Cycling Tours and Holidays | Canadian Rockies & Whistler GranFondo

26 August - 09 September 2019

Join us for a 15 Day Cycling Tour Exploring the Canadian Rockies
Finishing with the awesome Vancouver to Whistler Gran Fondo

Ride Holidays invites you to join us on this amazing cycle tour and holiday. Experience the beauty of the Canadian Rockies; a part of the world that was simply designed for a bicycle. Our tour will then meander in and out of the Canadian Rockies. Stopping at Lake Louise, Banff and of course Jasper National Park. The cycling is epic however we also prioritise wildlife, Canadian culture and of course great restaurants. A perfect mix of cycling, relaxing and sightseeing.

We use three small vehicles in Canada. We can cater for all abilities, for example - we can easily drop cappuccino riders up the road so that they don't need to try and keep up with the espresso cyclists. We will always have a vehicle at the front, as well as at the back. The 3rd vehicle which will accommodate Team Macchiato. (non-riders) Also, for Canada we can offer e-bikes which takes the pressure off.

Despite the word Rockies - this tour isn't overly hilly. It's not like Italy or France. The roads tend to snake through the valleys as opposed to heading over a mountain col. Those that want to be challenged certainly will. Those who want an exercised based holiday will get exactly that. It's the perfect holiday - for everyone.

Our last ride is the epic Vancouver - Whistler Gran fondo. It really is a fantastic way to finish. And by that stage you will certainly be fit. Whistler is also a pretty good place to relax for a few days.

See you in Calgary.


Itinerary | Canadian Rockies Cycle Tour 2019

Day 1, Monday 26 August

Arrive Calgary

Welcome to Calgary and the province of Alberta. Once you've cleared Customs and Immigration you will be met by Ride Holidays and transferred to your hotel. Which is perfectly located in central Calgary. You'll be tired after such a long flight so we won't plan too much for today. This afternoon we help you put bikes together and make sure that the rentals fit properly. We'll then pop out for a short ride around the city just to make sure everything is working. (you and the bike)

Tonight we'll have our first team dinner together. Not just an ordinary dinner. Good friends of Karl's own a craft brewery nearby and we'll do a tasting followed by a meal. We'll then introduce everyone and run through the plan for the next 15 days. Great to have you here. Welcome to Canada.

/ Accommodation : Calgary
/ Meals Included: Dinner and welcome drinks.

Ps, it would be our advice for you to arrive on 25 August. One day prior to the trip starting. We will book your accommodation and arrange transfers if you choose to do this.

Day 2, Tuesday 27 August

Highwood Pass…

After breakfast we pack the vehicles and head off towards the Canadian Rockies. Yes, things are about to become lumpy. It's a two and a halfhour drive. Our home for tonight is the Pomeroy at Kananaskis. The lodge sits 1500m above sea level. A stunning hotel that you won't forget.

This area has 4,000 square kilometres of National Parks. Our goal is Highwood Pass. Canada's highest paved road which tops out at 2200m above sea level. This pass is completely closed from 01 November through to the end of March.

Our plan today is simple. It's an out and back ride from our hotel. It's exactly 47km to the top of the pass which is where lunch will be waiting. Those who ride both directions will climb almost 1200m. We will of course have support vans in place for those who want a shorter ride. There's also the option of a few extra km's for those wanting the three figures.

Today we'll see who has been following the training program A true test of your fitness. You will also start to realise how beautiful Canada is. There's plenty of time for photos.

/ Accommodation : Kananaskis
/ Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3, Wednesday 28 August

Kananaskis to Banff (hotel to hotel)

After breakfast we leave our Pomeroy Hotel and head towards the tourist resort town of Banff. Other than Whistler this is the biggest town we'll stay in.

There will again be cappuccino, latte and espresso options today. Ranging from a social 60km right through to 85km which will be hotel to hotel. Team Macchiato (non-riders) - it's worth having a look at Canmore. Especially the Winter Olympic park that dominated the 1988 games. Canmore which sits at about half way on today's journey is where we'll stop for lunch. After lunch we ride the new Legacy trail - a traffic free bike path which runs right in to Banff.

Depending upon our arrival time we'll offer shuttles up to the Banff Hot Springs. Bring your speedos - your legs deserve it.

Tonight is a free dinner in town. However, we'd suggest you eat at Earls which is where the staff will be hanging out. See you there.

/ Accommodation - Banff
/ Meals - Breakfast. (Lunch and Dinner - own arrangements)

Day 4, Thursday 29 August

Exploring Banff

Today is what we refer to as loop day. There are three loops on offer - you choose. 1,2 or all 3. They're all spectacular. We start with the golf course loop and finish with the lakes loop. There's also a chance to ride up Mount Norquay which is Banff's local ski field. It's a 6km climb at about 6%. If you ride all three loops and also Norquay then your total mileage will be about 75km and 1200m of climbing. Nothing too scary.

This afternoon we advise you check out the town. It's ideal for those who have promised presents for the grandkids as it has great shopping. Team Mac - if the weather is nice then we'll run you up to the gondola which gives you a 360 degree view of Banff. It's also a prime way of spotting wildlife. In fact, there are quite a few wolves in this area.

One thing you have to try while in Canada is the iconic Tim Hortons. Timmy's to the locals. Tim was a Canadian ice hockey star before turning his hand to coffee and donuts. The result being Canada's largest fast food chain. I for one can't wait to get back there.

Tonight's dinner is at your leisure (there's no shortage of options) although Karl has booked a number of seats at Banff Brewing Company just a short walk from the hotel, we hope to see you there.

/ Accommodation - Banff
/ Meals Included: Breakfast (Dinner - own arrangements)

Day 5, Friday 30 August

Lake Louise

Again we ride hotel to hotel. Along a tourist road which is used in the Banff Gran Fondo. It's 60km of pure bliss and very little traffic. Team Mac - Kevin will guide you on the beautiful Johnston Canyon walk. Cyclists are also welcome to join.

Time permitting we'll cycle up to Moraine Lake and then up to Lake Louise itself. Touristy but a must see. We'll look for a friendly Canadian pub as you certainly deserve a cold drink. We aren't in a rush today. Relax, spin and take it all in.

Tonight we dine at the train station. It's actually a gorgeous old restaurant these days so I doubt it will be just a standard railway pie. The next three days offer some challenging cycling. Tomorrow we start on the Icefields Parkway.

/ Accommodation - Lake Louise
/ Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 6, Saturday 31 August

Icefields Parkway

It's our first day of three on the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93 North) which joins the hamlet of Lake Louise in Banff National Park with the Town of Jasper in Jasper National Park. The total distance is just shy of 250km.

The Icefields Parkway parallels the Continental Divide through some of the most wild and remote portions of Banff and Jasper national parks. It is a veritable feast of glaciated peaks, turquoise lakes, waterfalls and the spectacular Athabasca Glacier - part of the Columbia Icefield.

Today's first section is not to be missed. It will be a highlight of the trip. Our ride again travels hotel to hotel. The absolute highlight being Bow Summit (2129 m above sea level) which looks out across Peyto Lake and Bow Lake. If you can't take a good photo today then you shouldn't be in charge of a camera.

Located in Banff National Park in the heart of the famous Canadian Rockies, The Crossing Resort nestles at the base of towering Mt. Wilson. Surrounded by stunning mountain vistas and glaciers.

/ Accommodation : The Crossing
/ Meals Included: Breakfast and Lunch (Dinner - own arrangements)

Day 7, Sunday 01 September

Columbia Icefields - out and back

Another day in the Rockies, another day in Paradise. Everywhere you look are snow covered peaks. We'll cycle to and from the Columbia Icefields. Tonight we stay back at the Crossing - a change from previous itineraries to reduce one night hotel stays.

For the first 30km you'll be riding next to a series of huge mountains that tower above you, culminating with the Weeping Wall, a sheer 300m high cliff face covered with a series of waterfalls at the base of 3200m high Cirrus Mountain.

This ride is actually the most challenging of the whole trip and includes a 10km hill. We will certainly have the support vans close by. The good news is that it's all downhill on the way home. (kind of) Espresso cyclists will easily cover 100km plus. Cappuccino - if we can get you from the Crossing to the Columbia Icefields then that's a great achievement.

Team Mac - we've arranged a guided tour of the Athabasca Glacier as well as walk on the new Glacier Skywalk. Brewsters will be your host today.

/ Accommodation : The Crossing
/ Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner


Day 8, Monday 02 September

Columbia Icefields to Jasper

After breakfast we pile in to the vans for a lift back to the Columbia Icefields Visitors centre and the start of today's ride. We'll unload the bikes while you check out the view.

The Columbia Icefields to Jasper is about 100kms with an additional 30km available via a side trip up to Mt Edith Cavell. Edith certainly was the surprise package for us when we started running these trips. We offered it as an optional ride and only a handful joined the guides. It's not often I'm speechless however this ride is the one not to miss. At the top you are greeted by a massive glacier and the descent is Ventoux worthy.

Yes, there will be a shorter options. We'll simply shuttle you further down the road to Sunwapta Falls for a 60km option. Lunch is at the impressive Athabasca Falls. (think Huka Falls)

/ Accommodation - Jasper
/ Meals included - Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner


Day 9, Tuesday 03 September

Jasper oh Jasper

There are two must do rides here. And I mean must do. Edith is one, the other is Maligne Lake. The round trip from our hotel is just over 100km. And include 1253m of climbing. For the cappuccino and latte riders we will drop you half way.

Thousands of tourists descend upon Maligne every day. Only 30 will travel via bike on a road that has an enormous shoulder. One can't help but smile as your riding along taking it the stunning scenery around you. Wildlife - yes, there's a good chance today.

For those wanting a day off the bike there's a 6km riverside track from our hotel in to town. It would be impossible for you to get lost. Well, almost impossible.

Make sure you join us for sundowners tonight. You'll just have to join us to see what we mean.

/ Accommodation - Jasper
/ Meals Included: Breakfast (Dinner own arrangements)

Day 10, Wednesday 04 September

Blue River

It's our last day in the Rockies. All good things have to come to an end. We'll have a choice of three rides, ranging from 60km to 127km. Some will be wanting to take it easy given that we have the fondo in three days time.

All rides start from our hotel and all feature the Mount Robson Provincial Park. It's the second oldest park in the province and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1990. We ride in awe as Mt Robson slowly comes towards us. At 3,954 m it is the highest peak in the Canadian Rocky chain.

Tonight we are staying at Mike Wiegele's luxury heli ski resort. Take a well-earned dip in Eleanor Lake which is literally outside the back door of your cabin. Blue River is well known for its wildlife and it would be unusual for us not to see Yogi. Warning - do not pat.

/ Accommodation - Blue River
/ Meals included - Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 11, Thursday 05 September

An early start this morning as we travel to Vancouver. Our longest commute of the trip. We'll break out all the DVD's including the Russian Fly Fishing favourite. By no means is a boring drive as the scenery heading up the valley is pretty special. We travel alongside the North Thompson River for most of the day. It's about a 6 hour journey.

Today is the only actual non-riding day on the trip. So, kick back and relax. There will be plenty of coffee stops.

Late this afternoon the team will clean and tune all the bikes. It's then off to a velo café for dinner which is pretty much a cycling museum that serves food and beer. A nice way to end the day. Good night.

/ Accommodation : Vancouver
/ Meals included : Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 12, Friday 06 September

Vancouver

Pancakes with Maple Syrup please. Why not!! Today is all about active rest. Tomorrow is a big day. After a leisurely breakfast we again target the fantastic cycle paths around Stanley Park with a side trip across the Lions Gate Bridge to North Vancouver. Here we'll visit the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park where you'll cross over the chasm of the Capilano River to towering evergreens, cedar-scented rainforest air and Treetops Adventure. There are 7 suspended footbridges offering views 110 feet above the forest floor to explore. A cliff walk follows a granite precipice along Capilano River with a labyrinth-like series of narrow cantilevered bridges, stairs and platforms.

This afternoon it's all about preparing for tomorrow's adventure as we head to the Vancouver Convention Centre to visit the cycle expo and to register / pick up our rider packs for the Sea to Sky Fondo. Dinner is included tonight as we run through logistics of getting you and your luggage to Whistler.

/ Accommodation : Vancouver
/ Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 13, Saturday 07 September

Sea to Sky Gran Fondo Canada

Quite probably - the best GranFondo you will ever do. Everything is first class. The scenery, roads, safety and where else can you have waffles and maple syrup at a rest stop. Did I mention that the Lion Gate Bridge and motorway are closed all the way up to Whistler. Just for us. Boom.

It's an early start this morning. The bonus is that the start line is only 1km from our hotel as we join 5000 cyclists in Stanley Park. The most popular distance is 122 km with an elevation gain of 1700m. A shorter distance of 55 km (Whistler to Whistler) and a longer distance of 152 km (includes 800m extra elevation gain up to the summit of Cypress as a side trip on your way to Whistler) are also available as options for this event. Non-riders will hop in the vans and head for Whistler via Squamish. Home to the American Bald Eagle

We all meet in Whistler for a well-deserved beer at the prize giving. Welcome to the number 1 ski resort in North America although at this time of the year it's lycra, not snow that dominates.

/ Accommodation - Whistler
/ Meals Included: Breakfast, Snacks and Lunch (provided by the Gran Fondo crew) (Dinner own arrangements)

Day 14, Sunday 08 September

Whistler (paradise) at leisure

Whistler really is special. Most of your guides have lived there at some stage so will be able to point you in the right direction. Some of you will feel like a day off the bike and in which case there's plenty to choose from.

Those who want to ride can do so - we'll head out on a leisurely 30km Whistler sightseeing ride around all the bike paths. There will also be a mountain bike option for those who want to catch the gondola to the top and ride back down.

This afternoon it's time to clean and pack all the bikes away. Tonight we celebrate our last dinner together. It's been an amazing two weeks.

/ Accommodation - Whistler
/ Meals Included: Breakfast and Dinner

Day 15, Monday 9 Sept

Home, James | Last Day of the Tour

You'll be just a hop skip and jump away from Vancouver International Airport. After breakfast some will head straight home. Others will pick up an Alaskan cruise or carry on to explore other parts of North America. Or, without doubt the best option - stay in Whistler for a few more days.

Thank you for joining RIDE Holidays. Safe travels back home.

/ Meals Included: Breakfast


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Overview

Our 15 Day Cycle Tour & Holiday

  • GranFondo Canada - Vancouver to Whistler
  • Two nights in Vancouver - one of the world's most beautiful cities
  • Two nights in Whistler - you will see bears, not possums.
  • Choice of two to three guided rides daily. 50km to 100km plus
  • Jasper and Banff national parks
  • Three vehicles allowing for lots of flexibility
  • Non-riders are very welcome and well looked after
  • Ride 230km along the Icefields Parkway
  • Three cycle guides, mechanic and drivers
  • 3 & 4 star accommodation throughout
  • 14 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 9 dinners (includes tips)
  • Capilano Bridge entry
  • Bike Transport in a custom enclosed secure bike trailer
  • All Gratuities for Staff/Drivers
  • National Park Passes
  • Ride Cycling jersey and souvenir booklet

    The Price Excludes

    • Airfares and travel insurance (Karl can arrange this)
    • Cycling drinks, energy bars etc
    • Alaskan cruise - Karl can easily add this to your itinerary
    • Bike hire - can be arranged. (new VR30 Felt road bikes)
    • Additional excursions (kayaking, golf, hot springs etc)

    Tour Cost

    $8750 NZD pp. (Twin Share)

    $500 Bike Hire (optional)

    $1900 Single supplement if you want your own room

    The deposit of $2,000 is 100% non-refundable. The balance is due 90 days prior to departure.

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