Tips for Riders
Every year, more Calgarians are choosing to see cycling as a viable way to get to work. They love the benefits - getting in their exercise, getting out of traffic congestion, reducing stress and increasing mental health, reducing their environmental footprint, being part of a community, and reducing costs. Now, commuting is even easier with city’s becoming more bike-friendly with added infrastructure, city parking and transit options for cyclists, and many employers offering secure bike parking and change facilities. If you are interested in joining this commuting community, here are a few resources that might be helpful.
- Bike Calgary - Safety and the Law
- LawNow - Bicycle Law in Alberta
- Alberta Transportation - Sharing the Road (Cycling)
- The City of Calgary - Types of Cycle Tracks and Bike Lanes
- The City of Calgary - Cycling on Streets and Pathways
- Calgary Police Service - Bicycle Safety
- Bicycling - Your Definitive Guide to Riding Your Bike in Traffic
- Edmund's - Coexisting with Drivers: 10 Rules for Cyclists
- Is the the stand-over height correct? You check this by standing over the bike and making sure there is 5-8cm of room between the top tube and your crotch. If you are looking at a step-through bike (usually a woman's bike), stand-over height doesn't apply.
- Can the seat be adjusted to the proper height? You check this by sitting straight on the seat with your heel on the pedal. Put the pedal in the down position so that the crank arm is parallel to the seat tube; keep your leg completely straight. In this position, your bike is too big if your heel can't reach the pedal with the seat in its lowest setting. Conversely, if you have to pull the seat post out too far, the bike is too small.
- Make sure you can comfortably reach the handlebars once you've properly adjusted your bike for stand-over height and seat position.
- Bike Bike
- Bow Cycle
- Café Roubaix Bicycle Studio
- The Bike Shop
- Eurotech Cycle
- Power in Motion
- Riyoko Urban Bikewear
- Speed Theory
- Sports Rent
Used bikes are a great option but can come with some concerns. Here are a few tips in buying a used bike:
- Check that the bike is not stolen by requesting it's serial number and running it through the CPIC database.
- Make sure you know the bike size you are looking for (see above).
- Test drive the bike to make sure it's a great fit with your body and your riding style.
- Make sure you check out the bike's condition. You could ask to meet the seller at a local bike shop to get an opinion on the bike (there may be a charge for an inspection so make sure to ask your bike shop)or maybe take a bike-savvy friend with you to check it out.
- Craiglist, Kijiji or Varage Sale.
- Bike Calgary's forums - Cyclists sometimes list bike's for sale here.
- Calgary Bike Swap - A safe place to check out used bikes or sway an old one.
- The City of Calgary's Bike Racks in Public & Private Spaces
- The City of Calgary's Park and Bike Sites
- The City of Calgary's Bikes on Transit
- Calgary Parking Authority - The CPA is offering monthly parking for $10+ at most of its secure locations.
- ImPark - In many of their downtown Calgary underground parkades, they offer secure bike parking for a monthly or annual fee.
- Employers - Many employers have arrangements for secure bike parking, as well as change facilities. For example, Brookfield Properties is endeavouring to have secure parking in all their parkades.
- Make sure your bike fits you. See “Finding a Bike” in this section to help you determine if your bike fits you properly.
- Take your bike in for a tune-up at a local bike shop. This costs about $50 and you’ll be safe in the knowledge that a trained professional has made sure your bike is in good working order.
- By law, you will need to have a bell, working brakes and a red rear reflector on your bike.
- If you are traveling between sunset and sunrise, you will need rear and front lights.
- Consider getting a helmet and a set of cycling gloves. A really good bike lock is always a good idea, too.
While bicycle theft numbers are down in Calgary, there were still over 3600 reported bike thefts in 2017. Here’s a nice simple list to follow to help prevent bike theft, as well as how to report a theft. For more details on locking your bike, see below.
- Lock your bike properly by securing the wheels and the bike frame to something solid. Do this even if you are using secured bike parking.
- Use multiple locks.
- Take easily removable items with you (bells, seats, lights).
- Don’t leave your bike locked in an easily accessible place for long periods of time, especially overnight.
- Try to not be predictable such as parking/locking your bike to the same bike rack every day.
- Make sure garages and sheds are locked.
- Record the serial numbers of your bikes and take photos of your bikes. This will help the police to recover your bike.
- Report your bike as lost or stolen using the Calgary Police online form.
How to Lock Your Bike
- Buy a good lock - even a $100 bike is worth stealing if it’s easy to do so. A U-lock is a good place to start. Check out the site The Best Bike Lock for more info on all your lock options.
- Do not use cable locks as your main lock - they are cut in seconds with cheap cable cutters.
- Nice wheels are worth a lot - loop a high-quality u-lock through the frame and rear wheel. Secure the front wheel with an additional cable if the wheel has a quick release.
- Bonus theft prevention points - take off your front wheel.
- Extra bonus points - replace quick release skewers with a locking wheel skewer such as Pinheads. Seats, wheels and handlebars are regularly stolen off secured bikes.
- Trust your local bike shop to help you select your hardware and show you how to use it.
Where to Lock Your Bike
- Make sure your U-lock connects your bike frame to a stationary immovable object, even if you are in a secured parking area.
- Give the immovable object your bike is attached to a shake to make sure the bike can’t easily be slipped over or under it.
- Check out “Bike Parking” in this section to learn more about where to park your bike. Try not to lock your bike to trees, street signs or handrails - it’s not a great cyclist move.
9 Different People Tried to Steal a Bait Bike in Calgary Over Just 2 Days (external source, 2018)
- The very first thing to do is to file a police report online. Doing this gives you the best chance of recovering your bike.
- Important Information You Should Have in Your Files - serial number of the bike, pictures of the bike, and proof of ownership (sale or repairs receipts).
- If you can prove your bike is worth more than $5000, it is considered a more serious criminal offence. Your could try using Bicycle Blue Book as a way to determine the bike’s value.
- Contact your home insurance company. You may have coverage but will need to weigh that with what may happen to your premiums.
- Keep an eye out for used bikes for sale (Kijiji, Craigslist, ...). If you see your bike, contact the police. Do NOT go to the seller to recover your bike.
- Get social and spread information on your bike on your social media.