A Beginners Guide to the Sea to Sky Corridor and Lower Mainland

A Beginners Guide to the Sea to Sky Corridor and Lower Mainland

Photos and Text by Cécile Gambin We live on the North Shore and one night over spaghetti dinner our five year old claimed he wanted to explore the trails around us. ‘C’est fantastique!!’ I replied. I whipped out my cell phone, tapped on Trailforks and together we poured over the possibilities. Looking for an easy single track without a steep climb or descent - was this too tall an order within the Sea to Sky corridor and the lower mainland? Are there trails here suitable for the beginner rider? We eventually found and chose a handful of single tracks within a 50 km radius of our home that included flatter terrain with a splattering of rocks and roots mixed in for fun. Our friends always asked about our trips and we happily recounted our adventures – showing them pictures and battle scars with excitement. Our enthusiasm for the sport is perhaps why I am often questioned by parents and beginner riders who want to get into the sport but don’t know where to go. We understand – having just moved into the province – we were not familiar with the trails. We asked our mountain bike friends but most didn’t understand the needs of young children. Beginner riders of all ages lack the skill, the confidence, the determination and the mental focus and, in many cases, the strength to ride many of the trails found along the Sea to Sky route. While ‘Bobsled’ on Fromme Mountain in North Vancouver may be easy for an experienced shredder it may not be the case with a novice rider. So where did we go? What...
Seven Reasons to Ride at The Syéxw Chó:leqw Adventure Park

Seven Reasons to Ride at The Syéxw Chó:leqw Adventure Park

There’s a new park in town that’s bound to have riders smiling. The Syéxw Chó:leqw Adventure Park is located near Ruby Creek, half way between Agassiz and Hope, and give riders the opportunity to shred trails that may otherwise be unachievable. Whether you’re an established rider or are just beginning here are 7 compelling reasons why you should check this park out.

Changing Beats in Powell River

Changing Beats in Powell River

‘Some of the best loamy rides in the west, hundreds of kilometers of singletrack and no crowds. Powell River charges onto the mountain bike scene with challenging, technical and fast trails through Coast Mountains rainforest. Maintained by a thriving scene of committed local riders and trail builders, Powell River mountain biking trails are blowing visitors away with the amazing quality and volume of singletrack.’ ~ Trailforks

Clean Water

Clean Water

While the water may look tasty it is what we don’t see that can pose serious health risks. In fact, what we assume is safe to drink can be teeming with nasty bacteria and viruses that can make us very sick. Water borne pathogens need to be destroyed or rendered inert before it can be drank. The best way to do this and minimize the risks of infection is by treating the water with a filtration or a purification system. And, to ‘treat’ all water as contaminated.

Trail Etiquette

Trail Etiquette

Words and Photos by Cécile Gambin I’m not a preacher; but, sometimes we need a reminder on how to behave to ensure the trails we love remain accessible. If we all stick to the same rules, much like an ant colony, than we have a system that works. And if that system works than we should, in theory, be happy mountain bikers. It’s a simple concept. Be courteous and respectful to your fellow riders and other trail users. This is even more important as our trails get busier. And trust me they are. I consider it my social responsibility to play by the rules so that I am not a detriment to my sport. In fact, we should all be good ambassadors. Smile, be happy, work hard, educate and be considerate. Keeping the trails in tip-top shape and doing your part will help the longevity of the sport. Nobody likes a rider that can potentially harm mountain biking; so please, don’t be a dickweed.  The International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) has developed the following ‘Rules of the Trail’ to promote responsible conduct on shared-use trails. Learn them: Ride Open Trails: Respect trail and road closures. Ask the appropriate land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land. Obtain permits or other authorization as required. Be aware that bicycles are not permitted in areas protected as state or federal Wilderness. (note: Bicycle access restrictions apply in Provincial and National Parks as well as conservation areas in BC) Leave No Trace: Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you and the environment...
Sunshine Coast for Kids: Sprockids Bike Park and Roberts Creek Trails

Sunshine Coast for Kids: Sprockids Bike Park and Roberts Creek Trails

Words and photos by Cécile Gambin We love the rocky and rooty trails typical of our local riding hole but this particular weekend we craved loam. We hopped on the ferry from Horseshoe Bay towards Langdale in search of that elusive much needed brown pow. Using Trailforks we settled on The Sprockids Bike Park, just outside Gibsons, and the Roberts Creek Trail system further up the road on Highway 101. These two trail networks can be ridden in a single day by established riders but with two children we opted to stay overnight. This also allows time to fully explore both areas while making the price of the ferry worthwhile. Our criteria for finding age-appropriate trails are simple – fun with minimal climbing. I stress minimal because I know it’s a fallacy living in a mountainous province. But, with proper planning a trail system can fool children into riding uphill without really knowing exactly how much uphill they have done. And this was perfectly executed at the Sprockids Bike Park. Charging out of the lower parking area there is a 382m gravel climb which proved to be the worst for our kids aged seven and nine, simply because they find gravel roads boring. I really can’t blame them. At the end of the gravel road there is a welcome board. Beyond this, over 14 km (8.6 miles) of single track bliss rocked our world with 6 green, 21 blue, 9 black, and 2 double-blacks. There is flow, steep, and technical and a few trails with jumps, drops and wall rides. With fun trail names like Pineapple Express, Schoolz Out...
Elfin Lakes Fat Bike Adventure

Elfin Lakes Fat Bike Adventure

Elfin Lakes it’s one of those places that oozes beauty. Its towering trees, sprawling mountain peaks, and vast alpine valleys have a way of making you feel small and insignificant.

Exploring the Snow-Packed Trails of the Whistler Olympic Park, Callaghan Valley

Exploring the Snow-Packed Trails of the Whistler Olympic Park, Callaghan Valley

Words and photos by Cécile Gambin Fat-bikers rejoice as a thick blanket of crisp, white snow signals the start of a new winter season. Welcome to Callaghan Valley and the Whistler Olympic Park – innovators and avant-garde thinkers with a network of dedicated fat-bike trails targeted to open. I began searching areas to ride ‘fatties’ in my quest to continue exploring the region in a different way, mixing in a fun workout at the same time. A hard-packed snow trail is the most desirable and the Whistler Olympic Park offers a perfect solution for riding and discovering the Coast Mountains along the Sea to Sky corridor. My friend Rick brought his own fat-bike but we decide to try one from the parks rental fleet and opt for an electric assist for a different experience. We catch on quickly. I just have to remember that the harder I pedal the more electric assist I get. Riding uphill will require me to put the bike in a hard gear which is contrary to what I do on a regular bike. For the next few hours we ride hard and stop for tourist moments as morning light bathed the adjacent mountains with a soft, golden colour. We laugh, we explore and we marvel at the jaw-dropping scenery. It’s hard not to like this park. It’s surrounded by snow-capped mountains and beautiful forests. Fat-bikers have access to shared use Nordic trails along with bike specific ones. The machine groomed trails gently weave up and down crisscrossing their way deep into the park making for a fast, smooth and quiet ride. As much as...