Spring riding season arrives in Fraser Valley | SkyHiNews.com

Spring riding season arrives in Fraser Valley

Keith Sanders
Mountain Biking with Keith

Keith Sanders

We've been anxiously waiting for bike season, and it is here. I've pretty much put away my fat bike and have been getting out on the cross country ride. It feels so good to get back on the dirt.

There is something that feels right about rolling over the rocks and roots of my favorite trails. I love the feel of the wind in my face from my own efforts and not just a cold breeze from the spring's next storm. I even encountered a few bugs on my last ride.

Spring riding is often when I see the most wildlife. Elk and deer are migrating from their winter grounds to their summer haunts. Moose seem to be much more active as well — I tend to see them on about every other ride.

On one recent ride I saw tracks from moose, elk, deer and bear. A sunning marmot tried to hide by getting flat on a rock but due to the insulation of winter it looked more like a slightly deflated football than a creature trying to hide. Do be cautious of newly born elk, deer and moose. It's that time of year and it is not uncommon to come across them in the woods. If you happen to encounter newly born wildlife, give them lots of room.

“Many trails in the Upper Fraser Valley still need a bit of time. Sure there are some that you could create an adventure and work your way through, but the possibility of doing a lot of trail damage now is very real.”

More trails are drying out with each sunny day. The Phases near Tabernash are riding well for the front side trails, but do be cautious of areas that are still a bit wet. Granby Ranch's trails on the south side of the area are riding well with the seasonal wet areas. The north side of Granby Ranch still needs a bit of time to let go of winter's final embrace. Be very careful of downed trees on the trails. Trees do fall over daily and what was clear this morning may not be this afternoon.

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Many trails in the Upper Fraser Valley still need a bit of time. Sure there are some that you could create an adventure and work your way through, but the possibility of doing a lot of trail damage now is very real. Give the trail a bit of time to melt and dry out. If you do encounter wet areas please stay on the trail. Getting off of the trail or "braiding" the trail will create new areas of erosion. Staying on the trail contains damage to the trail surface.

Not sure where to go? Stop by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce or visit one of our local bike shops and pick up the new map. The new map is updated with trails and suggested routes. It also easier to read than the previous version. In addition to the map the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce is updating the online map on the Mountainbikecapitalusa.com website to be more interactive as well as have additional information on the trail system.

Here are a few helpful things that I do before and after every ride.

Before the ride

• Check tire pressure. Always use a gauge never go by feel. Tires can leak air causing a dangerous situation.

• Lube your chain and derailleurs. While you are at it lube the pedals.

• Take your phone and enable the GPS function. It makes the job of search and rescue much easier.

• Check your spare tube for holes. I carry mine in a baggie to help protect it.

• If you carry patches and glue check the glue. It tends to escape the tube like Houdini.

• Put the beer in the fridge.

After the ride

• Rinse off your bike.

• If you had any issues with it, fix them or write them down and tape the note the bars.

• Empty your water bottles or your hydration pack.

• Have one of those beers you put in the fridge.

Enjoy your rides! Life's too short not to have fun!

Looking for more information or want to get involved as a mountain biker? Like Grand Mountain Bike Alliance (GMBA) on Facebook. GMBA is your local mountain bike group. Check out Mountainbikecapitalusa.com. Great site by the Winter Park Chamber!

Keith Sanders is the President of the Grand Mountain Bike Alliance, 3x US National Mountain Bike Champion and owner of Beavers Sports Shop. You can reach him at keith@winterparkskirental.com

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