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Winter Bike Profiles
Who Bikes in Banff Winters?

Anna-LisaAnna-Lisa Christilaw
Do you ride your bike to work in winter?
Yes, I do, every day. I work for the Town of Banff.

Where else do you ride in winter?
Besides work, I ride my fat bike to get around town, for any reason, including errands. I'll also go out for a ride on the trails around Banff as a way to get some fresh air and exercise when the snow isn't ideal for cross-country skiing, or just to switch up my outdoor winter activity. We are really lucky to have access to many trails all year, like Sundance Canyon and the Spray River. It's great exercise and super scenic!

What's great about cycling in the winter?
It's a really fun and fast way to get around town or on trails. You get a lot of curious glances and comments from tourists especially, who are amazed by the fat tires. Riding with studded tires makes you feel like you are floating on the snow. It's a cool sensation. I also love crossing the frozen Bow River in the winter on my bike and being able to explore "off road." 

What made you first want to cycle in the winter?
My husband and I decided to buy fat bikes a couple of winters ago when the local cross-country ski conditions weren't ideal. We prefer getting our physical activity in the best gym ever - outside our door - so fat bikes with studded tires seemed like a good alternative for these times. That led to riding to work and around town, as we would during any other season. Now, it feels much more natural to be riding my bike around town than walking.

What are some misconceptions about riding your bike in the winter?
Some people may think it is too cold to ride in the winter. That's not true. You just need to be properly dressed, especially with the wind chill. I get a lot of questions about the studded tires. For example, people think that you are pretty much "invincible" with the studded tires. That is another misconception. The studded tires, without question, make winter riding much safer, especially in variable conditions like ours, but you still have to ride cautiously. Falls still can happen, especially on black ice or if you are not paying attention to the road/trail conditions or motorists.

What are some tips you'd give to new winter cyclists?
If you are considering buying a fat bike, rent one or borrow a friend's first to see if you like it. Be aware of the terrain and conditions of the road or trail. Be ultra alert, especially if you have to be on the roads, where there are vehicles. Dress for the conditions. It's no fun riding if you are freezing! Always wear a helmet. A buff fits nicely underneath to keep your head and ears warm. It can also give some face protection from the wind. Make sure you have proper front and rear lighting. The winter months are considerably darker, both in the morning and evening when you may be riding to and from work. If you are going to ride in the winter, invest in studded tires. They are worth it!



Colleen CroweColleen Crowe
Do you ride your bike to work in winter?
Yes, I work for Parks Canada the industrial compound.

Where else do you ride in winter?
Anywhere I need to get to around town – I bike pretty much everywhere in Banff and Canmore (I put my bike on the Roam bus).

What’s great about cycling in the winter?
It’s fast! You don’t have to wait for your car to warm up or to clear it of snow, you don’t have to look endlessly for a parking spot or wait for the bus, and you get places much faster than if you walked.

What made you first want to cycle in the winter?
I cycle all summer, so I didn’t want to give up the freedom of riding my bike just because it’s winter.

What are some misconceptions about riding your bike in the winter?
That it’s somehow more difficult or dangerous. I have a studded tire on my front wheel and a bright headlight (for the dark winter days), and I can bike anywhere in town easily.

What are some tips you’d give to new winter cyclists?
Warm gloves, a toque and a bright bike light are good investments.



Darin LadouceurDarin Ladouceur 
Do you ride your bike to work in winter?
Yes, I ride my bike to my shop in the industrial park.

Where else do you ride in winter?
I ride everywhere in winter and in summer, it is my mode of transportation.

What’s great about cycling in the winter?
Getting around quicker and no greenhouse gas emissions.

What made you first want to cycle in the winter?
I had a bike and I thought it beats walking, plus I can carry groceries, etc. in my panniers.

What are some misconceptions about riding your bike in the winter?
That it's cold and dangerous.

What are some tips you’d give to new winter cyclists?
Buy studded tires, lights for the front and back, and wear visible clothing.



Eric JensenEric Jensen
Do you ride your bike to work in winter?
Yes, I'm a government employee based out of industrial area.

Where else do you ride in winter?
Post office, library, grocery and of course bike stores!

What’s great about cycling in the winter?
Health! In three ways: Physically; as a complement to training & exercise programs, Mentally; as a way to leave work behind at end of day, and Environmentally; as an expression how each person can affect change in everyday activities.

What made you first want to cycle in the winter?
In addition to health benefits, it is very often faster than vehicle commuting in poor weather/heavy traffic. Also, the act of riding has far less decision making stress associated with it (compared to driving), and of course it is cost efficient by saving fuel and wear & tear costs on a vehicle in hard winter conditions.

What are some misconceptions about riding your bike in the winter?
That it is difficult! As with any new good habit we try to implement it can seem daunting at first, but once through the first week or two getting into the rhythm and sorting out clothes & equipment, it becomes very easy.

What are some tips you’d give to new winter cyclists?
Cold management is not the issue; in fact it is easy to over dress. Rather it is moisture management to be mastered that will keep you warm without getting sweaty, use wind resistant clothing layers that you can vent as you go, also having a handy place to stash mitts and hats while riding is also handy. Also invest in good quality rechargeable lights, very important to be visible at all times!



Gini DalgasGini Dalgas 
Do you ride your bike to work in winter?
Yes, I ride my bike from where I live in Cougar Creek, Canmore to the bus stop, and from the bus stop at the High School in Banff to the Banff Information Centre where I work. One is a block away from the bus stop and at the Banff Heritage Train Station.

Where else do you ride in winter?
I use my bike to do my errands on my days off, to Paintbox Lodge where I am a breakfast cook on Tuesdays, and to attend evening activities and events.

What’s great about cycling in the winter?
The same thing as what is great about cycling in summer - it’s always good to be outside in the fresh air. Plus, it is more convenient than starting the car, scraping the windows and dealing with downtown traffic or finding a parking space.
It keeps me relatively agile and fit as well, without the cost or scheduling of fitness classes.

What made you first want to cycle in the winter?
The convenience of getting to university in my 20s when I didn't have a vehicle and the bus only ran every hour. Otherwise it was an hour walk or a cold wait at the bus stop in windy, wintry Saskatchewan. It also fit well with my student budget.

What are some misconceptions about riding your bike in the winter?
That it is cold and dangerous. As long as you dress for the weather you'll be fine. Since how I look doesn't concern me as much as how warm I am, I tend to wear the same thing I would wear downhill skiing, in layers, and with a backpack, so I can put on and take of layers as the weather and terrain demands. I regularly get asked how the skiing was today when I'm dressed for winter biking.

What are some tips you’d give to new winter cyclists?
  • Invest in some studded tires, or if that is too expensive, use tires with deeper treads and deflate them a bit so they grip the compacted snow better. If you decide to get some studded tires, do your research and ask the staff at the local bike shops. It's worth spending the money for adequate studding.
  • Wear a helmet to protect your noggin, since unexpected slips on patches of ice are far more likely in the winter due to our freeze-thaw Chinook driven weather in the Bow Valley.
  • Don't be ashamed to get off and walk your bike when the riding seems dicey.
  • Use quiet routes to your destinations to avoid heavy and fast moving traffic. There are several multi-use trails and pathways in Canmore, where cyclists and pedestrians share the pathway.
  • Find out where the pathways are plowed for pedestrians, and cyclists in town.
  • Contact Community Cruisers for help with tips for biking in winter, learning about good routes to cycle in winter, and to sign up for any winter biking workshops they are holding. They are based in Canmore but serve the whole Bow Valley. You can find them on Facebook or check out their website communitycruisers.ca for information on the programs and services they offer to the community.



Jane FolkeJane Fowke
Do you ride your bike to work in winter?
Yes I ride my bike all year round. I'm self employed at Alpine Medical Clinic.

Where else do you ride in winter?
To the hospital and occasional hotel and home visits.

What’s great about cycling in the winter?
It's a quick form of transportation and a great way to get your daily exercise.

What made you first want to cycle in the winter?
Seeing other cyclists.

What are some misconceptions about riding your bike in the winter?
That it's more treacherous, but in fact the roads are in better shape than the sidewalks.

What are some tips you’d give to new winter cyclists?
Always anticipate icy sections and be ready to jump off.



Marco ChabotMarco Chabot
Do you ride your bike to work in winter?
I bike to the industrial compound every day for my job with the Town of Banff.

Where else do you ride in winter?
I also bike to hiking trails or with my cross-country skis strapped to my pack. The bike trails on Tunnel are my go to place in town and for a riding treat Lake Louise and the Nordic Center.

What’s great about cycling in the winter?
Biking has been one of my favourite ways of going places and being active even in winter when a simple ride can become a fun adventure.

What made you first want to cycle in the winter?
I find it very peaceful, calming and a great way of working out in nature. For me, it's a simple healthy and convenient choice.

What are some tips you’d give to new winter cyclists?
I dress properly to be comfortable in the frigid weather and adjust my riding to the conditions to stay safe and in control. Also, renting a bike first to try it out on an easy trail with a friend(s) would be a good way to start and finding out if it’s for them.



Masaki YokotaMasaki Yokota
Do you ride your bike to work in winter?
Yes, every day to the Magpie and Stump and BCHS.

Where else do you ride in winter?
Everywhere around town, literally.

What’s great about cycling in the winter?
Not only for winter, obviously, but gets you from point A to B really quick. It’s a habit for me now, HA!!!

What made you first want to cycle in the winter?
A friend of mine gave me a road bike years ago and ever since then, I fell in love with it and ride all year long. And the fact that it gets me to places a lot quicker than walking (I’m super lazy).

What are some misconceptions about riding your bike in the winter?
That it’s dangerous. When you get used to your bike, you know the limitations and tendencies of how the bike reacts to certain situations. For instance, I’ll use my back brakes to turn on certain icy corners (kinda like an E-brake in vehicles) and drift into it. You get used to it after some time and becomes fun.

What are some tips you’d give to new winter cyclists?
Don’t do what I do, HA!!! Maybe start off with a fat bike, those are super fun!!! Oh, and always stop where there’s a stop sign!!! And get used to what you ride in winter conditions. Small progressive steps.



Maude TurcotteMaude Turcotte 
Do you ride your bike to work in winter?
Yes, I work for Parks Canada at the Banff Visitor Centre.

Where else do you ride in winter?
To do errands in town (post office, grocery store).

What’s great about cycling in the winter?
I don't have to drive my car and I get some exercise at the same time.

What made you first want to cycle in the winter?
To minimize the use of my car and to keep myself fit and healthy.

What are some misconceptions about riding your bike in the winter?
People who are driving their car beside me might think it's dangerous, but I know that my studded tires grip the road well enough to keep me safe.

What are some tips you’d give to new winter cyclists?
To make sure you have studded tires and that you wear your helmet all the time. Don't be in a rush. Give yourself more time in the winter because it takes longer to ride your bike on snow - you have to be more cautious.



Penny LawlessPenny Lawless
Where do you ride in winter?
I use my bike in town to do errands, go to appointments and do light grocery shopping. I also enjoy getting out to ride all of the great mountain bike trails that are so easily accessible from town: Tunnel Mountain, Sulphur Mountain, Spray Loop, Fenland Trail, Sundance Canyon, Healy Creek, etc.

What’s great about cycling in the winter?
I'm an avid cyclist, so it's just great to be able to ride all year round. The benefit of biking around town is that there's always plenty of parking and you never have to worry about getting stuck in traffic.

What made you first want to cycle in the winter?
I've been winter cycling for the past six seasons. You can never get enough biking in! It's also a great way to stay in shape during the winter months.

What are some misconceptions about riding your bike in the winter?
That it's too cold. Dress the way you would if you were going cross-country skiing, and you'll be fine.

What are some tips you’d give to new winter cyclists?
Get studded tires and look at investing in Bar Mitts or some kind of pogies to keep your hands warm.




Stavros KarlosStavros Karlos
Do you ride your bike to work in winter?
Yes, to the Banff Hospitality Collective.

Where else do you ride in winter?
Nesters, Balkan Restaurant, Park Distilley, IGA, etc. 

What’s great about cycling in the winter?
Roads are wide open!

What made you first want to cycle in the winter?
I was tired of choking on the fumes of my stinky car. Plus it's a good way to keep off the winter chubbies.

What are some misconceptions about riding your bike in the winter?
That it's super dangerous. Most people give you tons of leeway and drivers are actually driving slower in the winter.

What are some tips you’d give to new winter cyclists?
Get pogies (cycling gloves) they rock. And good lights.