When you’re itching for a ride (for me and many other cyclists, this is a daily occurrence!), you’ve got to choose wisely. Sure, a quick rip through your neighborhood can scratch the itch. But when you’ve got some time and need a real ride, the options tend to shrink. That is unless you’re talking about riding the legendary routes near Cochrane!
There are many reasons why road cycling in and around Cochrane is revered. First and foremost, the highways dip and dive, curl and careen, through beautiful countryside. The roads are quiet. Well maintained. And, peppered with historic farms and ranches, the saw-tooth Rockies rising in the west, the scenery is about as idyllic as it gets. Indeed, keeping your eyes on the road isn’t always easy in these parts!
One of the Best Bike Shops in Canada
There are many circuitous routes – both long and short – that can, depending on your fitness level and time allotment, be put on your regular rotation. If you want the inside scoop, stop by Bike Bros and they will guide you in any direction from Cochrane to find a great ride. This shop in Cochrane has been voted best bike shop in Canada numerous times! They will tell you there are, literally, dozens of interesting rides and there is something for everyone. For example, some people come here just to climb the big hill out of town. It’s a great workout!
A Favourite Ride
But there is one ride in particular that cyclists come from far and wide to experience. Without a doubt, the most popular ride around here is the Horse Creek/Grand Valley Loop. It’s about a two-hour ride, approximately 50 kilometers, that takes you through some of the prettiest pastoral scenes in Alberta. The grades are gentle and the S-turns make it super fun. It’s mainly uphill going out of town to the west and then mainly downhill coming home. Beginners can do it and advanced riders also love it. You couldn’t ask for a better road ride. (Starting in downtown Cochrane, cycle west on Highway 1A and turn north on Horse Creek Road. Travel north for 20 km until you hit the connector, TWP 280, and head west to Grand Valley Road. Travel south on Grand Valley Road until you hit 1A. Return eight kilometers east to Cochrane.) Of course, this legendary loop is just the tip of the iceberg. Numerous routes northeast of town in Bearspaw, south to Bragg Creek, and straight west to Ghost Lake, all have merit. So, basically, when you’ve got “the itch,” Cochrane will satisfy.
Of course, you may need to refuel before or after your ride and Coffee Traders is a perfect stop. They roast their own coffee beans in house and offer fresh organic and delicious food. The cozy atmosphere is inviting all year round!
Guest Journalist – Andrew Penner
Photography by Wouter Roosenboom