Last month, Meghan Winters, Karen Laberee, and Jen Malzer (City of Calgary; ITE Canada) hosted a session at the Winter Cycling Congress: “All Ages & Abilities” + “Always Available”? Let’s discuss. Our goal was to understand how AAA bicycle networks fared through the winter across Canada. After Meghan shared quick overviews of CapaCITY/É and what we learned from the AAA bicycle network policy scan, and Jen presented what is included in the City of Calgary’s 5A policy, the room of 75 people broke into smaller groups according to winter context. There were lively discussions around what winter cycling looks like in their city; what they needed to be successful; and most importantly what the bright spots were. We heard that a newer mentality to get out and celebrate winter was emerging in many cities. If you are new to winter cycling, there are supportive communities, either online or in person (at ‘coffee outside’), to get help you sort out gear. We learned that protected bike lanes are often easier to clear because vehicles don’t track snow and ice into them. Lighting is an important component of Always Available and cities like Edmonton are using it to build community. Some cities have real-time data on snow clearing (from plows with GPS devices) that facilitates route planning. Stories, strategies and successes were shared across the tables, and we left the session inspired. Other highlights from the conference itself included learning about the Banff/Canmore Community Cruisers and the Ecoquest school program in Saskatoon.

winter cycling congress - recap image