By ANGELA NEUFELD
Whether you’re a fair-weather rider or a serious cyclist, Calgary is easy to explore by bike with over 700 kilometres of paved pathways throughout the city.
“Checking out a city by bike is infinitely better than any other mode,” says Sean Carter, owner of BikeBike on 17 Ave SW. “You’re in the environment; you’re not stuck behind a windshield, so you can smell what’s going on in the neighborhood, and you can stop very quickly at a restaurant or a shop.”
BikeBike offers rentals for $8 an hour or $35 daily to riders over 18 with a valid driver’s license and major credit card. Its three-speed, upright-style city bikes feature lights, lock, kickstand and a crate on the rear rack. Advance bookings can be made by phone or e-mail.
BikeBike’s Full Moon Ride is held on May 16 and June 13. Each evening starts with a group bike ride and ends with a barbecue.
Below are three of the city’s hottest bike hikes.
Eau Claire Market to Edworthy Park
The Bow River pathway system skirts many central Calgary neighborhoods including Kensington, Sunnyside and the downtown core. For a leisurely ride, start at Eau Claire Market (200 Barclay Parade SW) and pedal west on the waterfront pathway to Edworthy Park (a distance of 7.4 km or 4.3 mi). Cross Harry Boothman Bridge and refuel at Angel’s Cappuccino & Ice Cream Café before making the return trip along the north side of the river and re-crossing the Peace Bridge.
Great for wildlife watching (from deer and porcupines to woodpeckers and loons), the 16 km (10 mi) circuit around Glenmore Reservoir rolls through city parks and Weaselhead Flats, a woodsy natural area to the reservoir’s west. Access the path on the north shore inside North Glenmore Park or on the south side at South Glenmore Park. Stop for a picnic lunch at one of the many picnic sites, or simply park yourself on the grass overlooking the reservoir.
Inglewood and the Elbow River Pathway
Just east of downtown, the Inglewood neighborhood features indie boutiques, cool cafés and art galleries along Ninth Avenue SE. Explore the shops, then cruise west and turn south onto the Elbow River Pathway, a paved trail running along the Elbow River. After 5 km (3 mi), you have the option to turn north onto Fourth Street SW where you can visit coffee shops, pubs and eateries.
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