Winterpalooza celebrates cycling in the snow

For the second year in a row, Winterpalooza, organizers brought a fresh perspective on cycling in Calgary from Feb. 11-16.

Cyclists passing the Winterpalooza photo booth at the Peace Bridge in Prince’s Island Park, had the opportunity to get their picture snapped in front of a flashy frame, sip some hot chocolate and enjoy being part of a large cycling community.

Nadia Smiley, one of the organizers from BikeBikeYYC, said the event was about bringing awareness to cycling in the winter time.

“This photo booth thing we did in conjunction with the Cyclepalooza was to highlight the people that ride year-round and see who they are behind the gear that they wear,” said Smiley.

In the first year the event attracted 20 to 30 participants but this year, it got over 100. “It was very shocking,” Smiley said.

BikeBike has always stood for awareness of who the cyclist actually is.

“Most of them are just the average neighbour and so I think that identifying with them makes it easier to make them less of a target on the roads.”

Kristi Woo was one rider who showed up to the event.

“I came to get my bike bearings together.”

David Law, a cyclist in Calgary, saw the booth on his route and as a new winter cyclist, thought it would be fun to stop in.

“My wife works from home and bikes to work with me, then bikes home as part of her exercise routine,” said Law.

Law found out about the event through a friend who is a big winter cyclist.

“He told me about the event so I saw it online and decided to show up and see what it was all about.”

Law rides his bike about four to five days a week and uses it as an easy transportation to and from work.

“I’d like to see more people ride their bikes and get more cars off the road.”

Katherine Glowacz, an active transportation planner with the City of Calgary, is a supporter of Winterpalooza.

“We want to celebrate winter cycling.

“We want to ask people who are cycling to have their photo taken, enjoy some hot chocolate, have some cupcakes and just have a good time,” said Glowacz.

Winterpalooza is beneficial in that it helps raise awareness of the different sorts of transportation options that exist in the city, she said.

“I work for the city so that’s why I think it’s really beneficial and helps create awareness between the various transportation options.”

Glowacz hopes to post some of the photos online like last year.

“The bike program continues to create awareness and we hope to share some of the stories of winter riders online.

“The city is also opening a network of cycle tracks and so more education activities will be happening throughout the summer,” said Glowacz.

“It’s really inspiring and people are staying warm and enjoying the hot chocolate,” she said.

“People are having conversations and it’s all about creating that sense of community.”

Most of them are just the average neighbour and so I think that the whole identifying with them makes it easier to make them less of a target on the roads. – Nadia Smiley

Winter in Calgary can be a lot of fun and it’s exciting to get out on your bike and get some fresh air and exercise.

“I bike to work year round and I think it’s a great way to get to pick up my groceries,” said Glowacz.

“It’s convenient and it’s a way to celebrate and prove to people that you can do it year-round.”

About Olivia Reid 3 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Olivia Reid is working as a reporter for The Press during the 2014-2015 academic year.