Calgary becomes first city in Canada to offer ice bikes
CALGARY – The City of Calgary announced two new winter park activations at Bowness Park.
A new 1.6 kilometre ice trail is expected to open before the end of 2020 for Calgarians to enjoy recreational skating. In addition, Calgary will become the first city in Canada to offer ice bikes, which are available to rent now for use on Bowness Park Lagoon. Current public health orders must be adhered to when using the ice bikes and the Bowness Park ice trail.
“Today, we’re celebrating a new sport – ice biking,” said Coun. Ward Sutherland. “It’s brand new to Canada and we are proud to offer 10 bikes specially-designed for use on the ice. Bowness Park is one of the most versatile parks in western Canada and, with the addition of the new ice trail and ice bikes, there is truly an activity for every member of the family.”
The ice bikes are available to rent from the Bowness Park Skate Shop (operated by the University of Calgary Outdoor Centre). They are a safe, stable alternative to skating, or for those who want to try something new. Like a traditional bicycle mounted on a sled-like platform, users can pedal and steer around the ice as they would on a road.
The bikes are single speed and users can simply pedal backwards to stop. Because little balance is required, ice bikes accommodate a wide range of ages and users, including those with physical accessibility challenges. Adult and child-sized bikes are available for rent at a cost of $12/half-hour or $20/hour. Helmets are mandatory for those under 18 years-old, and strongly recommended for all users.
For those looking for an alternative to skating on the Lagoon, the Bowness Park ice trail is a new option being offered this year. The surface of the ice trail is approximately eight centimetres thick and was created by flooding the grass with water, in layers, until a thickness for skating was reached. Once the ice trail is open, park visitors will be able to enjoy a skate during regular park hours (5 a.m. to 11 p.m.). After dark, the ice will be lit for evening use with LED lights.
With current public health orders in place to help limit the spread of COVID-19, health and safety are top priorities for the city when offering services and programs at outdoor amenities.
“Between each rental, the bikes are sanitized, cleaned and then they’re brought back out and ready for use,” says Todd Reichardt, Manager Parks North and West Region with the City of Calgary. “We ask that all park visitors and users maintain a proper safe distance of two metres, as well as consider wearing a face covering or a mask.”
Reichardt reminds anyone wanting to try out the new ice bikes that “there is a current restriction in place that prohibits outdoor social gatherings, except for the members of your immediate household.”
Visit Calgary.ca/BownessPark for more information on the ice trail and for the latest information on closures.
Visit Calgary.ca/icebikes for information on rental conditions and how to reserve a bike online.