Father and son duo cycles 800 km across Calgary

·2 min read
Juan, left, and his father, Franciso Echenagusia, have been cycling across Calgary on pathways and trails since 2017. (Submitted by Juan Echenagusia - image credit)
Juan, left, and his father, Franciso Echenagusia, have been cycling across Calgary on pathways and trails since 2017. (Submitted by Juan Echenagusia - image credit)

When Juan Echenagusia and his father, Francisco, moved to Calgary from Panama in 2017, they were surprised by how extensive the pathway network was in the city.

The two began cycling Calgary's trails from the first year they moved here. Then in 2018, Francisco came across a map of all the bike trails in Calgary.

"My dad kept saying, 'We'll cover all of Calgary,' and I was like, 'Sure, why not?'" said Juan, who is an engineering student at the University of Calgary.

By the end of this summer, the father and son duo had completed an 800-kilometre tour of the city's pathways. They started in their neighbourhood of Royal Oak in the northwest and finished in the southeast community of Cranston.

"It's like our fun little project," said Juan.

A difficult 800 kilometres

Juan, 23, and Francisco, 72, said their tour has been a great way to get to know the city better. It's also been a great source of exercise and way to meet locals, Francisco said.

"This experience has been amazing," said Francisco.

"We had a very hard time in the 800 kilometres. We got snow. We got rain.… But it was so wonderful. So I am very proud."

Terri Trembath/CBC
Terri Trembath/CBC

Juan said he and his father try to plan a ride every two weeks. They usually start their rides early in the morning and do anywhere from 30 to 60 kilometres each trip, which takes more than half the day.

Juan said he won't bike the entire city again as some areas were not as nice as others, but he and his father will definitely return to the areas they enjoyed.

'You can really get to know every bit of Calgary'

Juan and Francisco, who are originally from Venezuela, said there are many more trails and pathways in Calgary than there were back home. The city has been a change of pace for them, but cycling has allowed them to enjoy local scenery and spend more time together.

"I think it's really great bonding time between us," Juan said.

Submitted by Juan Echenagusia
Submitted by Juan Echenagusia

In terms of terrain, Juan said Calgary is "all over the place" with hilly areas and stretches of flat land. However, he recommends any newcomers and locals try the trails.

"You can really get to know every bit of Calgary," he said.

And for anyone worried they don't have the stamina for cycling, Juan insists that "anybody can do it."

"Take your time. You don't have to push yourself too hard," he said. "It's a fun experience, honestly."

Last year, Calgary surpassed 1,000 kilometres of paved multi-use pathways.

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