One of my favourite things about Europe in general is the fact that one can bike almost anywhere, and that it’s considered a “normal” everyday activity. After coming back to Calgary, I realized that while I can probably live without things like bakeries at every corner and constantly watching for dog poop (Dresden Neustadt, I’m looking at you), puttering around on a bike on a daily basis was something I wasn’t willing to give up.
The bike I used getting around Dresden. There was no front brake and the basket was held on by rubber bands!
Now, a little about Calgary. It is great for recreational biking because there are about 700 km of bike paths in the city, mostly in our numerous parks and along the rivers. What the city is not too great for, however, is commuter biking – i.e. biking to get groceries, biking to get to work, biking to your friend’s place, etc., because there are virtually no practical bike paths and most drivers have little experience dealing with bicycles on the road.
Calgary has great recreational pathways!
Since biking around Calgary takes more planning than just getting on a bike, I decided to take an urban cycling skills course. Basically, it teaches you how to not get killed biking city streets. Actually, it’s safer than one actually realizes!
The following video, albeit made in the US, is a pretty good overview of what we did in the course:
Anyway, after all this, I’ve explored a lot more of Calgary that I realized I would, and determined I’m still pretty good at not getting lost (generally – hint: Google Maps!). It’s fun, it’s free exercise, and most of the time I’m not going too far (though it’s 20 km to the University – sometimes I split it up by taking the train in between!).
Here’s some Instagram shots I’ve taken getting to the University – it’s such a nice way to start the day!
Now, I’ll see how it goes in the winter….