The Mountain Bike Life

Author: Ina Hunt

Driving through Vantage, Washington doesn’t inspire visions of biking adventures. Interstate 90 slams straight though this shrub infested wasteland, full of wind turbines and cow patties. The Columbia River offers only a momentary break from the monotony of brown, mostly treeless views. Petrified wood and the basalt columns of Frenchman Coulee make up the only claim to fame for this tiny town. But this place has a lot more to it than what is framed in a speeding car window…

When someone tells you that there’s a stellar, flowy trail worth exploring on a mountain you’ve never heard of and near a town you’ve never been to, you might be skeptical. Even more so when the trail in question is in another country and the locals there have never heard of it or ridden it. Looking at a map you can see it’s out of the way and will take a whole day out of your vacation plans – is…

This winter was supposed to be all about riding our new fat bikes in the snow. Wool socks, boots, pogies, insulated camelback bladders: we were ready to spend our weekends pedaling in the cold, white world. But a little South American by the name of El Nino decided to send us West coasters the Pineapple Express – insanely warm winds that rocket up the coast from Hawaii to dump tons of rain and push temps to 10C+. Whatever snow we…

Sitting around camp the night before the start of our three-day backcountry riding trip, one of our friends exclaimed that they wanted to see a bear. Not too close, but close enough to get a good look. Like most first timers to the South Chilcotins wilderness of southwestern British Columbia, our friends were excited about what they would see and do over the days ahead. The promise of endless stretches of singletrack weaving back and forth from valley bottom to…

Riding indoors on a trainer or stationary/spin bike is par for the course if you live in a four-season postal code. While indoor spinning is good for maintaining fitness, it lacks the ‘joie de vivre’ of riding on real singletrack. Being stuck in a basement watching someone pedal in their virtual room gets boring quickly. This is where the Trail Trainer videos piqued my interest with their promise of fun indoor workouts on real mountain bike trails. Chris Allen, who…

The rainy season saw us on the run recently. Away from the damp, grey box of our mountain-lined city towards sunny, wide open spaces. Weather forecasts pointed us southeast of the Cascade Range to the rolling land between Yakima and Walla Walla. In this sage-filled desert, there are trail networks that make for great late season riding. One of these is just over the Washington border in Echo, Oregon. Those of you who have driven Interstate 84 with Moab-glazed eyes…

Showers. Drizzle. Cats and dogs. It doesn’t matter what you call it, rain is the Pacific Northwest’s favourite weather. The first big storm of fall arrived this week. Slippery roots, mud and water are now the riding norm for the months ahead. It’s our riding solstice, marking the beginning of Gortex and grit season. Deep down, I’m a fair weather rider. A rainy day inspires day dreams of desert road trips, not sloshing around in my backyard. Rain means more…

The echoes of summer rides have dimmed. Autumn clouds jostle the sun for room in the sky. The daily grind has taken over where road trips ruled the week. Spare time has become family time. One week after another our bikes sit, waiting for a rare moment of play time. When it comes, it’s brief but sometimes any ride will do. The gravel path, unlike life, is obstacle free. We roll unfettered, moving at our pace. Each turn of the…

Having not yet mastered the craft of changing a tube using the ‘hands-only’ method, tire levers come in handy when a tire goes flat. I never leave home without them…until a few weeks ago when on a morning bike commute to work I got a flat and discovered my tire levers were not in my pannier. It took a 45 minute walk-a-bike to work and an hour wait until the LBS opened to have a simple solution pointed out to…

There comes a time when you have to put the chainsaw down and go ride a bike. You’ve seen others benefit from your trail work and appreciate the smiles and thanks you get in return. But all work and no play makes for restless riders. You have to get away from the wood and start riding through the woods. Time to reap the rewards! Our Chilcotin chainsaw gang has been doing trail clearing for the past few years. Many a…

1 2 3