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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, these are some questions for anyone living and riding in Calgary/Cochrane, Alberta...

I'm moving out to Cochrane in two weeks and just wanted know what the MTB scene was like. Where are good places to ride? Is there a strong trail access advocacy group? Is such a group needed? Which are the best shops to check out (i.e cool people and good selection/stock)?

This last question is kind of subjective and forgive me if I sound like I'm categorizing, but is the scene predominantly XC racing, freeriding, recreational (think families and others on $300 bikes) or a healthy combination of all of the above. Any links to any webpages would also help.

Final question: How is bike commuting in Calgary like? Is it a bicycle commuter-friendly city or am I right to assume that the place is car-crazy. Are there any shops that cater to the urban cyclists? Just for reference I live in Toronto, ON - which I would consider a very bike-friendly city.

Thanks in advance for any help you Albertans can give me...I eagerly look forward to riding those beautiful mountains and trails and maybe seeing some of you there...

Regards,
EricV
 

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Well, where to start? I've been commuting in calgary for 7 or 8 years now and it works out quite well. There are loads of bike trails along the rivers and go to most sections of the city. You will end up riding on the roads a bit if you are heading into residential or industrial areas. Most box jockies(car drivers ;)) are pretty good about taking care around cyclists but I still feel they are a bit on the clueless end of things when it comes to understanding hand signals for turns when a cyclist makes them. All in all not too bad. I ride 11kms each way to work and it takes me 30min on my bike. it can take 15-45minutes (traffic dependant) in the car so i really prefer to ride and watch the frustrated drivers in their crates.
Mountain biking around here is great (and even closer if you are living in Cochrane). East Kananaskis area is a 1/2 hour drive south of Cochrane (45 min southwest of Calgary) and offers hundreds of kms of interconnected trails that vary from fire roads to tight singletrack to great downhill runs off Moose Mountain if you are into shuttling/big hit scene.
If you head west for about 30minutes you are into Peter Laugheed(sp?) provincial park which offers more of the same... untold kms of trails and loops to explore. another 10 minutes west from there you are into canmore and the spray lakes area that, again, offer many many kms of trails and places to explore and connects in several places to trails banff national park and on to Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay national parks west, north and south from there. you are living in the shadow of the rockies in Cochrane and you'll not be hard up for places to ride at all. Once you get here and have a specific length/type of ride in mind, ask for recommendations here and you'll get a handfull of ideas to ride. One of the best books for the area is Backcountry biking in the Canadian rockies and can be found in many bike shops and at MEC here in Calgary:

http://www.rmbooks.com/books/easbac.htm

that should provide you with 20-30 years of cycling.
 

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I used to live in Calgary. I agree with tcp, the city itself is quite good for getting around on a bike with all the trails and the bike paths. There's plenty of good mtb trails within 30-45 min drive from Cochrane...Bragg Creek, Kananaskis Country, Canmore, etc...
I always thought Calgary riders were more XC racing oriented...but that was 8 yrs ago. I see a lot more freeriders in Bragg Creek now, as the terrain there is better suited for it. But you'll see a good mix of every type of rider in Calgary.
Seems to me that a good shop that caters to urban cyclists in Calgary is Campione Cycles. They carry a lot of single speed and fixed gear parts that aren't easily found in most other shops. Bow Cycle is a bigger shop that is quite well stocked with good selection. The Bike Shop and Calgary Cycle would also have most everything anyone would need.
 

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the thing you MUST know....

...is that MacKays is in Cochrane. They make and sell the best ice cream I've ever had! It really is world famous...I'd like to personally recommend the Milk Chocolate Almond, which is my current favorite....But there's like 80 some-odd flavors to try:
http://www.mackaysicecream.com/flavours.html

Oh yea, and the Canmore gathering is just days away....so I'm sure there'll be TONS of fabulous pictures of all the amazing riding in that area.
 

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Cochrane itself doesn't really have much of a mountain biking scene, most of the interesting looking land bordering the town is private owned and don't have many trails. Of course as the others said there is excellent riding a half hour drive away...

Road riding on the other hand is amazing, miles and miles of wide country roads rolling through the foothills with small towns sprinkled along the way.

There is a small bike shop in Cohrane that the locals seems to really like. For big city shopping I'd send you to Bow Cycle, great shop and real handy to Cochrane.

As for commuting in from Cochrane it would be a bit of a haul to the downtown but very do-able. The worst part would be climbing the big hill out of town every morning! Probably about 15km to the city on a wide shoulder and then you should be able to skip through side streets to reach the bike paths along the Bow River. Many people will drive to Calgary and then park and take the bike into the city core.

Hope this helps.. Look us up when you get here...

G
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Food info just as (more?) important...

Gnarlene said:
...is that MacKays is in Cochrane. They make and sell the best ice cream I've ever had! It really is world famous...I'd like to personally recommend the Milk Chocolate Almond, which is my current favorite....But there's like 80 some-odd flavors to try:
http://www.mackaysicecream.com/flavours.html

Thanks Gnarlene for the ice cream recommendation...you're right...that IS extremely important information! While we're on the subject of stuffing faces, would you be able to recommend a great restaurant for a post-ride fest? Key words are good, cheap and plenty. Thanks again, EricV.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
tcp said:
One of the best books for the area is Backcountry biking in the Canadian rockies and can be found in many bike shops and at MEC here in Calgary:

http://www.rmbooks.com/books/easbac.htm

that should provide you with 20-30 years of cycling.
Thanks tcp...I'm glad there's a MEC in Calgary...I honestly don't know what I'd do without one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
skogan said:
Cochrane itself doesn't really have much of a mountain biking scene, most of the interesting looking land bordering the town is private owned and don't have many trails. Of course as the others said there is excellent riding a half hour drive away...

Road riding on the other hand is amazing, miles and miles of wide country roads rolling through the foothills with small towns sprinkled along the way.

There is a small bike shop in Cohrane that the locals seems to really like. For big city shopping I'd send you to Bow Cycle, great shop and real handy to Cochrane.

As for commuting in from Cochrane it would be a bit of a haul to the downtown but very do-able. The worst part would be climbing the big hill out of town every morning! Probably about 15km to the city on a wide shoulder and then you should be able to skip through side streets to reach the bike paths along the Bow River. Many people will drive to Calgary and then park and take the bike into the city core.

Hope this helps.. Look us up when you get here...

G
Hi Skogan, thanks for your reply. Actually, I won't be commuting into Calgary every day, since I'm living in and going to school in Cochrane. I'll probably ride into Calgary every Saturday, checking out the bike shops, exploring the city, eating good ethnic food :) I'll definitely explore the surrounding countryside around Cochrane on my Trek touring bike, I'm looking forward to riding uninterrupted through country roads and exploring. AND the mountain biking on top it! This move is going to do wonders for my cycling soul...
Later,
EricV
 
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