Bicycle commuting Calgarians adapting to cycling trends

Do you want to feel the wind in your hair? One way to explore the city centre or outskirts of Calgary is by cycling.

In 2015, there were 6,125 bicycles that entered and exited downtown Calgary counted annually on a weekday by the City of Calgary.

 This season there are multiple bike trends for both female and male road bikers, mountain bikers, and urban cyclists to look for.

Men’s perspective on what’s trending

Rob Crooks has been riding for a number of years as a bike racer and rural road biker in Calgary.

As a pedaling enthusiast, Crooks knows what males look for in a bike when it comes to your commute.

“When you look at the average biker like me who is riding for fitness over pleasure, the go to bike these days would be a Carbon type of frame,” says Crooks. “Carbon has become a very popular material.”

“I think what is coming is electric assist bikes with a rechargeable battery, the early models of this frame were heavy but they seem to be getting lighter and more aerodynamic,” said White.

Carbon frames are structurally stiff but are lightweight. Crooks says this helps with your cycling because, “the stiffness helps to put power to the wheel, and the lightness helps to get up the hills,” said Crooks.

Crooks keeps up with the bike trends by following different online feeds and talking to his friends who are also cyclists.

“I follow the racing stuff in Europe this time of year, and I have some friends in the business, like distributors, so a combination of reading up online and talking to some of the subject matter experts,” said Crooks.

David White is another cyclist in Calgary who has multiple bikes for multiple purposes like mountain biking, highway biking, and urban biking.

Specifically for White’s urban commutes he says, “when I am riding around town I am using a specialized single speed bicycle, with a basket on the front.”

To keep up to date with bike trends, White follows some of the manufactures on social media.

“I think what is coming is electric assist bikes with a rechargeable battery, the early models of this frame were heavy but they seem to be getting lighter and more aerodynamic,” says White.

He says has also been seeing Cargo bikes around Calgary.

White has grandkids and is interested in the Cargo bike he says it would be a great way for him to take them on bike rides.

“For around town, Cargo bikes really seem to be taking off, so people rather than having to pull a trailer with their kids in the back are buying these beefier bikes that have long racks on the back and the front for the kids to go in…or for picking up groceries.”

Cyclists going down through 1st S.W. Calgary. Photo courtesy of Itzafineday/Flickr, Creative Commons under commerical usage allowed

Woman’s perspective on what’s trending

Jenn Turcott is a competitive and casual cyclist in Calgary. Turcott started biking in the last five years. She says, “women prefer to purchase different bikes from males…”

“A big difference that separates a male bike from a female bikes is the seat and handle bars,” says Turcott.

Since woman and males have different anatomy, a big trend for woman Turcott noticed is purchasing seats with holes in the centre because it gives airflow and elevates pressure.

Turcott has noticed that there is starting to be branding between male specific and woman specific bikes.

“My bike I bought in 2014, it was the first ever woman specific bike for the brand Villie, it’s an Italian bike company that has been around for 100 years. And it took them over a 100 years to introduce their first woman specific bike.”

Aesthetics are another component a lot of woman look at when choosing their bikes.

“More bikes are coming out with different colours and patterns. Purple bikes with gold trim, bright blue with green trim, for instance,” said Turcott.

The trends

The most talked about bike trend for 2016 is electrifying.

The electric bike or, “e-bike” is booming in popularity, especially in China and Europe, in part – because of its low impact on the environment, according to an article written by Rachel Walker in People For Bikes.

Jens Klotzer is the Editor of TOUR, Europe’s top road bike magazine also says, “electric bikes, electric bikes, electric bikes [are a popular trend].”

The technology behind the e-bike dates back to the early 1900s, explains Walker. A reputable electric bike can range from between $1,000 and $14,000, says David Seekatz from Power In Motion.

An electric bike is a bike with an integrated electric motor that can kick start with pedaling or if the rider thumbs the throttle. It does save you some sweat but you can still burn calories, especially for your core, because the bike averages 70-80 pounds.

“This is a huge trend for a couple of years in Europe but [is] still growing [for urban cyclist],” said Klotzer.

Road Bikers

Klotzer said, “For road bikes [the products needed are for] performance include light weight, aerodynamics products.”

Road bikes with wider tires for paved or unpaved roads are something to consider, other wise known as aerodynamic road bikes, gravel- or all road bikes.

Endurance bikes, other wise known as race-orientated road bikes, with more comfortable bicycle frame is another suggestion by Klotzer for road bikes that are popular in 2016.

Disc brakes are beneficial because they provide maximum speed control and stopping power even in wet and muddy conditions. They are attached with the wheel hubs and calipers that are attached to the frame and grip rotors when the levers are squeezed.

Disc brakes are another feature that are becoming more accepted in the bike industry, and something more bikes in 2016 will have.

Turcott says, “most females I ride with are using the el Tigre or the Di2 Shimano shifting.”

Mountain Bikers

E-Mountain bikes are another 2016 trend for mountain bikers that features an electric engine.

“It’s just starting and will grow fast over the next years,” says Klotzer.

Mountain bikers are purchasing electronic shifting – which is common in high-end road bikes for a few years now, and have fewer gears.

Electronic shifting allows mountain bikers to shift gears with a small electric motor rather than using conventional control levers operated with a cable, which allows a smooth ride because it improves bike control.

A cyclist waits at an intersection in Calgary. Photo courtesy of Kurt Bauschardt/Flickr, Creative Commons under commerical usage allowed

Urban Cyclist

Another trend for city bikers or urban cyclist and transportation would be Cargo bikes.

The best explanation of a Cargo bike would be a bicycle that accommodates a larger load, whether it’s additional people or packages, with the large plastic compartment set placed between the two front wheels.

Where do these trends start

“The first ideas often come from small bike builders or consumers and the big companies build them up and spread them to a bigger audience,” says Klotzer.

Additionally, there are lots of bike shows that occur yearly where forerunner of trends can appear for the general public to know about them.

“Today most trends spread international. Often they start in the U.S. and after one or two years spread to Europe and over the world.”

Thumbnail courtesy of Savaya Shinkaruk

sshinkaruk@calgaryjournal.ca

The editor responsible for this article is Daniel Leon Rodriguez, drodriguez@cjournal.ca