary has seen a significant average increase in the number of daily winter cycling trips since its cycle track was installed in January 2015—our times as many, in fact.

The statistics compare the number of riders between January 2015, before the cycle track was installed, and January 2016, after its completion.

Echoing the sentiments of winter riders across the country, Calgary cyclists discussed getting around in winter as a mental game.

“As one of my university professors said, there’s no such thing as bad weather,” said Dena Maxwell, a rider who commutes year-round from the Mount Pleasant district to the University of Calgary. “It’s just bad preparation. It’s so much fun. It’s like summer biking except there’s a lot more challenges, a few more obstacles.”

“You’re sliding around a little bit more, you’re going a little bit slower, but it’s honestly so much fun,” she said.

A report published by the City of Calgary detailed that the cycle tracks—located on 8 Avenue, Stephen Avenue, 12 Avenue and 5 Street—facilitated a total of 1.2 million bike trips between June 2015 and November 2016. The rides that fall during the coldest of those months, Global News reported, involve only one real challenge—beyond the layers needed to bundle up, of course—and that’s when slushy conditions can occasionally force riders farther from the curb, closer to the line of vehicle traffic.

Still, the joy of winter riding, Calgary cyclists say, is worth it.

“I wish I had done it sooner,” said Molli Bennett, another Calgary rider, speaking with Global reporters, “because it wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be.”