Cycling in Calgary

Thought this was an interesting local take on Earth Day festivities: a point to point speed competition between car, bike and transit. I was not surprised that the bike won since the race was conducted from an old NW inner city suburb to downtown. Certainly had it been conducted from one of the far flung newer NW or SE exurbs, the cyclist would have been hard pressed to beat a car that could have driven on a freeway such as the Deerfoot or Crowchild.

Calgary as a relatively car focused city seems to nonetheless be doing a good job of encouraging cycling, mainly within the inner city where it makes most sense. Significant resources are being dedicated to expanding the road based network, adding, I believe 4 new routes each year per the plan. The City also has an extensive network of park-based bike paths, among the best I’ve seen in any city. Though these were not specifically built to facilitate commuting by bike, the fact that they run along the three prongs of the Bow and Elbow, they do in fact allow the more enthusiatic (and fitter) cyclist to commute from more distance suburbs in a car free environment. Unfortunately, the climate in this part of the country does limit cycling as a realistic alternative to most people year ’round (I truly cannot imagine trying to get on a bicycle on that morning last December when it was -32C) but I think many people would be surprised at how quick and convenient alternative it is 8-9 months of the year that are (mostly) snow free.

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