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Jun 18, 2018

Bikeovernight into Rural Alberta

While the lure of the Rocky Mountains is unquestionably strong and there seems to be no shortage of beautiful places to visit, sometimes they can also be overloaded with happy visitors, busy highways, and full campgrounds.

So it was decided to head East and go looking for new roads, preferably some gravel, and to avoid those busy highways and campgrounds.A quick glance at some backroads maps and some time digging around Alberta Parks' website, I picked Wyndam-Carseland Provincial Park as my destination.

The plan would be to use as many range and township roads as possible and if there was some gravel, even better. On the return trip, the plan was to return to Calgary on the soth side of the Bow River via Dewinton. Here are the Strava links:

Day 1 
Day 2

Please enjoy this photo essay and if you have any questions, leave us a comment.


2018 Breezer Doppler Team decked out with Ortlieb's range of #bikepacking bags, WTB Resolute 650b x 42 tires, and mostly Shimano 6800 Ultegra components. This would be the first overnighter for the new whip.
Everyone needs a full belly before a big adventure, right?
The route I chose was to follow the Chestermere WID canal out to Ralph Klein Park and then onto rural roads. It was really nice to get 30+kms in on car free pathways before the open roads began and once onto those roads it was amazing how very vehicles were out there. It was quite peaceful and the roads were in really good shape.

Big Sky Country. What a perfect day. Not too hot, minimal wind, glorious sunshine, and with rain a day or two before, the gravel roads were not very dusty and really well packed. in 30kms of gravel riding, I was passed by 5 vehicles. 5. So nice.

Hello, Carseland! Upon arriving at the town, I was greeted by this lovely piece of public art. One word about a short segment of Highway 24: There is about 10kms of this road that have basically no shoulder, just the classic white line and then about 2 feet of width before the ditch. While I did not feel endangered, this segment may freak out some. It was the only section of the 2 days trip that felt a little tense. Thankfully, Safety Pizza was on duty making sure drivers could see me.

Picturesque. This spot anyway :) The hotel had a bar that was totally deserted so I elected to head over to the Carseland Restaurant to scarf some chow and rehydrate. It was equally deserted. And not the tastiest food I've ever had but it did the job. There is a "food mart" here as well but don't expect anything fresh, it was really just a convenience store.
A few words about my Mora knife. Mounting it on the bike started a few years back when we (the Scorcher fixie gang) started doing "fixiepacking" and has since then became standard issue on all my bikecamping adventures. Besides the obvious reasons for bringing a knife on an adventure, it also has a flint in the handle (1 of my 3 fire starting options), and also works great to split wood/make kindling in a pinch. Plus I think it looks awesome. Started that fire with 1 match too :)

Coffee always tastes better in the morning. Why is that? This campground had so many birds in it that the cacophony of calls was almost too loud to fall asleep. If you're a light sleeper, bring earplugs. One thing of note about this campground: all the sites are gravel making staking down tents impossible and the trees are really widely spaced making hammock setup less than ideal. 

Old and new. There were countless little wetland areas along the 2 days of riding and my new favorite bird is the Red Wing Black Bird. This bold little critter will fly straight at you when entering it's territory and then "pilot" you out of their area by chirping incessantly and flying along beside or above you. Free roadside entertainment.

Microwave mailbox.

Dewinton Country Store. Slim pickings here but enough to get me the last 30kms home. Talking with the clerk, he said the building was originally built in 1902 and has been here since. A little oasis of chips, pop, fireworks, and firewater - so says their sign. The roads in this area are a magnet for roadie types and it's easy to see why - low traffic, up and down, beautiful views, and all really close to the city.

The reward for a fun 2 days of biking: Brown liquor and tasty eats.

Thanks for reading. Leave us a comment if you have any questions.

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