Tag Archives: bikepacking

Lake Minnewanka bikepack overnighter

Last October I attended (and presented at) the Canmore Bikepack Summit – which I still need to write about, but that’s another story. But that led to meeting a lot of very awesome folks who were keen to get out bikepacking, and to me volunteering to host a couple of local Bikepack.ca overnighters, throwing the invite open to whoever wanted to come. And that is how I came to be preparing to go bikepacking when there was a snowfall warning, threats of 20cm or more of snow, and a likely overnight temperature in the vicinity of -20oC.  Despite the weather forecast, … Continue reading Lake Minnewanka bikepack overnighter

S24O

S24O stands for sub 24-hour overnight bike camping trip, for those of you out there who aren’t into all the cool acronyms the kids use these days. After getting the Moosling to bed on Saturday night, I loaded up my bike, and headed out for a solo overnight adventure in the snow – just for fun! Packing took a while – I’d never packed for an overnight snow camping bike trip before, so it took a little organising to get everything onto the bike. It did fairly simplify things to not really need any food or water (I did bring … Continue reading S24O

Fall bikepacking to Lake Minnewanka

Getting out on a family bikepacking trip is one of those things that we kept meaning to do, but somehow we had nearly run out of summer weekends and it still hadn’t happened. We’d initially been thinking of riding the Elbow Loop. Or maybe just going out and back on the north-west side. But our attempts to book a campground failed. Curse you, Alberta Parks with your “oh, sure, we have sites available” website, but then when they get back to you 48 hours after you tried to book online it turns out that there are indeed no sites. Contemplating … Continue reading Fall bikepacking to Lake Minnewanka

Hurt’n Albert’n 550

It was 5.40am and only just light when we arrived in the Cross Iron Mills carpark for the start of the inaugural Hurt’n Albert’n. The carpark already had a cluster of riders gathered in it, and I got my bike together with a whole two minutes to spare. Group photos, hugs and goodbyes, then we headed off for a neutral rolling start along the pavement at 6.05am. I was mostly in a sleepy daze at this point. I hadn’t been sleeping well in weeks. There were lots of awesome looking bikepacking folks riding around me. I didn’t know any of … Continue reading Hurt’n Albert’n 550

The Kootenay Gravel Grinder

It was 6.50am on Saturday morning, and Alex and I were at the 7-Eleven in Fernie grabbing a spare pair of lithium batteries for the Spot Tracker (Spoiler: The batteries we bought were alkaline instead of lithium, and I just realised that it might not have been me who made this mistake). I had no idea how old the batteries in the Spot were, and I was about to go and line up to … race? take part in? ride? the Kootenay Gravel Grinder. Race details had been kind of sparse, and organisation levels minimal. There was originally a 7am … Continue reading The Kootenay Gravel Grinder

Methadone

After a couple of days riding down to Fernie, my legs were still feeling overexcitable. So after a fun night staying with Katya and her family (thanks guys!), catching up and spending some quality time stalking Jackie in her Tour Divide attempt, I set off from Fernie along the Old Stumpy trail. From there I diverted onto a trail that ran mostly under the powerline right-of-way, through an active logging operation, and finally out onto the highway just outside of Sparwood. Far slower than riding the highway, with lots of up and down, but it was nice to be off … Continue reading Methadone

Megan and Kate’s excellent adventure

After waving off Jackie and the rest of the Tour Divide crew, I was on a mission. First, to drop off the offspring at school – he was almost on time. Then home, and to pack my bike ready to cycle out of the house when Kate arrived. Thankfully, Kate was running late, as I had done a bare minimum when it comes to prior preparation. Less thankfully, it was starting to rain. I helped Kate get her bike packed up for her first overnight bikepacking adventure, and then we set off into the dubious weather some time after 11am. … Continue reading Megan and Kate’s excellent adventure

Scotland: The end and the stats

        Clamato juice is so tasty because it’s full of MSG! Excellent. Glaswegians are a pack of communists. Finn has developed a fear of walking around on aeroplanes. Terry’s Chocolate Oranges can be purchased for £1 from Tesco! Watching multiple episodes of Border Patrol on the plane is counter-productive if you’re hoping to pass through immigration in a non-furtive manner

Scotland: Corrieyairack Pass II

The bothy was a little chilly in the morning, but still excellent protection from the marauding midges that would have been sucking our blood, given the chance. One thing I won’t miss about Scotland is having to pick dead midges out of my eyes. We got going by 9am, after an underwhelming breakfast of seed bread that had disintegrated entirely under the pressure of bike bag storage. The menfolk left it to me, opting to eat more structurally sound breakfast material themselves. The climb up towards the pass from the bothy was steady, and mostly unrelentingly uphill. Steep enough to … Continue reading Scotland: Corrieyairack Pass II

Scotland: Corrieyairack Pass I

Corrieyairack Pass is a 770 metre high pass in the Highlands, and is known in a large part because of the military road built over it by General Wade during the Jacobite Risings in the 18th century. These days the road isn’t in great shape, but is relatively popular with hikers and cyclists. Corrieyairack Pass was where we were headed tonight. But first, up we were headed north along the canal route, and the shores of Loch Lochy (really? were they running out of names). Undulating dirt road through mossy forest and enormous trees, forest camp sites, rope swings, ferns, … Continue reading Scotland: Corrieyairack Pass I

Scotland: Glenfinnan, a munro and The Canal

We saw a fox today! But first, packing up camp, I felt my fingers spiking and blistering from sun rash. My skin is ridiculous. I rolled my eyes at it, and was sure to put on my long gloves. We took the coast B-Road to Ashaig. Having a brief stop at the village store, we snacked while watching a beginner group of kayakers heading out on a guided trip. Finn loudly proclaimed: “Look, they’re sailors Mama!” Then we cycled onto the uninspiring A-road to Glenfinnan. There was a cycle path for part of the way, but a great deal of … Continue reading Scotland: Glenfinnan, a munro and The Canal

Scotland: The Isle of Rum

The rain has stopped. The air is still and moist, and the midges are swarming. Packing up our tent, we cycle down to the ferry terminal. Lashing the bikes to the railing, then upstairs to break into our nutella for a civilised breakfast at a table. The ferry takes us to Mallaig. We aren’t sure where we’re going next, it will depend where we can get to. Alex finds a ferry going to Rum, but we’ll have to travel down the coast a little, it leaves from Arisaig. There’s time to do a quick grocery shop, then we hit the … Continue reading Scotland: The Isle of Rum

Scotland: Skye sky

Both Finn and I dream about his birthday. He dreams he is a ninja and has to fight lots of snakes in our house with his sword, and when he gets them he says ‘heeYAH heeeYAHH!’ And then he gets to eat his cake because he did such a good job. On the other hand, in my dream we’re at the wrong place and nothing is organised and I’m letting everyone down. To the cemetery on Broadford Bay, we watch a man in gumboots go to spend time with his cows, and I am reminded of my father. We wander … Continue reading Scotland: Skye sky

Scotland: It’s all about Skye

To leave Morvich, we were faced with the options of a busy (flat) road, or an old military road (over an enormous hill). We chose the hill :) Cycling around the bay, we were surprised to find our old military road was paved. It was quite narrow though, and wasn’t exactly a direct route, so the traffic was minimal and travelling slowly. It was thoroughly steep, with 15% pitches that had Alex off and pushing. Or just kicking off his stoker, on the grounds he wasn’t pulling his weight. Towards the top of the hill we stopped to admire views … Continue reading Scotland: It’s all about Skye

Scotland: Spectacular scenery and falling into swamps

Where we went Through Glen Affric, past Loch Beinn a’ Mheadhoin, along the River Affic and into Glen Kintail, finally arriving to camp in the small village of Morvich, on the west coast. Notable things we taught Finn To say “Aye aye” when he’s on the trail-a-bike and ready to start pedalling. Was occasionally replaced with “Argh maties” when he was feeling piratical. The story of the day An amazing epic day, that started with a tremendous night filled with sleep, sleep and more sleep. Hurrah for sleep, it makes everything better. We breakfasted at the campground cafe, Finn spent … Continue reading Scotland: Spectacular scenery and falling into swamps

Scotland: Mountain biking with six eggs

At 4am I wake up as Alex crashes about in the tent. At 5am I’m still awake, give in and get up to pee, and it’s already getting light. I wonder if the tent will dry out before we have to pack it up – it seems like a dry and sunny morning. Alex and Finn are snoring. A little later on, we’re all awake and lying in the tent. Someone comes by and yells out “Hello Australia!” It’s the farmhouse lady; she offers to cook us breakfast and bring it to the tent. It’s tempting, but we decide we … Continue reading Scotland: Mountain biking with six eggs

Scotland: The Beginning

The Players Megan: Red hair, bloodshot eyes from nights of insomnia, sore left knee from injury Alex: Beard, glasses, hairy legs that may be concealing a weapon Finn: Nearly 5yo, batman tshirt, Salomon sneakers, cute glasses, lazy eye, watches cartoons and charms service people into giving him things The Flights Calgary – Halifax (~5 hours) Halifax – Glasgow (~5.5 hours) Surprising no-one, we didn’t get much sleep on the way over. On arrival, the immigration officer asks what we’re doing. We explain. “You keen cyclists then?” he asks. We concur. “You must be keen to come and ride over here!” … Continue reading Scotland: The Beginning

Scotland bound

When I had to pull out of the Tour Divide, I cancelled the leave I’d arranged with work, and we tossed up options for a family bike holiday/vacation in late summer. Mongolia? Cuba? The Maritimes? Israel? The Chilcotins (in BC)? Maybe Scandinavia? Or somewhere in the States? I left the final choice up to Alex, seeing as I will be claiming a good chunk of time when I finally, hopefully, ride the Tour Divide. He opted for Scotland. A corner of the UK we never got to when doing our big Euro cycle tour in 2009. Not too far away, … Continue reading Scotland bound

Bikepacking Jumpingpound Ridge

With a couple of sunny days at our disposal, a new set of bike bags for Alex finally complete, it seemed about time for an overnight bike adventure. We’d been hoping to do a big loop from home and out into K-Country, via the Elbow loop. It’s still in poor shape following the floods though, so instead we opted for good old Jumpingpound Ridge, where the camping is free and the views can’t be beaten. The road is still closed to cars, hurrah, and so we had a quiet ride out, much like last time. This time we were riding … Continue reading Bikepacking Jumpingpound Ridge

Part 2: Riding Kananaskis Lakes to Fernie! (Or “Everything is awesome!”)

I woke around 4.30am to the sound of birds. I’m not sure why birds are always so excited about the impending sunrise, but for half an hour or so there, they just wouldn’t shut up about it. At least I wasn’t in a tent in Australia, where the birds really know how to make a convincing racket. Some more sleep, and more sliding around in the tent, and off the short sleeping mat, and over to one side of the tent, then the other, and it was after 6am. A quick snack and then packing up and hitting the road. … Continue reading Part 2: Riding Kananaskis Lakes to Fernie! (Or “Everything is awesome!”)