Get Outside: 6 Beautiful Places to Ride Your Bike in Calgary
When we talk about cycling in Calgary, we usually talk about commuting. Bike advocates are in the news on a regular basis advocating for dedicated lanes and space on the pavement.
But what about the weekend warriors? People who just want to take a leisurely spin on a warm evening? We asked a few local, avid cyclists about their favourite places to pedal in Calgary.
Photo courtesy of JMacPherson on Flickr.
Take a spin around the Glenmore Reservoir
“One of my most favourite rides is around the Glenmore Reservoir. You can start wherever you want,” says Sean Carter, owner of BikeBike. “For lots of it you feel like you’re in the woods. The Weaselhead area on the west end of the reservoir is particularly beautiful.”
Pedal through Edworthy Park
“If you’re starting downtown, ride on the south side of the bike path [along the Bow River] out to Edworthy Park and cross the bridge and stop at Angel’s for a coffee. Ride back to downtown on the north side. It’s a really nice loop,” says Carter.
Photo courtesy of harrycalgary on Flickr.
Get grooving on a 62-kilometre ride
“For a longer ride, start in Mission and the Stanley Park area. Take the bike path [along the Elbow River] through Sandy Beach down to the Glenmore Reservoir and through Fish Creek and back into downtown,” says Dan Petersen of The Cyclepath. “It’s exactly 62 kilometres on path. You only have to deal with one set of lights. The rest of time you’re grooving.”
Explore the Bow River at night
“The Bow River pathway along Memorial Drive is one of the most popular in the city, but you haven’t really seen it until you ride it at night," says Tom Babin, digital editor at the Calgary Herald and blogger for the paper's Pedal blog.
"Strap on a headlight and head west from the zoo. You’ll spot the dancing LEDs of the new East Village River walk on the opposite bank and you’ll dip under the illuminated purple haze of the Langevin Bridge. The transcendent moment comes when you pop up from beneath the Centre Street bridge and look left: the glowing Bow Tower gives the core a kind of descending symmetry that seems to sweep you to the mountains."
"If it’s a weekend, keep going and join the crowds listening to the late-night buskers taking advantage of the Peace Bridge’s acoustics."
Photo courtesy of ringsofsaturnrock on Flickr.
Escape the city in Nose Hill Park
“Nose Hill is very nice. It feels like you’re out of the city because you’re very secluded,” says Jason Sokolosky, a coordinator at the Calgary Outdoor Club. “You’re in the middle of this field and often times you can’t see the rest of the city around you.”
Take the long way home
“Most people who ride a bike to work obsess about ‘their route.’ The criteria for a good route usually involves safety and limited traffic, but over time, I've started to pick more and more scenic routes," says Dave Robertson, who has been commuting to work by bike for 12 years. "There's nothing more relaxing than taking an extra few minutes on a quiet, tree-lined back street to unwind from a long day at the brickyard."
“My current favourite is 19th Avenue S.W. starting at 15th Street. It involves a long hill that I struggle to climb on my chunky Dutch bike, so I usually get off and push it. It's a relaxing way to finish the day.”
Photo courtesy of KiwiHugger on Flickr.
Let the City be your guide
The City of Calgary has a variety of guided cycling maps through downtown Calgary’s major attractions, such as Fort Calgary, the Stampede grounds and Riley Park. The maps are organized by distance and highlight notable attractions and facilities nearby. The City also has an interactive map.
Let local cyclists be your guide
Here are some great places to get additional routes:
Mike Warren has detailed maps of his favourite routes, including a trip to Cochrane.
BBBike @ Calgary has an interactive map that lets you plan your own route.
And if you haven’t already downloaded the BikeYYC app, get it now. The app provides routes, updates on pathway closures and more.