Boxing Day dawned a bit grey and dreary, but at least it wasn’t terribly cold or windy, so we headed to Mount Shark for a ski. It was surprisingly quiet as we set off, with very few other cars or people to be seen. Somehow I ended up being talked into skiing out to the Spray River bridge, despite being on my skate skis, which were totally unsuited to the trail. I think this largely ended up happening as I had no idea what I was agreeing to. But it worked out to be a nice little 16km jaunt. As … Continue reading Boxing Day ski
After a little Moosling skiing near the Ribbon Creek carpark, we took off towards Skogan Pass on Saturday morning. Lincoln and I on classic skis, and Alex riding the fatter of his fat bikes (the Moonlander) towing the Moosling in the Chariot with ski runners mounted. Moosling skis stashed in the back of the Chariot. Moosling stashed in the Chariot. Bee lining up to Nakiska can be tricky. Particularly when you’re towing an extra 30-35kg. Once we reached Nakiska, and then the groomed trails beyond, things got a little more civilized. The Moosling did some skiing on the way up. … Continue reading Skogan Pass
A Friday expedition out to Moraine Lake Road. When you’re used to not having to drive at all to go skiing, it seems like an incredible injustice when you choose to drive for as long as an hour to get to a different skiing location. It’s nice to get out of the valley occasionally, but the hour of driving is difficult to overcome. We went out to Moraine Lake Road, which had enough snow on for grooming, but not so much that we weren’t hitting our poles on the road underneath from time to time. Although we were up quite … Continue reading Moraine Lake Road
Well, it’s been a long time in the planning, but I finally have a new bike for touring! This time with off-road touring in mind, as well as winter biking, and all year commuting (as it will be replacing my beloved Surly Long Haul Trucker). Behold, the Surly Karate Monkey! (Please forgive the dodgy phone pictures for now, I hope to get out with a proper camera on a sunny day some time soon. When the sun returns. One day. Right now it’s just snowing and snowing and snowing.) The Rohloff Hub The stock build of the Karate Monkey is … Continue reading The Rohloff Monkey
There was movement at the bike shop, for the decision had been made That we would bike the Goat Creek trail today, And all the way to old Banff town — and maybe back again, so we needed one more snow bike for the ride. All the gear was gathered from the cupboards high and low And piled in heaps upon the hallway floor, For we’d learned to love hard riding through the snow and mountain air, And the toddler in his carriage cried for more. The bikes were fully loaded, so we set off up to Whiteman’s Gap, The … Continue reading Goat Creek (Spoiler: There were no goats in the creek)
If you’d like to experience a nice long bout of self-conscious conspicuosity, there’s nothing quite so good as riding a snow bike around the Canmore Nordic Centre in the middle of a sunny Sunday, while towing a Chariot on ski runners. On a related note, the list of things which it’s appropriate to yell out at snow bikes: “What wax do you use on those tyres?” “Now I’ve seen everything!” “You don’t see that every day!” “I love your bike!” “Nice bike!” “Nice tyres!” “That’s hardcore!” “Nice work!” I also got a lot more hellos than usual, largely thanks to … Continue reading Bike on snow
Along Brewster Creek Trail we skied, from the parking lot at the base of the Sunshine Village access road, and up to Banff Sundance Lodge. The trail was groomed all the way to the lodge, and we climbed and climbed. Finn skied for a while, and then ran for a bit, and then fell asleep in the Chariot. After lunch on the verandah of the lodge, we headed back downhill, zoom zoom. The day never quite manage to be properly sunny with blue skies, but the overcast weather that threatened never really settled in either. A fun day out, that … Continue reading Brewster Creek Trail
Pigeon Mountain has been hovering on our radar for a long time – it sits just next to Skogan Pass, so we’ve travelled past it plenty of times, but have never quite made the turn up towards the summit. It was a warm day for November, and without too much snow on the ground, we thought we may as well use this trip as a good shoulder season excursion. After cheating and driving to the trailhead, we unloaded the bikes and Chariot, and started the slog up alongside the power-lines. There were a couple of other random hikers about, but … Continue reading Pigeon Mountain (lacking in pigeons since 1858)
So, touring out from Sunshine Village doesn’t feel very hardcore, but when the season hasn’t started yet, and there’s powder everywhere (even if it does have rocks lurking underneath), well, it’s not such a bad option. There are even sleds zooming around at random to avoid, to increase the difficulty factor a little. It certainly wasn’t the best of weather, as the sky closed in, and we were surrounded by nothing but white, with more white appearing from somewhere above. Our hopes of a lovely bluebird day were dashed against the rocks of despair (not unlike the base of our … Continue reading The first backcountry-ish tour of the season
Another summer day, another silly plan. This time we decided we wanted to visit Lake O’Hara. We’d been there a few times in winter, but never in summer. Paying for the bus was inconceivable however, so we fashioned a cunning plan whereby we would push the Chariot up to the lake. There we could leave the Chariot, and release the Moosling, hopefully heading up onto some of the higher trails (or just around the lake). Lake O’Hara We ran on and off to cover the 10km up to the lake. Sometimes the Moosling hopped out and walked, other times he … Continue reading Lake O’Hara: The latest in the crazy summer adventures series
The Elbow Loop is one of those rides I kept coming across in lists with descriptions like: “Classic K-Country Rides”. And in fact it is a classic – in the sense it comes from the days when mountain-biking was all about riding on rough dirt roads, back before the day when someone realised they could ride single-track, and that was actually a lot more fun. With all that double track, we figured we may as well take the Chariot along. I’d never ridden the loop before. Alex had, but seemed to think it was worth doing again – and it … Continue reading Biking the Elbow Loop with a Chariot
On Saturday, a plan was hatched to ride “Kananaskis 8”, a route described in one of the trail books. I’d never heard of it. After a few kilometres of riding, I had a fair idea why. Although the trails might have been great in the dry, as it was, it was a corrugated mess of sloppy, muddy horse track. Do not want! So we decided to bail out onto the Prairie View trail, and rode up Barrier Mountain (this was all Chariot and Moosling-free, otherwise the mud would have been even more fun). Then as none of us had ridden … Continue reading A very bikey weekend
This was another lesson in the “It’s quite hard to take a lot of photos when you’re the only one towing a Chariot and looking after an offspring” factor. Rockbound Lake is just near Castle Junction, tucked in behind Castle Mountain. And I’d skied it before, pre-Moosling. At the time it had seemed like a fairly easy day-trip, a nice little easy jaunt. Towing a Chariot made the whole thing a lot more uphill. The hills! They didn’t stop! My legs! Ow ow! It was a gorgeous blue bird day though, and lovely and warm (about 5oC in town), pretty … Continue reading Not quite to Tower Lake (and definitely not to Rockbound)
It didn’t really help that it was unexpectedly cold. Riding from Canmore up to Whiteman’s Gap towing a Chariot was good training for Alex. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’d never biked Goat Creek before and was surprised by how rocky and rough it was (although the photo below was taken on a smooth section, there were rocks, honestly). Definitely do-able with the Chariot, but all descents had to be taken slowly, and the riding really isn’t that exciting, with views of trees, trees and more trees along the way (also for a ‘downhill’ ride, there’s a … Continue reading Riding Whiteman’s Gap – Goat Creek – Legacy Trail is a silly ride and I’m never doing it again
A couple of weeks ago we went on a random cycle down an old mining road that led away south-east from the Three Sisters village in Canmore. On Sunday we decided to explore it properly, and see if we could get all the way up to Skogan Pass, snow permitting (for those in the Bow Valley, Skogan Pass is the one you see when driving away from Canmore towards Calgary, with the power lines leading through the trees up and over it). After re-tracing our tracks of the previous week, we reached the fork in the mining track and opted … Continue reading Nearly cycling up to Skogan Pass
While all the snow was around, the ride out along the riverside path became a pretty standard go-to bike escape for us. It got to a sort-of clear state long before the single trail on the benchlands either side of Canmore did. So although we had a sunny day on Sunday, thanks to all the rain and snow recently we thought we should probably give the trails another day to dry off – so the river trail to the cafe out at Three Sisters was beckoning. After some hot drinks and food out in the sun, we decided to keep … Continue reading Explorinating
It’s a far cry from a few weeks ago when we last tried to cycle along here and were stopped short by huge drifts of snow. The trail has been ploughed and swept, and as we cycled to and from Banff, it felt like a Summer weekend. The trail was busy, the day was warm and sunny (I’m sunburnt now), and the snow was staying up on the mountains in a very civilised fashion. The Chariot doesn’t induce sleep half so well behind a bike as it does when being towed by skis, but the Moosling still enjoys the ride.
We’ve ridden out along the bike path towards the Three Sisters a few times in the last couple of weeks. Finally, it’s nearly clear of snow, and the Chariot is only getting a little muddy when we venture out. Rumour has it that the Legacy Trail between Banff and Canmore has now been cleared and swept too, so once there comes a day without rain or snow in the forecast, I might get out there with the Chariot for a ride.
Instead of going skiing yesterday, we optimistically decided to head out on the Legacy Trail. Theoretically it was rideable, as it was certainly bare of snow in huge patches. It would be the first proper test ride for the biking version of the Chariot as well. Things went well until we actually reached the Legacy Trail, at the Banff Park gates. We rode around the first huge snow drift, then there was just a whole lot of gravel, as we were right next to the highway. That wasn’t great, but still, easy enough to ride on. But then we hit … Continue reading Legacy Trail fail
On Sunday we revisited Boom Lake two years after I first went there. So this time around I was wise to the fact there really isn’t much elevation gain, and it’s basically a rolling trail both ways. At the moment the trail is a mangled mess of tracks left by hikers, dogs, snowshoes and skis – or perhaps that’s the way it normally is. It’s not the best trail for the Chariot – you can get it along, but with difficulty at some points, as it tends to be a bit off-camber and narrow in spots. The Ergo would have … Continue reading BOOM!