Photo by Kyle Thomas

A Guide to Biking in Winnipeg, MB

Out for a ride on a typical sunny day in Winnipeg, prepare to pass or be passed. City cyclists find themselves among leisurely riders, bicycle convoys of parents and their young, determined commuters with suit jackets and dresses flying, BMX riders hurrying to the skate park, fixie riding couriers, racers, and recumbents. With not a hill in sight, nothing but a headwind can slow a rider down. This windy city has a growing network of bike paths throughout the center and reaching out to all corners. An expanding system of bike lanes takes the edge off a downtown ride. Bicycle traffic is less dense in the winter but devotees turn to plowed streets – increasingly on fat snow tires – or to the meandering frozen rivers.

A view down Albert St. in the Exchange District, a National Historic Site of Canada. Photo by Kyle Thomas

A view down Albert St. in the Exchange District, a National Historic Site of Canada.
Photo by Kyle Thomas

MEETS

Visit the Forks Market, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, ride along Waterfront Drive to The Exchange market district, or into the francophone St. Boniface neighborhood over the Esplanade Riel. Ride in Assiniboine Park and visit the new Journey to Churchill Polar Bear exhibit at the zoo. Check out Osborne Village or Wolseley, the city’s Granola Belt. Although you hope not to need the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association Bike Lab on the downtown campus for repairs, see it for its innovation. For a rural ride, take the Northeast Pioneer Greenway from the center of town out to Birds Hill Provincial Park.

Time your visit to see a show at the Winnipeg Barge Festival or a powwow at the Oodena Celebration Circle. Ride into the historic Exchange District for shops, boutiques, and galleries and The Cube stage shows. Plan your visit to catch the Winnipeg Jazz Festival in June, Winnipeg Folk Festival in July, the Winnipeg Fringe Festival also in July, Folklorama in August, Nuit Blanche in September, or stage shows at the Lyric in Assiniboine Park throughout the summer.

Downtown Winnipeg, with the Canadian Museum for Humans Right (left) and The Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge. This view is from St. Boniface, a city ward founded in 1818 - home to one of the largest francophone communities west of the Great Lakes and the birthplace of Louis Riel. Photo by Kyle Thomas

Downtown Winnipeg, with the Canadian Museum for Humans Right (left) and The Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge. This view is from St. Boniface, a city ward founded in 1818 – home to one of the largest francophone communities west of the Great Lakes and the birthplace of Louis Riel.
Photo by Kyle Thomas

EATS

Browse the shops and try the restaurants at The Forks Market. Have a meal at Stella’s, then drop in at the Plug In Gallery and the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

The Assiniboine Riverfront walkway near The Forks market. Photo by Kyle Thomas

The Assiniboine Riverfront walkway near The Forks market.
Photo by Kyle Thomas

STREETS (rental)

The best places are Natural Cycle in the Exchange; Bee2Gether Bikes at the bumble bee-colored Boler trailers at The Forks, Assiniboine Park, or Birds Hill Park; and Woodcock Cycle.

The University of Winnipeg Bike Lab, a cycling education, advocacy and repair facility. Photo by Kyle Thomas

The University of Winnipeg Bike Lab, a cycling education, advocacy and repair facility.
Photo by Kyle Thomas

SLEEPS

Unique accommodations can be found at Inn at The Forks, Mariaggi’s Theme Suite Hotel and Spa, the historic Fort Garry Hotel complete with legendary ghosts, and The Mere Hotel. Hostels include University of Winnipeg Downtown Hostel with outdoor bicycle racks and security cameras and Backpackers’ Winnipeg Guest House International with its basement bicycle storage.


Christina Sikorsky lives, writes, and rides in Winnipeg, where she was born and rode her first tricycle. She and her teenaged daughter and son and her husband all ride big bikes now.