When you’re on a bike for hours on end, you have plenty of time to think. Now that I’ve made it to Calgary and beyond, my thoughts often return to one thing: sheer amazement at having travelled all the way from Vancouver on a bicycle. It’s hard to put to words the feeling of empowerment that brings.
In some ways, the start of the ride feels like yesterday; in other ways, it feels like ages ago. I’ve changed — into a cycling machine, for one thing, but also into a more patient person. Trips that would take an hour by car require a day’s work by bicycle. In short, you can’t rush your way across the country.
(Note: after writing this, my patience was put to the test riding 155 km into headwinds from Bassano to Medicine Hat. Let’s just say I’ve still got some work to do.)
Tales from the road:
1. On the topic of taking things slowly, I arrived in Bassano on a Sunday afternoon and was reminded of the pace of life in smaller towns. In all directions, shops were closed for the day — the only businesses open were hotels and motels. This presented a challenge, as I was hoping to catch Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Thankfully, my hosts obliged my
addiction passion and found the game on TV for me.
2. On the opposite end of the speed spectrum, oh, how good it feels to fly down the road. After ten days of climbing through mountains, I’m fully enjoying the stretches of going 30+ km/h for hours on end (or, at least, when the wind cooperates).
Things I’ve seen:
1. More mountains.
They’re not just limited to British Columbia; that’s for sure. The ride from Golden to Banff (and Banff to Calgary) takes you through plenty of mountains — I even had snowfall on the road. Because of my schedule, I missed out on some of the more iconic views from Lake Louise and Moraine Lake, but I did catch the famous Three Sisters.
2. Old memories made new.
I stayed with family friends in Calgary — ones I hadn’t seen in over half a decade. Not only was it a chance to reconnect with them; it was also a chance to rediscover a city that captured my imagination 15 years ago and hasn’t let go since. For my 9-year-old self, the pinnacle of that first Calgary experience was seeing the Calgary Tower. To see it again brought back a flood of old memories, long-forgotten.
3. Prairie sunsets.
My hosts in Bassano took me sightseeing to the town’s dam to catch the sunset – my first of the Prairies. It didn’t disappoint.
Distance travelled: 1,414 km
Strangest object found on the roadside: Shoe insole
Random celebrity sighting: Canadian Olympic gold medalist Kevin Martin