Archived Cycling Adventures

Oct 23, 2022

My last great fall ride.

Well, I would call that a wrap! The snow hit hard and fast in Calgary this week after a fantastic road cycling fall season. We will be back testing and recommending fabulous road cycling routes in and around Calgary in the spring. In the meantime, to keep your mind on cycling join a spin class, set up your basement trainer, join some cycling specific off season training (I am joining Dynamic Cyclist for their winter training online program and no they do not sponsor us), listen to a cycling podcast like The Move (again, no sponsorship), or rewatch some cycle racing footage, what ever it takes to keep learning about this fantastic sport. Consider reading some cycling books like The Midlife Cyclist by Phil Cavell or Maximum Overload for Cyclists by Roy Wallack (both available at the Calgary Public Library).

This summer we challenged our selves to train and participate in the Whistler Gran Fondo. We did it, all 128 km, and over 2000m elevation gain (According to our Stavra stats). This event is enough to make a grown man cry and fall to his knees, especially this year as many recreational riders were met with no food and electrolyte when they reached the first two aid stations. In addition it was 32C in Whistler when we arrived. We experienced quite a few fit looking riders being picked up part way to Whistler by their families and others walking their bikes or taking a break by lying down in the ditch. We both reached out to the event organizers, and they have promised to do better next year. Unfortunately for us, there will not be a next year as this experience has sworn me off organized rides. We are committing ourselves to continue our quest to provide you, our followers, new and safe routes for the enjoyment of the sport.

August 7, 2022

The summer is flying by but there is still alot of good weather days ahead.

If you are looking for an event consider the Edmonton L’Etape which is coming up Aug 14th. The event is open to all level of cyclist and reportedly will ‘make you feel like a true Tour de France champion’.

Today we cycled in the Cochrane area and noted that part of Horse Creek Road is being upgraded. As a result, part of the road is in gravel road condition. We hope that the county will return this road to its former paved condition soon. This effects some of our posted routes and we have added a note to our commentary.

Beautiful views along Horse Creek Road on Aug 7, 2022.

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.

May 26, 2022

Today was the perfect day to do the Canmore – Lake Minnewanka Loop via the Legacy Trail. The Spring road closure is no longer in effect but the maximum speed limit is 50 Km/hr so motorized traffic is very polite. This is a great Spring training run and the details of the ride can be viewed in the blog.

Two Jack Lake

May 22, 2022

All Creatures Great and Small!

Bow Valley Parkway cyclist reported both a black bear and a grizzly bear along the trail. 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.

May 13, 2022

Check out our list of the Seven Closed Roads. Unfortunately, not an attainable goal this year due to the Sheep River bridge construction (see the May 13 post) but put this on your bucket list.

The Seven Closed Roads – Recommend as an early season goal

May 13, 2022

Yesterday 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. This was very frustrating but we cycled all around the camping area and down to the river. On the way back we stopped in Millarville and did a portion of the Brown Lowery Millarville Loop.

We conversed with many disappointed cyclists about the Sheep River ride and heard that during the week this route is still relatively quiet so we will try again and report back. In addition, quite a few cyclists were doing the ride from Turner Valley up to the gate which is in pretty good condition although there is still a fair amount of gravel on the shoulder.

May 10, 2022

We are back after taking our winter break from road cycling. This summer we are training for the Whistler Gran Fondo which is on Sept 10, 2022. This event is perfect timing for Alberta based cyclists as it allows for the whole spring and summer for training. Karen has already been out scouting out new and exciting routes so stay tuned. Follow us on Instagram as well.

Our first rides were on city pathways (including the Ride to Chestermere) to test out our bikes and acclimatize our muscles. On May 6th we did our fabulous Grand Valley to Horse Creek Road Loop ride enduring some gusty cross winds which definitely kept things interesting.

Blustery Conditions on an early spring ride

Oct 20, 2021

We are taking a break for winter and will be back providing you with new and improved routes in ~ March 2022!

Keep spinning!

Elizabeth and Karen

Oct 6, 2021

Wow, what a fall we are having! Perfect cycling weather, especially if you have a chance to get out mid day after it has warmed up but before that fall wind picks up later in the afternoon. Sunday, Oct 3rd was a perfect day to ride from downtown Calgary and then follow the Calgary to Chestermere route. This route is getting a bit bumpy in spots (needs some maintenance where tree roots are lifting up the paved cycle path), but other than that it is a very pleasant, car free, fall route to consider.

Sunday Oct 3rd.

September 18, 2021

There are still some great riding days ahead! Today I scouted out a new route from Cochrane to Water Valley and back. This 81 km route would make a great fall group ride.

Cochrane to Water Valley Out and Back

Just a sampling of the beautiful scenery on this route!

August 19th, 2021

For those of you who read our commentary on riding in strong cross winds here is a video I stumbled upon that will make you pause and give a bit more distance on your group rides when there are strong cross winds. Stay Safe!

August 14th, 2021

As of August 31, 2021 the 17 km section of the Bow Valley Parkway that is currently closed to motor vehicles is opening back up. If you had your sights set on cycling the Bow Valley Parkway without concern for cars and campers the window is closing soon. I always find it strange to bring bear spray road cycling, but based on the number of bear droppings on the road I encountered, I would highly recommend it. (P.S. I forgot mine….so cycled fast…which is a very poor bear encounter plan).

August 14th, 2021 was a fantastic day to cycle the closed portion of the Bow Valley Parkway. Too bad the views were partially distorted by the smoke.

July 23, 2021

Ride of the Week! This is the last of our 2021 twelve week ‘Ride of the Week’ series. We hope that you cycled a few of our recommended rides. Check back here in late May for our 2022 ‘Ride of the Week’ suggestions.

Week 12:

Lake Louise to Waterfowl Lake is an amazing 120 km cycle along the Icefields Parkway. The route takes you over Bow Summit with an opportunity for a rest stop at Peyto Lake (likely one of the most photographed lakes in Canada). This ride is recommended for expert cyclist comfortable with riding in the shoulder for long distances.

July 16, 2021

Ride of the Week!

Week 11:

In honour of the Tour de France and to pay tribute to the riders, consider doing a few little hill climbs by cycling our recommended ride of the week, The Four Hills of Banff. With almost 850 m of elevation gain and 50 km you can earn bragging rights by conquering all four hills: Minnewanka Loop, Norquay, Hot Springs, and Tunnel Mountain. Start at Cascade Ponds or if you want more distance, start in Canmore. This is one of our most popular routes based on your views to our site. Tag us in your photos: @cyclealberta.

July 9, 2021

Ride of the Week!

Week 10:

Calgary to Chestermere is our pick for the recommended ride this week. The advantages of this fun route is that you can hop on the Calgary pathway system any where along the route and then ride on a flat traffic free route that follows the irrigation canal all the way to Chestermere on a dedicated bike pathway.

This a great ride for beginner cyclists, especially in a group.

July 2, 2021

Ride of the Week!

Week 9:

The recommended ride of the week is the Madden-Water Valley-Cremona (Short Version). This delightful countryside route is just over 50 km featuring gentle grades and low motor traffic volume roads.

Part of the route is along the ‘super smooth’ asphalt Twp Rd 292. The drive to Madden is approximately 30 minutes (42 kms) from the west limits of Calgary. This ride is recommended for calm, warm days.

We will be out riding this route on Saturday, July 3 so watch for the cyclealberta logo on our bikes and helmets and shout hello as you speed past.

If you would like a longer ride check out our Madden-Water Valley-Cremona route. If you would like a shorter option try the Madden-Dog Pound route.

This is on the Madden-Water Valley-Cremona route. There are two single-lane crossings of the Little Red Deer River.

June 25, 2021

Ride of the Week!

Week 8:

The Bow Valley Parkway (Banff to Lake Louise or Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise Combinations) is your recommended ride of the week. Cycling this route today reminded me why this is one of our favourite routes. There are many route options depending on how much energy you have in this heat wave passing through Southern Alberta.

Start in Canmore, Banff, Vermillion Lake, the start of the Bow Valley Parkway, Castle Junction or Lake Louise and cycle as far as you like.

If you get an early start, before 9 am, you will have a much better chance of snagging a parking spot and may even have some shade for the first hour or so.

June 25, 2021. Lots of cyclists out today!

June 20, 2021

On Fathers Day I cycled the Grand Valley to Horse Creek Rd Loop with the Pedal Pushers Cycling Group. The weather was perfect, not too hot and just a Westerly breeze to start. We met in the morning at the strip mall West of Cochrane and we did a leisurely cycle tour stopping frequently to take pictures of the exceptional scenery along the way.

Heading up Grand Valley Road

June 18, 2021

Ride of the Week!

Week 7:

The Carstairs Loop – Spectacular Farmland Vistas is a fantastic 67 km route starting in the town of Carstairs. This ride is a great way to view rich Alberta farmland where you will get an appreciation for the work that goes into the food that we consume. This is a great part of the province to cycle in with hardly any traffic on most days.

June 11, 2021

Ride of the Week!

Week 6:

The Badlands Tour – Drumheller Dinosaur Trail is the recommended ride of the week. With temperatures rising it will be a great week to explore this scenic part of the province on your road bike. At just shy of 50 km this adventure includes a ferry crossing, two leg burning climbs and geological wonders. After cycling Highwood pass last week, this should be a snap. This ride is recommended for Beginner and Intermediate cyclist.

We cycled this route on June 12. What a fantastic day!

What a thrilling descent down the Red Deer River valley into Drumheller.

June 4, 2021

Ride of the Week!

Week 5:

This weeks recommended ride is likely the most well known road cycling route in Southern Alberta. You guessed it…the Highwood Pass. We have five different route options to choose from with a route suitable for the beginner to expert road cyclist. We cycled the South Gate to Summit route on Thursday, June 3rd and the pass is free of snow, slush and ice and crews were sweeping the gravel and rocks off the road. Remember, the chance to cycle the pass without competing with motor vehicle traffic ends on June 14th. Note: there is road construction in the Longview area so expect driving delays to the route start if you are starting in Longview or the South Gate.

May 31, 2021

Yesterday I took the unique opportunity to cycle Morraine Lake Road as it was both plowed and open for cycling (no cars!) only on the weekend. It was such an epic ride I purposely cycled slow and enjoyed the scenery and the company of my cycling partners.

A unique opportunity to cycle Morraine Lake Road without snow and without cars!

May 28, 2021

Ride of the Week!

Week 4:

Road to Nepal

This weeks route is the famous Road to Nepal (cyclealberta version). This delightful ride through the rolling foothills south of Calgary is a ‘must do’ ride and at just over 50 km it is the perfect spring training ride which will get you prepared for next weeks ride of the week! Hint: Next weeks ride will take you on the highest elevation paved pass in Canada.

May 23, 2021

Ride of the Week!

Week 3:

Horse Creek Road – Grand Valley Loop

This ride is a great training ride for more advanced cyclists and a good beginner ride for those that don’t mind a short busy section heading west along Hwy 1A. The weather does not look that favourable for a long ride this week, so this 2 hour journey through Alberta’s working ranch community is a good one to try.

Based on comments from our cyclealberta community, we will now be releasing the Ride of the Week recommendation on Friday evenings. Can anyone guess what nexts week ride recommendation will be?

May 16, 2021

Ride of the Week!

Week 2:

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

The Lake Minnewanka Loop will be closed to motor vehicle traffic on weekdays, Mondays to Thursdays, May 1-20 to give the road to cyclist! So of course this is our chosen Ride of the Week as this is the last week to take advantage of the road closure. At just over 55 km this route is perfect for Beginner and Intermediate road cyclists. Click on the ride link above or see Karens May 13th posting below for more colour on this ride.

May 13, 2021

Cascade Mountain as seen from the Minnewanka Road

Karen cycled from Canmore to the Lake Minnewanka Loop to take advantage of the fact that the Lake Minnewanka Road is closed to motorized traffic from Monday to Thursday until May 20th. This lovely 55 Km ride is very relaxing and a great Spring training alternative. Check out this ride next week before the road opens up for regular summer use.

May 10, 2021

Ride of the Week!

Week 1:

Sheep River Ride – Spring Road Closure Delight

The opportunity to cycle this 35 km route prior to May 15, when the road is closed to motorized traffic, is a huge draw. Suitable for road cyclists of all abilities.

May 7, 2021

As I looked out my window this morning at 7:30 am I saw my elderly neighbour ride by on his bike and it got me thinking about my own criteria for a ‘ride worthy’ day. Generally I won’t ride below 10C and will not ride when the pavement is wet. With rain, snow and cold in the forecast this weekend, I will not be riding and my prediction of a great spring riding year has not come to be true. What is your ride criteria?

Note: A correction was made on the Horse Creek Road/ Grand Valley Loop route. Thanks Brian for pointing out the error. When the weather gets better this will be my route of choice.

May 1, 2021

Went on a beautiful but cold and windy morning cycle to scout out a new cycling route starting at the Goldenrod Hall out towards Madden. More details on this route will be coming soon but for now I will tantalize you with some photos from this fantastic little gem of a ride north of Calgary.

Met up with a ‘Cowboy’ cyclist on Symons Valley Road this morning.
This is farm country, and only a few minutes out of the city limits.

April 21, 2021

A beautiful day to ride the Sheep River Trail. The road closure West of Sandy McNabb will be in effect until May 14th. The road is in excellent condition and Mountain Sheep could be seen relaxing in the sun. Stunning mountain vistas and a great tailwind on the way out made the ride memorable!

Sheep River Valley
Cyclists at the end of the paved road

April 18, 2021

Checked out an addition to the Brown Lowery to Millarville loop yesterday when the weather was opportune. Stunning day to head North from Plummers Road up the secondary road 762 to the junction with Hwy 8. I wanted to try this on a nice weekend day to test how busy the 762 is since it does not have a wide shoulder. I concluded that it is better to do this extension early in the morning on a weekend due to the abundance of traffic. A weekday after commuter traffic has dissipated would be much more enjoyable!

Mountain View on Plummers Road heading West to Hwy 762

April 17, 2021

If you are planning on cycling the Legacy Trail from Canmore to Banff this weekend use caution as there are reports of ‘icy spots and lots of gravel in places’. Legacy Trail

I was planning to ride the Whistler Gran Fondo on Sept 11, 2021 but it was announced this week that there will not be a physical Whistler Gran Fondo held in 2021. Check out their website as the event planners will be announcing some exciting alternate plans for cyclist. This is sad news for cyclist that had this in their sights but I am looking forward to seeing what creative alternative plans they come up with.

April 11, 2021

Today we scouted out our Road to Nepal ride. Wow, so much construction in that area has changed access to the start of this ride. Please check out our revised recommendation for the starting point and best parking options. Use Google maps to guide you to the starting point, if you have not been on these newer Calgary roads it can be very tricky to find the access point to this fabulous ride!

The road still has quite a bit of gravel on the sides so use caution. A few cyclists were out today fighting that cold wind.

We just posted a new ride! Check out Canmore, Banff, Lake Louise Route Combinations.

April 3, 2021

Yesterday cross country ski blogger Skier Bob mentioned and promoted our newly released road cycling blog. Thanks SkierBob!. All the best in your retirement. You have been an inspiration for our site.

Make sure you check us out on Instagram @cyclealberta. Thanks and get out there and cycle…well, maybe not today as it is snowing like mad…but you get the point.

March 28, 2021

Some interesting announcements about road cycling in Banff National Park were made recently.

The Lake Minnewanka Loop will be closed to motor vehicle traffic on weekdays, Mondays to Thursdays, May 1-20 to give the road to cyclist! This is a pilot project and Parks Canada is looking for feedback. Check out our Four Hills of Banff recommended ride which starts with the Minnewanka Loop.

The Bow Valley Parkway, to Castle Junction, will be closed to motor vehicle traffic this summer again. Parks Canada is asking cyclist to park at the Fennlands parking lot in Banff and use the Legacy Trail through Vermillion Lakes to get to the Bow Valley Park way. Roam Transit will be running a bus to Johnston Canyon, so it should be interesting to see how the buses and cyclists mix.

Here is the article that was in the Canmore newspaper, The Rocky Mountain Outlook, last week.

March 27, 2021

Well if there ever was a ‘first sign of spring’ I would say it is this. When cross country skiing at the Canmore Nordic Centre today there was a sign up that read. ‘Do you have your Bear Spray?’. Today we are stocking up on skinny tire tubes and chain grease from The Bike Shop in Calgary. With 24 hours notice you can arrange for curb side pickup.

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