Tips for becoming a cyclist and my favorite routes

How I got into cycling and my top routes from the past 3 years

I never imagined I would be cyclist. My mom literally said to my boyfriend one day when we were out riding as a family “I never thought I’d see Hannah cycling in the wilderness. Good job, Michael.”

When I look back, these are likely the 3 major events turned me into a cyclist:

  • Moving to Canmore, AB provided a pretty amazing landscape to get into this sport
  • My boyfriend became super keen on riding
  • Tearing my ACL and using cycling as a non-running or pivoting sport rehab
  • Slowly build your base especially if you don’t generally have an aerobic fitness background
    • I have an extensive aerobic history playing soccer my whole life, however, I was building back up from almost total rest from my ACLR surgery so I was building up my aerobic fitness again, my leg strength and my general tolerance to a cycling position
  • Support your new sport with cross training and strength training
    • Again since I was rehabbing my ACLR, I was doing plenty of strength training which complemented any rides I did on the weekends
  • Be mentally prepared
    • Riding next to cars is a bit scary at first, staring down your first massive hill takes a mental note and riding solo you need to have positive self talk to keep yourself going
  • A good bike makes a HUGE difference
    • A proper fitting bike that is your size, with a proper fitting saddle that doesn’t cause numbness or pain, and proper fitting shoes and clothes really do make a difference
    • I have slowly worked my way into all of these items because biking is a very expensive hobby so don’t think you need it all at once, just know that a quality bike is worth the investment

Here are some of my favourite rides over the past 2 years since I started cycling in 2021 (1 month before my ACL tear) and then mostly 2022-current when I was rehabbing my ACLR and now enjoying cycling trips and holidays (Mallorca over Christmas this year was a huge highlight!)

Lagos to Sagres, Portugal

We were staying in Lagos, Portugal for November and December of 2023 and rented a couple Canyon bikes to ride out to Sagres. This was my first ride in a while and so the 70km felt long! It was partly highway and partly side roads.

Strava route

Cap de Formentor – Mallorca, Spain

This is a top ride for the views and scenery along the way – spectacular! It makes the climbs less intimidating. We did this ride in December on a great cloudless day, making it cool but sunny. To date, it is my biggest ride with the most elevation!

Strava route

P’tit Train du Nord – Rural Quebec (just outside of Montreal)

For this 3 day cycling trip, we rented bikes and a bus company that drives you out to the start of the old train line, now all paved, and you ride back towards Montreal. My parents chose 3 stops with hotels we slept at on our way. This was on paved path with minimal hills and really pretty landscapes.

Day 1 – 40km

Strava route

Day 2 – 50km

We went during the fall which apparently is risky due to the chance of rain, however, we didn’t get any rain and the leaves were absolutely amazing!

Strava route

Day 3 – 100km

Apparently this direction (driving out of the start and riding back towards Montreal) is less hilly and more flat. You can take as much time as you need and can do the ride in as many days as you want!

Strava route

hannah on her bike wearing a red jacket on a pathway

Golf Course loop in Banff, Alberta, Canada

This is a really plesant ride if you’re staying in/around Banff and looking for a short ride with little elevation. The golf course road doesn’t have too many cars on it and is a really cruisy ride through the trees with views of some mountains and the river.

Strava route

Bow Valley Parkway and Legacy Trail to Johnston Canyon, Banff, Alberta, Canada

This was my very first 100km! We started in Canmore and went along Legacy trail which connects to the road past Vermillion lakes. This then connects to the Bow Valley Parkway (highway 1A) which is closed to cars for specific months of the year for cyclists to enjoy. This takes you to Johnston Canyon where we normally have a break and head back!

Strava route

Moraine Lake Road, Alberta, Canada

We’ve done this ride from the parking lot from Lake Louise and from a small camping ground across the highway from the entrance to Moraine Lake road. This road is closed and not cleared of snow from October to May each year and is now closed to cars throughout the summer. The only ways to get to the lake are through shuttles and buses – OR bikes!

Strava Route

Minnewanka and Two Jack Lake loop, Alberta, Canada

This one you can start in the parking lot of Cascade Ponds or like this route, we started from legacy trail in Canmore, the Minnewanka loop itself is only about 15km with some hills. A beautiful loop with lots of lakes to stop and look at!

Strava route

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