Next Thursday is our Open House and Annual General Meeting! Come learn about the new space and make your voice heard in shaping our new future!
Hello bike kids. The roads have gotten snowy and cold. Yes it appears that winter is finally here. We recognize that there will be fewer cyclists on the road and thus fewer people working on their bikes or shopping for bikes. In view of this, Good Life Bikes will be closed on every Monday starting November 4th till the springtime. Have no fear – Good Life will be open for the other 6 days of the week to help you with all of your bike needs. Remember to take care of your bikes in those slushy streets.
[The] first major snowfall … may be on the roads, but that doesn’t mean cyclists must pack it in for the winter. With the right clothing, gear and techniques, even the most casual cyclist can keep rolling all year round.
You may look a bit funny. Your friends and colleagues will call you crazy. But it’s warmer than walking, and best of all you won’t feel guilty when you reach for seconds from the holiday dessert tray.
Herein, everything you need to know about winter cycling:
Winter riding safety tips
Courtesy of Shah Mohamed, bike educator at the Evergreen Brickworks, where he teaches workshops on safe winter cycling
• Ride slower
Give yourself up to double the time to get to your destination. A slower, more controlled pace gives you more ability to react and recover. You should also allow more space between you and other cyclists.
• Anticipate stops
Braking will be more difficult in icy conditions, especially if snow cakes on to your wheels or brake pads. Anticipate stops by gradually reducing speed and giving yourself twice the stopping distance than you normally would.
• Be aware
You should be checking over your shoulders two to three times more often when riding in the winter, and in general should be more aware of your surroundings.
• Reduce tire pressure
Drop tire pressure by 10 to 20 PSI (pounds per square inch). “It does slow you down,” Mohamed says. “But it gives you way better traction.”
• Turn safely
In particularly snowy or icy conditions, lateral force will not take as strongly to the road, so make sure to slow down and turn with as much of your weight on top of the bike as possible (as opposed to simply leaning into turns). For left turns in busy intersections, Mohamed recommends getting off the bike and crossing by foot.
• Know the conditions
Pavement conditions will change day to day — depending on factors like snow, rain and frost— and will change how you ride. Have a look at the weather before you go out and be prepared to adjust your speed and travel time.
For your bike
• Tires: Depending on your preference and where you ride, you may want to change the style of tire you use in winter, but there is little consensus among cyclists. Steel-studded tires are good for digging into snow and ice, but many cyclists argue they are rarely necessary for riding on city streets. Some cyclists prefer a wider tire with thicker tread in the winter months to better grip the road and provide more balance; others prefer to keep narrower slicks, which cut through snow and slush. Experiment to find out what works best for you.
• Full fenders for both your front and back wheels will block snow and water from whipping up at you.
• Double the number of lights and reflectors on your bike. It’s darker earlier and drivers’ overall visibility is down.
• Be more diligent with cleaning and lubing your moving parts. Snow, slush and salt will conspire to wear down your bike’s most important parts. You should clean and lube your drive chain and derailleur as often as possible and after any particularly dirty ride. Be sure to use a low-temperature grease (-10C or better).
For serious protection, you may want to consider installing an enclosing case around your chain and derailleur.
• Brakes: Disc brakes will work better than rim brakes if you want to fully winterize your bike. Otherwise, clean your brakes after each ride and gently squeeze them every so often when riding to prevent icing.
Keep your lock’s keyhole oiled to prevent freezing. Carry a lighter in case it does.
• Winter tuneup: Bike shops … can help you winterize your bike with a specific winter tuneup, which may involve swapping in fresh brake and shifter cables or installing a Teflon liner.
• Or get a winter beater. Many year-round riders like to use an inexpensive “beater” in the winter months so their favoured bike isn’t ruined by the tougher conditions. The Good Life Community Bicycle Shop sells used and refurbished bikes for less than $200.
For your body
• Wool socks to keep your feet warm and dry
• Waterproof shoe covers or “booties” to keep snow and water from getting into your shoes
• Layered tights or long-johns that can wick sweat
• Wind-breaking or waterproof jacket and pants
If your outerwear does not already have reflective markings, get a fluorescent safety vest or reflective stickers
• “Lobster claw” mitts to keep your fingers warm while still allowing enough dexterity to maneuver gears and hand brakes
• Balaclava or facemask: You might look freaky, but it’s essential to stay warm
• Ski goggles are rarely necessary, but come in handy on days with blowing snow.
Items are available at most bicycle shops, some sporting goods stores and Mountain Equipment Co-op.
[In Calgary, many of the bike lanes and pathways are cleared by the City.] If the trail has not been cleared or you would like to report uncleared bike lanes anywhere in the city, call 311.
[For more tips on winter cycling safety, comfort and maintenance, or more information specific to Calgary, then check out this site: http://www.bikecalgary.org/winterriding
As almost any bike advocate will tell you, a bike isn’t a toy; it’s a tool. And by the same token, it’s becoming clear to more and more politicians and businesspeople that a protected bike lane isn’t a luxury that cities install if they can afford to.
When they’re used right, protected bike lanes are part of the path to prosperity.
Here is quick summary of a report from the Green Lane Project in the US regarding how protected bike lanes (like the one downtown on 7th St SW and much of Montreal) help local businesses.
We’ll see you in the bike lanes.
Are you interested in helping out in your favorite community bike shop? Are you interested in helping plan and/or implement some community initiatives? Do you want to help teach about bikes, fixing stuff, working with groups using the consensus model? Now that Good Life is open once again, we have much to figure out. COME TO THE NEXT BOX SOCIAL – Thurs Sept 26 at 7PM. We might be moving to the park so it would be a good idea to show up a bit early (maybe 6:30PM).
Oh and remember Good Life loves you too
The Good Life is moving to a totally new neighbourhood, and we’re taking this opportunity to do a real big revamp on our shop! There are many changes on the horizon and we’re really excited about them. We’re still figuring things out and nothing is perfect, but we’re open for business and so excited! (although for this event we’re closing off the mechanics area so that people can get tours …)
To really start on the right foot we will be hosting a day to not only show off our new shop but to also raise funds so we can support our new plans and ambitions for this new space.
Come show us your support and get acquainted with our new space!
Throughout the day we will be hosting:
- a quick tune-up station
- small shop tours/new member and volunteer sign-ups
- a bake sale
- a silk screen station where you can deck yourself out with our awesome new logo!!
Later on at 5pm we’ll be screening a bike related movie courtesy of our amazing new neighbours at Casablanca Video!
Car-free areas are popping up everywhere such as Times Square in New York, and JFK Drive on Sundays in San Francisco, and cities throughout Europe – the streets return to the people. With the Stephen Avenue Mall and more recently the sPark and Open Streets Calgary, this city has only recently begun experimenting with the idea of ciclovia.
Here is a brief look at some examples and offer five tips for city officials, developers, designers, and community members to consider when pursuing car-free spaces for their own communities.
Yes it’s September. So many kids are heading back to school. Here is a report that you can share with all those parents and kids who seem to think it’s best to drive and drop off the little ones at school rather than getting them to walk or ride there.
According to the results of a recent Danish study, kids who bike or walk to school have better concentration throughout the school day than their peers who drove or used public transportation. The study was part of “Mass Experiment 2012,” a Danish project that evaluated the connection between concentration, diet and exercise. Researchers looked at nearly 20,000 Danish kids between the ages of 5 and 19 and found that those who cycled or walked to school performed significantly better on tasks demanding concentration (ie: solving puzzles) at school than their peers who were driven to school. What’s more, the effects of the enhanced concentration lasted for up to four hours after they took a seat at their desks.
Much of Calgary has been eagerly anticipating the Good Life move but the location remained a closely guarded secret. In the past two weeks, people have been asking daily about the new location. After months of searching followed by weeks of lease negotiation, the Good Life Community Bike Shop is thrilled to announce that we are moving to the Mission area (commonly known by many Calgarians as 4th Street SW). This area is quite popular not only for its many bars, restaurants and of course the Lilac Festival in May, but also for its proximity to downtown, the 2nd Street bikeway, and the Elbow River pathway.
The new address for the Good Life Community Bike Shop will be #2, 2100 – 4th Street SW (next to Ducky’s Pub). The staff hope to re-open up at the new location in early September.
This fall, Calgarians will be able to access this popular non-profit bike shop on 4th Street, where Good Life can continue its to empower Calgarians through programs centered around used bicycles including youth Earn-A-Bike programs, work-trade programs, work experience for adults with disabilities and much more. All Calgarians are welcome to drop in to learn how to fix their bikes by staffers or volunteers, buy or earn refurbished bikes, or volunteer for a great cause.
What do Good Lifer’s say about the move? Staffer, Jackie Mann, says “4th street is a great location, just off the river pathway and close to Erton Stampede C-Train. Leaving Kensington is tough but it will be a lot of fun to join the 4th Street community”
To ensure that we have a smooth transition and open in a timely manner, Good Life is still seeking volunteers to help.
If you are interested in helping with the move or renovations, please contact Aoife at firstname.lastname@example.org.