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biking around Jasper

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Edmonton, Canada
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biking around Jasper

My husband and I are considering spending 4 days in Jasper in the middle of June for a short get-away. We would like to take our bikes, and are wondering what would be recommended. We can bring a road bike and townie, or we could borrow mountain bikes. We would only be doing moderate biking, not crazy stuff, thinking of going about 20 km one way, then returning. My preference is for my Townie as mountain bikes tend to give me a sore neck for long distances, but would that restrict our possibilities greatly? Also, any suggestions for storing the bikes. We have friends who just left theirs on the car and someone cut the straps and took bike rack and bikes. We would probably be staying at a bed and breakfast in town, or perhaps the Patricia Lake Bungalows.

Jasper, Canada
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1. Re: biking around Jasper

If you are staying at a B&B (or PHA, as most of them are "private home accommodation" and do not offer breakfast), ask your hosts about bike storage. Bikes do get stolen out of yards in Jasper sometimes, especially if they are nice or valuable bikes, so I would definitely lock it/them to something. Your hosts (or the bungalows) may have a place you can store them indoors (maybe bring an old towel or mat to sit them on so as not to make a mess) or in a garage. I have friends with PHA and some of them have lots of cycling clientele.

My husband has an expensive road bike and when we travel with it, it's a requirement for where we stay that his bike can come in with us; lots of places (thinking hotels, mainly) don't mind, as long as you are careful not to bring in lots of dirt (a possible issue with mountain bikes out on muddy trails) or make grease stains by brushing the chain and gears up against walls or furniture.

A townie would be useful in town, but pretty much everywhere else you would ride, there would be hills to some extent. Does your townie have any gears or is it an old-style "one speed"? Are you thinking of biking on roads, or trails?

The road cyclists here mainly cycle the south highway (the Icefields Parkway) - the first serious hill is the Wabasso hill, about 10 km south of town, just past the Valley of the Five Lakes parking lot and trailhead. There are a few who cycle highway 16, but most avoid it because of the amount of traffic including big trucks. Other popular training rides for hill climbs are Maligne Road and the ski hill road (major elevation gain on both, and speed, coming down ... my husband has clocked over 70 km/hr on the Maligne Road). There are tons of trail riding options - stop at the Infocentre and ask for their little brochure & map; they have one specifically for mountain biking and can advise you on distances and how technical specific trails are.

Easier rides closer to town are up the Pyramid Lake Road (key word being "up") and out to Old Fort Point, JPL, Lakes Edith & Annette etc. which can be done on roads, or partly on roads and partly on trails.

Your timing may be good to ride the Cavell Road with no car traffic on it. It usually opens for the season sometime from mid-June to late-June. Usually for a couple of days before it opens to vehicles, it is open to bike and pedestrian traffic while the crews are still ploughing out the parking lot at the end of the road. It was newly surfaced a couple of years ago, and is a bit narrow and winding, so not a road cyclists really want to share with cars (although bikes, being more nimble on the curves, can actually go down faster than a car).

Edmonton, Canada
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2. Re: biking around Jasper

Thank you for your reply. It sounds like our husbands should be riding together. I keep telling him that I'm going to make him wear leather if he insists on travelling as fast as a motorcycle. I, however, am more sedate. My preference would be trails as it doesn't seem healthy to be cycling while you're breathing in car exhaust. However, most of the trails that looked about the right length were rated moderate on a cycling map. Does that mean they're out of the question for a road bike? My townie does have 7 gears to help me up some hills, and I would be willing to walk it up shorter hills as well. We would also be willing to drive a short distance outside of Jasper if there was a good road there for biking. Any more suggestions?

Jasper, Canada
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3. Re: biking around Jasper

With 7 gears, you should be able to ride around the townsite/lodge/lakes area with no problems. I don't know that you'd want to take a road bike on trails, with the narrow tires (and they're usually pretty slick, not knobby). A lot of the trails are quite rocky and rooty, and I'm not sure that road bike rims (or the hard (high psi) tires) are meant for that.

There aren't really a lot of options for roads - if you look at the Jasper area with google maps or similar, you'll see that there are not very many other than the ones I've already mentioned. You could also ride out the Snaring Road, which is little travelled (you could drive to the turn-off which is about 10 km east of town on highway 16). There's also 93A, but the local cyclists don't use it much because the pavement is so rough (it would be more do-able on a townie or a mountain bike). There's also the Moab Lake road, off 93A, which is not too hilly.

Edmonton, Canada
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4. Re: biking around Jasper

thanks so much. You've given us lots of good options. We look forward to our time in Jasper. I think we probably will bring our road bikes. Sounds like if we spent one day riding out towards the Jasper Park Lodge area, 1 day riding Highway 93, and one day riding the Moab Lake Road or the Snaring Road or the Cavell Road, that would be lots of riding. You can watch for my Townie in the middle of June. I think we'll probably also aim for staying in town. It sounds like the Patricia Lake Bungalows would be an extra few kilometers of uphill at the end of every ride.

Edited: 19 April 2012, 23:09
Jasper, Canada
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5. Re: biking around Jasper

Yes, Patricia Lake Bungalows would be, just as you described. Your townie will be at home here with all the others around. :) Make sure you lock your bike if you are going to leave it unattended.

6. Re: biking around Jasper

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