EDITORS NOTE: This tour has been postponed due to our bike crash on Memorial Day, 2013. Sheila fractured her hip and won’t be riding at all this season! As of 3/1/2015 we have decided to do a different version of this trip with Cycling Escapes.
This is a route we’ve yearned to ride for a long time. The logistics are complex and the commercial tours are spendy. At first we thought we’d do it with Cycle America who we did our cross country trip with. Their dates don’t work for us and it was way more than we wanted to spend. Long ago we bookmarked this tandemist’s detailed tour description thinking we could do it ourselves.
Eventually after considering many options we’ve settled on doing it with Mountain Madness Tours. They are based in BC and have a lot of experience. They will carry all our gear and provides support each day. The trip includes your choice of primitive hostels or expensive hotels as well as transportation back to your car at the end. We’ve worked with them to create our own ETC tandem tour. Since we’ll already be in Bellingham for this year’s NWTR we thought we’d just piggy-back this tour onto the rally. The challenge is that the accommodations up there are limited and get booked quickly. We still need to find two more couples as soon as possible but we have gone ahead and booked the tour.
Please look this over and let us know if you have questions or are ready to sign up.
There’s only room for 8 people, so 2 more tandems can join us on this great adventure.
What follows is the proposed itinerary. Your input is welcome.
Sunday, July 7
Group drives from US to Jasper (approx. 8.5 hrs from Bellingham). Stay in Jasper for the night at Beckers Chalets
Monday, July 8: 24 miles
Ben meets group in Jasper mid-morning, shuttle cars to Hostel car park a few minutes out of Jasper. Pass by Jasper Park Lodge and Lac Beauvert on the way. Stay at HI-Athabasca Falls for the night. This is a wilderness hostel with limited creature comforts – no running water, no showers, and no flush toilets. They do have purified water for cooking, a refrigerator, stoves, and solar-powered lights.
Tuesday, July 9: 68 miles
After a steep, winding climb we stop for lunch around Tangle Falls rest area then continue down to the Columbia Icefields. We then climb up to the top of Sunwapta Pass, down a nice steep hill and along some flats and rolling hills to HI-Rampart Creek where we stay the night.
Wednesday, July 10: 58 miles
Today we ride past Saskatchewan River Crossing then up hill again to the top of Bow Summit (highest point on the Icefields Parkway). From here it is all down hill past some spectacular lakes, rivers, glaciers and mountain peaks all the way to Lake Louise to the HI-Lake Louise Alpine Centre. This hostel is quite a bit fancier than the wilderness hostels and is a great place to relax after completing the most challenging part of the ride. Lake Louise is just down the road and is a great place to stretch out the legs during a stroll around the lake later in the afternoon.
Thursday, July 11: 37 miles
The last day of riding is a mixture of flats and gentle rolling hills along the Bow Valley Parkway towards Banff. Depending on the group and the time available on the day we can extend this ride past Banff to Canmore. We pack up the bikes and luggage and drive back to Jasper (approx. 3 hrs) and stay again at Beckers Chalets.
Friday, July 12
On your own to stay as long as you like or drive straight back home.
- Price per couple: $1200 inc tax.
- National park entry fee’s per vehicle is about $100 for 5 nights parking. You will have to pay this as you enter the national park near Jasper on the first day.
- Price doesn’t include food. The group is responsible for food purchase and preparation of main meals during tour. They will set up prepared food and snacks at various points during the ride. Each accommodation includes a kitchen and has access to either onsite or relatively nearby restaurants.
- Hotel supplement: add about $500 per couple for 3 hotel nights.