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In Canada, Bikes on Ice Skates Are a Thing Now | Frommer's The City of Calgary

In Canada, Bikes on Ice Skates Are a Thing Now

You've gotta love the stubborn ingenuity of people who live in cold-weather climes. Those hardy souls never let a little thing like frostbite keep them from enjoying their favorite diversions.

If, for instance, you're in Calgary, Alberta, and you prefer bicycling to ice skating, you don't have to wait until the city thaws (in Canada, that could be a long wait).

Instead, just go to Bowness Park and rent an "ice bike," a unique conveyance with skates where the front wheel should be and, surrounding the back wheel, a wide metal frame. When you pedal, you'll glide across the park's frozen lagoon.

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The sled-like base keeps the contraption stable so that you don't have to worry too much about balance—in fact, the one-speed bikes are a smart choice for riders of any age who find ice skating hard on the equilibrium, ankles, or tuchus. 


(Image: The City of Calgary)

Though the invention sounds highly Canadian, the ice bikes in Calgary were manufactured in Buffalo, New York, another city that knows a thing or two about making the most of winter. 

For the last few years, Ice Bikes of Buffalo has supplied rentals for the Canalside ice skating rink at the Buffalo Waterfront. Unfortunately, all activities at that site have been canceled this winter due to the pandemic.

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But 10 of the company's bikes are now traversing the ice in Calgary's Bowness Park, which has recently unveiled a new 1.6km (1-mile) skating trail as well. 

Adult- and child-sized bikes are available for rent at the skate shop, operated by the University of Calgary Outdoor Centre. The cost is $20 per hour. 

Visit the city of Calgary's parks website for more information and to keep track of Covid-19 safety protocols and service reductions.

If you can't travel to Canada right now—and if you live in the United States, you can't—but have your heart set on cycling across frozen surfaces, you can always buy your own ice bike from the Buffalo manufacturer. Units cost $1,799 apiece, not counting sales tax, shipping, handling, or frozen water. 

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