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Winter cycling

Bikeway snow clearing Winter cycling events Winter Bike Tips

Cycling is fun and convenient even when the temperature dips below zero. Winter in Calgary includes many mild days and cycling is a great way to stay active during the winter months.

The route you take in the summer, fall and spring, may not be the same route you take in the winter. Less traveled residential roads may have more comfortable cycling routes but might not be cleared of snow. In some cases, snow clearing may push snow and slush into the space you are used to cycling in during warmer months. Try your route on the weekend after the first snow fall, so that you can practice cycling in the snow and determine if your summer route will work as your winter route too.

The pathways and bikeways map can help you plan an alternate or modified route. You can also take a map on the go! The City of Calgary Pathways iPhone and Android App is free and available to download from the Apple and Google app stores.


Planning your winter bike trip

  • The cycle track network (protected bike lanes in the downtown area) and so​me pathways are on Priority One roads and are cleared of snow within 24 hours of the end of a snowfall. Other roadways with marked on-street bike lanes are Priority Two routes and will be cleared within 48 hours of the end of a snowfall event. Snow clearing information is available online for pathways and roadways.
  • Give yourself an extra 10-15 minutes to get to work in the winter; you might need even more time if it has recently snowed.

Get yourself ready

Living in Calgary, we are used to cold weather during the winter months. So it is likely that you have a majority of the clothing you will want to wear when riding your bike in the winter. Below are some clothing suggestions.

Layering up: There are a variety of clothing options for winter cycling, depending on your level of comfort. We have cold dark mornings, warm afternoons, and cool evenings. Dressing in layers allows you to adjust your clothing depending on the temperature and the length of your ride.

First layer: Should be against your skin. Consider a thin, moisture wicking layer to soak up any sweat and keep your body dry on your ride. Shirts and leggings made of merino wool are a good option.

Second layer: Something breathable and warm. Fleece, a light down jacket or a wool sweater or vest will keep your upper body warm, and a pair of leggings or comfortable pants will work for your lower body.

Third layer: It is windy in Calgary, so you will want to wear a jacket to block the wind. A pair of shell pants will keep dress pants or tights dry, while repelling snow and slush from the road.


Winter riding tips from others

Keep an eye on our cycling events page to join in on winter cycling fun!

On February 7, 2018, Calgarians celebrated year-round cycling at the 5th annual Winter Bike Photo Booth along the Bow River Pathway. Hot chocolate helped them keep warm in -15C temperatures. Educational materials about cycling in Calgary and Pathway and Bikeway maps were provided to event attendees. Portraits from the event are now available for viewing. Thank you to Calgary photographer Steven Coutts for capturing the portraits.​