One good thing about 2020? Bike pathways were not closed! Which made 2020 a great year for biking. Calgary’s extensive urban trail network was busier than ever. We (mostly Mr. GeoK) responded by heading out earlier than ever – early enough that we finally bought bike headlights.
In late spring, before a long stretch of Highway 40 opened to vehicle traffic on June 15, many more riders than usual pedaled their way to the summit of Highwood Pass.
Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail
Despite being shut down for more than three months due to COVID closures, the trail counters on the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail recorded more than a hundred thousand (> 100,000) trips in 2020. July 11 was the highest ever single day count at 3,120. As luck would have it, we contributed to that count. We rode 70 kmfrom Canmore to Banff, through Banff, up and around the Tunnel Mountain loop and back to Canmore.
The same trail counters recorded the highest ever month, with 43,466 trips in August 2020. By the time the counters were shuttered for winter, the website that shares that data tallied 915,849 trips since the first section of the trail opened in August 2010. It would have been nice to celebrate 1,000,000 trips within 10 years of opening, but we can look forward to that milestone in 2021.
We made more use of the Rocky Mountain Legacy Trail 2020 than ever before – at least 10 rides between early June and early November.
Lake Minnewanka Loop
Over the summer, several media outlets reported that Parks Canada would make the Lake Minnewanka Loop a one-way route. There’d be one lane for bicycles and pedestrians, the other for vehicles. And while that would have been nice, it didn’t happen. Nor did it stop us from riding the Lake Minnewanka Loop several times this year – a new-to-us extension to the Legacy Trail. Check out Mr GeoK’s Relive video recap of one ride to get an idea what this road ride is like.
In Banff, Parks Canada’s closed the Bow Valley Parkway to private vehicles from late March through mid-November. Once word got out, cyclists like us flocked to take advantage of a rare COVID-19 treat. In fact, we incorporated the vehicle-free stretch of highway into our first ever metric century ride, pedaling 112 km in 5 hours on June 11. What’s metric century ride, you ask? It’s riding at least 100 km in one outing. And a century ride is at least 100 miles in one outing.
One of the absolute highlights of our 2020 cycling season was riding Highway 1A on October 1st, when the aspen trees along Highway 1A were in full fall colour.
Bike shops sold out and bike repair services were backlogged for weeks as people dug old bikes out of their basements, garages or storage, heeding advice from Chief Medical Officers of Health to get outside for exercise.
We usually have our bikes tuned up in the spring, but not in 2020. They were in fairly good shape, although we were concerned about wear on the tires. Over the course of the cycling season, Mr GeoK scoured the internet for parts and turned to YouTube for step-by-step advice on how to change tires, brake pads and chains.
In November, we finally took our bikes in to our favourite bike repair shop. They’re all tuned up and ready for 2021.
A Few Stats
Mr GeoK definitely rode more than I did in 2020. July was a bad month for asthma for me (it often is). What I know for sure is that we did 19 rides together, pedaling 1,109 km and climbing just over 9,000 meters.
Looking forward to 2021
I’m sure we’re not alone in hoping that Parks Canada finds a way to keep Highway 1A closed to private vehicles at least part-time during the 2021 cycling season (and beyond!).
And we’re determined to ride further on Highwood Pass before it opens to vehicles next June. Maybe not the full up, over and down to the other gates, but at least part way.
What highlights come to mind when you think back over the 2021 cycling season? And what are you looking forward to in the new year?