Author Topic: Great Divide Canada on touring bike?  (Read 1360 times)

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Offline tomtom

Great Divide Canada on touring bike?
« on: August 16, 2013, 12:40:05 pm »
I am planning a tour in September on the Great Parks North route.  I'm considering looping/connecting back via the Great Divide mtb route between Banff and Sparwood.

Can anyone with (recent?) experience on this northernmost portion of the Great Divide give an opinion on the suitability of a touring bike for this section?  I'll be riding 700x37 tires, although I could step up to 700x42 Marathon Mondials if necessary.

The route descriptions sound like it should be feasible, although the 6 mile powerline section over Elk Pass may require some pushing/walking.

Thanks for any insight.

Offline CMajernik

Re: Great Divide Canada on touring bike?
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2013, 01:13:58 pm »
You should go read the topic "Great Divide, Canada Section - Flooding - June 2013" in the Temporary ACA Route Road Closures. There was major flooding along the route, especially between Banff and Sparwood. We recommended that folks shouldn't ride it this year. A few people have ridden it lately and left photos. 
Carla Majernik
Routes and Mapping Program Director

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring people of all ages to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x218, 406/721-8754 fax

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline mathieu

Re: Great Divide Canada on touring bike?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2013, 07:37:09 pm »
Many people have done the entire GD route on a touring bike. It should be no problem to use one on the short Canadian section between Banff and Sparwood.  Further south, on the washboarded roads of Wyoming and the rock-strewn roads of New Mexico, most touring bikers probably have wished a bike with front suspension.

Wider tires are pumped to a lower pressure, which provides two benefits. Firstly, they give more suspension to shocks. Secondly, the contact area with the road surface is bigger and hence the imprint on a soft surface, like gravel, sand or mud, is smaller.  So rolling resistance on non-paved roads is less for wider tires. This is reverse on paved roads, although the effect is much weaker . So you have to make up your mind which is more important: the GD section on dirt or the Great Parks on pavement.

I have read several GD blogs from this August, after the flooding in June.  It seems that the Goat Creek Trail out of  Banff can still be used, although one bridge was wiped out. The road from the Upper Kananaskis Lake to Elk Pass had no problems;  about 2 miles are steep and probably require hike-a-bike; the remaining has a gentle gradient.
The main bridge halfway between Elk Pass and Elkford was wiped out. This requires a 30 miles bypass on the east side of the Elk River, with some fording. See pictures in
It seems that also the Fording Rd south of Elkford, a dirt road, is damaged and impassible. This is a pity from a scenic point of view, but the bypass on pavement is straightforward and much less strenuous.

In September conditions may have changed again. Keep an eye on the Routes section of this Forum and on GD journals on CrazuGuy:¬