Edmonton cyclists on track for year-round riding

Two-wheeled commuters are unlocking a new cycling season in Edmonton — with help from the city's annual Bike Show.

Local bike shops, organizations trade winter-savvy ideas at 2017 Edmonton Bike Show

Bike lovers cycled through the University of Alberta Butterdome for the Edmonton Bike Show Sunday. (CBC)

Two-wheeled commuters are unlocking a new cycling season in Edmonton — with help from the city's annual Bike and Multi Sport Show.

Nearly 50 local bike shops and organizations traded ideas at a public symposium in the University of Alberta Butterdome over the weekend, finishing Sunday.

Cycling in a winter city used to be the domain of "the really, really fringe hardcore," said Peter Hockenhull, the bike show's director. 

The advent of snow-savvy gear means summer cyclists are warming up to the idea of commuting by bike 12 months a year, he added. 

"A trend that we're seeing now is somebody saying, 'I want one bike and I want it to do a whole bunch of things instead of being extremely good at one thing and useless at everything else,' " Hockenhull said.

Fat bikes, designed with wheels wide enough to grip rough and snowy trails, gained traction at last year's show. This year, Hockenhull said organizers rolled out cyclo-cross racing.

"Cyclo-cross is a bit of a fringe sport where it's a strange combination of mountain-bike type of trails on a road-bike frame, but with bigger tires," Hockenhull said.

The bikes are ideal for year-round commuters because their frames fit winter and summer tires, he added.

"They actually turn into an awesome commuter or winter bike," Hockenhull said. "As a result, a lot of people are turning to cyclo-cross bikes."

Edmonton's 2017 Bike and Multi Sport Show concluded with a presentation by eight-time Tour de France competitor Tyler Hamilton.

With files from Nicolas Pelletier