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Banff National Park Bike Fest

by K Gordon Schultz

Family Fun: Biking in Banff, Alberta

The Banff National Park Bike Fest puts on five challenging road races and two family friendly events every year from Banff and Lake Louise.

Every year more than 400 participants compete in this fun event that winds its way through one of the most beautiful national parks in the world – Banff National Park.

The scenery isn’t the only reward for cyclists who come to Canada for this race. Over $21,000 in prize money is given away each year to the best and fastest.

To participate Canadians must hold a valid license issued by the Alberta Bicycle Association or a CCA license issued by a province or by the CCA. International riders must have a UCI recognized license. There are two exceptions to this requirement- the Cruiser Crit and Little Crit races, where no licenses are needed.

Whether you come as a participant or a spectator- Bike Fest is an exciting way to spend a summer day in Banff!

Visit The Banff Lake Louise Tourism Board website for yearly schedules of events, route maps and race rules.

Events include the Surprise Corner Prologue, 1A Spring and the Tunnel Mountain Road Race. Read below for individual race descriptions.

Cascade Plaza Prologue
This race has a short, steep course that goes by the picturesque Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and Conference Center. Cyclists start at regular thirty-second intervals. The course measures 1.5 km in length, beginning at the corner of Buffalo and Otter streets. The course races up Tunnel Mountain Drive and St. Julien Way. The registration fee is $25+GST. There are multiple prize points depending on the category entered.

Lake Louise Road Race

Each year 100 men and 50 women have open registration to participate in this event. The 80 km route goes along the Bow Valley Parkway from Lake Louise to Sawback return, full of undulating hills and long straight-aways. This race takes place approximately 40 minutes (driving time) from the town of Banff. The men’s race starts at 9:30 a.m. while the women’s begins at 10 a.m. The maximum prize money given away to any one participant is $400.

Individual Time Trial
Many call this “The Race of Truth” because it’s only you and the clock. Cyclists take off at regular thirty-second intervals and run the hilly 21 km loop as fast as they can. The race takes place between 8 a.m. and noon. The race route goes along Banff Avenue to the Lake Minnewanka loop and back. The registration fee is $35 plus GST.

This race has participants looping around the 1 km course that runs through the streets of Banff. There’s always fierce competition, hairpin turns and breakaway sprints. Fast action and excitement for racers and spectators alike! This is an afternoon/evening race and begins at 4:30pm. The loop runs down Banff Avenue to Elk Street to Wolf Street to Bear Street to Caribou Street and back to Banff Avenue. The registration fee is $35 plus GST and the maximum prize is $400.

Tunnel Mountain Road Race
This race runs through downtown Banff and along Tunnel Mountain Drive. The field is open to 250 riders (some spots for invited cyclists only, some open for general registration). There is a $35 registration fee plus GST and a maximum of $400 for the winner.

General Classification- Stage Race
This race is by invitation only and is open to men and women. The fees (plus GST) is $1050 per men’s team and $157.50 per individual woman cyclist. The maximum prize awarded is $1,610 for men and women.

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