Fun meets function on new Calgary bike racks: ‘encouraging year-round cyclists’
With temperatures near -30 C and a brisk breeze often adding to the chill, this certainly isn’t the most pleasant week for going for a bike ride in Calgary.
But some cyclists are still braving the wintry weather.
“Yeah, we cycle all year round, every day,” Stephanie Melville said.
Melville is a designer with Project Bike Racks, a group that has just installed two large colourful bike racks in the downtown area.
“We know that the more bicycle amenities that a city has, the more likely people are to use them,” designer Alyssa Kelle said. “That’s encouraging year-round cyclists, because you can really cycle all year here.”
Combining fun with function, the racks add some eye-catching public art to the downtown area.
“Public art hasn’t had the best rap in Calgary lately,” designer Willis Hoff said.
But this project differs from other controversial pieces that have recently gone in around the city.
“This project actually isn’t funded by tax dollars,” Kelle said.
Local developers have provided the $70,000 to cover the costs of the racks and two more that will be installed in the area over the next couple of months.
The project comes as the City of Calgary hosts an international conference on winter cycling, which runs from Wednesday Feb. 6 through Feb. 8 at the new central library.
“There are folks from Finland, the U.S. [and] the Netherlands,” Melville said. “We’re really excited that it’s happening in Calgary this year.”
The designers are hoping some of the conference visitors will check out the new bike racks.
“There are a lot of winter cyclists, there’s definitely an appetite for it,” Melville said. “And it’s cool just to show off our city.”
“I would rather be on my cold bike than in my car,” Kelle said.
“You just feel strong and healthy,” Melville said.
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