Sep 20, 2015

Our Favorite Calgary Rides - Bow River Explorer

This ride is part of a series of rides around Calgary. All rides are mostly off-street/pathway and are of varying lengths/difficulty level to accomodate all of you that love adventures.

The longer routes do require some level of route finding/navigating as Calgary does not yet have very good route finding system. We've attached links to Map My Ride routes to make it really easy to use your smartphone. 

(We are not recommending Map My Ride's app but we've successfully used it all ove rthe world to find and follow routes. It's free but does require a data plan).


Other rides in the series - 

* Nosehill Up-And-Over

* Fish Creek Loop


* Pathway 100km
The route.
Distance: 31km
Difficulty Level: Easy
Ride Time: 1-1/2 to 2-1/2hrs
MapMyRide Route Link:  http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/1177122353

This is our go-to ride for anyone looking for a great introduction to cycling in Calgary. This loop is easy to navigate, entirely on river paths, has plenty of views, rest spots, food options, and access to other neighbourhoods in the city.

If you only have time for one adventure while visiting, this is your ride.

The Peace Bridge, or as Ms. BikeBike likes to call it, the `Kisses and Hugs Bridge`due to its interlocking x`s and o`s.


Heading east on the Bow River Pathway on of the first sights you'll see is the Peace Bridge. Designed by Santiago Calatrava, this bridge is a great place to stop, take your picture, or otherwise hang out for awhile. There are often musicians on the bridge and it is a great place to people watch.

Just west of the bridge is Prince's Island/Eau Claire district which is a worthy detour or rest spot.

The Simmons Building, now home to 3 of the tastiest food purveyors in the city: Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, Charcut, and Phil&Sebastien Coffee. Great spot for a coffee, pastry, or something bigger.
 In the East Village district stands the historic Simmons Building, now home to great food options from Sidewalk Citizen Bakery, Phil and Sebastian Coffee, and Charbar. Grab a pastry or lunch, a killer coffee, or a gourmet meal on the rooftop - if you pass by here, you'll regret it.

Trust us.

What we like to call "The Dark Crystal" - sculpture/viewpoint over the Bow River Weir.
After you're full of goodness, continue east along the pathway. After a few minutes you'll spot this beautiful oasis of rock and steel. "The Dark Crystal" (our name) is a great viewpoint/rest stop to see the Bow River Weir which is also the headwaters of the Western Irrigation District Canal.

This is also a favorite meetup spot for rides and folks in town who enjoy #coffeeoutside.

From this point, you'll continue east through Pearce Estates - but be sure to go up and over the first roadway you encounter, make a hard left, and start heading west along the north side of the river.

Keep an eye on the map/link we provided and make sure you keep heading west past the Calgary Zoo, St. Patricks Island - again, heading west along the northside of the Bow River towards Edworthy Park.

An atypical storm outflow transformed into a beautiful sculpture on the pathway near Edworthy Park.



The long section of pathway along the northside of the river from the zoo to Edworthy Park parallels Memorial Drive, passing the neighbourshoods of Sunnyside and Kensington (among others), westward. History buffs may enjoy a stop at Poppy Plaza along the way towards our eventual turnaround point, Angle's snack shack and Edworthy Park.

Affectionately known by local cyclists as "the snack shack, it morphed over the years into Angel's which has snacks as well as lunch items and features live music on some summer evenings.


Edworthy Park is your eventual spot to start heading back to our shop. The area was originally a ranch but eventually absorbed by a growing city. Ken eyes may notice the "Brickburn" sign along the train tracks. This area also supported a brickworks - remnants of which can be found by looking in just the right spot.

Edworthy Park is the western most point of this ride. Lots of history to be found here as well as parks, playgrounds, picnic spots, river access, and hiking trails.
Once you're over the bridge, make sure you look for the entrance to the Douglas Fir Trail. This walking trail is beautiful, kinda challenging, and one-of-kind. There are bike racks conveniently located at the west entrance too.

 A secret hiking gem that many in Calgary have no idea exists. 

You're now only a few kilometres away from the end of the loop. Keep an eye open for the Pumphouse Park/Theatre and the pathway leading back towards our shop. Or, continue back towards downtown Calgary and continue your adventure.