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  1. #1
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    Edmonton Riding - Summer 2011

    Seeing as how summer officially started a while back, I figured a new thread was warranted.

    Haven't been on the bike in three weeks due to weather and an injury, but got out this morning. Shouldv'e brought my camera. Next time.

    Highlights: Capilano boat launch is cratered like the moon, and has a visible crack that has split the ground wide open. Earthquake resemblance: 7/10. Well worth the visit just to have a look at what some water can do.

    Lots of trail errosion and lots of overgrowth since I was last out. Crazy how fast the trails can change in so little time.

    Bonus: no green catterpillars to be found!

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    After reading your post I had to go see the boat launch. I can`t believe how high the water was! There is lot`s of trail damage to anything that was low. It`s too bad, but I guess you have to expect it coming from a river...
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Edmonton Riding - Summer 2011-img_7064.jpg  

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    I was out today and noticed that we have lost some of our trails. Mill Creek has lost trail into the creek and the piece west of the Dawson on the North side of the river also fell in.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gord962 View Post
    I was out today and noticed that we have lost some of our trails. Mill Creek has lost trail into the creek and the piece west of the Dawson on the North side of the river also fell in.
    The Dawson Creek - is this the trail that has access off the paved trail just past the pedistrian bridge? This is the trail that's tight through the brush (watch out for homeless people!) and then super quick flow by residential houses? If so, that really sucks. I'm going to have to go check that out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jkirkpatri View Post
    The Dawson Creek - is this the trail that has access off the paved trail just past the pedistrian bridge? This is the trail that's tight through the brush (watch out for homeless people!) and then super quick flow by residential houses? If so, that really sucks. I'm going to have to go check that out.

    Rode through it yesterday...
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    A jogger tsk-tsked at me on that Riverdale trail once - even though the signage was pretty inconclusive (it's only closed if you're heading east, but not west?), and if the trail was closed then they shouldn't have been on it either. But after that I decided to be a responsible trail user and skip the obviously eroded section right on the river. So I basically ride the twisty homeless section, hit the mup for 200m, and then back into the trees before the tireswing. I rode through on saturday and didn't even notice the collapse.

    And then I did a fairly nasty faceplant a little west of the goldbar footbridge. Just riding along on the gravel mup, picked a line between two trees, but didn't realize that one of them was wrapped in chicken wire. Noticed it way too late, and I was in way too close, and bam. Stupid invisible chickenwire.

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    Ok...I am not a future film maker by any stretch....but this should give you a flavor of the Ride to Conquer Cancer this year...



    There are sections of audio from the Ride itself....the GoPro and I did our best to let you hear some of the "good" stuff and keep some tunes spinning
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    Everything is just so damp right now. When do the out-of-town racers typically start showing up for the Canada Cup?

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    ^ I think you'll see some vans down at the Kinsmen tennis court parking lot about 4-5 days before the event, so next Tuesday/Wednesday.

    Got out today for a spin. Pictures to follow.

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    Random shots from Wednesday night. Some random dude; what happens when people ride bikes and widen the ST as they don't want to get muddy; Capilano boat launch; mud slide where a trail used to be; River Queen; a billion mosquitoes (not pictured)




















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    ^ are those last few shots from east of the boat launch, or from somewhere else? (trails all kindof looks the same after awhile)

    The trail from Keilor to Hawrelak has seen some pretty severe shifting recently. It hasn't all collapsed into the river (yet?), but a couple of new drops have opened up. The instability extends pretty far back into the trees.

    And I took advantage of the brief sun yesterday to take a quick trip down to the new Ft Ed pedestrian bridge at lunch:


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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    ^ are those last few shots from east of the boat launch, or from somewhere else? (trails all kindof looks the same after awhile)
    Last two shots are east of the River Queen, and are past the wire fence. I like to think of this trail as the pump track (many, many rolling bumps that you can pump your bike through and along).

    The shot with the tread marks from the caterpillar that went through to grade the MUT is right next to the capilano boat launch, west side. It's the trail that is just below the pavillan area.

    Nice find on the deer. I've only seen two deer in the river valley. One was in Mill Creek at 5am and the other one was in Terwilliger, at a more respectible time of 7am.

  13. #13
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    I saw a coyote in Mill Creek the other day. He was running way to fast too get a picture, I would imagine it would have freaked out some little dog owners if they saw it.
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    I've seen a coyote once this year in Mill Creek as well; early spring. I wouldn't be surprised if he/she lives there. Again, an early morning sighting.

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    Warning, non-bike content!

    Seeing how crappy the weather here in Edmonton is, I thought I'd post something different. Here are some random pics I took while backpacking Mount Robson with my wife last weekend.


    Whitehorn campsite suspension bridge over the Robson River. One person at a time with a definite cool factor to it.


    Coming out of Robson from Emporer Falls. You don't know what a hill is until you hike this 5km long hill up and down. Add a backpack and it was a 2.0 hour torture fest up and 1.5 hour torture fest down two days later. It's five days later and my thighs are still sore.


    The view out of our tent at Emporer Falls. The river is damn loud, but in a soothing relaxing way.


    Robson Glacier, on the backside of Mount Robson with Berg Lake. 21km from the parking lot at this point. No toursists up here!


    Same glacier, different angle.


    Yes, the crazy rain we've had here in Edmonton is evident here too. You can see that the lake has flooded about 17 meters and has almost taken over a tent site.


    One km stretch cut into the side of the mountain with random strangers heading back to Emporer Falls. A very cool stretch of the hike, but have to watch your footing as the trail is all loose rock slabs.


    Mount Robson, as seen from our tent vestibule.


    Avalanche area, and yes, that white stuff is snow still left over from winter. Current temperature when we took this picture was about 24 Celcius. Carnage up the mountain, a cleared path, and carnage down the mountain. A definite WTF moment until we saw the snow.


    Mount Robson, from a toursist viewpoint.


    Total backpacking distance about 42km. Total number of steps per my pedometer about 71,000. Only wildlife observed - park ranger horses, squirrels, and three porcupines. Saw a bear outside of Hinton, but thankfully no bear or bear scat on the trail. No rain during the day, but poured at night. Lots of fibreous mud, 80%+ humidity, and a nice break from the Edmonton crapfest that has so far been our summer.

    ....and now back to the Edmonton, not so much riding thread.....

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    Canada Cup running today down at Kinsmen. What a s1ht fest that is. Guys on one lap are already covered in mud, can't see their drivetrain, and are pushing/carrying their bikes through the mud infested course. No camera on today's ride, but the Canada Cup course is going to be beat to a pulp by the end of the day. Kudos to those who didn't say f-it after one lap, I know I would of.

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    Nice pictures..we were camping there last weekend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jkirkpatri View Post
    Canada Cup running today down at Kinsmen. What a s1ht fest that is. Guys on one lap are already covered in mud, can't see their drivetrain, and are pushing/carrying their bikes through the mud infested course. No camera on today's ride, but the Canada Cup course is going to be beat to a pulp by the end of the day. Kudos to those who didn't say f-it after one lap, I know I would of.


    I don't get it. mtb clubs/riders in Edmonton are always trying to promote trail preservation/maintenance and a part of that has always been to encourage riders not ride when trails are wet to prevent forming ruts and destroying trails but all of a sudden when its Canada Cup XC its okay. Again, I don't get it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by funnyjr View Post
    I don't get it. mtb clubs/riders in Edmonton are always trying to promote trail preservation/maintenance and a part of that has always been to encourage riders not ride when trails are wet to prevent forming ruts and destroying trails but all of a sudden when its Canada Cup XC its okay. Again, I don't get it.
    It's a "Canada Cup" race. You have riders from across the country coming to Edmonton to do this race. It's actually a pretty big and significant event. You can't upheave the race day and put a lot of riders in chaos with travel plans (airplane flights, hotels, etc). The race is a go, rain or shine. Points are on the line, elite riders are here, etc. It's not just the locals that are racing here.

    It it was a local event (like the Perogy XC), then yes, the event could be postponed. The Perogy got postponed until near the end of August due to the rain (it was set for a mid-July race at the Strathcona Science Park), but it's a local event and although not ideal, rescheduling is possible and for this event, was actually done.

    For trail conservation, this race will actually be a better trail "conservation" event than what the local riders have done to the trail system this past month. This is a designated race with a designated course. These guys don't go out of their way to avoid a mud puddle. The guys that go out of their way to avoid a mud puddle are the ones that take a single track and widen it to a double track due to not staying on the trail. I see this everywhere in our river valley this year. The Canada Cup course will have some huge ruts on it when the weather drys up, but at least the trail damage will be on the trail itself, unlike the rest of the trail damage/trail widening that is happening elsewhere.

    The trail damage sucks, no doubt, but it'll be much easier to restore than other areas of the city. When the leaves fall is when you'll see the true extent of this past summer's rain.

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    Agreed - damage was mainly isolated to the east end of the course. Unfortunately some lines on the ridgelines may never be restored. The groups that have been participating on the trail maintenance days are working on preventing trail widening and trying to restore areas where trails have widened because LOCALS are too worried about riding through a mud puddle.
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    I hit most of the CC course on the way home tonight, and was surprised what good shape it's in. The techy section right below scona road definitely took the worst of it - it's basically shredded, and it's still mucky, and I walked through most of it. But everywhere else was pretty dry, with maybe a few new brake bumps or muddy divots. Considering how bad the conditions were I was expecting a lot more damage, but for the most part I could barely even tell that there'd been a race.

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    ^this is good news to hear, thanks for the update.

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    Yeah, I'd stay away from the east section right below scona rd/sask dr for awhile. They've added some ladders in a few of the bad spots, but it was just no fun and racing must have stunk. The other eastern stuff that's between the river and the paved trail (that got pretty beaten up last year) is in pretty good shape aside from a puddle or two that haven't drained. And the Queen E, kinsmen and U stuff is all fine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    Yeah, I'd stay away from the east section right below scona rd/sask dr for awhile. They've added some ladders in a few of the bad spots, but it was just no fun and racing must have stunk. The other eastern stuff that's between the river and the paved trail (that got pretty beaten up last year) is in pretty good shape aside from a puddle or two that haven't drained. And the Queen E, kinsmen and U stuff is all fine.
    ya, that how it looked during the race as well. West Coast Trail and Pigs Back took the worst of the punishment and were for the most part unrideable. Everything else I was able to ride other than a few climbs that were a bit too greasy.
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    Wow jkirkpatri I love the glacier pics! Too bad we dont have any of those in Edmonton :P

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    More trail collapses:

    Upper Ewok could no longer exist shortly. The downhill/sidehill section has fallen a bit - it is still rideable if you have some DH skillz or like drops to thin, sketchy landings, otherwise it is now a walking section. Past that, you can see a very noticeable 'fault line' where the trail is quite obviously going to fall away.

    The DH section on the far south end of Ewok is continuing to evolve - a new drop into the last hill sure increases the thrill of that trail!

    All the trails west of the university were in great shape last night, other than West Coast Trail. There were only a few puddles on most trails but I suspect that the rain last night will set us back a few days.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gord962 View Post
    The DH section on the far south end of Ewok is continuing to evolve - a new drop into the last hill sure increases the thrill of that trail!
    That's the run that connects mid/upper ewok to lower? I haven't been down there since everything was underwater. Any idea if lower ewok is even kindof rideable?

    Should be a pretty crummy long weekend for riding...

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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    That's the run that connects mid/upper ewok to lower? I haven't been down there since everything was underwater. Any idea if lower ewok is even kindof rideable?

    Should be a pretty crummy long weekend for riding...
    Nope - it's the piece that starts at the very top - it drops in from the chain link fence. It empties at the MUT just past where the regular upper Ewok joins the MUT.
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    ^ Hmmm. I think that's a new one for me, then. I know the other downhill/sidehill section that's collapsing, but Ewok's got so many options that I guess I have to do some more exploring.

  30. #30
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    There is a lot of the upper portions of Ewok that won't be there in a few years. When I took the DT through a little over a month ago, things were considerably different from the last time I took the Cake through (say 1 yr difference). That slope is extremely active and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the existing upper Ewok is wiped out by slides in the coming couple years.

    I think I may need to take the DT out tomorrow for a longer spin on the trails...maybe Mill Creek for a run out to the Fort Edmonton foot bridge then maybe try some of the north side stuff from Beauna Vista back...we'll see. It'll be pretty long considering the weather and house have kept me off the bike for a lot of this month.
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Psycho Mike View Post
    There is a lot of the upper portions of Ewok that won't be there in a few years. When I took the DT through a little over a month ago, things were considerably different from the last time I took the Cake through (say 1 yr difference). That slope is extremely active and I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of the existing upper Ewok is wiped out by slides in the coming couple years.

    I think I may need to take the DT out tomorrow for a longer spin on the trails...maybe Mill Creek for a run out to the Fort Edmonton foot bridge then maybe try some of the north side stuff from Beauna Vista back...we'll see. It'll be pretty long considering the weather and house have kept me off the bike for a lot of this month.
    The way the weather has been the last couple of years it's going to change the look of pretty much the whole valley. Alot of sections have fallen into the river already. I was in Ewok the other day and had to exit as the trails turned to snot I think your right about the slope changing.

    I'm just heading out. Albeit a little later then I wanted to head out but I was planning on pretty much the same route, maybe I'll see ya out there...
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    One of the guys I work with said that once upon a time the low route from Buena Vista to Mackinnon had a whole boardwalk or something? He wasn't talking about the one that runs up mckenzie ravine, but was saying that it was north of there in the section that's now closed. Anyone know how long ago that was?

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    ^ if I remember correctly, that was about 15-20 years ago. A long, long time ago.

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    ^ thanks. I was wondering if it was wiped out in the mid-80's flood, or if it was around later than that. It sounds like later? It's too bad that the drainage is so crappy on the trail through there.

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    Well, yesterday's ride was...wet. After the Friday afternoon showers, it was plain nasty in some areas. Mill Creek wasn't too bad (MUTs were good, ST was moderately wet), but some spots were very wet (I walked them to try to avoid damaging the trail). I didn't do below Sask Drive (thanks for the notes) but I did the Queen E park singletrack, which was pretty good.

    Kinsmen was in good shape, as were the MUTs through to Keillor Road. Upper Keillor is an absolute bog...to the point that parts are virtually impassable right now (avoid it!). Based on upper, I didn't do lower Keillor. Patricia Ravine was pretty good on the MUTs, but I laid off the single track.

    And in case anyone needs to know, the 75 Street and Whyte Ave Mickey D's drive-through can be gone through on a bike (I had to re-fill the hydration pack )

    It was a fun ride, but the DT is now brown (though it handles stairs exceptionally well when in its slack setting, I must say) and needs a bath. My riding gear is also brown, so it's going in the wash. Hopefully we'll get some nice warm weather for a bit and it'll dry things out a hair.
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    Sick of the rain! Enough already!

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    Quote Originally Posted by spadmike View Post
    Sick of the rain! Enough already!
    Hey, could be worse...
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    Actually, there are a lot more of the "Warning: Trail Erosion Ahead" signs out there. Heck, a part of Millcreek north of 76th (just a little north of the new bit they put in a couple years ago) has let go and it has cut to the MUT. We've had some serious water this year and the trails are showing it
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    On Sunday it was noticed that the trail NW of Keilor Road has shifted significantly and plenty of fault lines to be found as well. Surprisingly, the lower trail was mostly rideable other than where the river would obviously wash away the trail but you can still get through the spring 'bypass' area. There was only one real large mud hole and as I smashed through the center of it I think I lost sight of my hubs! There were a few other muddy spots on the odd corner, but it was surprisingly rideable. A few bridges would keep you from having to dismount other than 1 spot where you have to hike-a-bike.
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    The Groat Road Rollercoaster is nice and rideable (at least until tonight's inevitable rain...). There are a few mudholes in inconvenient places, but other than that it's in good shape with no faultlines or anything. The stuff above mackinnon is also in pretty good shape, but at the west end there are some giant mudholes that just aren't draining.

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    Saw a deer on Victoria Secret tonight, which was kindof a surprise. Hope it knows where it's going. The vegetation along there is pretty crazy, and there's a few sections where it's tough to see the trail. Other than that it's in good condition, but don't expect to go very fast.

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    Rode it two nights ago. If it was not for the guys ahead of me I would have had a hard seeing the trail at times.

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    ^ there's that one spot with all those 5' high thistles? My forearms are just a mass of scratches.

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    Not sure if this has been asked but just wondering, what do you think the perfect Edmonton bike would be? 26 er hard tail, 29er, xc full sus? I am thinking about a Rocky Mountain element, kona Cadabra or a 29er hardball? What do you all think?

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    Quote Originally Posted by spadmike View Post
    Not sure if this has been asked but just wondering, what do you think the perfect Edmonton bike would be? 26 er hard tail, 29er, xc full sus? I am thinking about a Rocky Mountain element, kona Cadabra or a 29er hardball? What do you all think?
    I ride a 29er and I'll never go back. Too many advantages over a 26er from this rider's perspective. Check out the 29er forum for information overload. I ride a 2009 GF Paragon. We don't have enough nasty stuff to make my hardtail obsolete; however, I am considering a new 29er fully for next year for sh1ts and giggles

    Ride report: Kinsmen, Old Timer's Cabin, and McKinnon Ravine are all in superb shape. A few mud puddles at the end of rooty trail and that's it for mud that we saw last night. Some slick spots on the Canada Cup course here and there (mostly the east side of the course).

    Rooty trail is whack a mole with your arms and face (brush), but nothing too bad. Three scratched on my arm, some greenery in my front teeth (serves me right for not having my mouth closed), and only one rider crash - thankfully not me this time!

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    Quote Originally Posted by spadmike View Post
    Not sure if this has been asked but just wondering, what do you think the perfect Edmonton bike would be? 26 er hard tail, 29er, xc full sus? I am thinking about a Rocky Mountain element, kona Cadabra or a 29er hardball? What do you all think?
    Rigid 29er single speed! I ride everything in Edmonton on mine No pivots to replace, no fork to rebuild, no derailleurs to adjust and no cables to replace!

    The debate of 26 vs. 29 will go on forever BUT keep in mind that most manufacturers are dropping their mid to high end 26 HT and replacing them with a 29 version. That being said, 26 FS is still WAY more popular than the 29 FS. Which is better? It comes down to rider preference. I own 3 29ers (2 hard tails, 1 rigid) but just because it is the better bike for me doesnít make them the right bike for everyone.

    Same goes for HT vs. FS - completely up to each individual and their comfort level. Riding Bob Sled last night on my rigid was no where near as fun as it would have been bombing it on a FS, but there are very few trails where I have to be on the brakes on my rigid. That being said, I still caught some dude on a FS bike coming down Bob Sled so I guess I can still carry quite a bit of speed through there!

    My best advice is to try a bunch of bikes out on your favorite trails and choose the one that makes the trails the most fun!
    If you want all the comforts of home, stay there.

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  47. #47
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    Gord, you don't race the rigid ss do you? I took mine down bobsled last night too, and was pleasantly reminded how capable and fun it is. I still like having a 26" hardtail, but riding my 29er over the rooty section of Mackinnon I realized how much easier the big wheels are on that stuff. I actually have to plan pedalstrokes and weightshifts with the geared 26er, but with the rigid ss 29er I can be so much lazier.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by spadmike View Post
    Not sure if this has been asked but just wondering, what do you think the perfect Edmonton bike would be? 26 er hard tail, 29er, xc full sus? I am thinking about a Rocky Mountain element, kona Cadabra or a 29er hardball? What do you all think?
    Wheweee!! You've had the can opener going for this one

    The 26er vs 29er debate is one that will go on forever and a day, IMO. I ride a 'cross bike (700c rigid) and a fs 26er...so here are my thoughts...

    1) There isn't much around town that can't be ridden on a hardtail bike. I think a 29er hardtail has a bit of an advantage over a 26er on the roots...but if you're a smaller person, they can be a bit harder to get to carve in the tighter areas.

    2) FS bikes are a different beast than hardtails and take a little bit to get used to. They have some advantages in rear wheel tracking and traction, but as Gord mentioned, they are also higher maintenance.

    If you could only have one bike for riding just in Edmonton and you're 5'6" or better, I'd say a 29er hardtail is all you'd need. As I plan on hitting stuff in the mountains and having one "do it all" bike for off-road, I went for a fs 26er. YMMV
    As if four times wasn't enough-> Psycho Mike's 2013 Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled View Post
    Gord, you don't race the rigid ss do you?
    I have only raced my 'racing' bike (vertex 29er SE) 3 times this year - the other 7 races I have done have been on the rigid SS. The time I lose on the really rooty downhills is by far exceeded by the time I make up on the climbs. The only time I can't make up is the flats.

    I have only ridden my Vertex about 8 times this year, including races. I won't ever be without a geared HT as there are a few races that require gears and suspension and I would also take it with me to the mountains. But for riding around Edmonton, the rigid SS is my bike of choice. When I do sell my Vertex, it will be replaced by a 1 or 2 x 10 29er HT.
    If you want all the comforts of home, stay there.

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  50. #50
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    HT 29er's are great for Edmonton trails. I really like how the 29er keeps the momentum going over my previous 26er FS bikes. Going back to riding HT alone is an amazing feeling after being on FS for awhile, however if you are the type that sits and mashes through all the rough stuff even a 29er HT will knock the sh_t out of you and better off staying on a FS. I personally find 29er FS overkill and most of the ones available currently are heavy as tanks.

    On a side note I rode Canada Cup > Kinsmen > Emily Murphy > McKinnon Ravine > Bobsled > Victoria Secret. All great except for few mud holes and Victoria Secret trail which is usually quite fun but lately it sucks sh_t as someone mentioned earlier that its overgrown in thistle and brush all over the face. You literally have to pop a pack of Reactine or bring a Epi pen with you thats how itchy/uncomfortable/bad it is.
    Last edited by funnyjr; 08-05-2011 at 11:21 PM.

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