I love how visitors to our city describe us: The host City of the ‘88 Olympics; The home to the NHL’s Calgary Flames & The iconic 103 year old Calgary Stampede! But how do they see us? What better way to explore our own backyard then to travel it. And, what better way to explore it than with a motorcycle.
This was Marion’s idea (IE The co-owner of Eaglerider – Calgary). It was also her idea to suit me up with a Sportster 1200: sexy, peppy, maneuverable...the bike that is, not Marion...although, ha!
So where do you go? Where do you start? Calgary is a city steeped in history, rich in beauty, expanding as far as the eye can see. My best advice? Let your curiosity be your guide...and for today, that’s exactly how I approached it...enjoy.
Tip: Read ‘till the end. I have a video of the places I visited
So here are my points of interest, in no particular order:
For the photo alone, this is a must-see on your ride.
Overlooking the iconic Stampede Park (IE Home to the Calgary Stampede & the NHL’s Calgary Flames) try to position your shot so you also capture the Calgary Tower in the background...this shot is a keeper!
Tip: Keep your eye on the parking signs, you don’t want to get dinged with a ticket
RALPH KLEIN PARK
Named after the famed, outspoken politician whom eventually became Alberta’s 12th Premiere, this park is nestled in Calgary’s SE Quadrant. Complete with an Environmental Education Centre, this man-made wetland was constructed specifically to improve storm-water quality before it enters the Bow River system. The grounds themselves have a picnic area and a community orchard that boasts five varieties of pear trees and eight varieties of apple trees...oh, a few surprises along the way, which I discovered.
Tip: The entrance is covered in gravel, watch the turn into the site.
FISH CREEK PARK
A peaceful ride with windy roads & stunning greenery, this is a rider’s dream. Let the temptation of discovery be your guide: so much to see & so much to enjoy...take your time to experience the flora & fauna nestled within Calgary’s boundary.
Tip: Don’t be surprised if you get a couple of glares. The pipes on the Sportster are beefy.
Who says you can’t go sailing in Calgary? A quick turn into the boat-launch area will alter your thinking about what this city has to offer. You’ll think a thriving metropolis but soon discover a west-coat oasis surrounded by shore-line & water adventure seekers. Park the bike, enjoy a lunch break and have a conversation or two with the locals.
Tip: The entrance point of the boat-launch is at the Heritage Park site
NOSE HILL PARK
The gradual incline from Crowchild to Shaganappi is no problem for the Sportster. As you confidently accelerate to this wonderful landmark, take the time to enjoy the gradual point-of-view of Calgary. As your elevation increases the vastness of the City will reveal itself. Designated as a dog-park for locals, the walk paths are well established & the views, stunning.
The beauty of this must-ride along Memorial Drive is not only heading West, but also the return ride, East. Running parallel with the Bow River you’ll pass by sports fields, bridges, walk paths and established neighborhoods. You will truly get a feel for this gem that Calgary holds sacred.
EDWARD H. LaBORDE VIEWING AREA
I love planes: the shapes, the sounds, the engineering wonders that they are. The Edward H. LaBorde Viewing Area is a secret escape for many Calgarians. Sure you’ll be able to see plans take off and land but my hope is that you use this area to reflect on life.
VIDEO OF SITES:
As a rider I’m sure you’ll get what I mean. The freedom to explore what life has to offer is a powerful thing. But exploring life on a motorcycle gives you a perspective only few get to have. Pull into those hard-to-get-to places. Be open to opportunity & conversation. Because when you return from your ride you’ll have captured what life has to offer...curiosity. Here are a few of those stops. See you on the road.