Friday, 13 September 2013

The 2013 Ride on the Legacy Trail

As I wrote about here (in what has become a very popular post), the Legacy Trail was built in 2010 as a bike path connector between Canmore and Banff. I said it was an OK ride, nothing special, and one that we wouldn't do that often.

Well, it turns out we do it about once a year. We did it in 2011 exactly twice (read about it here and here). Yesterday was our 2013 trip.

On the bright side, the actual connector trail that actually connects the path from the east gates of Banff Park to the west end of Canmore officially opened this morning. The Town of Canmore did quite a nice job on this "new" start of the trail, including putting up a big board that tells you how many people are using the trail. They started it from the Provincial Visitor Information Centre, which has a fair amount of parking.

But the nicest part about this is that the bike crazies no longer ride down Harvie Heights Road, meaning that terrible bicyclist behaviour is no longer something I have to deal with -- for the trail etiquette that I have complained about in the past is still there. Trail users still:
  • Ride side by side and won't give you space to pass in either direction;
  • Generally don't call out they are passing you, so maniacs go hurtling by and startle you;
  • Stop randomly and block the path;
  • Commonly don't wear helmets.
The riding is no more fun, and with the damage done by the floods, now is just a bit more dangerous, as there are spots where you are on the shoulder of the TransCanada, riding west right next to traffic driving east going 120 km/hr (in the 90 zone).

We're having a late summer heatwave, it was a good day to do the ride in 30° sunshine.
From the one stopping point on the trail
One thing that's affecting the trail is the new channel of the Cascade River. Normally, there is no river. It goes through a power plant. But the power plant has been broken since the floods, so they river is bypassing the plant and running in its old channel. A portion of the trail used to go in that channel.
The Cascade River going under the tracks 
Serious flow in the culvert
While Canmore has seriously improved their end of the trail, Banff has done nothing. The trail still just "stops".
The literal "end" in Banff
It's been 2 years. Canmore managed to get 4 km of new path built. Banff hasn't even put up signs to tell you how to get through town.

As usual, we worked our way through town, and rode all the way down Vermillion Lakes Road.
Some fall colour on the shores 
Classic Mt. Rundle 
Dramatic afternoon lighting 
The Sundance range 
In total, from our house, we rode 52 km round trip in just under 4 hrs (with lots of stops), which included 1,000 m of going up and down in a 100 m window of altitude. We learned that you can stop in at the Banff hospital to fill water bottles.

It was a nice, if hot, afternoon. The ride back was fast, as usual, since there was a tailwind and it's sort of downhill. So we are once again glad we did it, and will return next year to ride it again.

But only once.

No comments: