bikes canada general trip reports

Squamish bike trip

A week long get away to ride bikes in Squamish, where the trails are many and the nachos are delicious (well, at least the nachos we were making for ourselves in our vacation rental were absolutely wonderful).

After riding in Kamloops on the way over, we started to hit up some of the local Squamish trails.

Sadly I wasn’t feeling super great all week – still recovering from being sick, maybe low on iron? Who knows. But everything felt way harder than it should have done.

Our only group photo, taken at the top of Rupert. It’s a super fun trail which I would have loved to ride again. One of the sad things about road trips is when you’re so busy trying all the trails you often only ever ride favourite trails the one time.

No-one fell in the swamp.

Or fell down the rocky descents (at least on this day).

There were gorgeous views, and scary slabs to ride. And fun slabs to ride.

Bike maintenance was performed in the yard, and we bled my brakes successfully, hurrah!

Half Nelson was one trail we did go back and ride a few times. It was nice to relax with some simple flowy fun after some of the more challenging trails.

It was definitely beautiful riding out there though.

And I may have joined an awesome redheaded green-themed sponsored racing team.

Angry Midgets was a fun trail, but flamingos and disco balls would make any trail great. I feel like there’s a great lack of flamingos and disco balls on most trails these days, and feel like something should be done to address this.

Our vacation rental was gloriously furnished. Who doesn’t love gilt furniture?

In related news, I’m anticipating release of my mountain biking themed glamour calendar in time for Christmas.

We also headed out to Pemberton for a day. Views were spectacular, but we weren’t won over. Maybe we just needed a rest day.

The uphill had many switchbacks. So many. Fine if you’re feeling switched on, not great if you’re feeling a bit tired and not entirely with it. I started to feel demoralised. And then the descent began.

It did not go entirely smoothly. But at least the ride up at Whistler afterwards was great, and the meal and beers at the Whistler Brew Pub afterwards was even better.

Last day had us back in Squamish. A couple of us decided to ride up to Elfin Lakes, on the basis of not looking at the trail report and assuming because it was warm there would be no snow. There was no snow for a few kilometres, then there was more and more snow.

Because we’re both stubborn, we kept going, even though there was no way the snow would clear as we got higher into the alpine. On the plus side, surfing your bike downhill through snow is actually pretty fun. Then it was a long descent on some terrible (Powersmart) and some great (Fred, Half Nelson) trails, to give us a 26km day with 900m of elevation gain, that really felt like it was much longer.

Fun times.

bikes canada general trip reports

Escape to BC

It was cold, with a forecast for rain. A group of us had planned a family/no family bike trip to Revelstoke. As the weekend grew closer and the forecast for Revelstoke looked increasingly terrible, the families lost enthusiasm. But in a bold move, we decided to go anyway, sans famille.

Friday night we drove out to Revelstoke. Saturday morning we rode the McPherson trails in Revelstoke – I was feeling stronger than I expected, but a summer of no mountain biking hadn’t helped my fitness. Then it started to rain. We eyed off the sky dubiously, debated a little, then high-tailed it to BC.

As we drove, we started to be able to see a distant patch of blue sky. Would these hours of driving be worth it?

We reached Vernon. It was warm! It was dry! It was sunny! We rejoiced, and rode our bikes on the Kalamalka trails.

The dust got in my eyes, but I didn’t care, because I was finally riding a mountain bike again.

We soared back to the parking lot just before dusk, and it felt a little like we were getting away with something illegal.

The only problem now was – where were we going to stay tonight? It was a gorgeous warm long weekend. Surely no-one else had realised this, and the campgrounds would be deserted?


We went from campground to campground, but found nowhere to stay. In the end we gave up and went to the sketchy campground in town. As we packed up the next morning, the guys in the permanent set up across from us had already started drinking.

The plan for Saturday morning was to ride the Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park trails, near South Kelowna. And they were amazingly fun too!

Somehow after that the afternoon devolved into go-karting though. I’d never been before. And now I never have to go again.

On our third night of BC we acquired luxurious private Kelowna accommodations, camping out by the house of someone’s family. Great views, lush green grass, and the weather was still perfect.

Day three of riding took us to Smith Creek. Which has an uptrack that inexplicably feels flowy and like you aren’t actually climbing. But then when you reach the summit, you have an amazing long downhill in front of you. And there are any number of interesting features along the way.

Three of us decided to go back for one more lap. I don’t know if it was a sensible decision. My dodgy knee certainly didn’t think so. By the time we reached the top I felt like my legs were about to fall off. But in a good way.

And then it was time for the epic 6 – 7 hour drive home. Worth it? Absolutely. Next year Moab?

canada general

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world…

We were drawn out of town for an extra long weekend, lured by the grand opening of the wonderful distillery of an old friend of ours. Eventually he’ll be making whisky, but for now the Dubh Glas Distillery is dealing in gin – delightfully tasty award winning gin.

The only drawback to this grand and magical mystery tour, apart from the lack of mystery, was the fact that the distillery is over in the Okanagan. And the Okanagan is warm. Dry and warm. And hot. Really hot. We had a series of 40oC plus days to deal with, followed up by lovely 25oC nights. We spent the nights sprawled out in the enormous Taj Mahal-style tent we had borrowed, covered in damp towels. But the days? My skin recoiled in horror, my freckles multiplied like Canmore bunnies, and I spent much of my time huddling in patches of shade.

The boy had fun playing with the other kids that were around, and we partook in the Canadian tradition of swarming around a lake, and alternately frolicking and lazing all day long.

A few days later, with the grand opening over and lots of lake frolicking under our belts, we started to get itchy feet. We had another nights reservation for camping at Gallagher Lake, but tossed our heads into the air, packed the car and hit the road. We had no idea where we were going, but we’d had enough of relaxing next to lakes.

Exploring unknown territory, we headed south, then east along the road that skirts near the US border. The drive went smoothly except for the part where we realized that the car was making a funny noise.

We stopped and investigated, and it turned out that two of the bolts holding the wheels to the car had shorn off. Alex assured me that both wheels were still 80% attached, so what could possibly go wrong? Anyway, it was Sunday, so what were we going to do?

So we kept driving to Nelson, where I remembered how much the hippy mountain lifestyle seduced me first time round, and how the main reason we didn’t end up moving here was the fact we’d have so much more trouble finding work, not because it wasn’t a great town. We wandered around, and I admired elements of urban design, drank a margarita, and lamented how conservative Canmore is.

After an expensive repair of bolts ensured that our wheels would probably remain attached to the car, we continued. With no exact plan in mind, we ended up at Whiteswan Provincial Park for the night. Past the lakeside campgrounds full of rampant lake-lovers, we tucked ourselves away in the far corner of the park, finding peace and solitude.

There we cobbled together a dinner from the remnants of our esky/cooler, took photos of ourselves wearing a unicorn mask, drank some London Fog-esque drinks, then retreated to the dry tent for the nights as a massive thunderstorm rolled in and hammered us with rain.

A morning jaunt to the hot springs was undertaken sans-unicorn mask, before the completion of the drive back to Canmore for Canada Day. Adventure!

bikes general trip reports

Moab 11: The end of days

And so the final day had arrived, and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. The Moosling and I dismantled the camp as Brendan and Alex went and rode Slickrock one more time. Our final FINAL ride was to be at Klondike Bluffs – one the Tout could do as well.

Setting out on the trail together, I was dangerously close to falling asleep, and was torn between disappointment that we hadn’t gone to ride Captain Ahab one more time, and relief that I was riding a trail I could happily ride in a state of semi-consciousnesses.

I woke up a little as Brendan and I split off onto more interesting trails, to create a loop from UFO and EKG, but it wasn’t my finest day of riding.

As Brendan went and returned his bike, we went and got some icecream. Then it was onward to Salt Lake City, where we very fortunately had access to Jeremy’s basement, as it was miserably cold and raining.

At the final breakfast in Salt Lake City it was time for VAFFLES! A breakfast so sweet I thought my brain might actually explode. Then it was farewells (I did consider tying Brendan to the roof of the car and bringing him back to Canmore as a regular riding partner, but the weather really wasn’t looking favourable, and there was absolutely no room inside the car), and so Brendan set off back to the UK, while we commenced our epic drive north.

Despite the occasional showers, it was all going quite well until we crossed the Canadian border around 8pm, at which point the rain started to freeze, and then it was snowing on icy frozen roads. Although we were theoretically only a two hours drive from home, we took the sensible option and stayed in a motel for the night, finishing the drive the next day.

The other side-effect of the night’s weather was the tremendously artistic ice bike decorations.

I’ll leave you now with a few excerpts from the Cop Shop section in the Moab Sun News. Hilarious in their brevity, grammatical errors, turn of phrase, and of course the general oddness of the things that seem to get reported to the police in Moab, the stories were favourites for reading out around the campfire:

Oh dear
An officer was dispatched on the report of an injured deer. While assessing the situation the deer died.

Grown yet juvenile
Two adult men got in a fist fight after one of the men made fun of the other man’s name.

Get off my lawn – and my wood pile.
A 62-year-old Moab woman dropped off a statement to the police department saying a suspicious man went through her property on his way to her neighbor’s house on S. 300 East. She said people leave her neighbor’s house at all hours of the night, “speeding away, driving on the wrong side of the road.” The woman thinks there is something going on and wants to know what. She is also afraid they are planning to burn down her wood pile.

Two employees at a Main Street restaurant got into a fight in the kitchen. One woman said the other threw a salad in her face. The other woman, the manager, said the salad accidentally flew out of her hands as she gestured. Either way, the two went at it, throwing punches, pulling hair, calling names, hurling insults.

And black helicopters are following me too
A man came into the police department and claimed he was hypnotized in Mexico and that the LDS church put GPS trackers on his car. He said a bank employee told him he doesn’t deserve to be on social security and that a dentist harassed him five years ago. The officer ran information on the man and found that he had a warrant for his arrest.

Attackable guy
A man said a dog bit him while he was walking down Main Street. Witnesses said the dog allowed other people, including children, to pet it without incident. It was surmised that the dog did not like the man he bit.

Real men wear scarves
Officers were dispatched to a local bar on the report of a fight in progress. The five men in the fight reported the fight began because one of the men was wearing a scarf. He was teased for wearing the scarf. Then there was a brawl that resulted in three tables being broken.

A cat was stuck in a soup can. Before the officer arrived, the person called back and said he got the soup can off the cat.

A woman got out of her car and was met by an intoxicated stranger. He yelled obscenities at her and said her home was built by cheap laborers.

Pollo burritos?
Officers received a report of a chicken running on Main Street near a restaurant. Officers could not find the chicken.

Love thy neighbor
A man had rocks in his yard. His neighbor didn’t like the rocks. The neighbor asked the man to move the rocks because the rocks were “disorderly”. When the man went out of town, his neighbor removed the rocks. An officer told the neighbor he shouldn’t go in the man’s yard.

Time for an eye exam?
Two boys were riding bikes on Center Street. A woman saw one boy but not the other, because he was under her car. She felt the right tire run over something. The second bicyclist yelled at her to back up. She got out of the car and saw the boy under her car. The boys injuries were not life threatening.

Distance biked: 22 km
Elevation gain: 373 m

bikes general trip reports

Moab 10: Slickrock, the return

Early in the morning it hovered around 0°C. The Moosling and I drove everyone and their bikes up to the top of UPS, where it was a nice warm and snowy -4°C, and dropped them off to ride down Porcupine Rim. I was not terribly sorry to be missing out as I hopped back into a warm car and drove to a playground in town, where I failed to nap a little while the Moosling had a great time (the playground in Moab with all the musical instruments is wonderful).

The nice snowy trails they were riding on Porcupine Rim

Once they were on the lower parts of the trail it seems it warmed up enough for them to mess around taking photos of themselves riding off a rock

The Moosling and I drove around to meet them at the bottom of the trail, and then returned everyone back to camp.

Sadly, Jackie’s bike hire was now finished, and she disappeared back into the welcoming arms of the rock climbing brethren (and sistren). But somehow Brendan was convinced to act as sole Greban for a couple of hours so Alex and I could go out and ride the Slickrock trail together – and so we did.

It hadn’t changed much in the few days since I last rode it. The weather was a little more pleasant, and we were travelling a lot more quickly. And we included the practice loop on the way back as well. And Alex was there to persistently ride up every single maddeningly steep uphill, but eye off the downhills dubiously and find less steep ways to get down. But overall, jolly nice and what ho, etcetera.

On returning to camp, the Moosling had not burnt down Greban, or vice versa… but it was officially our LAST NIGHT IN MOAB.

Distance biked: 17.7 km
Elevation gain: 349 m