I love to ride my bike: pedalling along the twisty riverside single track with the crisp air on my face, mind clear but focused on the trail ahead. I ride year round, from the season of anticipation (aka spring) through the warm summer and into the colourful fall. But my all-time favorite season to ride is winter. Let me tell you why.
The YEG river valley boasts 152 kms of sweet single track all year long and is enjoyed by bikes, hikes and waggy tails. When the snow flies, the trails ice up, smooth out and become a completely different experience. When the snow flies, mountain bikes get fat.
The fat tires seem to float effortlessly over the snow covered trails. Ok, there’s the ice flow and brown sugar-like snow to add extra challenge. Up the ante with some studded tires and you’ve got yourself some serious traction. With fresh snowfall, falling over isn’t scary. It’s fun! The landing can be cushioned by soft fluffy snow.
The hardest part is figuring out what to wear. Dressing for the wind, cold and sunshine is tricky. Wool layer against skin, thermal mid layer, topped by a wind resistant top layer would work for most. For me, I add a second thermal layer, extra thick socks and sometimes two toques! I’d rather be warm and have the option to remove a layer than be cold the whole ride.
Once out on my favourite trails, my smile doesn’t stop. Mill Creek and Old Timers are my go-to trails. Not a lot of elevation gain makes both areas great for a beginner level winter rider. We like to challenge ourselves in Kinsmen and head west. Lots of off camber steep stuff to play on.
We have a couple more months of winter ahead of us. Make the best of it and get outside! Fat bikes can be rented from your local bike shop for very reasonable rates. Sign one out for a weekend and check out the YEG river valley this winter!
Natalie Rix | Women on Wheels YEG &