With the mercury dropping and the white stuff presumably on its way at some point, I’m reminded of one of the North Shore Mountains more underrated pleasures. That pastime, folks, is riding your mountain bike in the snow, and when I lived in North Vancouver, it was something I used to do whenever I got the chance! So why, you ask, would someone really want to layer on clothing, don thick gloves, and breathe in the cold, drafty winds of the Seymour Valley? Well, because it’s fun, that’s why!
There is something special about those days when snow falls and the sun sits lower on the horizon. It all combines to add a certain magic to your surroundings, as even the simplest images seem to come alive with a coat of fresh snow! You get to enjoy the silence of winter, interrupted only by the sounds of nature and your bike rolling forward. It’s a chance to clear your mind of all the clutter of everyday life, and to lose yourself in a different world!
Typically, I like to ride all year long, and living in southwestern British Columbia often affords you that possibility. Though I’m now living happily on Vancouver Island and exploring the trails here, sometimes I do miss those days on the North Vancouver trails. That said, join me as I share the stoke about winter riding in the Seymour Valley. You might find it’s something you’ve been missing out on!
While I’m at it, I’ll review a little about preparing for winter rides. Naturally, you’ll want to be ready to get outside as soon as those snowflakes fly, right? To begin with, a well tuned bike with tires that will provide plenty of traction is a good place to start. While riding your bike in the snow is a blast, it’s also an entirely different skillset, and one that requires more practice than you might think, so take it slowly and learn the way your bike behaves in winter conditions. An early start is recommended too, because you’ll normally need extra time to get where you’re going. In addition to my usual toolkit, I often bring along some WD 40 and a pick that I use to clear ice from places it may form, such as the pedals, shoe cleats, chain, or derailleur.