bikes canada general

Bike date day!

Novelty of novelties, Alex and I have things set up now so that every 3rd Friday we get a day off together, with no boy to look after. Provided no-one is sick. Which means we’ve only pulled it off three times so far. But still!

This particular bike date day, we opted to ride to Banff on the fat bikes, via the pass, then the bumpy and frozen Goat Creek trail.

By the time we hit Banff, the day was really warming up. We ventured out towards the Tunnel Mountain trails, but pulled the plug when we saw how muddy they were. Then it was back home on the bus – luxury!

This unnaturally early spring is making for a confusingly early shoulder season – I’m a little bit worried about what weather summer might bring.

bikes canada general

Frozen lakes and Friday adventures

Alex and I had a day off together, so went riding on the Lake Minnewanka ice (as well as doing more renovations, but that’s neither picturesque nor interesting).

The lake was snow-covered for the first kilometre or so, before the snow began to give way to larger and larger sections of clear ice.

The forecast was for the wind to pick up later in the day, and as we rode further, the wind at our backs grew stronger.

Eventually we decided to be sensible, and made our way across to the shore, where we could pick up the snowy trail to get back home. Cycling across the wind was challenging even with studded tyres. The wind would lull and then gust, and try and sweep your bike out from underneath you.

As we neared the shore, we found methane bubbles frozen in the ice. I’d been hoping to find some, and so we entertained ourselves admiring them, and sliding around on the ice near the shore, where the ferocious wind was slightly less ferocious.

When I got back home, I found photos of people breaking the ice to let the methane escape, and then setting fire to the gas. It looks like the dangerous kind of fun.

After cycling homewards along the snowy trail for a few kilometres, we decided the wind had died down a little, and braved the ice for the final stretch of cycling home.

The sun came out for a moment, and the wind wasn’t too fierce, and we watched skaters playing hockey, and optimistic girls heading out with skates in hand, starting their trudge through the snow to find the clear ice.

Frozen lakes are beautiful and fascinating, although terrifying (what? there could be lake monsters). I’d love to go back and explore some more, but might wait until the temperatures have settled down to something a little less ice-melting.

bikes canada general moosling snow trip reports

Skogan Pass

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. And walking. And hurling himself into the snow at the side of the trail and proclaiming “Help! I stuck!”

Conditions were great though, especially for November. Not perfect, but if a few rocks were the worst the day had to throw at us, we thought we did pretty well.

Once we reached the groomed trails, there were only a couple of short uphill sections where Alex had to hop off and push for a bit. There were definitely other climbs that required rest breaks though – it’s good training I tell him.

I had some fun messy around with waxes. Usually I skate ski. The few times I’ve headed out on classics, it was invariably patterned bases. In Australia the conditions are so frequently spring-like that only the genuinely mad get into waxes. Because it invariably involves klister. So I have almost no experience, and the witchcraft behind it all drives me batty, reminding me why I love the simplicity of a well-behaved, predictable skate ski. But I shall learn!

The Moosling has even started taking on downhills. No mean feat when you consider he’s wearing Nordic ski boots strapped into his old toddler skis (his first proper set of Nordic skis should be here for Christmas).

It doesn’t usually end well, but at least he’s trying.

Then sometimes a boy needs a break from all this learning, and he’s back to what he knows best.

Then finally, the pass! And time for lunch.

Toddlers: ruining family photos since 1876.

Then it was time to learn the Charleston, layer up, and commence the descent. Unlike Moraine Lake Road, Skogan Pass has a wonderfully long and fast descent to pay you back for all that climbing.

Distance: 21.5km
Elevation gain: 766m