#irideYEG – Andy W.

Andy_W_TCardWhat is your commute like?

28 km – I start on 111 street MUP, make my way to 109 street time restricted bike lane, cross the high level bridge, and then head to 101 street to continue north.

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

The abundance of free ODRs (outdoor rinks). Patio season on Whyte. All of the green (or white) spaces that let you escape the city without leaving the city – all you need is a bike!

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

I grew up at the end of a 40 km gravel road and could hardly keep my balance on a two-wheeler when I moved to Edmonton in 2010. I got my first bike from EBC and never looked back. Now I cycle every day for my health and the Earth’s!

In my first year of studies I met Jayson de Vera while volunteering at the University of Alberta Campus Food Bank. To assist me in my goal of a reduced ecological footprint, Jayson introduced me to winter cycling, an activity I would not have thought practical in our climate. He then brought me to Bikeworks where I picked out my first bike and the volunteers helped me get set for the winter. I cycled to school every day that winter- you can imagine my excitement when summer and dry pavement finally rolled around.

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

I love crossing the high level bridge and meeting other cyclists at the intersection by High Level Diner. I love the community of dedicated cyclists and cycling activists who recognize the shortcomings of Edmonton’s bike infrastructure and education but also just love to get out and have fun on two wheels!

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

Can’t beat Edmonton’s river valley trails for fast, slow, flat, hilly, sunny, icy, or any other type of ride!

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

Lack of education for both motorists and cyclists. Scofflaw cyclists can be just as hazardous as ignorant motorists whose habits only contribute to the danger of cycling in Edmonton.

What would you like to see for bike infrastructure in Edmonton?

Increased connectivity of current bike lanes! The ones we have are often inconvenient to use or dangerous to enter/exit. Some examples:

West side of 111 street between Whitemud and 60 ave: The south end connects to a sidewalk crowded with Harry Ainley students; the north end connects to a sidewalk full of right-turning strip mall traffic. There is no safe and efficient way to connect to the east side MUP that goes from 23 ave to Whitemud.

106 street between 51 ave and 63: It’s made up of a mixture of sharrows and painted lanes that is extremely dangerous and confusing for bike traffic.

How safe do you feel on your commute?

The MUPs on 111 street begin and end abruptly, causing some awkward and dangerous transitions in those areas. 109 street is relatively safe when the northbound lane is restricted in the mornings, but not so in the evenings on the southbound side.

Getting from the high level bridge to 101 street and back involves navigating some heavy but slow-moving traffic, which is fairly safe if I follow the rules and make my intentions known to motorists. Heading north/south on 101 street is the most dangerous segment of my commute, with daily abuse and unsafe passing by motorists. I have not had any better luck using 109 street, but I stick to the middle of my lane and give a hearty thumbs up to any raging drivers.

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

Nothing makes me more jealous than looking out the window from a warm LRT car or vehicle to see a bundled-up cyclist bearing down and pedaling through a -40 blizzard. I love everything about winter cycling, from the surprised looks on the faces of traffic-stalled motorists to the beard that melts and drips onto my desk for the first half hour of the day.

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#irideYEG – Barbara Meister

Barbara_M_TCard

What is your commute like?

34 km – along Whyte Ave.

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

I have always loved riding a bike. I started bike commuting for fitness, to save on parking and because I enjoy it

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

The same thing I like about biking anywhere….biking itself!

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

The river valley trails, mill creek ravine, anything like that. I also like to go to older neighbourhoods

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

Some rude motorists who feel they own the road, not just a car!!

How safe do you feel on your commute?

Most of the time pretty safe, but there has been moments….

Does your family bike?

My oldest child is a cyclist but she lives elsewhere

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

Winter biking is not for everyone, but I enjoyed it.

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#irideYEG – Margaret Milner

Margaret_M_TCard What is your commute like?

10 km – Flat, short and mostly on MUPs.

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

The bike trials, the river valley, and the amazing sense of community we have here. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

I have been cycling all my life. I got my first bike, a tourquoise CCM that was a full sized bicycle when I was 6 years old. I don’t know when I could finally ride it sitting on the seat, but it was a few years. Back in those days, parents couldn’t afford to buy bikes that fit you – you just made do until you grew into it.

Years later when I was turning 17, my parents gave me a Peugeot 10 speed road bike, all the rage back in 1972. It was emerald green and I rode the wheels off it until I crashed it on the High Level Bridge in 1982. I bent the frame and I still miss that trusty steed. I have had a series of bikes since then, but none as special as that old Peugeot.

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

The freedom! I love riding home when 104 avenue is backed up for miles and I can sail along without any hindrances. I have gone to Critical Mass on occasion with my children (I am certainly one of the oldest riders) and I LOVE taking over the High Level Bridge and listening to the sound of bicycle bells ringing in unison! Riding to Folk Fest in the summer is also a highlight – even though they moved the bike lock-up so far away from the hill.

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

Just cruising the streets in my neighbourhood or riding to Folk Fest where everyone on the trails is so happy to be alive!

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

Not many. I try not to focus on the motorists that are in a hurry. Heavy snow in winter and delays in plowing the bike lanes holds me up on occasion, but for the most part, I have no complaints.

How safe do you feel on your commute?

Very safe but my commute is short. For the most part, I ride with gratitude, always waving at cars that stop for me. I have found that motorists and walkers alike will smile and wave back if you ride with enthusiasm and respect.

What would you like to see for bike infrastructure in Edmonton?

My daughter lived in Montreal for a couple of years and I loved the separated lanes they had there. Vancouver had the courage to close a lane on the Burrard Street bridge to accommodate cyclists – we could do that in our city too.

We need dedicated bike lanes to give cyclists of all abilities the confidence to get out and ride as an alternative form of transportation.

Does your family bike?

My husband and I have 5 children (we are a blend) and everyone rides. My oldest daughter and her husband are by far the most dedicated and most of us have fixies now. My kids love old vintage bikes and I recently found a beautiful Apollo that I bought at the EBC bike exchange in the fall that I gave to my son’s girlfriend in Calgary so they could pull a trailer with our new addition to the family, our granddaughter Wren.

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

I started cycling year round in 2004 while going to grad school at the U of A. I had a friend that rode all winter and I thought she was crazy. One late winter day in February, I missed my bus and was gong to be late for an exam. I jumped on my bike and rode down the Groat Road on a wall of ice – had a terrific sliding fall, but climbed back on and kept going. I made it to the class on time but nursed my bruised elbow and ego all the way through the exam. While my winter riding was sketchy after that, I persevered.

My daughter and her boyfriend (they are now married) started building fixed gear bikes in 2008. I thought they were crazy too but they convinced me to ride one for a week and I was hooked. I converted my Apollo road bide to a “fix” with their help that year and have been winter riding ever since without many falls. Riding a fixie is the only way to go in winter due to the continuous momentum and low maintenance required in this salty climate!

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#irideYEG – Dave Hall

Dave_H_TCardWhat is your commute like?

30 km – River valley, bike routes and a few streets. Thankfully, my company has installed a bike rack inside for me and other cyclists.

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

It’s growing to be a top notch foodie city with a good standard of living.

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

I’ve been riding since I was 6 years old and commuting to work for 4 years (all year round). I cycle commute for fitness, because I love bikes, to manage stress, and because it’s environmental logical and fun.

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

Seeing my city like I never would trapped in a car in traffic. The High Level Bridge in the morning, and the river valley in the evening.

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

The river valley.

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

 Dated attitudes regarding cycling, lack of cycle routes and ones that are not cleared in winter.

What would you like to see for bike infrastructure in Edmonton?

Invest, make it safer, restrict vehicles in downtown core.

How safe do you feel on your commute?

In the summer, ok. In winter, trails and bike paths are still neglected. And at times in winter, some drivers appear to hate people that ride at -30c.

Do you have any other thoughts about winter biking?

Fat bike + blizzard = a fast and fun commute.

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#irideYEG – Keshav Das

Keshav_D_TCardWhat is your commute like?

30 minutes – Roads, MUP’s and bike lanes. The river valley or downtown areas after everyone has gone home. Downtown becomes a very interesting place then!

I’m not really a commuter as much as a rider for pleasure and exercise.

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

1) Fellow Edmontonians.
2) The outdoors, especially the river valley.
3) My neighbourhood, Oliver.
4) The downtown farmers market.
5) Live music places.

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

Since I was 6yrs old, living right next to the backwaters on Willingdon Island, Kerala State, India, noticing that all the grownups cycled to work and home.

When I moved to Edmonton in 2006, I noticed that the streets, and other road users, were bike friendly for the most part. One of my first possessions after moving here was my bicycle.

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

1) The river valley is unbeatable.
2) Road surfaces are acceptable, considering the weather conditions.
3) And motorists do respect cyclists who respect driving rules.

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

The river valley for sure! Also love to ride under, and on, all the various bridges in Edmonton. Riding on a metal bridge and looking through it is such a freaky feeling!

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

1) Snow/ice during winter.
2) And strangely enough, other cyclists….those who have no respect for road laws.

What would you like to see for bike infrastructure in Edmonton?

1) More separated bike lanes.
2) Bicyclists green boxes and painted lanes.
2) Cyclists obeying road laws more carefully; and thee police ticketing those cyclists who flout the law!!

How safe do you feel on your commute?

Fairly safe; I think if one rides on the road and follows all the rules of the road, motorists respect you.

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#irideYEG – Janis Irwin

Janis_I_TCard

What is your commute like?

12 to 20 km. I’ve got two main routes. My preferred route is cycling from my house down to Ada Boulevard and then into the river valley (20km). The paths there take me nearly directly to work, with only a bit of road travel at the end of the route.

My other route, however, is less appealing. It takes me along a busy 112th avenue to the Stadium LRT path until 95th street, where I then have to cycle on fairly high traffic roads (12 km).

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

I love Edmonton, and I love the diversity of the people and neighbourhoods that comprise our city. Recently, I saw this message on a wall in the Carrot Coffeehouse on Alberta Avenue – I think it captures our city well: “Edmonton, you have this marvellous ability to continually surprise me with your understated charm.”

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

I’ve been biking all my life, but it’s only been in the last few years that I can call myself a regular cyclist.

When I moved to Edmonton from rural Alberta, I found that I was rarely using my car. I made the decision to sell it, and try out a car-free lifestyle. Now, nearly three years later, I’m still car-free. I rarely take transit; instead, I try to run, bike, or walk everywhere.

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

Running or biking everyday, I see a lot of terrible driving habits. Perhaps in part due to being hit on my bike, I pay much more attention to drivers than I did in the past. I must admit that it’s disheartening to witness many drivers who continue to speed, run red lights/stop signs, and use their phones. However, I also recognize that there are many cyclists who don’t obey the rules of the road. We can all improve.

How safe do you feel on your commute?

I feel mostly safe, as I try to stick to paths whenever possible. Living and working so close to the river valley certainly helps. That being said, I was the victim of a hit-and-run on my bike last summer. This experience definitely shook me, but also had the effect of making me much more vigilant and cautious.

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

I bike from spring to the first serious snowfall. Although I don’t winter-bike (yet…), I do run to work in the winter, which keeps me active all year long.

I keep up my active lifestyle in hopes of setting a good example for my lazy cat, Domino.

 

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#irideYEG – Bevan Sauk

Bevan_S_TCardWhat is your commute like?

5 km – roads with some (poorly maintained) bike lanes.

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

The growing arts and food scenes!

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

Since I could pedal as a kid! I’m a big guy with bad knees. Cycling is freedom! It’s fast, cheap, healthy, and green!

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

When you live and work centrally, everything is only minutes away. Plus, we have our gorgeous river valley for long, leisurely weekend rides.

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

The river valley!

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

Bike lanes filled with gravel and potholes, overly courteous drivers forcing you to illegally take the right of way when crossing roads.

What would you like to see for bike infrastructure in Edmonton?

Separated lanes, or at least priority cleaning/pothole repairs for bike lanes. Remove parking on Whyte and put in bike lanes/bike parking!

How safe do you feel on your commute?

Mostly safe except crossing 76 Ave, where no one seems to understand the right of way.

Does your family bike?

My partner bikes! The nature of her work means she can’t commute much, but we love riding through the valley together. .

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#irideYEG – Justin So

Justin_S_TCardWhat is your commute like?

12 km – roads, bike lanes, MUPs

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

The river valley, summer festivals, abundance of farmers markets, and many diverse neighbourhoods.

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

For 3 years through my adult life. I moved closer to the inner city in order to reduce commute time and improve my quality of life. It’s the most convenient, economical, and fun way to commute to work.

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

The relatively flat terrain, and beautiful and extensive pathways.

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

The river valley pathways.

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

The lack of proper infrastructure. A lack of commitment in clearing popular bicycle pathways used as commuter roads.

A lack of education about sharing the road for BOTH cyclists and drivers. Many cyclists use sidewalks or don’t follow traffic rules and courtesies which puts all cyclists in a bad light. This results in an adversarial us vs them scenario with motor vehicles.

What would you like to see for bike infrastructure in Edmonton?

A focus on cycle tracks downtown that would ultimately lead to pathways for communities not in the immediate inner city. Eventually after a good network in the inner city has been created, greater pathways for those in the suburbs.

Painted lanes work when planned properly, contain good signage, and proper snow clearing. Sharrows create impatience and are often too narrow for sharing.

How safe do you feel on your commute?

I feel relatively safe on bike lanes and MUPs. Sharing roads with cars can be daunting. Some drivers don’t understand that riding bikes on sidewalks is illegal and that the door-zone is a very dangerous area for cyclists requiring cyclists to “take the lane.”

In addition, some drivers don’t understand that cyclists are also vehicles beholden to the same traffic laws which can create some confusion and risky situations.

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

I bike year-round making some exceptions for extreme snow and cold. The single largest challenge is unplowed roads and pathways during snowfall. It is difficult to ride during these times.

The pleasures include lack of traffic once on MUPs and bike lanes, and staying outdoors and healthy during the winter months. Winter biking is a very calm and peaceful experience once on safe and clean roads/pathways due to lack of other cyclists.

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#irideYEG – Christina Herbers

 

Christina_H_TCardWhat is your commute like?

17 km – roads and bike paths and one large Parking lot

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

The river valley, and Terwillegar area.

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

30 years! My parents always encouraged me to walk or bike wherever possible. I biked with my them everywhere. walked to high school, biked to junior high and university. I raced and mountain biked for a few years, and have been a road rider for past 10 years. I’ve done a couple triathlons.

I bike commute for fun, fitness and it’s great for the earth. If your able to bike, and have a bike — why not save $, get fit and ride your bike to/from work/school..?

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

Fresh air, green grass… other friendly bike commuters.

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

St. Albert’s bike paths with my family .

What challenges do you face as a cyclist in Edmonton?

Being seen, some people not understanding our rights as cyclists— we are entitled to a full lane!!

How safe do you feel on your commute?

Mostly safe – but not at intersections. Sometimes cars (and big SUV’s and trucks) still don’t see me, no matter how reflective my gear.

What would you like to see for bike infrastructure in Edmonton?

A bike lane would be super! A bike route (safe) from St. Albert to university and downtown. Advance push lights (pedestrian) that we can reach while on our bikes (like Vancouver)

Does your family bike?

Yep– I have a husband and we bike with our girls (5 and 8) wherever we can – school, soccer games.

 

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#irideYEG – Michael Kalmanovitch

Michael_K_TCardWhat is your commute like?

Residential, Whyte Avenue, MUP. Presently it is only 1 kilometre but I pull a 8 foot bicycle trailer and load it up with compost, laundry, rain barrels and what ever else needs to be moved between my house and my business.

What are some of your favourite things about Edmonton?

People.
The hope.
The potential

How long have you been cycling? What got you started?

I started in 1981. It just made sense. I don’t think it made sense to drive just two kilometres to work and it took too long to walk (though I did walk many times).

I was in hospital after an operation and I mentioned to my father that I was thinking about getting a bicycle when I got out. He insisted that he would buy it for me. So I got a Raleigh bicycle and used the bicycle for commuting to work and shopping. Initially I just put all my stuff in my backpack then I bought panniers for touring and that made much more sense to carry my things that way.

Shortly after that a friend of mine told me about his bicycle trip and the I started to bicycle tour. In the 80s I cycled from Edmonton to Tijuana, across the USA, southern England, across Canada. Earlier this year I went touring in Guatemala and Mexico.

I love bicycling. I like it because it is smarter, healthier, less impact and fits in with my belief and lifestyle. I ride about 5-6 days a week (I use the car about 1-2 times a week). I love the way it makes me feel. It focuses, provides continuity, reflection and a perspective that you can’t get from inside a motor vehicle.

What do you like about biking in Edmonton?

It is functionary. I bicycle because I love it. Edmonton has extremely poor infrastructure. I don’t think I would use it that much even if it was there but to encourage more cycling the City needs to build more infrastructure that is smart, safe and effective.

What’s your favourite place to ride for fun?

On a long highway with pleasant scenery.

What would you like to see for bike infrastructure in Edmonton?

To encourage more cycling in Edmonton the city needs to invest in better infrastructure. The best infrastructure is a separated bicycle lanes (good ones) but this is expensive and they can’t go everywhere. These should be installed in high use areas.

Painted lines/sharrows – well these can be kind of useless and obscured during the winter. All bicycling infrastructure needs to be cleaned and serviced during the winter months.

I think that good cycling skills should be taught in schools (I did a few years doing courses in community leagues directed at your children). I trust that what they learned kept them safer than if they didn’t take the course. So even though this is not an ‘infrastructure’ I believe it is one of the best investments to cycling safety.

How safe do you feel on your commute?

I feel fine. I did the Effective Cycling course CanBike 2 course back in 1990 and have lots of experience cycling in traffic. I rarely have any issues (I think the large trailer lets other road users know that I am there).

What are your thoughts on winter biking?

I cycle all year. I started cycling in the winter in 1982. I use the main thoroughfares in the winter if the side roads are not good enough. I do not cycle when the has been a big dump of snow and sometimes I take the sidewalk for a few days of winter/snowfall because other roadway users need to acclimatize.

trailer

Michael’s Bike Trailer

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