Despite months of snow every year, Banff is a major cycling destination year-round. Fat bikes with big winter tires are increasingly popular, as are hybrid electric bikes. Road enthusiasts can explore hundreds of kilometres of good roads with fun hills and just enough altitude to supercharge your training. When your lungs are ready, try the 6km (4mi) ride up the switchbacks on Mount Norquay; the views and descent are well worth the effort.
The paved Legacy Trail connects Banff to the town of Canmore; this is a very popular ride for locals and visitors who want to stay off the highway. Mountain bike trails also abound throughout the entire region, both inside the National Park and nearby. Please note the directive below from Parks Canada, and remember that when in the wilderness, it is important to carry bear spray and be aware of animals.
“Riding non-designated or closed trails, building new trails, or riding off-trail displaces wildlife and destroys soil and vegetation. These activities are also illegal and violators may be charged under the Canada National Parks Act.”
Voted the best tune-repair shop in Banff, Snowtips offers summer and winter bikes for hire (and rentals for just about every other activity). In summer they offer everything from town cruisers to powered electric bikes. Half-day, full-day and multi-day rentals are available, including servicing. Bear spray is also available for rent.
Open during the summer months, Banff Cycle offers pick-up and delivery of bikes and electric bike tours with local guides. A large variety of hybrid, road, mountain bikes and e-bikes can be rented daily or weekly. Some of their stock is available during winter on a first come, first served basis through Soul Ski + Bike, also on Bear Street.
Located in the centre of Banff, Ultimate carries a full line of Scott bikes: hybrid, suspension and e-bikes, as well as youth-size bikes. They also have bike hitches for kids and chariot trailers for even smaller children. Ultimate Sports also have tandem bike rentals. Bicycles are available on a first come, first served basis.
Located in the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park (part of Kananaskis Country) adjacent to the town of Canmore, the Nordic Centre offers some of the best mountain bike trails in the Rockies. The Nordic Centre was developed for Calgary’s 1988 Winter Olympics and remains the training centre for Canadian and international cross-country and biathlon athletes. The trails are used for mountain biking all summer; Trail Sports also offers winter fat bikes.
Chateau Mountain Sports has locations at the Fairmont Banff Springs and the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, as well as a new opening in the Shops of Canmore. If you are interested in riding the 27km (17mi) Legacy Trail, Chateau Mountain Sports offers a one-way rental option between Banff and Canmore. They offer regular bikes and electric bikes.
Located in the Samson Mall, in the Village of Lake Louise, Wilson’s rents electric, hybrid and mountain bikes. Cycling in the Lake Louise area is particularly enjoyable and parking areas often fill to capacity, with cars being turned away to the overflow parking several kilometres east of the village. The ride up to the lake itself is steep and the higher altitude makes an e-bike particularly appealing. Cycling the seasonal Moraine Lake Road is a wonderful way to see the magnificent lake. Wilson’s also has winter fat bikes.