February 8, 2019 11:48 pm

Winter Bike to Work Day: Calgary cyclists embrace bitter cold

Fri., Feb. 8: Calgarians are embracing the cold through winter cycling. Tiffany Lizee reports.

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Cycling is a great, active way to get from Point A to Point B in Calgary, but winter cycling can be intimidating, especially when the arctic cold settles in and the ground is covered in snow.

“I spent probably the first 30 years of my life hating winter. Now, all of a sudden, it’s my favourite season, and the only difference is I bike in it now,” said Kevin Shlaugh, a winter cyclist and Calgary resident.

Shlaugh has no problem with a frosty morning commute.

READ MORE: Calgary sees big increase in number of winter cyclists: ‘It’s so much fun’

Schlaugh encourages people to pedal around the city during the winter, saying it’s not as cold as you may think.

“As soon as I get moving, I’m warm, and it’s so refreshing. It connects you with the city and with nature,” he said.

The winter cycling community is a close one and hosts events around the city — like Winter Cyclist Congress and Cyclepalooza — to connect outdoor enthusiasts.

“You’re like best friends the moment you go past each other … we do a little nod or little wave,” Schlaugh said.

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READ MORE: Fun meets function on new Calgary bike racks: ‘encouraging year-round cyclists’

Katherine Glowacz, active transportation planner with the City of Calgary, said the city has dedicated infrastructure for cyclists and clears downtown cycle track routes within 24 hours of the end of a snowfall.

Other designated pathway systems and routes — like bike lanes — that are further out of the downtown area are cleared within 48 hours.

Since cycle track routes were put around the city, officials say winter cycling trips have tripled, and 30 per cent of cyclists are now riding year-round.

“If you’re anything like me, the more you do it the more you’re going to like it and the more you’re going to want to do it,” added Schlaugh.

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