I am on record for not being an athletic person, or an overly active person. I like my daily walks with my dogs. I did a 5k (pretty poorly) many years ago. On a healthcare chart I would indicate I am not very active though, lol. You could definitely call me a lazy when it comes to physical activity/exercise. I *like* adventure. I’ve done ziplining. I’ve ice climbed. I’ve hiked mountains (sort of). I will push myself for certain adventures that require physical activity (“do it for the gram?” lol). But I’m also grumbly, sweating hard, sighing—a lot on adventures.
This is really just context to set up the topic of this blog post, and why I love e-biking so much. lol
Because, I love e-biking!
I enjoy biking in general, though I don’t do it often. I would not describe myself as a regular or an avid cyclist, lol. But a casual, tourist cyclist, sure! I started biking on some of my travels because I realized it was such a fun way to explore the nooks and crannies of places you couldn’t necessarily get to from a car. Biking through neighbourhoods, down alleyways, in busy streets, gives you such a different perspective and experience than you’d get in that same neighbourhood inside your vehicle, 100%.
But then I hit a steep hill and the fun ends (for a little while, as I struggle to get up the hill lol).
Then I discovered electric biking!!!! Which is essentially where you ride a bike that has its own battery, and can give you an electric pedal assist, that makes it SIGNIFICANTLY easier to get up steep hills, bike much faster than you probably could before (and for much less effort/exertion), and for me, probably doubled maybe tripled my total biking distance on my trips.
Over the years I’ve e-biked in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, Calgary, Alberta, Vernon, B.C. and even as far away as Palma de Mallorca in Spain!
Before e-bikes, maybe I could go 10 km round trip before getting too tired. Now put me on an e-bike and I’ll spend all day on that e-bike!!!
E-bikes literally changed my bike life, lol, and now when we travel I always ask “are there e-bikes we can rent?” for at least one activity during the trip, because it’s so much fun, it’s so EASY, and it’s such an amazing way to explore!!
There is no shame in getting pedal assist from an e-bike. There is no reason why you need to exhaust yourself biking. lol. I mean, I’m speaking from a very lazy, unathletic perspective, but don’t get me wrong. E-bikes can also be great if you are super active and athletic too—you can still push yourself hard on an e-bike and it can be a great work-out, but *if you’re like me* (hi welcome to my personal blog lol), and an e-bike exists, I could not recommend it more for at least one of your travel activities!!!
Okay, so that was my long-ish preamble before getting into this Travel Guide: E-Biking Calgary and Canmore / Banff, Alberta!
This summer (July 2020) I did two e-bike adventures in two of my favourite places in the province and thought I’d do a little summary / travel guide in case you wanted to replicate my e-biking rental experiences.
Note: the e-bikes I recently tried were lent to me and my friends for free. I’ve outlined typical rental rates below.
Travel Guide: E-Biking Calgary and Canmore / Banff, Alberta
Where to rent e-bikes in Canmore
In Canmore, Alberta, located in the Canadian Rocky Mountains just outside Banff National Park (and just about an hour from Calgary), my go-to spot to rent e-bikes is Rebound Cycle.
Rebound Cycle is a bike shop that offers all sorts of bike adventure services including guided biking tours, custom adventures, group rides, bike servicing, and of course e-bike rentals!
Their bikes are cruiser style (Devinci e-Griffin), that features a pedal assist motor that’ll make sure you get to the top of any hill or end of any ride quickly and a lot less sweaty than you’d be otherwise (that’s direct from their website and I like that description a lot!)
You shift and pedal just like a regular bike, and you decide how much electric assist you want!
Rebound Cycle E-bike Rental Costs
A half day e-bike rental at Rebound Cycle is $45 and a full day is $75. If you rent from them, tell them you heard about them through me! I don’t get anything, just good feelings, lol.
E-bikes in general are pricier for rentals than regular bikes but like, understandably, because they are bike life-changing, have I stressed that enough yet? lol
You’ll want to make sure you book your rental well in advance because e-bikes are getting more popular and they are more likely to be sold out on weekends! All rentals come with helmet and locks too.
Where to E-Bike in Canmore, Alberta
The town itself is a lovely place to e-bike if you just want to stay close to town. You can e-bike through their cute downtown, you can weave in between forested neighbourhoods, or go along the popular Bow River and across the bridge, or get more adventurous and check out Policeman’s Creek which will give you a truly stunning view of the Three Sisters mountain range.
Check out some photos from a different e-bike adventure I did in Canmore in 2019 where we visited Policeman’s Creek!
E-Biking the Canmore to Banff (and back) Legacy Trail (and stops to make)
I was really excited for this trip because my friends James and Ashleigh (Canmore locals) wanted to take me along the Banff/Canmore Legacy Trail, which is a paved bike trail (I mean you can walk it too) that takes you to/from Canmore and Banff!
The Legacy Trail was built for Banff National Park’s 125th anniversary back in 2010. It links Canmore to Banff (and from Banff you could bike on different trails to explore further into the park).
Roundtrip to/from Canmore and Banff, this trail is just over 50 km and on normal bikes would take about 3 hours round trip (add a few more hours for scenic stops and food along the way!) On e-bikes, it took just over an hour really one way.
There is some elevation on this trail but not a lot (however, be VERY careful coming back the Canmore direction as there is one steep hill around a bend that has seen its fair share of tumbles (me included).
The trail is VERY popular. During the weekend we went, there were more than 3,000 cyclists that used it on a Saturday (we used it on a Sunday and the counter was closer to 1,600). We saw riders of all ages and all skill levels on this pathway, some were taking it very slow while others were pushing themselves very hard. If people in front of you are too slow you can just go around them when it’s safe to do so. And there are a number of rest stops and picnic areas along the Legacy Trail!
The views as you ride along the trail are incredible. You think witnessing the mountains as you’re driving into Banff is something—being out biking with the giant mountains on all sides of you is something else—truly special (and makes you feel really, really small).
Here are stops we made during our ride on the Legacy Trail:
- Le Fournil Bakery (in Canmore)
- Be sure to get the Danoise salée (tomato-pesto) croissant!! DELICIOUS! but my friends James and Ashleigh also love all the sweet treats here.
- Carrot Creek (accessible from a picnic and rest-area between Canmore and Banff)
- Cascade Creek (along the highway to/from Banff)
- Stock Food & Drink at the Fairmont Banff Springs
- Get the ‘Cinnabanff’ cinnamon bun
- Bow River (near downtown Banff)
- Bow Falls
We would have done even more but I had a virtual wedding I needed to attend that day of our adventure as well so it was important that we were in service areas, lol.
Overall, e-biking made the Legacy Trail *significantly* easier for me, and I’d highly recommend it!
Truly, such a memorable and fun experience!!
If you’re staying in Banff, I’d suggest driving to Canmore, parking for the day, picking up your e-bikes, biking to Banff then back to Canmore. Or just stay in Canmore, where hotel rates are generally cheaper and more available anyway (see my old blog guide where I highlight the Coast Canmore Hotel—a great hotel option for your adventures!)
Check out my 15 second video showing some scenes from my Canmore / Banff e-bike adventure:
E-Biking Calgary, Alberta
Where to rent e-bikes in Calgary
In Calgary, Alberta, my go-to e-bike rental spot is Pedego Calgary. Pedego, in fact, is the best e-bike brand I’ve been able to try so far because not only does it include electric pedal assist (as all e-bikes do), but Pedego also features a THROTTLE!!! which essentially means you don’t need to do any pedalling at all… lol
It’s literally incredible. When I talk about e-biking to friends who are maybe as unathletic as me, I am always so excited to tell them that riding an e-bike—especially a Pedego e-bike—is one of the easiest and fun experiences they’ll have on a bike. Period! Plus—adorable colours!!
I first tried and blogged about my Pedego Calgary experience in September 2019.
That was when we first learned that Calgary is home to the most extensive (largest) urban pathway and bikeway network in all of North America!!
There is approximately 905 km of regional pathways and 95 km of trails in the City of Calgary—tons of dedicated and safe spaces to bike, scoot, blade, run, walk in this beautiful city.
Pedego Calgary E-bike Rental Costs
Pedego Calgary actually sells more e-bikes than they rent, but whenever I get a chance to recommend e-bike rentals to visitors, I do!
Pedego electric bike rental costs are 3 hours for $50, 5 hours for $75 or 7 hours for $100. It is more expensive than Rebound Cycle in Canmore primarily because the e-bike product is of a higher (and cuter? lol) quality. Plus you’re paying for that sweet, sweet throttle!!!
All rentals include a bicycle helmet and a lock as well as a short training session on the bike.
They offer bikes for one OR a new tandem bike riding experience, which my friend Rachel and I tried. The tandem bike experience is pretty fun (and looks REALLY cool), but you need to make sure the front rider is the stronger, sturdier, more balanced rider or else it might be a bit wobbly an experience, lol.
Where to E-Bike in Calgary, Alberta (and stops to make)
You should definitely ride your e-bike along the Bow River Pathway. Go east towards the East Village, George C. King Bridge and St. Patrick’s Island. Near the East Village you’ll find a lot of great murals/ Instagrammable Walls for photos too (especially under the bridges). Or go west towards Kensington neighbourhood and the beautiful Peace Bridge.
Pedego Calgary also has a handy map you can reference showing two of its main/recommended e-bike routes: One route is right along the Bow River Pathway and River Walk through East Village, and the other route is more downtown focused, where you’ll also get an opportunity to ride by (and snap photos at) what’s arguably the best city skyline view of Calgary! Pedego Calgary is also working on an app you can reference for your biking adventure too.
On this recent e-bike experience and the one I did in 2019, we also made delicious ice cream pit stops at Village Ice Cream! There are also lots of must-visit restaurants and bakeries in the Calgary Simmons Building and East Village.
I’ve always loved Calgary’s beautiful downtown and it’s so cool how there’s such a mix of urban and nature in a pretty condensed area. On one side of your e-bike adventure you’ll pass all sorts of tall cityscapes and buildings—on the other side you’ll see people floating down the Bow River. Such an AMAZING vibe!!!
Check out my 15 second video showing some scenes from my Calgary e-bike adventure:
If you rent from Pedego Calgary, let them know you saw my blog post! I don’t get anything from it, except good feelings, lol. You may also see me and my friend Rachel in future Pedego Calgary marketing photos (on the tandem bike in particular—we weren’t struggling with Rachel as the front rider but hopefully you don’t see photos of me as the front rider, LOL).
General E-Biking Tips
- Bring water!
- Plan food stops
- Expect the adventure to take the full day
- Bring along your camera!
- Play around with your speed and comfort levels with the pedal assist and throttle
- Be careful going up and especially down steep hills
So I hope you got a bit of e-bike inspiration from this post. I seriously can’t rave enough about it!
I’d definitely recommend a full day for your e-bike rental regardless of where you go, so you don’t feel rushed and can make multiple scenic and food stops along the way.
If you’re headed to the Calgary OR Canmore area, be sure to check out some of my other related Travel Guide Blog posts to plan your trip!
- Explore Alberta: A Weekend in Calgary (What to Do + Eat, And Where to Stay)
- Guide to Instagrammable Walls of Calgary
- 7 Things To Do in Canmore & The Rocky Mountains
- Day Trip to Takakkaw Falls & Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park
- A Few Things To Do in Canmore, Alberta
- See all Canadian Rocky Mountain Travel Guides
Disclaimer: these travels were not sponsored—but both e-bike companies did let me and my friends ride their e-bikes for free in exchange for social media coverage! This does not impact opinions stated in this post. I can’t stress how e-bikes make rides so much more appealing and easier for me, lol!