Banff town is a quaint, village-like area with shops and restaurants that could be explored by foot, but not so much by car. Still, to battle aching feet or being grounded inside a rumbling metal beast in search of parking spots, there lies a better option: the moped.
The moped is perfect. It will allow you to navigate narrow, winding roads with ease and diverge from traffic if it gets chaotic. Travel faster than by foot, with the wind in your hair, yet not confined within a car. With a moped, you’re riding through the landscapes, not watching it pass by through a rolled down window. The ease of maneuverability allows you to make pit stops anywhere when something catches your eye—this was fantastic as I could quickly halt, hop off my moped and capture photographs of towering mountains and waterfalls whenever I pleased.
I rented a moped from Banff Scooter Company LTD. Conveniently located on Banff Avenue, it was easy to spot with the bright orange mopeds parked near the entrance. The lovely couple at the counter helped my sister and I fill in forms and make a damage deposit after we presented our driver’s licenses. Then they brought us to the other end of their office to fit helmets. Once all admin stuff was cleared, we headed outside, learned how to turn on and off the moped, and walked our mopeds across the street to a large, empty parking lot.
We needed to learn how to drive them first.
As someone who’s adept at driving cars and riding bikes, I assumed it was going to be a breeze. The owner had us ride around the parking lot, slowly at first to get a feel of it. Navigating the steering wheel and braking were tougher than I thought, but I got the hang of within 30 minutes. Riding on actual Banff streets was the next part.
The owner gives you a verbal map of where to go and what to see. If you remember the main points, it’s easy to not get lost. We drove on well-kept roads, past green fields, looming mountains and came across lakes and waterfalls.
Driving a moped through Banff is easily one of the most fun and relaxing way to tour the area. You see so much in way less time and it’s relatively inexpensive—my sister and I rented the mopeds for two hours, which came to be CAD $35/hour and included the helmet, lock and gas. Two hours were enough for us. However, the three-hour option is great if you will stop to eat at a restaurant or shop.
The mopeds are in excellent condition and come with a large enough component under the seat, where I kept my DSLR. The mopeds are usually available from spring to early fall. Although you can reserve a moped ahead of time, my sister and I were able to rent ours upon walking in. If you visit Banff, I recommend doing a self-guided tour with a moped to take in the brilliant scenery.
Let me know in the comments below, where have you explored on a moped or scooter?