Winter Biking-
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Thread: Winter Biking

  1. #1
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    Jan 2004

    Winter Biking

    There were a couple of winter riding stories in the Edmonton Journal today. I rode into work today and it was +10, I had to take off my windbreaker.

    PUBLICATION: Edmonton Journal
    DATE: 2005.11.10
    EDITION: Final
    SECTION: Outdoors
    PAGE: E1 / Front
    COLUMN: Purpose Built
    BYLINE: Calvin Maxfield
    SOURCE: Freelance
    ILLUSTRATION: Colour Photo: Journal Stock / Pro-Tec Ace of Spades helmet;Colour Photo: Journal Stock / Pearl Izumi Amphib glove


    The key to biking in an Edmonton winter? Dress properly


    Mountain biking in the chill of an Edmonton winter is certainly not an impossibility. You just have to dress for it.

    Pearl Izumi knows cycling and cycling clothing. They offer two nifty products to keep the extremities comfortable in extreme elements.

    Pearl Izumi's Amphib glove provides warm comfort to the hands in cold weather rides. The polyurethane-coated nylon shell blocks cold winds and provides superb water resistance. The gloves include waterproof inserts with low-bulk polyester insulation. The leather palms feature a water-resistant finish and an etched pattern to supply dependable grip and long-lasting wear. It is also a great glove for cross country skiing. Suggested retail price is $79.95 at Mountain Equipment Co-op.

    The Amphib shoe covers slip easily over your cycling shoes. They provide excellent protection and comfort for high performance in cold, damp weather. Stretch AmFIB laminated fabric is waterproof and breatheable to keep feet dry without suffocating them. The therma-fleece interior adds warmth. The shoe cover features a fully separating waterproof zipper for easy on and off. There is also an adjustable, reflective ankle tab to allow for customized fit and leakage protection. SRP is $59.95 at Mountain Equipment Co-op.

    The Activa Stormfront pant is the mountain bikers' answer to the most extreme weather. It is fabricated with waterproof-coated durable nylon and 100-per-cent seam-sealed construction. These pants feature leg zips and articulated knees for optimum mobility. And an inner waist adjustment provides a custom fit. SRP is $99.95 at Western Cycle.

    While you're searching for cold-weather clothing, upgrade your head protection with the Pro-Tec Ace of Spades helmet. This lid provides full protection for the face, including the jaw. Trust me, it's no fun eating through a straw. This helmet is more comfortable and breatheable than you might expect and it doesn't compromise on visibility. It's also a multi-impact helmet. The SRP is $120 at Western Cycle.

    PUBLICATION: Edmonton Journal
    DATE: 2005.11.10
    EDITION: Final
    SECTION: Outdoors
    PAGE: E1 / Front
    BYLINE: Calvin Maxfield
    SOURCE: Freelance
    ILLUSTRATION: Colour Photo: John Lucas, The Journal / The crisp, fallweather in Edmonton hasn't stopped Calvin Maxfield from enjoying mountain biking on some tantalizing trails on the slopes of the MacKinnon Ravine in the city's west end.; Graphic/Diagram: Rick Colville, The Edmonton Journal / (See hard copy for graphic.)
    NOTE: Ran with fact box "Where Can You Cycle?", which has beenappended to this story.


    The bike does not stop here: Still plenty of mountain biking trails to explore in the fall and winter, especially in the slopes above the MacKinnon Ravine


    EDMONTON - Sure, we had our first minor dump of snow and more is surely on its way, but that's no reason to relegate your mountain bike to the storage shed just yet.

    Mountain biking in the semi-frozen autumn dirt or in the hard-packed snow of an Edmonton winter can be pure pleasure, especially in the trails along the MacKinnon Ravine in the city's west end.

    Sure, a grey scar of asphalt eviscerates this wondrous green ravine. But let the pavement draw the strollers, skaters, road bikes, runners and roller skiers. Take the time to explore both the south and north slopes of the ravine where tantalizing trails tease, taunt and occasionally terrorize the mountain bike rider.

    Two possible starting points are from Government House Park just west of the Groat Road Bridge or at 148th Street and Summit Drive.

    Let's start from the parking lot at Government House Park. From here, there are open dirt trails on either side of the paved trails with fine visibility. Sticking to the north side of the paved trail provides the opportunity to test the gears as you ride up and down five perky knolls and bulk up on elevation changes. The trail also peaks in and out of the bush just before you go under the 142nd Street bridge and a little after. This ride provides just a little taste of what awaits higher up on the slopes. In total, about three kilometres of steady biking takes you all the way up and out of the ravine to 149th street. Set the heart rate monitor alarm and then crank the cadence up to the max while riding this section.

    From 149th Street double back and ride the paved trail about 100 metres till you come to a natural trailhead. It is on your right just as the paved trail descends into the ravine. Trails on the south slope of the MacKinnon Ravine are characterized by many dips and a bounty of roots which can trip up even the best of riders. These trails braid for about 800 metres through the forest near the top of the slope and all the way to the 142nd Street bridge.

    As you ride under the bridge, you have three options. The easiest option is to cycle alongside the paved trail to the ravine bottom. The second easiest option is to ride up and cycle the flat dirt trail where the forest abuts the grass. This trail takes you about 400 metres to a bench. The third option is to continue back into the forest and challenge some of the more extreme rooty trails. Stay alert for fallen logs and silent hikers along the way on option 3. For the expert and daring rider, there are also some wicked short chutes to descend down on these south slopes.

    The 2nd and 3rd options merge as the trail descends. The next 200 metres of trail is undoubtably the most daunting and difficult section of this ride. The elevation changes 30 metres in this short stretch. As well, the trail is narrow with three very nasty pockets of roots. There is also a monster log to cycle over, but it can be done thanks to some man-made additions. Dismount and walk the bike down this stretch if you have the slightest misgivings.

    After this challenging section through the forest, you are back into the fullness of a manicured parkway. Almost directly across from here there is an open knoll on the north slope. It's your entry into another sweet play area which combines the knoll, the forest and a gully into a 500-metre loop. Can you climb? Can your react? Can you downhill? Can you bail? This play area might answer a few of these questions. You endure an 80-metre elevation change with one circuit of this loop. But it is a hoot, the more confident and careful intermediate bikers should ride it a few times.

    After the gully, cruise back down on the open dirt track on the north-side slope towards your starting point at Government House Park. As you approach the parking lot, you will see a big open hill leading to the Royal Alberta Museum. From the upper parking area, it is a harsh climb up even if

    traversing. Part-way up you will spy a trailhead that heads east into the bush. From here you can create another 500-metre loop. It is a friendly ride through the forest up to the Museum and then through the roadway to Wellington Crescent. Look down and you will locate a a little trailhead here. There is a narrow, steep, short trail taking you back to the paved trail in MacKinnon Ravine.

    You're not obligated to ride these trails as prescribed. You can choose where to go, which chutes to ride in and in which direction you want to go. And although the route described covers most of the trails in this area, there are certainly more to explore.

    Here are a few areas not to tackle, however. Skip the strip connecting MacKinnon to MacKenzie Ravine along the North Saskatchewan River. This trail is defined by sensitive, sloppy and unstable slope with intermittent stairs. Forget Ramsay Ravine. One prong of it is a paved trail and the other prong has wicked bush sections you couldn't crawl through.


    - The city of Edmonton has opened up more trails to cyclists since revising its Parkland Bylaw in 2003, but there are still restrictions.

    - Unless prohibited by signs, cyclists are permitted on two types of trails as defined in the bylaw -- improved or unimproved trails.

    - Improved trails are parkland paths or tracks that are 1.5 or more metres wide that have been paved, or have granular material or mulch on them, or a maintained grass surface.

    - Unimproved trails are trails with a natural surface that are at least 0.5 metres wide. They do not include the narrow animal paths that often crisscross Edmonton's river valley.

    - Cyclists and other users are required to stay off the unimproved trails if they are likely to damage or put ruts in the parkland, such as in wet and rainy conditions.

    Formerly Travis Bickle

    Team Robot. "modulation is code for “I suck at brake control.” Here’s a free tip: get better."

  2. #2
    Reputation: ferday's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    MEC now sells "freeride" studded tires for $90 a piece. the river valley might be some nice winter riding.
    what would rainbow unicorn do?

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    hey travis are you from edmonton...

    well if you are can u tell me some good free ride/ dh spots in west ed

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