Day 24: Bow River to Calgary

Distance: 134 km

Elevation: 904 m

Date: August 25, 2022

Today was an amazing day full of contrasts. I woke up in the cold mountains and went to bed in a buzzing city with a warm climate.

The night had been chilly with about 5 degrees. I did my morning routine, had a couple of chats with interested neighbors and was on the road by 10 AM.

Some fellow cyclists had told me about an alternative route from Canmore to Calgary. It was the old Highway 1A and my GPS knew about it.

The scenery was beautiful. The traffic was minimal and the road was winding through low grown forests with a lot of rolling hills. Pure eye candy.

Over time, big mountains became small mountains and then became hills. At the same time, the traffic slowly picked up. The route followed the Bow River the entire day.

In Cochrane, a somewhat artificial satellite town of Calgary, there was a big climb, the rest was fairly flat.

I had no idea about Calgary but it is actually quite beautiful and has a lot of wild nature to offer . There are two rivers, Bow and Elbow, that both flow in deep valleys There are a lot of parks and bike tracks alongside these.

My first address in Calgary was Grant. He was part of the Facebook group “Biking Across Canada” and had been so kind to offer his address to receive my drivers license which I had forgotten at home.

On the way there I met Pam, a fellow cyclist of my age I would guess. She was very interested in my tour and were I was going. She changed her tour and drove with me for a bit until I had reached Grants place. We said “good bye” and she went on.

Grant studied Business and worked in parallel as a junior insurance broker. Smart and friendly guy. About 6 weeks ago, he had a major bike accident and severely injured his face. He was still in recovery.

We chatted a bit and then I went on to my sleeping place.

I had not planned where to stay in Calgary. During the day I had reached out to a couple of Warmshowers hosts but without success.

Finally, I found an empty bed in a mixed multi-bed room in a Wicked Hostel in Calgary. Sounded like a cool experience and it was the price of a camping site.

I had some problems finding the place because they had given me the wrong address. But eventually after calling them I found it. Really vintage and cold. A shabby old industrial building turned into a hostel for people who don’t want to spend much money on accommodation. Like a slightly unorganized but very friendly youth hostel. I could have easily been the father of most there. I loved it instantaneously.

And the best: they even washed and cleaned your clothes. I badly needed that plus a nice warm shower.

I wanted to go out and eat something simple and ended up in a dancing bar. Very funny. I had a salad, burger and beer and enjoyed myself as being the odd kid while everybody else was either there to learn Salza or to meet somebody. It was so hilarious: Last night I was carrying bear spray around in the back country and here I was in a bar full of beautiful young people enjoying themselves in a buzzing city.

But it got even better. When I returned to my hostel there was a party ongoing of people who had lived here in the past. They all had stayed several months here while working and traveling. They came from Ireland, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Germany and the US.

I was dragged into the gathering since they had all seen me wheeling my fully loaded bike through the lobby. Now, they wanted to know who I was. There were some cyclists among them and they all could not believe that I had cycled from Vancouver to Calgary. It was loud, there was a lot beer and laughter.

It was probably after midnight when I went to bed while the young folks went out to crash a bar.

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