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Recent Cycling Adventures

June 26, 2022

Well, it has been a month since we have contributed to this part of our blog….but that means we have been out cycling. We are both training for the Whistler Gran Fondo on Sept 10th so have been keeping that in mind as we choose our routes, making sure that we get lots of km’s with hills.

With the price of gas high this summer we have been cycling closer to home. Some of our routes that are closer to the city limits are the Bearspaw Tour, Calgary to Chestmere, Springbank, and the Big Hill Springs Out and Back.

Although they are not routes in this blog, we have explored the Fish Creek Park and the Bow River pathway systems including a few Edworthy Park hill repeats to add some elevation.

Looking South on the Grand Valley Road Sunday, June 26. This is a fabulous place to cycle with low traffic volumes through Alberta ranch county.
Continue reading “Recent Cycling Adventures”

The Seven Closed Roads – Recommend as an early season goal

As promised we have compiled a list of the Seven Closed (to motor vehicle traffic) Roads for you to put on your bucket list. Here they are:

Yoho Valley Road

Canmore – Lake Minnewanka Loop via the Legacy Trail – 56 km (Lake Minnewanka)

Banff to Lake Louise – 111 km (Bow Valley Parkway)

Highwood Pass – Multiple Distances

Sheep River Ride – Spring Road Closure Delight – 35.4 km (Please see our 2022 update on this route)

Allen Bill to Forget-me-not Pond – 38.3 km (Elbow Falls)

Great Divide Highway 1A from Lake Louise towards Field

An eighth option is Morraine Lake Road. This one does not make it on the list officially, as usually there may only be a one to two day window to ride this without motor vehicles and it varies year by year.

Did we miss any closed roads that are road friendly? Please let us know.

Cochrane to Water Valley out and back

This group of cyclist are enjoying the route. Note how their solid colour jerseys show up well and they are all riding single file.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

Distance: 81 km

Estimated time: 4 hours based on cycling speed of 20 km/hr

Continue reading “Cochrane to Water Valley out and back”

Goldenrod, Madden, Dog Pound Panhandle

Aug 7, 2021 was a smoky day due to wildfires in BC and Alberta. But even then the views of the farm land between Madden and the Goldenrod Hall are spectacular. The condition of this road on this stretch of the ride is excellent….not a pot hole or pavement crack in sight.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating: Intermediate with option for a Beginner ride by turning around at Madden

Distance: 69.4 km

Estimated time: 3.5 hours based on 20 km/hr cycling speed

Continue reading “Goldenrod, Madden, Dog Pound Panhandle”

Canmore – Lake Minnewanka Loop via the Legacy Trail (Spring Road Closure Option)

Cascade Mountain snowcapped in the Spring

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating: Beginner to Intermediate

Distance: 55.6 km

Estimated time: This ride takes approximately 3 hours Based on cycling speed of 20 km/hr

Continue reading “Canmore – Lake Minnewanka Loop via the Legacy Trail (Spring Road Closure Option)”

Sheep River Ride – Spring Road Closure Delight (please note that the bridge construction will not be complete until May 15th, 2022)

The gate at the start of the Sheep River Ride

2022 update: On May 13th we attempted to do the Sheep River Ride (Road closure in effect until May 14th) since we were under the impression that the bridge construction was complete (May 1st was the completion date given). Unfortunately we were stopped 5 Km into the ride since the bridge is still not finished. Please note that the road conditions on the first 5 Km have deteriorated significantly due to the passage of heavy construction trucks.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating: Beginner

Distance: 35.4 km

Estimated time: 2 Hrs Based on a cycling speed of 20 km/hr

Continue reading “Sheep River Ride – Spring Road Closure Delight (please note that the bridge construction will not be complete until May 15th, 2022)”

Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, Route Combinations

It is possible to connect from Canmore to Lake Louise through bike pathways, low volume side roads, and the Bow Valley Parkway to experience a variety of biking options that are pretty much limitless. The following are just a few of the possibilities.

2022 Biking Season: The Bow Valley Parkway will be closed to motorized traffic for a portion of this year. This is an amazing opportunity to cycle this historic route without having to worry about sharing the road with cars. Please check with Parks Canada to verify the timing of the closure. According to the latest press release (May 3, 2022) ‘the section of the Bow Valley Parkway east of Johnston Canyon to Banff will remain open to public vehicles EXCEPT from May 1 to June 25 and from September 1 to 30 in 2022, 2023 and 2024 where public vehicles will not be allowed (as part of the 3 year cycling pilot on the Highway 1A).’

Start of the Bow Valley Parkway

Canmore through to Lake Louise : Two groups could leave from either end and then exchange keys as they pass on the Bow Valley Parkway. This avoids the downtime required for a car shuttle.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating: Intermediate

Distance: 80 Km

Estimated time: Based on cycling speed of 20 Km per hour it would take roughly 4 hours

Continue reading “Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise, Route Combinations”

Highwood Pass: Through Route to Longview; Gate to Gate to Gate; Kananaskis (North Gate) to Summit; Longview to Summit; South Gate to Summit…the options are endless

Highwood Summit – June 6, 2019 Is that snow??!!

Note: As of June 3, 2021 the road surface is not as good as in past years. For the North gate to Summit route there are sections of rough pavement as well as a few herds of mountain sheep to contend with on your swift descent. Our current recommendation, is to do this route from the South gate to the Summit as the road is in better condition. On Sunday, June 12, 2021 there were cyclists reporting that it was snowing at the summit.

Through Route to Longview – Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating: Expert , also an expert level of logistics and planning required!!

Distance: 98.9 km…darn, just shy of a metric century ride

Estimated time: 5 hours based on cycling speed of 20 km/hr, but you might be quite a bit faster because there is quite a long descent on this route.

Continue reading “Highwood Pass: Through Route to Longview; Gate to Gate to Gate; Kananaskis (North Gate) to Summit; Longview to Summit; South Gate to Summit…the options are endless”

Grand Valley to Bottrel : Foothills Challenge

An Iconic Landmark
Cyclists take note

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating: Intermediate to Expert

Distance: 64.6 Km

Estimated time: Based on cycling speed of 15 Km per hour it would take roughly 4 hours. Hilly terrain justifies a lower average speed.

Continue reading “Grand Valley to Bottrel : Foothills Challenge”

Calgary to Chestermere

June 13, 2019 Irrigation Canal along the Calgary to Chestermere Route

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating: Beginner but can be used as a longer early season training ride

Distance: up to 80 Km (out and back)

Estimated time: Up to 4 hours based on a cycling speed of 20 km/hr

Continue reading “Calgary to Chestermere”

Madden-Water Valley-Cremona (Short Version)

Cycling quiet country Twp Road 292 towards the Water Valley Golf Course on a beautiful summer day. This cyclist is practising safe cycling by wearing a brightly coloured jersey and cycling close to the shoulder.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating – Intermediate

Distance – 58.7 km

Elevation Gain – 470 km

Maximum Grade – Uphill grade 3.3% at km 19.3 , downhill grade 3.2% at km 52.6 just before you turn south off Twp Rd 292 onto RR 35

Continue reading “Madden-Water Valley-Cremona (Short Version)”

Sundre to Bearberry

Heading South on the 584. A nice long smooth downhill stretch.
The BearBerry Community Hall. This is real ranch country and the General Store, which is right next door to the Community Hall, is popular with the motorcycle crowd.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating: Intermediate due to the distance

Distance: 84.3 km

Estimated time: 4 hours and 15 minutes based on cycling speed of 20 km/hr

Continue reading “Sundre to Bearberry”

Legacy Trail – Canmore to Banff with Vermillion Lakes extension Out and Back

The Legacy Trail is part of The Great Trail (previously called the Trans Canada Trail). It is well marked and a dedicated pathway for non-motorized modes of travel between Banff and Canmore. The trail is used by Olympic calibre roller skiers, distance runners/walkers/wheel chair athletes and cyclists of all abilities. You will note the ‘Be Kind to Slower Cyclist’ signs along the route. This past year we have noticed the addition of Max 20 km/hr speed signs.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating – Beginner

Distance – 55.5 km (a shorter option at only 44 km is to exclude the Vermillion Lake extension and turnaround at Banff)

Estimated cycling time – 2.75 hours if you go all the way to Vermillion Lakes, 2 hours if not. Based on 20 km/hr cycling speed.

Continue reading “Legacy Trail – Canmore to Banff with Vermillion Lakes extension Out and Back”

Banff to Lake Louise (Bow Valley Parkway Hwy 1A)

Getting organized for the Banff to Lake Louise ride : Start of Bow Valley Parkway at Vermillion Lakes
Stunning views along the Parkway

Spring/Summer/Fall 2022: Part of this route is closed to motor vehicle traffic this year which provides a unique opportunity to cycle the Bow Valley Parkway without any motor vehicle traffic. Check the Parks Canada website before heading out. As of the latest public notice (May 3, 2022) the section of the ‘Bow Valley Parkway east of Johnston Canyon to Banff will remain open to public vehicles EXCEPT from May 1 to June 25 and from September 1 to 30 in 2022, 2023 and 2024 where public vehicles will not be allowed (as part of the 3 year cycling pilot on the Highway 1A).’

All Creatures Great and Small!

Bow Valley Parkway cyclist reported both a black bear and a grizzly bear along the trail on the May long weekend. Be prepared and cycle in groups and bring your bear spray. CBC reported that Bow Valley Parkway cyclists are asked to mindful of salamanders crossing the road. So while you are scanning the horizon for the bears also take a look in your immediate road ahead for these little guys.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating –  Beginner or Intermediate. The majority of this ride has grades less than 2%, and as an out and back you can always turn back at any point. It is a nice gradual uphill ride but just 5 km out from Lake Louise there is a steep uphill grade to the turn off to Lake Louise, then a steep downhill grade into town.

Distance – 111 km out and back

Estimated cycling time – 5.5 hours assuming 20 km/hr

Continue reading “Banff to Lake Louise (Bow Valley Parkway Hwy 1A)”

Mountain View – Bearspaw to Cochrane Out and Back

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating – Beginner for shorter route, Intermediate with add on.

Distance – 44.1 Km out and back (with short loop near the end), 52.3 km with Cochrane hill alternative extension for Intermediate and Expert riders

Estimated cycling duration – Just over 2 hours…

Continue reading “Mountain View – Bearspaw to Cochrane Out and Back”

Big Hill Springs Out and Back

Look at that Alberta sky!!! June, 2020 Bearspaw Rd

Note: as of June 26, 2022 the Big Hill Springs park is reported to be open after being closed all summer 2021. Another development noticed is that Lochend Road has had heavy traffic at times so use caution during these times.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating – Beginner

Distance – 44.2 Km out and back

Estimated cycling time – 2.5 hours

Continue reading “Big Hill Springs Out and Back”

Sundre Timber Trail With Optional Extension on the Burnt Timber Road

Main Route

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating – Beginner for short loop, Intermediate with the optional extension

Distance – 49.2 km circle route, option for an additional 44.0 km out and back

Estimated cycling time – 2.5 hours with out the extension

Continue reading “Sundre Timber Trail With Optional Extension on the Burnt Timber Road”

Four Hills of Banff

Map includes distance markers (in white) from the Cascade Pond parking area. Points of interest are labelled 1-4. Look at those switch backs up the Mt. Norquay road!

Ride Statistics

Mt Norquay road has been recently paved so it is a nice smooth ride up the six switch backs. Watch for mountain sheep on this steep road.

Ride Difficulty Rating – Intermediate and Expert

Elevation Gain – 848 m

Distance – 49.7 Km combination of loops and out and back routes

Estimated cycling time – 3 hours due to steep grades

Continue reading “Four Hills of Banff”

Lake Louise to Waterfowl Lake Out and Back

†

Beautiful Bow Lake. May, 2016
This is an out and back ride starts at Lake Louise. Points of interest labelled 1-3.

Ride Statistics

Ride Difficulty Rating –  Expert due to the distance and elevation gain and grade up to and down Bow Summit

Distance – 120.7 km out and back Elevation Gain – 1309 m

Estimated cycling time – 6 hours assuming 20 km/hr.

Continue reading “Lake Louise to Waterfowl Lake Out and Back”