Click on a marker for additional information and directions. Green = perfect. Blue = good. Yellow = fair. Red = poor. See below for details. Disclaimer: bikeability may or may not correlate with tastiness.
From March 1 to 10, Downtown Calgary is running The Big Taste: 70 restaurants in or near downtown Calgary offering set-menu pricing and special deals. Snow in the forecast for tonight, but who knows? With Calgary weather, you might get your friends to ride bicycles to a nice dinner even without studded tires and balaclavas! Here's a bike map of participating restaurants, rated according to how accessible they are by bicycle. If you know which one you want to go to, just select it from the menu below.
Methodology: We rated restaurants on two criteria, parking and accessibility, each on a scale of 1 (worst, red) to 4 (best, green). The overall score is simply the average of the two.
Parking: For a top rating, a restaurant must have ample quality bike parking close to the entrance ("rock star parking"). Quality parking means: actual bike racks. Sure, you can lock your bike to railings, traffic sign posts, light poles, and trees, but you can't do that securely, safely, without obstructing access, or without risking damage to your bicycle. A rating of 3 means quality parking is easily accessible, but you may have to walk a bit. A rating of 2 means no quality parking is available close by or it's in a non-obvious location. The lowest rating is reserved for places where you either have to go on an extended search for parking, especially if there's more than two of you, or you can only lock your bike to a tree.
The number of rock star parking spots is listed on the map as well.
Accessibility: For a top rating, a restaurant must be on or very near a safe cycling route (bike path, bike lane) which even timid recreational cyclists will use (e.g., off the Bow River pathway). A restaurant on an on-street low-stress bike route or easily reachable from a bike path by quiet streets gets rated 3 (e.g., on 8 Ave SW, but not on Stephen Ave mall which is closed to bike traffic). A rating of 2 means that either you'll have to walk your bike for a ways or you have to be confident riding in somewhat busy traffic to reach your destination (e.g., Kensington Road or 17 Ave SW). The lowest rating is for destinations on busy multi-lane roads far from any low-stress routes (e.g, 9 Ave downtown). Restaurants on Steven Avenue Mall ranked lower on this score because a) the mall is closed to bikes until 6 pm and b) after that, it's one way, so you can't ride to the restaurants from the 8 Ave bike route.
Thanks to Downtown Calgary for providing the list of participating restaurants. Please provide feedback on our ratings: we are also using this as a pilot for similar efforts we might undertake in the future!
Are you a business and want your customers to have rockstar bike parking? Use this 311 link to request a free bike rack from the city.