August 22, 2017 at 12:31 pm #817472
I ended up doing a trip out to BC this summer. 20 years mountain biking and it was my first time making it out to Mecca. I had previously canceled the trip, due to the lack of a riding buddy that had the time off. I ended up going anyways on a solo mission, telling my riding brain to ride at 8/10 instead of the usual 9/10.
Marquette was a perfect 12, 13 hour drive from where I am east of Toronto. I spent three days riding here. I thought the trails were great. Well-marked. Not far from town. Rock and root. Friendly bike shops. The town was beautiful as well, on the shores of Lake Superior. Non-bikers would enjoy a summer trip to Marquette as well. I camped at urban camping park. Cheap, clean and a beach to swim at.
There’s enough trail to keep you interested for a couple of days. I mostly rode the descents (and got back up grinding out fire-road climbs). I’m sure it could be made into XC loops.
As far as a recommendation to go there, I’d rather drive to Kingdom than ride here, but it would definitely be worth the trip is you are wanted to see Michigan or lived up closer to the Sault.
Before BC, I spent a week with family in Manitoba. Using Trailforks, I found trails south of Brandon, which I could hardly believe existed, but the reviews were good. I rolled in right at 7:00pm, having left Marquette that morning. Well, I think half of the Brandon MTB community was meeting at that time. I ended up getting a personal guide (local shop bike mechanic) for a top-speed tour. The trails were great. Super well built, very smooth, twisty and fast! I had a blast. The elevation is made possible due to glacier movement.
I also spotted trail in Riding Mountain National Park on Strava Heatmaps, which was about an hour away from the family cabin. Sure enough, it was mountainous. There was one beautiful trail in there, Reeves, as well as some really fun double track stuff. Reeves was a long downhill trail with some awesome, exposed high-speed ridge line stuff. I ended up getting three rides in at Riding Mountain. A must-hit if you’re up in that part of the province.
I spent time with friends in Calgary and did a couple of rides at Bragg Creek, SW of Calgary. These are serious trails. Big features, steep DH terrain, flow trails, jumps. I felt way under-biked on my Process 111 on anything with a black-diamond, but still had a lot of fun here.
On to Fernie. Holy shit. This place is paradise. I had to get to Fernie in the summer, having spent a couple of ski-bum winters here. They have multiple riding zones a comfortable 5-10 minute pedal from downtown. So many amazing trails. I rode here 5 days and didn’t move my car once. The scene is amazing. Bikes everywhere. Amazing trail association and infrastructure. Crazy well marked and well maintained trails. True, the trails were a disaster due to the no-rain summer they are having, but it didn’t bother me. The Process 111 felt like a great sized bike. The trails aren’t very rocky and the roots aren’t insane. The trails are flowy and fast. God, the way the trail undulates, so much to pop off of. Town is great too. Fernie is small and it’s just a lovely place to be. Gorgeous scenery. I would go back to Fernie in a heart-beat.
I went from Fernie to Revelstoke, dodging the wild-fires, to meet with a buddy from home that has moved out to Revy. We did the McPherson trails the first day. It had an XC-feel (able to do loops, tighter, tech stuff) as well as long amazing downhills. Highly recommended. The next day was the newly opened Frisby Ridge. Gorgeous alpine riding. Not technical, but long and fast. And to die for scenery. For the final day of the trip, we treated ourselves and did a heli-drop (Glacier Helicopters) on nearby Mt. Cartier. $200 for a 2.6k vertical drop downhill. Good value and an amazing experience.
1. Go to BC. I thought BC could never live up to the dream I had built over the last 20 years. It was just as good as my dreams.
2. Mountain bikers are awesome. I met so many friendly folk in bike shops and on the trail. Got guided by locals and received great advice. Best sport in the world.
3. Trailforks is killer. I had never used this app. It’s awesome. Off-line maps with all the trails. You can’t get lost with this thing.
4. My local trails are still rad. My local trails are still rad. My local trails are still rad…(keeps telling himself)August 22, 2017 at 2:55 pm #817474
Haha, sounds awesome!
You’re local trails are still rad… and I find anytime I’ve returned from out west my riding on the local trails is more fun, more aggressive and generally better… which helps keep them rad!August 23, 2017 at 9:15 am #817478
Sounds like a great trip!August 24, 2017 at 11:25 am #817483
Great report. I got into mtb about 8 or 9 years ago on amateur DH and hiking lines in Jasper – never ended up going south to the real trails. I’m probably going to visit friends in Calgary next summer so sounds like a couple days in Fernie will be called for….August 25, 2017 at 1:27 pm #817492
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