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bikes canada general trip reports

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 a thermos of tea though).

I took a fairly direct route, but it was still about 45 minutes of biking to get to my campsite, and then 15 minutes or so to get myself sorted and set up in my bivy in the snow.

But then I was glorious and snug in my warm bivy, and fell asleep to the sound of crackling ice and the distant noise of the highway.

In the morning I was rudely awoken by my alarm at 7.40, with the beginnings of dawn light beginning to show in the sky, but otherwise no difference to falling asleep nine hours earlier.

Twenty minutes to pack up, then I was on the road, and cycling away from a beautiful sunrise.

Successfully√ā¬†back home at 8.50am to be ready to head out skiing for the day at 9am. Brilliant! Must do this again.

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bikes canada general snow

Getting around in the snow

The snow around Canmore has largely been a bit average so far this season. Certainly it’s been a bit of a rubbish cross-country skiing season for the Nordic Centre. But that’s just a good excuse to get out on the bike a little more often.

So here’s an image dump of some of the riding I’ve been doing over the last month or so….

Highline

Horseshoe trails

Horseshoe trails

G8

G8

Along the forebay

Long Road to Ruin, Nordic Centre

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bikes canada general moosling snow

Yet more post-Christmas snow adventures

The day after Boxing Day, we headed to West Bragg Creek to go exploring. It feels like a long drive, but that’s just because these days we’re outraged by having to drive a whole hour to do something apparently. There’s an absolute nest of rideable snowy single track out there, good for running and snow-shoeing too, as well as groomed nordic ski trails.

We only had a few hours there, but the conclusion was that we really need to return with more time up our sleeves. And on a less windy day (we were both blown off the bike a few times).

I went for a snowshoe while Alex was out riding. The Moosling was unimpressed with the wind, but held on while I stomped about. I don’t really feel like I see the point of snow-shoeing, as it seems to largely be done on trails that you could just as easily run on.

And then the next day it was out to Lake Louise, and my first time skiing the Telemark and Great Divide trails. It was a painful day on classic skis, with far too much grip wax on making everything hard work – on top of me being a little tired and sore after so many consecutive days of activity. On the plus side, after working at it for a few hours, I may have marginally better technique now (thanks Lincoln).

The Great Divide trail isn’t terribly inspiring, particularly when you’re working just as hard on the downhill as you are on the up, but it was still a fun day of exploration, with bonus sled dogs.

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bikes canada general moosling snow trip reports

Goat Creek (Spoiler: There were no goats in the creek)

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 old pass that takes forever just to reach;
But from the top the views around could not be beat —
On a day with such a blue and cloudless sky.
As we reached the trailhead we switched the Chariot to skis,
The better then to glide over the snow;
For things were getting tougher as we pedalled down the trail,
Could be we’d bitten off more than we could chew.

The snowy path we pedalled — staying out of skiers tracks
So the going was as hard as it could be,
For we rode on deep fresh snow, completely uncompressed
A straight line was hard to keep, and so we tired.
Then we halted for a moment, for a snack and sip of tea,
And for the wee young toddler to run about,
Before long we returned sore rears to seats and then were off,
Churning through the snow with heavy legs.

And down by Banff Springs Hotel, where the tourists flock about
The mountains rise majestic up on high,
Where the air is clear as crystal, and the white stars fairly blaze
At midnight in the cold and frosty sky,
And where around the ski trails the pine trees sweep and sway
To the breezes, and their icy beauty cannot be denied,
The snow bikes are still looked at with amazement and dismay,
And the people tell the story of their ride.

 
 

(My apologies to Banjo Paterson, I have no idea what possessed me.)
(Distance covered: 30km, Elevation gain: 750m, we didn’t bike back to Canmore as we ran out of time, and weren’t feeling that masochistic anyway)

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bikes canada general snow

What Santa brought for us

A Surly Moonlander!

A snow bike with tyres so enormously fat that people are always stopping to comment, or just yelling out from the sidewalk about how awesome they are.

It turns out Santa was thinking of Alex more than me – it’s fun, but I haven’t fallen in love with it, it just reminds me of how much I like my real mountain bike. But there is something to be said for ploughing over the top of freshly fallen snow like a little tractor.