On June 5, W & I attended the Ride the Road Tour. It was an organized bike ride through the streets of downtown and surrounding areas - however, we had a police escort that basically closed the streets to vehicular traffic in order for us to pass through. As a result, we got to cycle some busy streets that many people might not normally have the courage to ride on!
The ride started at Stanley Park and went through Elbow Park, Mission, Beltline, around the downtown core, then to Inglewood, Ramsay, past the Union Cemetery and the industrial park, then back to Stanley Park. I'm not sure what the exact distance was, but it was maybe around 15km. The ride itself was nice and leisurely and took us about an hour to complete.
Stanley Park is far from where we live so we took the train:
We met up with Daorcey and Natalie and headed to the meeting spot at Stanley Park before heading out on the road. We figured there were about 150 people on this ride!
Cycling down Elbow Drive. Crazy!
Here I am with Natalie. Note my slouchy Po Campo bag. I can't seem to figure out a good way to anchor it onto my rack without it wanting to slump to one side. Oh well, it stays on but looks a little precarious.
More pics of us on streets that I would not normally want to ride on due to crazy traffic:
Made some bikey friends but I'm terrible and forgot their names! They had beautiful bikes and we had a great conversation about biking in the city, the (slowly) changing attitude towards active transportation, and other events around the city to raise awareness (like the monthly Critical Mass rides). Here we are, so caught up in conversation that we drifted way to the back of the pack:
Traffic stopped on Macleod Trail for us to pass through:
And back to Stanley Park:
Then the four of us left and had a delicious greasy lunch at Broken City.
All in all, it was a tremendously fun day. To be honest, I was a little apprehensive about the police escort - I was unsure how we would be received when motorists had to stop what they were doing to let us through. However, I didn't notice any hostility (not blatant hostility, anyway) and many of the curious people along our path waved at us.
In any case, it was an excellent opportunity to see what it's like to ride around the city. Obviously the police escort amps up the safety factor, but there are many safe and efficient ways to get around. From the turnout at this event, it's clear there is growing interest in cycling in Calgary. This all closely coincided with the release of the City of Calgary's Cycling Strategy - hopefully more good things come our way!