gros morne fatbike 2016

Easter fell during a prime time for fatbiking Gros Morne this year, so Darren and I made plans to go there for the week.  We had a short, preliminary exploration of the park last year and knew that there was lots more we wanted to ride.  We weren’t disappointed…

Our Good Friday feast. At the junction of the Trans-Canada highway and Route 420 is White Bay Convenience. The food is fantastic - we had supper, breakfast and lunch there.

Our Good Friday feast. At the junction of the Trans-Canada highway and Route 420 is White Bay Convenience. The food is fantastic – we had supper, breakfast and lunch there.

 

Western Brook Pond

Day 1

 

Here's the route we took. (Darren McD image)

Here’s the route we took. Taylor’s Brook Road begins on Route 420. Drive in 3 kilometers and you will find Taylor’s Brook Accommodations. Ask for Terry – he will set you up with a place to park for a small fee (we paid $15 for 3 days, two nights). He will also have LOADS of knowledge about trail conditions. Pick his brain. (Darren McD image)

Here's the route with elevation. (Darren McD image)

Here’s the route with elevation.
(Darren McD image)

Darren and I at the start.

Darren and I at the start.

Looking west, on Taylors Brook Road.

Looking west, on Taylors Brook Road. The first 24 km are groomed. At Km 24 our route took a left off the groomed stuff and our real work began.

PR take 2

 

This is the view looking west. That is Matty's Pond in the left of the picture. The arrow shows the cove we camped in.

This is the view looking west. That is Matty’s Pond in the left of the picture, where we made camp.

On Matty's Pond.

On Matty’s Pond.

Stats from our first day.

Stats from our first day. We began at 10 AM and stopped at 5 PM. Elevation gained, fully packed bikes and loose trail for the final 16 km kept average speed low.

Running water was scarce; luckily I found these ice fishing holes near our camp. Unfortunately, they were frozen over the next morning.

Running water was scarce; luckily I found these ice fishing holes near our camp. Unfortunately, they were frozen over the next morning.

Day 2

It went down to -18C our first night and -15C our second.

It went down to -18C our first night and -15C our second.

Our camp on Matty's Pond.

Our camp on Matty’s Pond.

The start of Day 2. Blue sky and no wind.

The start of Day 2. Blue sky and no wind.

The riding was fantastic.

The riding was fantastic.

image

image

Mountain take 2

 

Click on the image above to enlarge it, then look for Darren on the ridge line to get perspective on the vastness we were riding in.

Click on the image above to enlarge it, then look for Darren on the ridge line to get perspective on the vastness we were riding in.

We did it!

We did it!

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Everyone wants their photo taken at The Gorge.

Everyone wants their photo taken at The Gorge.

Parks Canada staff were checking for park passes. Yes, we had ours.

Parks Canada staff were checking for park passes. Yes, we had ours.

Leaving The Gorge.

Leaving The Gorge.

We stopped to watch the sledders high-pointing.

We stopped to watch the sledders high-pointing.

A friendly snowmobiler offered me a beer.

A friendly snowmobiler offered me a beer.

Stats for the trip from our camp to Western Brook Pond look off and back. Check out that max speed!

Stats for the trip from our camp to Western Brook Pond look off and back. Check out that max speed!

Day 3

The descent down onto Matty's Pond was a scream; the climb back up, not so much...

The descent down onto Matty’s Pond was a scream; the climb back up, not so much…

Snowmobilers were always courteous and encouraging. (Jeff Spurrell photo)

Snowmobilers were always courteous and encouraging. We were loosing elevation on the way out and the trails were firmer, so it only took 4 hours to reach the car versus 7 hours to get in. (Jeff Spurrell photo)

Wigwam Pond

The weather was lousy all day Tuesday but we did manage to get in a night ride on the Wigwam Pond trail.

The weather was lousy all day Tuesday but we did manage to get in a night ride on the Wigwam Pond trail.

Ten Mile Pond

Ten Mile Pond sits at the base of Gros Morne; anyone who has climbed to the summit has looked down onto this pond.  We went looking for the chance to be on the pond looking up at the summit.

Logistically, this is an easy ride.  Park at the Gros Morne Visitors Centre in Rocky Harbour.  Ride up to Route 430 and across the road you will see a road that leads to Eastern Arm Pond.  Follow the snowmobile tracks.

 

Heading in to Eastern Arm Pond. That is Gros Morne to the right.

Heading in to Eastern Arm Pond. That is Gros Morne to the right.

On Eastern Arm Pond.

On Eastern Arm Pond.

After crossing Eastern Arm Pond the trail twists and turns through a small forest.

After crossing Eastern Arm Pond the trail twists and turns through a small forest.

A river, a forest, mountains and a twisty-turny snowmobile track to follow; fatbiking doesn't get any better than this.

A river, a forest, mountains and a twisty-turny snowmobile track to follow; fatbiking doesn’t get any better than this.

Careful where you step, though...

Careful where you step, though…

(a Darren McD photo)

(a Darren McD photo)

The entrance to Ten Mile Pond. (a Darren McD photo)

The entrance to Ten Mile Pond.
(a Darren McD photo)

Ten Mile Pond with Gros Morne in the background. (a Darren McD photo)

Ten Mile Pond with Gros Morne in the background.
(a Darren McD photo)

(a Darren McD photo)

Click to enlarge for the full perspective. (a Darren McD photo)

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At the end of Ten Mile Pond.

At the end of Ten Mile Pond.

Returning from Ten Mile Pond with The Tablelands in the distance.

Returning from Ten Mile Pond with The Tablelands in the distance.

Stats for our ride into Ten Mile Pond and back.

Stats for our ride into Ten Mile Pond and back.

Tablelands / Trout River

This was our view of The Tablelands. Visibility was poor so we didn't venture up there.

This was our view of The Tablelands. Visibility was poor so we didn’t venture up there.

The postmaster came out to ask if we were the fellows who biked to The Gorge. She had heard the piece on the radio and seen our picture on Facebook.

The postmaster came out to ask if we were the fellows who biked to The Gorge. She had heard the piece on the radio and seen our picture on Facebook.

Link to the radio interview on CBC Corner Brook: click here.

The beach at Trout River.

The beach at Trout River.

The bumper sticker says it best.

The bumper sticker says it best.

Thank you:

  • Tim C for use of your GPS and your local knowledge
  • Darroch W for letting us stay at your house while we were in Rocky Harbour

global fatbike day 2015

Wow.  Just wow.

Global Fatbike Day celebrations here in St. John’s just continue to grow and become increasingly popular.  In fact, we didn’t just celebrate with a day, we celebrated with a long weekend.  Here’s the quick version of how things went down here:

  • Thursday night: Fun ‘n’ Fast hosts an open house;
  • Friday: Mother Nature blesses us with 25 cm of fresh snow;
  • Saturday: group ride with beers and burgers after;
  • Sunday: huge turnout for our public event in Pippy Park.
Fun 'n' Fast gets the weekend rolling!

Fun ‘n’ Fast gets the weekend rolling!

 

After the 25 cm of snow on Friday a small group of us met at Steve H's on Saturday to celebrate the official Global Fatbike Day.

After the 25 cm of snow on Friday a small group of us met at Steve H’s on Saturday to celebrate the official Global Fatbike Day.

When in doubt, let it out. Soft conditions on Saturday meant looooow tire pressures.

When in doubt, let it out. Soft conditions on Saturday meant looooow tire pressures.

Mel showing off his new RSD "The Mayor".

Mel showing off his new RSD “The Mayor”.

Some guy named Guy styling it in the woods.

Some guy named Guy styling it in the woods.

Post-ride session in Steve's garage.

Post-ride session in Steve’s garage.

Sunday was the big event!

Sunday was the big event!

Canary Cycles and Cychotic brought lots of bikes for people to demo and drew huge crowds to their tent. That baby blue Stache 5 was te bike I really wanted to see. 29+ is in my future.

Canary Cycles and Cychotic brought lots of bikes for people to demo and drew huge crowds to their tent. That baby blue Stache 5 was the bike I really wanted to see. 29+ is in my future.

Fun 'n' Fast had bikes for people to demo up at North Bank Lodge.

Fun ‘n’ Fast had bikes for people to demo up at North Bank Lodge.

More than 40 people were on hand for the group ride around Pippy Park. Thanks to the efforts of Ross, Darren and Steve we had groomed trails to ride on.

More than 40 people were on hand for the group ride around Pippy Park. Thanks to the efforts of Ross, Darren and Steve we had groomed trails to ride on.

Going up!

Going up!

This year's ride even included a celebrity sighting - Jason Mamoa.

This year’s ride even included a celebrity sighting – Jason Momoa.

A pause in the woods to catch our breath.

A pause in the woods to catch our breath.

The after party at North Bank Lodge. Many thanks to Canary Cycles for providing the pizza!

The after party at North Bank Lodge. Many thanks to Canary Cycles for providing the pizza!

 

big o manufacturing fenders

St. John’s, Newfoundland is a wet, windy and cold place.  These factors combine to make riding here challenging.  Over the years I’ve figured out ways to eliminate the excuses for not riding – proper clothing, for instance, or DIY tire studding when the trails turned to nothing but ice.  Now I have eliminated one more excuse:  “the trails are too wet”.  Enter full fenders for fatbikes.

Big O Manufacturing fenders get strong reviews on-line so I took the plunge.  They don’t come cheap:  listed at $115 USD for the ones to fit my Pugsley they also charged a flat rate of $60 USD for shipping.  Gulp.  The good news was that after my order was shipped I was refunded $20 USD shipping overcharge.  So, to my door the fenders cost me $225 CDN.  They arrived in less than 10 days.

The fenders and hardware arrived nicely secured in the box.

The fenders and hardware arrived nicely secured in the box.

The quality of the materials is evident; the fenders are strong but flexible, the brackets are quality aluminum and the hardware stainless steel.  The instructions could be a bit better, but that’s a minor quibble.  The front fender requires you to drill two holes and the rear three.  Start to finish for me was about 1.5 hours.

Here is the finished product.

Here is the finished product.

We had just been through a couple of very wet and cold November weeks so the conditions to put these to the test were perfect.  I headed out for a two hour gravel grind on the back roads in The Goulds.  The results were everything I could hope for.  The fenders were solid, they did not rattle and I stayed very clean and dry.

Typical Goulds back road conditions: wet and muddy.

Typical Goulds back road conditions: wet and muddy.

Before fenders legs typically look like this.

Before fenders legs typically look like this.

After fenders. This is what my legs looked like after two hours in very wet andmuddy conditions.

After fenders. This is what my legs looked like after two hours in very wet and muddy conditions.

cottonwood trail, kluane national park

The highlight of my trip to Yukon (in a trip filled with many spectacular experiences) was a bikepacking trip on the Cottonwood Trail in Kluane National Park.  The trail itself is 83 km long and all but approximately 7 km of it (from km 74 to 81) is rideable.  The unrideable part is one heck of a hike-a-bike; not impossible, but hard. 

We rode the trail clockwise, beginning on Mush Lake Road.

We rode the trail clockwise, beginning on Mush Lake Road.

Another view of the route.

Another view of the route.

This is the elevation profile of the route. We liked doing the route clockwise because we gained elevation early in the trip (and quickly!) but then gradually worked our way down, mostly on singletrack.

This is the elevation profile of the route. We liked doing the route clockwise because we gained elevation early in the trip (and quickly!) but then gradually worked our way down, mostly on singletrack.

We brought topo maps but found ourselves referring to the "Detailed Description" from the Park site most frequently. If this is your first time on the trail I recommend it strongly that you print off a copy of this and use it to aid in navigation.

We brought topo maps but found ourselves referring to the “Detailed Description” from the Park site most frequently. If this is your first time on the trail I recommend it strongly that you print off a copy of this and use it to aid in navigation.

Mush Lake Road was a mostly pleasant and fun 16 km ride.

Mush Lake Road was a mostly pleasant and fun 16 km ride.

Crossing a channel of Alder Creek.

Crossing a channel of Alder Creek.

Overall the route is well marked - look for these posts (some have toppled over) and/or moose racks to guide you.

Overall the route is well marked – look for these posts (some have toppled over) and/or moose racks to guide you.

DCIM100GOPRO

Charles enjoying the alpine singletrack.

Charles enjoying the alpine singletrack.

This route just kept on giving.

This route just kept on giving.

We did this route in 2 days, one night, making camp at km 46.6, shown here. We travelled for 7.5 hours on day one and 10 hours on day two.

We did this route in 2 days, one night, making camp at km 46.6, shown here. We travelled for 7.5 hours on day one and 10 hours on day two.

Charles relaxing at camp.

Charles relaxing at camp.

Day 2 started with a brief water crossing...

Day 2 started with a brief water crossing…

...and then became endless alpine meadow singletrack.

…and then became endless alpine meadow singletrack.

Where Victoria Creek enters into Louise Lake. We worried about this crossing as it has the potential to be impassable. We found it challenging and were very cautious, only brining one bike across at a time with the person NOT carrying the bike bracing the person who was.

Where Victoria Creek enters into Louise Lake. We worried about this crossing as it has the potential to be impassable. We found it challenging and were very cautious, only brining one bike across at a time with the person NOT carrying the bike bracing the person who was.

Kathleen Lake.

Kathleen Lake.

The hike-a-bike up from Kathleen Lake is hard...

The hike-a-bike up from Kathleen Lake is hard…

...but the view is outstanding. Note Victoria Lake waaaay in the distance.

…but the view is outstanding. Note Victoria Lake waaaay in the distance.

 

 

dempster highway

The Dempster Highway is a 735 km gravel road that begins near Dawson, Yukon and ends in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. I rode it, up and back, in early June on my Surly Pugsley. It took me six days up and six days back = an average of 120 km per day. The weather was cool for the most part; I was in short sleeves for only 3 days, but this made for good riding. There was no trouble with bugs, the winds were light and the road was in good condition. I experienced periodic showers on a few days and only one day of drizzle/rain. I’d like to believe this was all due to good planning but good luck played a part.

109

 

Within two hours of starting off I got caught in a terrific thunderstorm (with hail) and encountered a grizzly bear.  Things can change quick up here.

Within two hours of starting off I got caught in a terrific thunderstorm (with hail) and encountered a grizzly bear. Things can change quick up here.

As you can see the road is in good condition and very wide.  Distance markers every 2 km are very helpful.

As you can see the road is in good condition and very wide. Distance markers every 2 km are very helpful.

There are a number of territorial campgrounds along the way.  They provide a bear hang, pit toilets, a covered shelter, a water source and firewod.

There are a number of territorial campgrounds along the way. They provide a bear hang, pit toilets, a covered shelter, a water source and firewood.

110 098 120 129 133 143 120 150 171 172

184

A trip like this requires a lot of calories.  I managed to pack 20,000 + calories into my framebag.

A trip like this requires a lot of calories. I managed to pack 20,000+ calories into my framebag.

 

A selfie at the Arctic Circle.

A selfie at the Arctic Circle.

Being this far north around the time of Summer Solstice meant 24 hours of light.  This picture was taken at midnight.

Being this far north around the time of Summer Solstice meant 24 hours of light. This picture was taken at midnight.

The Dempster is notorious for its mud when it is wet.  Thankfully I only had to deal with this for one morning.

The Dempster is notorious for its mud when it is wet. Thankfully I only had to deal with this for one morning.

Making it to Inuvik was a new "furthest north" for me at 68 degrees north.

Making it to Inuvik was a new “furthest north” for me at 68 degrees north.

A contrast in styles -  the Dempster can be ridden with fat tires and little gear or skinny tires and a lot of gear.  John is from Alaska and I met him first on my way up and then caught up with him on my way down.

A contrast in styles – the Dempster can be ridden with fat tires and little gear or skinny tires and a lot of gear. John is from Alaska and I met him first on my way up and then caught up with him on my way down.

My Surly Pugsley in bikepacking mode.  Tent, sleeping bag and pad on the handlebars, food and stove/pot in the frame bag, clothes in the seat bag and bear spray in the top tube bag.

My Surly Pugsley in bikepacking mode. Tent, sleeping bag and pad on the handlebars, food and stove/pot in the frame bag, clothes in the seat bag and bear spray in the top tube bag.

Random thoughts:

 

  • If a person was going to ride the Dempster one way, I would suggest riding it north to south. This would end the trip on a “high note” of the Tombstone Mountains. Going south to north the ride ends on a rather boring 150 km stretch of road from Fort McPherson to Inuvik that is flat and unchanging.
  • If a person wanted to ride in-and-out I would suggest only going as far as Fort McPherson and then turn around, for the reason noted above. Fort McPherson has a decent sized grocery store that would allow a cyclist to resupply.
  • Cars and trucks were very considerate for the most part, slowing down when they passed and stopping to check if everything was OK if I was stopped.

pivot les fat

4th Update (Feb 12, 2016)

I’ve used the Les Fat in a lot of different winter conditions and remain very happy with the bike.  Again, I see the benefits of shorter chainstays (and a small downside).  The benefit:  great traction when standing on the peddles.  The downside: the bike handles so quickly I find it a little squirrelly when the snow is fresh and loose.  One thing I have yet to do is play around with the adjustable dropouts.  The next time we get some fresh snow I’m going to lengthen the wheelbase and see what difference that will make to stabilizing the bike’s handling.

3rd Update (Nov 17,2015)

I’ve now had several months on this bike on a variety of trails and everything I’ve written below still holds true.  I’m now looking forward to winter and seeing what this bike will do on the snow.  I can’t wait.

I have found one shortcoming with using the Les Fat as a trail bike – pedal strike. It would seem to be a function of the large q-factor (the width between the pedals) that is needed so that this bike can run 5 inch tires.  Because of this and my plan to keep this bike as a winter bike only I’m now shopping around for a bike I will use on the trails next year.  My mind right now is set on either a 29+ or 27.5+ hard tail, probably the former because their aren’t too many of the latter.  Stay tuned.

2nd Update (May 27, 2015)

I rode Subnet yesterday.  For those of you who do not know this trail it offers no rest for the wicked – you are either going up or you are going down.  Observations:

* the Pivot Les Fat is an excellent trail bike

* the short chainstays make for a very quick handling bike and easy to loft the front tire

* this bike climbs great – great traction in the rear AND easy to get rider weight forward

* this bike descends well – I was much more confident descending on this than the Pugsley (and a carbon Beargrease I borrowed last year).

* once again I was super happy with the trail chatter this bike absorbed

Update – first ride review (May 22, 2015)

I took the Les Fat out today for it’s maiden voyage in Pippy Park.  The terrain there is rooty, rocky cross-country trails.  I pumped the tires up hard to see what the frame would do with these bumpy conditions.  My impressions:

* there was lots of compliance in the frame.  It did a great job of soaking up the bumps and reducing trail chatter.

* I felt in the bike rather than on the bike.  In fact, it kind of reminded me of a downhill bike but without the super slack head angle.

* it was great to have one finger braking again.  The SRAM Guide hydraulics work just fine.

*  I love having a 1 X 11 drivetrain.  Super quiet.

* this bike accelerates very well.  This is due to the DT Swiss wheel set.

* I have no complaints about the Maxxis Mammoth tires.  They rolled quick with no self-steer.

* the short chainstays make this bike quick and nimble.  The front tire lofts easily.

* the only thing I will change on this bike is the saddle.  It is a very good stock saddle but my Fizik Pave will be going on soon.

I GOT A NEW BIKE!!!!!!

Freeride Mountain Sports on Water Street is now a Pivot dealer and I am the proud owner of their fatbike, the Les Fat.

Freeride Mountain Sports on Water Street is now a Pivot dealer and I am the proud owner of their fatbike, the Les Fat.

One of the great things about the Les Fat is its versatility.

One of the great things about the Les Fat is its versatility.

Lots of room to fit 5 inch tires.

Lots of room to fit 5 inch tires.

Sweet crank by e*thirteen.

Sweet crank by e*thirteen.

SRAM Guide brakes.

SRAM Guide brakes.

Swinger dropouts allow for lengthening/shortening the wheelbase, setting up singlespeed, etc.

Swinger dropouts allow for lengthening/shortening the wheelbase, setting up singlespeed, etc.

I like the thoughtful touches, like a third water bottle mount under the downtube...

I like the thoughtful touches, like a third water bottle mount under the downtube…

...and rear rack mounts. Small things like this increase a bike's versatility.

…and rear rack mounts. Small things like this increase a bike’s versatility.

I went for the wheel upgrade option - a DT Swiss wheelset.

I went for the wheel upgrade option – a DT Swiss wheelset.

IMG_1041

fatbike gros morne

From R-L: Darren, Ross and the writer go on an exploratory mission to Gros Morne National Park to see what the potential is for fatbiking.  We are happy to report the news is all good.  (a Darroch W photo)

From R-L: Darren, Ross and the writer go on an exploratory mission to Gros Morne National Park to see what the potential is for fatbiking. We are happy to report the news is all good. (a Darroch W photo)

We stayed at Old Lincoln Cabins, seen here.  We arrived to 30 cm of fresh powder on top of the 400+ cm that had fallen in previous months.

We stayed at Old Lincoln Cabins, seen here. We arrived to 30 cm of fresh powder on top of the 400+ cm that had fallen in previous months.

On Day 1 we left from Rocky Harbour and headed up the town's water supply road, following a fresh snowmobile track.  We were soon rewarded with great views of Gros Morne.  We had to turn back at this pond as we lost the track due to drifting.

On Day 1 we left from Rocky Harbour and headed up the town’s water supply road, following a fresh snowmobile track. We were soon rewarded with great views of Gros Morne. We had to turn back at this pond as we lost the track due to drifting.

Pro tip: Replacing lost fluids after a ride is critical.

Pro tip: Replacing lost fluids after a ride is critical.

Ross demonstrates proper fluid replacement for those of you new to this sport.

Ross demonstrates proper fluid replacement for those of you new to this sport.

Daytime highs were in the minus teens while we were there.  We woke up to -26C one morning.

Daytime highs were in the minus teens while we were there. We woke up to -26C one morning.

Fatbikers are a cultured lot; we attended this artsy evening of poetry and music at the old cottage hospital in Norris Point.

Fatbikers are a cultured lot; we attended this artsy evening of poetry and music at the old cottage hospital in Norris Point.

This is Tom Dawe reading some of his poetry - I liked him a lot.  The highlight of the evening, without a doubt, were Sherman Downey & Matthew Byrne.

This is Tom Dawe reading some of his poetry – I liked him a lot. The highlight of the evening, without a doubt, were Sherman Downey & Matthew Byrne. Yes, that is an old hospital ward room we are in.

Day 2 we left right from our cabin and headed to a feature called The Sinkhole.  We followed high traffic snowmobile trails.

Day 2 we left right from our cabin and headed to a feature called The Sinkhole. We followed high traffic snowmobile trails.

The sections through the trees were lovely.

The sections through the trees were lovely.

Some of the open areas were a bit more difficult, even for our motorized friends.

Some of the open areas were a bit more difficult, even for our motorized friends.

Ross looking boss.

Ross looking boss.

Lots and lots and lots of snow.

Lots and lots and lots of snow.

Fatbike heaven.

Fatbike heaven.

We made it to the warm-up hut at the turnoff to The Sinkhole but couldn't get any further due to drifting.  We were quite a hit with the snowmobile crowd.

We made it to the warm-up hut at the turnoff to The Sinkhole but couldn’t get any further due to drifting. We were quite a hit with the snowmobile crowd.

Day 3, our last day, was the best by far.  Here we are driving in to Rocky Harbour to meet up with Darrock W who works for Parks Canada and is an old roadie aquaintence of mine from "back in the day".  We brought a fatbike for him and in return he guided us on an excellent ride, cooked us moose burgers and had a great selection of beer waiting at his house.

Day 3, our last day, was the best by far. Here we are driving in to Rocky Harbour to meet up with Darrock W who works for Parks Canada and is an old roadie aquaintence of mine from “back in the day”. We brought a fatbike for him and in return he guided us on an excellent ride, cooked us moose burgers and had a great selection of beer waiting at his house.

Gros Morne to my right, primo trail to my left.  Happy.

Gros Morne to my right, primo trail to my left. Happy.

We had some blue sky and light winds to start the day.

We had some blue sky and light winds to start the day.

Darroch.

Darroch.

PnS 046

The descent into Bakers Brook Pond was an absolute scream!

The descent into Bakers Brook Pond was an absolute scream! (a Darroch W photo)

Some friends of Darroch's had the cabin at Bakers Brook booked, so we stopped there for lunch.

Some friends of Darroch’s had the cabin at Bakers Brook booked, so we stopped there for lunch.

On our way out.

On our way out.

PnS 050

This was our route, 30 km total, starting and ending at the Visitors Centre in Rocky Harbour.

This was our route, 30 km total, starting and ending at the Visitors Centre in Rocky Harbour. That is Gros Morne in the upper right and Bakers Brook Pond in upper left. (a Darroch W image)

Random bits

  • we stayed at Old Lincoln Cabins.  4 nights cost us $225 each, taxes in.
  • we would stay there again – the owners, Luann and Carter, went out of their way to be helpful.  There is a barn with a woodstove to store bikes in and an outdoor hot tub. Coyle’s general store is one minute away. The only minor complaints were no cell service there and a weak Wi-Fi signal.
  • we ate a great meal at The Jackladder, just 10 minutes from where we stayed.
  • having some local knowledge from Darroch was invaluable.  Thanks again from all of us.
  • we barely scratched the surface of what is possible  in Gros Morne.  Given that it is the only national park in Canada that allows snowmobiles it stands to reason that it will have the greatest potential for fatbiking of any national park.

’14 – ’15 winter season (so far)

As I write this it is March 1st and I’m reflecting back on the winter riding season to date.  Certainly a few things stand out: the snow came late, the ice has been plentiful, the number of fatbikers is soaring, we’ve had a couple of social events, trail grooming is about to start happening, and lots of people have upgraded their fatbikes after only buying their first one a year ago (and some people have upgraded even quicker than that).

SBR Feb'15

We have seen a lot of icy trails this year. Multiple thaw/freeze cycles and periods of heavy rain have made the trails “challenging”.

Studded tires have be a must-have this winter.

Studded tires: a must-have this winter.

A first for me this winter was seeing a pack of coyotes (3) as I rounded a corner on the back roads in The Goulds.  I have seen individual coyotes but never a pack.  I managed to capture of picture of this one - the other two scattered quickly.  Click on the image and enlarge it for a better view.

A first for me this winter was seeing a pack of coyotes (3) as I rounded a corner on the back roads in The Goulds. I have seen individual coyotes but never a pack. I managed to capture a picture of one – the other two scattered quickly. Click on the image and enlarge it for a better view.

Coyote tracks. Coyotes places their back foot in the print made by the front foot, creating a single, straight line of prints.

IMG_0300

Pugsley tracks. Sometimes the rear wheel follows the front wheel and makes a single set of tracks; sometimes not.

We've had a lot of group rides with great turnouts.

We’ve had a lot of group rides with great turnouts.

Dean The Machine leading the way.

Dean The Machine leading the way.

Jason and his new Norco Sasquatch.  Lots of Bluto suspension forks are appearing on bikes, another trend new this season.

Jason and his new Norco Sasquatch. Lots of Bluto suspension forks are appearing on bikes, another trend new this season.

Mel in stealth mode.

Mel in stealth mode.

Yours truly about to take the plunge on a ride to Witless Bay Line.

Yours truly about to take the plunge on a ride to Witless Bay Line.

Sean all smiles on his new Surly Pugsley.

Sean all smiles on his new Surly Pugsley.

There have been a number of riders who have put together beautiful builds around the new 9:ZERO:7 Whiteout frame this year, including:

Mark...

Mark…

...Dwayne...

…Dwayne…

...Jason, and...

…Jason…

...and Darren.

…and Darren.

Tim, Ross, Darren and Dan on the way to The Spout.

Tim, Ross, Darren and Dan on the way to The Spout.

See Ross go!

See Ross go!

See Ross stop!

See Ross stop!

Dean demonstrates, for our amusement, what German engineered road sedans *can't* do.

Dean demonstrates, for our amusement, what German engineered road sedans *can’t* do.

More insight into Dean's world.

More insight into Dean’s world.

Blue skies, firm trails and fat tires make Dan smile.

Blue skies, firm trails and fat tires make Dan smile.

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Dan looking pro.

global fatbike day 2014

Facebook_Global_Fat-Bike-600x222Global Fatbike Day was a rip-roaring success here in Newfoundland; not only did we have more participants than last year but we had events in two locations in the province.  The sunshine, blue skies and moderate temperature also helped to make a memorable day.

Here in St. John’s we had more than 20 people show up for a ride in Pippy Park with an after-ride social at Bitters Pub.

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The crowd gathering for the ride in Pippy Park.

 

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There were lots of fatbikes to drool over. Here’s a new 2015 Beargrease 2…

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Cychotic Bike Shop provided some Norco Sasquatches for people to demo…

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BLING! BLING! Fun ‘n’ Fast showed up with some demos as well including this full suspension Bucksaw.

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Greg riding one of the Norco demos past The Wisdom Tree.

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The trail conditions were ideal – firm, dry and fast. Here the pack waits to regroup.

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A group shot up on Three Pond Barrens.

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Chris strikes a pose on Ridgeline.

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Mel and his Bluto equipped Mukluk. I took it out for a spin and the suspension fork is impressive.

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Fatbikes just make people smile. Robin on Ridgeline.

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Darren sporting his finest t-shirt at the social. And yes, the shirt matches the frame.

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Ross, Julie, Robin and Ray at the social.

Many thanks to:

Cychotic for providing demo bikes;

Fun ‘n’ Fast for demo bikes and food at the social;

Bicycle Newfoundland and Labrador for food at the social;

Canary Cycles for promoting the event on their website; and,

Bitters Pub for allowing us to put some bikes on display.

I personally want to thank Ray Gosine for doing all the heavy lifting to make this year’s event so successful.

 

Central Newfoundland

Gander held its first ever Global Fatbike Day celebration.  Paul and Derick rode 50 km in 3 hours.

IMG_20141206_105943858IMG_20141206_110938055IMG_20141206_115514221_HDRIMG_20141206_121411795_HDRThanks to Paul for providing the pictures.

goals

I don’t know when it started, but some time ago I started writing down my goals for biking.  I don’t think it really started as goals but more as a way of remembering ideas I had.  Many of these ideas would hit me as I was surfing Google Earth, looking for possible routes, both on road and off.  I do know that one of the goals/ideas, # 4 on the list below, precedes Google Earth by many, many years.  Essentially, the idea is to bike down Shoal Bay Road then bike ‘n’ hike to Bay Bulls via The Spout, then bike back on the old rail line that runs inland.  And funny enough, though it is probably the oldest idea on the list, I have never done it.

At some point I started writing “done” when I completed the ride and then at some point I wised up even further and started recording the date.  Here it is, completely unedited:

 

Cycling Goals
1. Tour Irish Loop May 24th weekend (DONE!)

2. Tour Cape St. Mary’s July 1st weekend (DONE!)

3. Irish Loop in one day

4. Mtn bike The Spout to Bay Bulls then
back to the Goulds offroad

5. Do a bikepacking trip (again) (DONE!)

6. Follow the dirt road I think leads to
Witless Bay Line

7. Bike the T’railway across NF (DONE!)

8. Ride The Great Divide Trail

9. Circumnavigate the island of NF by bike
and coastal boats (Can’t be done now)

10. Get to NS to mtn bike with Marc (DONE!)

11. Tour the Cabot Trail

12. Ride the Ronde Van Vlaanderen (Belgium)

13. Bike The Dempster Highway

14. Bike the north shore of Quebec

15. Evening mtn bike ride – bring light –
ride from supper ’til midnight – think of a good route for this.

16. Trans-Labrador highway (Probably not worth doing)

17. Irish Loop in Two days (KINDA SORTA DONE)

18. Bell Island day trip

19. Tour to Grates Cove (DONE – AND OFFROAD!)

20. Ride the Wunderstrand

21. Across south coast then back by trailway

22. To trepassey by bike and/or hike in late winter

23. The Spout in winter (DONE – March 15, 2014)

24. Get a fatbike (Ha! Wasn’t even on the list and I got it done)

25. Goulds to Fort Amherst offroad (DONE!)

26. Irish Loop offroad (Done – July, 2014)

27. Bikepack Burin Peninsula (Done – Aug 2014)

28. Bikepack Bonavista Peninsula (Done – Aug 2014)

29. Across NF in winter

30. Circumnavigate Miquelon by fatbike

31. Iceland

32. Renews to Fermuese on old track then back by Kingmans Cove Road in winter