Winter may not seem like ideal cycling weather to most Calgarians.
But for some, the cold, snowy months are a fine time to jump on their bike and hit it for downtown and work, or the trails and a good workout.
Cycling in the winter can be dangerous, but with the right gear it doesn’t have to be.
John DiMaulo cycles to work year-round and says that having the right gear is essential.
DiMaulo always dresses in layers, uses studded tires on his bike, and wears goggles.
“I always have a winter bike, and it’s the older of my bikes ’cause of all the salt and grime on the road,” he said in a recent interview.
Acknowledging the danger of winter riding, DiMaulo admits he has fallen many times on the ice and says, “I don’t feel it’s that safe on the road, but the pathway I feel is pretty safe.”
On the other hand, Karen DiMaulo, John’s wife, thinks that winter cycling is crazy.
“Nobody riding in the winter does it for any other reason than actually loving it, ’cause it sucks.”
Karen DiMaulo did admit that it is “green transportation” but she still doesn’t ‘get’ the appeal of riding in the winter.
Bike Calgary, a website dedicated to cycling in the city, boasts the benefits of riding, including avoiding vehicle traffic and year-round exercise.
John DiMaulo first started biking to work throughout the winter in the early ’90s. At the time, the bike paths weren’t professionally cleared.
“There were a couple of guys that made homemade snowplows with a couple of boards of wood put together in a ‘V,’” said DiMaulo.
“He would be out there before anyone else dragging the plow behind him to clear the path all the way to downtown.”
According to the City of Calgary website, city snowplows have 24 hours to clear the pathways after the snow has stopped falling.
In DiMaulo’s experience, the bike paths are sometimes cleared before the roads. “The city is doing a lot better clearing.”
[I’m] committed and crazy. – John DiMaulo
According to a 2015 CBC article, around 30 to 40 per cent of Canadian cyclists ride year-round.
“[I’m] committed and crazy,” DiMaulo said.
“There’s nothing like it. As you’re coming into downtown you get that euphoric feeling. You’re wide awake and ready for work.”