Tag Archives: dirt biking

Columbia and Western Trail – Trans Canada Trail

With the weather starting to warm up in the Kootenays we have been starting to play hookey from the grind of work and school to fit in some kayaking and dirt biking. While the boys have been tackling lots of local single track and steep, rocky terrain I’ve decided that it just doesn’t make dirt biking fun for me. The great news is that we have found the perfect trail for me – the Columbia and Western Trail, which is a component of the Trans Canada Trail and runs 162 km from Castlegar to Grand Forks.

On the Castlegar end the trail starts at the base of the Arrow Lakes alongside all the log booms for the Mills. It is a safe place to park and leave a vehicle with lots of room for trailers as well.

As a rail trail, the trail is very level with no more than a 2.2% grade at the steepest point. It made for very easy riding and we were pretty much alone the entire time, thanks to it being a weekday afternoon. It is a multi-use trail so important for motorized to give way to non-motorized and especially to stop for the horse riders so you don’t spook the horses.

The trestles were impressive and very well maintained. Not quite as many or as tall as when we rode the Kettle Valley Rail Road Trail near Kelowna, but still quite beautiful and impressive engineering.

We went through three tunnels each way- two were fairly easy but the third was long enough that you really needed some extra light to see and help manage through the wet vs dry areas of the trail. They boys were fine as they have lights on their bike – my first time through I was not happy being in the dark so on our way back through Hunter generously rode behind me to shine his light and help decrease my stress level.

We made it about 20 km down the trail, so 40 km round trip. It was just right for my first ride of the season. It will be great to continue to explore various aspects of the trail and hopefully make it the entire length by the end of the fall.

 

Dirt biking – a great distraction for the in between season!

Late fall in Canada is a frustrating window of time – whitewater is disappearing but there is not enough snow to go snowboarding. Normally we would just drive further south in search of warm weather and more whitewater to solve that problem but this year we tried something new – sticking around and dirt biking…

After much lobbying from Hunter a set of Honda CRF 150’s made it into the toy box this year.

Although we’re not huge fans of logging for the damage that it can do, the upside is great trails into some really scenic areas!

You just have to look past all the clear-cutting debris…

It’s been fun trying something new – I’m sure there will be many more adventures to come next spring!

 

Dirt Biking 101

IMG_4866Hunter has been wanting to buy a dirt bike for a while. We decided that it might be a good idea to try one out before continuing to work so hard to save up. After lots of research done by Hunter he discovered Trail Tours, that were located just an hour away from Grandma’s house in Ontario. His 13th birthday present was now covered… a Mom and Hunter beginner dirt biking day!

 

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Trail Tours is located near Pontypool in Ontario and are right next to the Ganaraska Forest, which is over 11,000 acres in size and has over 100 km of multi-use trails that allow motorized vehicles (there is an additional section in the centre of the forest set aside for passive use) Note to selves: they have a 60km IMBA Epic Mtn Bike trail that we should come back and check out. They have a huge inventory of Honda bikes, with something to fit everyone, and also provided all of the gear for the day.

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After getting ourselves suited up we headed off to the riders meeting to learn about general safety and program expectations. It rained ALOT the day before we went, which turned out to be fabulous for the sandy trails, and it also lead to a number of cancellations so Hunter and I were in a class of our own. We spent the first hour on a small loop right at the Trail Tours site learning the basics of dirt biking. I was amazed at how quickly we progressed through the skills and it was not nearly as difficult as I thought. Lots of mountain biking logic was transferrable and the whole gear shifting thing with your foot went super smoothly.

IMG_4856We still had an hour to spare before lunch so we headed off into the forest to learn more skills (going over logs, tight turns and emergency braking) and had our first taste of actual trail riding… which left us really excited for the afternoon!

IMG_4868You can bring your lunch or buy it onsite for $9.00. Lunch break is between 45 minutes to an hour depending on how busy things are for the staff as the half day transition also happens then and they have to manage gear returns and gearing up. Hunter was bouncing around and couldn’t wait to get going again… Our first stop in the forest was a fun pump track where we got to practice rollers and burms, going progressively faster as we got more comfortable.

IMG_4870The rest of the afternoon flew by. We rode wide track, narrow track, single track, up hills, down hills, sandy terrain and rocky terrain. Our highest point was this really neat look out where you could see the edge of Lake Ontario (beyond the windmills) and supposedly on clear days you can see New York state.

IMG_4875We finished up our ride by stopping at a spring that is in a protected area of the forest. The water was crystal clear and so refreshing, covered by huge canopy of trees and lots of mossy areas. A perfect way to end the day.

We had an amazing day. The staff at Trails Tour were great – very supportive, very informative and super friendly. Big thanks to Chad and Danielle for a wonderful first experience. I don’t think it will be our last. We definitely recommend Trail Tours – whether it be for beginners looking to learn to ride or for experienced riders to get some guiding on a great set of trails.