• Best Books About Cycling

    Whether you’re an avid cycler, or just starting out, there are plenty of great stories, people, and ideas written in books that are sure to change the way you think of cycling. To many people, riding your bike is just an activity, or a method of transportation – but to others, it is a lifestyle or an adventure.

    We’ve compiled some of the best books all about cycling – where to do it, how to train, incredible human feats, the history of the sport, and more.  Reading these will surely teach you, surprise you, and even inspire you to ride further.

    1. The Man Who Cycled the World by Mark Beaumont

    This is the story of how Mark Beaumont set the Guinness World Record of cycling the 18,000 miles around the world in 194 days and 17 hours.He tells stories of how he managed to beat the previous record while sharing some stories of his youth, and riding across Italy for charity.

    2. Where There’s a Will: Hope, Grief and Endurance in a Cycle Race Across a Continent by Emily Chappell

    This book shares the harrowing story of Emily Chappell, who pushed herself to the limits in trying to cycle across Europe unassisted.  She takes you through her journey of climbing and overcoming mountains, both literally and figuratively. 

    3. Epic Bike Rides of the World by Lonely Planet

    For those who are world travellers and adventurers, this book might inspire your next cycling trip. Lonely Planet offers 200 of the most amazing and scenic bike routes the world has to offer.

    4. The Official History of the Tour de France by Serge Laget

    If you’re a fan of the Tour de France or races in general, this insightful book gives you all the details of this incredible event and how it all started, from its early days to now.It also doubles as a great coffee table book with its plethora of photographs.

    5. The Cycling Chef: Recipes for Performance and Pleasure by Alan Murchison

    Any good cycler will tell you food and diet are imperative to good performance. Alan is a Michelin-starred chef who cooks for British Cycling athletes - he also happens to be a champion athlete himself. You’ll find 65 great recipes for tasty meals fit for the professionals.   

    Here are some more if you are interested from bikeradar.com.

    Happy reading and biking!


  • Mental Health Benefits of Cycling

    Cycling has been proven to not only improve your physical well-being – but also your mental health. Whether biking indoors or outdoors, we consistently see positive effects on your brain and body.  There are multitudes of benefits that can affect all parts of your life.

    Exposure to the outdoors has often been prescribed to combat mental health problems such as depression and anxiety. Cycling outdoors is no different!  Your brain positively reacts to the influx of blood flow and nutrients and enables greater performance.  Meaning, consistent cycling in your day-to-day life keeps your brain healthy and young in your later years.

    Studies conducted on cycling have shown these are just some of the mental health benefits people experience:

    -Decreases in depression and anxiety

    -Greater well-being and relaxation

    -Enhanced creative thinking

    -Improved memory

    -Improved moods

    -Better sleep

    Additionally, you can reap the social perks of this hobby by meeting like-minded people who also greatly enjoy cycling.  There are endless ways to connect to these groups: many are on social media like Facebook and Instagram, or even on cycling apps like Zwift and Strava.      

    It is often recommended to cycle for about 30-60 minutes at a steady pace three to five times a week to enjoy those benefits.  This can be done on your way to work, around your neighbourhood, or anywhere else you like to bike. During the winter months, this can be especially challenging, but even getting on a stationary bike helps with your well-being and mental health.

    So, next time you’re thinking of commuting to work or wanting to get outside, grab your bike (and helmet) and see the benefits for yourself!


  • All About E-Bikes

    Go to Google and search e-bike reviews and one of the first sites that comes up is the well done ElectricBikeReview.com, or EBR.


    This information source provides unbiased reviews of all sorts of electric bikes available on the market. It is run by Vancouverite Court Rye.


    Court is an energetic and knowledgeable e-bike reviewer who has a genuine interest in the environment, health and his community. His background was that he was in product management and did a lot of cycling to and from work. However, he had some previous skiing and surfing injuries, and found the summer heat made it difficult to get to work and still look fresh. That is how he discovered e-bikes.


    He bought his first e-bike online, not knowing anything about the technology, weight distribution or power sources. He loved that bike, but it was still heavy and awkward for his needs. He transferred his interest from the corporate world to the e-bike world.

    Court now operates his website out of Vancouver, BC. He told me he “loves the local biking community” and enjoys the diversity of British Columbia. He independently reviews all sorts of e-bikes through a detailed summary, photo album and video. He offers viewers tips on best affordable e-bikes, best electric fat bikes, best electric mountain bikes and several other categories.


    If you want to learn more about e-bikes, and especially if you are looking to get into one given the advanced technology now available, EBR is for you. Check out the excellent reviews and information.

    Written by Lonny Balbi. 


  • Cycling Etiquette

    With the increase of cycling during the pandemic as one of the only ways to exercise, there are significantly more cyclists, runners, and walkers out and about.

     

    Here is a refresher on cycling ettiquette:

     

    Don’t use the wrong side of the path or walk in the middle of the path.

    This is an unspoken rule but a lot of people do not stick to the right side of the path.  If you don’t stick to an edge, another cyclist might clip you as they pass you because they didn’t leave you enough room.

     

    Don’t stop in the middle of the path.

    This is especially important if you are in a group. Move as close to the edge or off the path if it is safe to do so. Not only is this important for social distancing, it is also saves people from having to go around you. The other week when I was out running, I saw a group of young cyclists stop and lay their bikes right on the path and then run into the trees to take a picture. This is incredibly unsafe and disrespectful.

     

    Be aware of those who are around you.

    It is important to be conscious of who is in front of you and who is behind you. When you need to pass someone, should check to make sure no one is behind you trying to pass and be aware of who is coming towards you as there might be someone coming the other direction.

     

    Alert someone before you pass them.

    Using you bell or calling out as you are passing someone will prevent them being startled by you.

     

    Don’t pass everyone like you’re trying to win the Tour de France.

    Slow your roll. I understand the love to go fast but it is also alarming to be passed by someone zooming by you.

     

    Travel single file.

    Share the space.

     

    Be safe. Share the space. Happy (distant) cycling!

    Photo by Tiffany Nutt on Unsplash


  • Spring Cycling in Calgary

    With the uncertainty of COVID-19, life is looking different at the moment. Cycling is a great form of exercise and a viable form of transportation. As long as you are following the social and physical distancing protocals in place, it is safe for you to get outside and ride your bicycle.

    The temperature is getting up to 18 degrees on Monday and Tuesday (FINALLY). It is an excellent time to take your bicycle in to get a spring tune up. Many people don’t cycle in the winter (but they should, like our founder, Lonny) so your bike sits all winter. Because of this, some parts might not work as well as they should be. Many bike shops are open by appointment only and are doing contactless drop off and pick up.

    Some of the bike shops that are open are:

    The Bike Shop

    BikeBike Inc.

    Ridley’s Cycle

    Calgary Cycle

    Bike & Brew

    Bow Cycle

    B & P Cycle and Sports

    Power in Motion

    Each shop has different policies in place. Please contact them directly for more information!

    We are living in a strange time but one positive of the quarantine is that there are less cars on the road. This makes it easier and safer for cyclists to get around the city. Calgary has over 600km of paths and bike paths around the city!

    With the beautiful weather coming this weekend, now is a great time to dust off your bicycle and get outside.

    Happy (distant) cycling!

     

    For information on Calgary’s pathways: https://maps.calgary.ca/PathwaysandBikeways/

    Photo by Gints Gailis on Unsplash


  • The Best Cycling Trails in Canada

    Canada has beautiful cycling trails from coast-to-coast.

    Alberta’s Icefield Parkway from Banff to Jasper

    This 230-km stretch between Banff and Jasper takes you through the Rocky Mountains passing glaciers, turquoise lakes, wild life and wild flowers. With spectacular views but a steep incline, it is not for the faint of heart.

    Prince Edward Island’s Confederation Trail

    Best explored by bicycle or foot, the total length of the Confederation Trail is 449-km. From December 1 – March 31, the PEI Snowmobile Association has exclusive rights to the trail and it is not open to pedestrians or cyclists! The trail is equipped for all skill levels as it travels through PEI’s picturesque scenery.

    Nova Scotia’s Cabot Trail

    Cabot Trail is a 298-km paved look on Cape Breton Island in northern Nova Scotia. Featuring dramatic ocean views and highland scenery, the Cabot Trail has been described as one of the world’s top bicycle rides. Being quite hilly, this trail will need some serious training before being conquered but it is a great challenge and the stunning views are absolutely worth the burning thighs.

    Newfoundland’s Viking Trail

    This 600-km route takes you along the rocky, barren coast through a series of sparsely populated but picturesque fishing villages. You will see amazing mountains and cliffs, beautiful shorelines with crashing waters and spectacular views, and flatlands that stretch for miles. The rugged coast beauty rivals many other Canadian trails and the variety of landscapes will leave you in awe.

    Quebec’s Route Verte

    Route Verte is a 5,300-km cycling network that links all regions of Quebec making it the longest of its kind in North America. This route will take you from calm stretches along the St. Lawrence River to the mountain views in the Laurentides and is the perfect was to celebrate Quebec’s magnificent landscape.

    Ontario’s Waterfront Trail

    The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail is a route that connects 140 communities and First Nations along the Canadian shores of the Great Lakes. Stretching over 3000-km, it is one of the longest cycling route’s in North America. The trail takes you along some of Ontario’s most spectacular landscapes including, but not limited to, rocky shore lines, sandy beaches, farmlands, thick forests, rushing waterfalls, and tranquil forests.

    British Columbia’s Kettle Valley Rail Trail

    The Kettle Valley Rail Trail takes you on an adventure through BC’s wild spaces and deep history. The old, decommissioned rail tracks create a 650-km trail from Hope to Castlegar. The section through Myra Canyon, south of Kelowna, required the construction of 18 trestle bridges and two tunnels. The Othello Tunnels in Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park is a popular tourist destination.

    Have you cycled any of these routes? Let us know!


  • Winter Bike to Work Day 2020

    Cyclepalooza and Bike Calgary put on another successful Winter Bike to Work Day on Friday, February 14, 2020. The event featured a fun gathering of winter cyclists down at Eau Claire market with food, warm beverages and various sponsors and donors. They also had info on safe winter riding.

    Calgary came in 15th in the world by having 246 people pledge to ride. Uppsala, Sweden came in first with 879. International Bike to work Day had 14,402 total pledges.

    Here are some of our best winter cycling tips:

    1. Wear the right type of clothing for different types of weather.

    Use cycle specific clothing that have the correct material to keep you moisture free. Sweating too much will leave you feeling cold and clammy. Get good quality gloves and overshoes or boots. This, combined with thermal socks, will keep your extremities warm.

    2. Use lights year around to highlight your presence to other drivers.

    With having less sunlight in the winter, cyclists are more often riding in the dark. Having rechargeable LED lights will improve your visibility and ultimately keep you safer on the road.

    3. Mudguards to keep the muck on the ground and not on you.

    With wetter conditions, you’ll find a significant increase in spray and snow coming off the back of your bicycle. Installing mud guards will keep it from soaking your backside and thus making your ride infinitely more comfortable.

    4. Maintain so you don’t have to complain.

    Winter is harsh, especially in Alberta, and can be particularly hard on your bicycle. Keeping your bike in tip top shape is important year around but more so in the winter time to prevent mishaps that may leave you stranded on the side of the road in less than optimal conditions.

    5. Be prepared!

    Making sure you are dressed appropriately and that your bicycle is in excellent working condition is key to successful winter riding. Make sure that you plan your route, check the weather and take every precaution necessary for safe winter riding!

    Happy cycling!

    Photo by Kaur Martin on Unsplash