Skip to content

Winter doesn't put the brakes on this cyclist

Despite snow and bitter cold (or both) Glenn Kubish stays on the road
cyclist long
Glenn Kubish doesn't let cold weather stop him. Photo by Gary Poignant

It's not surprising that Glenn Kubish is often called the 'spokesman' by riders in Edmonton's cycling community.

This engaging 55-year-old embraces the two-wheeled world with constant curiosity and boyish enthusiasm.

"You see a lot more when you ride a bike," Kubish says. "You can stop and talk to people. It's fun."

He stresses he truly enjoys winter rides – at any temperature and in all conditions. Kubish travels the 10 km from his west end home to his downtown job year-round.

When asked if the weather has ever stopped him from cycling to work, he bluntly says no.

"You just add a couple of extra layers. Make sure the extremities are protected and go," says Kubish, who has cycled in sub minus-40 C numerous times, including the recent cold snap during the middle of January.

“It was gorgeous outside,” he wrote in a text. “The light, the sound, the crunchy snow under my tires.”

Depending on the conditions, he chooses one of five bikes. He rides the fat bike when it snows, the mountain bike on a typical winter day while his two road bikes and folding bike are used during the spring and summer.

Whichever bike he's riding plays a key role in the working life of Kubish, director of communications for the City of Edmonton.

"At the end of the day I know I'm going to be able to get a bike ride in. It's something I really look forward to."

RELATED: YEGBike sets its kickstand in ‘T8N’

The journey for Kubish began as a four-year-old in northeast Edmonton when his parents gave him his first tricycle.

"It had the big front wheel. But I always wanted what the bigger kids were riding – a two-wheeler. So I would lean to one side and turn my trike into a two-wheeler."

His dream came true in Grade 2 when he got his first two-wheeler, a two-speed CCM. Throughout his elementary school years, Kubish, like the other neighbourhood boys, modified it and turned into a BMX bike.

When he was old enough to drive, the bicycle stayed home and Kubish borrowed the family car, a green Ford Custom to go to and from high school.

"I'd have had even fewer friends if I cycled to school. I had to drive," he says, grinning.

After high school Kubish cycled year-round to classes at the University of Alberta. But once he began work as a journalist in the late 1980s, circumstances prevented him from commuting by bicycle to work.

"It's kind of hard to cover a fire on a bike," he laughs.

Kubish worked in various media jobs in Vancouver and Edmonton, shifting from reporting gigs to editing roles at both local newspapers and two TV stations. He fell in love and married Shelagh in 1989, and by 1994 they had two sons. While Kubish still had a mountain bike he would ride it only on occasion – and never for work.

"Life was very busy. Time was tight. We had children. I had a media career. I wasn't able to cycle."

In the summer of 2007, he seemed to put cycling behind him for good.

"I was in the garage cleaning it out. Trying to get rid of the clutter and I threw out my Miyata 21-speed. I was trying to make space in the garage. I put it in the big garbage bin and put a tarp over it, like it was a burial. I was biked out."

For five years, Kubish did not cycle at all. Then another job change put him back on the right path.

In 2012, he moved from his news director post at CTV News to a communications position at ATB.

"On my first day in the new job, I'm driving into the parkade and I saw the sign that said 'bike parking. It clicked for me. It was one of the signs in one's life."

The next day Kubish bought himself a mountain bike and began commuting to work.

"I didn't realize that the bike was the answer to my stress."

Kubish began to blog and use Twitter to share stories, photos and videos about his biking adventures. He has travelled overseas and in North America as part of the Winter Cycling Congress, sharing stories about Edmonton's bike lanes to his cycling comeback after his Miyata bike toss.

Kubish, who is joined by Shelagh for the two-wheel commute during the milder months, aims to collect something memorable on every ride. Last October, he finished a blog post with, "Outside, on good days, I feel I am with the wind. No matter which direction it hits me from,"

Every Friday morning, 'Spokesman' Kubish and other cyclists meet in Ezio Faraone Park for an informal gathering called Coffee Outside. (One of his pals is a bike barista and often serves up several hot drinks.)

Kubish, who always rides with a GoPro camera, posts about 50 photos, videos and stories to his blog annually with story subjects ranging from visiting with seniors at a fast-food eatery to soaking up the sights and sounds on a ride through downtown. He says the growing number of bike lanes in Edmonton has made life easier, adding "it has become a more acceptable way to travel."

"There are different options for everybody to get around. I just choose to ride a bike, because I really enjoy it."

Gary Poignant

About the Author: Gary Poignant

Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks