The first picture of me is from 1984 and was taken at Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada. This was one of two days I rode with a cyclist named Ben who was very experienced at touring.
I vividly remember the climb to Lake Louise from Canada 1A Bow Valley Parkway. We left Banff and followed Bow Valley Parkway which becomes Lake Louise Drive at the town of Lake Louise. The first part of the climb was just a normal climb. Then we turned onto the road leading to the lake.
I was riding a 24T chain ring x 34T cog combination. About 50 yards from Lake Louise, the road pitched up. With 55 lb. of equipment on the bike, I was out of the saddle and hoping my hamstrings would not shred. I think the distance from Banff to Lake Louise was about 45 miles.
Ben and I took the necessary photographs then parted. He was headed toward Jasper, Alberta and I toward Golden, British Columbia. Instead of riding back to 1A then climbing Kicking Horse Pass on Trans Canada 1, I took a back road and hoped I would not end up as lunch for a grizzly bear. The road led mostly downhill and I was the only soul on it for miles and miles.
When you ride in this type of country, you must have the necessary tools and supplies to make bike repairs. I even carried an extra tire. Finding a 1 1/4" X 27" tire was probably impossible. I never looked for a bike shop but I suspect Banff may have had one but that was it.
The bike was a Nishike touring bike. I purchase the frame and fork from Bike Nashbar for $175 and using as many components from my existing road bike as possible, I cobbled together a beautiful touring machine. Unfortunately, I crashed the bike in Houston some years later. I would still be riding it today if that were not the case.
You may ask, "How can anyone remember the details of such a trip?" It's impossible to forget such a tour. Today, I would question the sanity of it but you do different things when you are younger. Today, I would ride "a smell the roses" pace and walk a few of the climbs and take more pictures. Back then, the motivation for averaging 68 miles a day was my 2-week vacation limit, my fear of grizzly bears, and the need to get to the camp grounds which were few and far between. The bears didn’t get to me physically but they sure did get to me mentally. Upon checking in at one place, a visitor center employee informed me I was their guest. She said, "Guest.” I heard “lunch" and nearly rode away as fast as I could.
That’s the road for you.
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