Lessons learned cycling Vancouver → Calgary

Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4-5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | info

17 days July 2020. No zeros.

One flat tire. 

The scenic Trans Canada ‘Great Trail’ is the best route as it tries to keep you off busy highways. However, it’s not possible to cycle it precisely as a few sections are ‘hiking only’, too steep and technical for a bike.

Happily there are often alternative routes.

I’m glad I skipped the 91km Gray Creek Pass, for example. It’s very steep on the west side.

The Great Trail Elk Valley is the best way to cross the Continental Divide to Alberta. Elk Lakes are a highlight.

I skipped a couple of other sections as well based on information I got from cyclists coming in the opposite direction. Each year there are unexpected detours, washouts, etc. Some years forest fires may force you to off the Great Trail.

I can’t recommend any apps for navigation. Certainly you should have the free OFFICIAL Great Trail app, though it’s crappy. Keen should be embarrassed to sponsor such a shoddy product.

Remember to click the Offline Maps (BETA) link and download the sections you need. Obviously offline maps should be the default as there are many sections with no service.

I used the free Maps.me, as well, though it doesn’t always show the Great Trail route.

I used Google Maps when I had service.  It doesn’t include the entire Great Trail, however.

BEST would be to download the route to something like the paid Ride with GPS app or a dedicated GPS navigation device.

I found it easy to resupply with food en route. Easy to recharge my batteries.

There are plenty of bike shops en route, but all were BUSY during COVID-19 2020. I had to beg in Cranbrook to have my steed looked at immediately.

I did not have much problem tenting free en route. Any crown land not posted is legal. There are campgrounds too, of course, but many cater to RVs not cyclists.

I love my gravel bike but for B.C. a mountain bike would be better. There are some rough trails. Some steep downhills.

Mosquitoes were bad in 2020 due to the late, wet spring. On the other hand, no forest fires to worry about.

Day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4-5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | info

Published by

Rick Mc

Career gymnastics coach who loves the outdoors, and the internet.

4 thoughts on “Lessons learned cycling Vancouver → Calgary”

  1. MapOut is a very simple app that would probably works for you. You can download the maps and use them offline – very useful.

    Great trip! Thanks for sharing!

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