It was a great Saturday to be at the Bur Oak Trails at Bird’s Hill Park. There were almost 10 fatbike riders out there, navigating the soft snow freely given to us by Mother Nature over the last week.
Mike Vandale from the Woodcock Cycle Club loved it! “ (it was) The perfect day not too warm! (the) Trail was a little soft but it will be awesome once it sets up.”
The soft conditions had the riders dial in their pressures once on the course. It is easy to deflate in the cold, rather than inflate, so deflating a higher pressure is the norm out on these winter rides.
“I think most of us were running 4 or 5 psi.” states Mike.
Many local people were out there today, including Greg Carrigan, Gilles Paquette, Steve H., Tim Woodcock, Mark Kleinholz, Jon Letkemann and finally Mike Vandale. Tim even convinced a few snowshoers to ‘come to the dark side’ and try out some fatbikes to see how they are. These park adventurers looked interested and seemed to want what us fatbikers already have – fun!
Today’s ride on groomed trails could not have happened without the steady work of Pete Romeo and others like John M. (who was snowshoeing today – packing the trail). Many thanks goes out to these people.
And for those who cannot make it out to BHP (Bird’s Hill Park), there will be a weekday ride this Thursday starting at Woodcock Cycle on St. Mary’s. Vandale finishes with, “The Thurs night ride starts at WCW 6 PM, usually head straight for the Seine River. (it) Sounds like we’re going to head south on the Seine this coming Thursday.”
“A week off and even more snow? Time to head out for the next recon ride! Interested in joining us? Here are the details:
Date: Sunday, January 1, 2016 (Happy New Year!)
Time: 10:30am (we celebrate by starting later)
Location: Niverville, we will meet in the parking lot of the arena in town (turn North on Arena Rd. from Hwy 311).
Purpose: To scout the Actif Epica course between Niverville and Crystal Spring along the Crow Wing Trail.
Who: The Course Organizing Crew (Pete, Dallas and Dan) invite you to join them at a slow rolling pace (perhaps including some walking depending on trail conditions) and they would love it if you brought ANY type of bike and joined them (bring friends on bikes too!).
The Plan: To ride South along the course from Niverville and capture some images of the route conditions while enjoying a fun, sociable ride out to Crystal Spring Colony to meet up with Pete before riding back to Niverville. The approximate distance is just under 20km one way. The plan is to roll out from Niverville at 10:30am and estimate a total ride time somewhere around 3.5-4 hours. In case you are late arriving to the start, you can look for our tracks and/or follow along with the Crow Wing Trail Markers (White arrows on blue background) and catch up with us along the route as we will be stopping periodically to take pictures. Also, it is quite likely that there will be a post-ride discussion over coffee/food at a local establishment should you have the time and feel so inclined to join us. Since we have had significant snowfall, on the return journey we may detour some sections of trail to be respectful of your time.
Important Note: All participants join us at their own risk (e.g. please be safe, wear appropriate winter riding clothing (it might be cold), a helmet, bring blinky lights for improved visibility, enough food and water for the ride and a basic repair kit with parts/tools). Citing a famous quote, “YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU”, so please respect the nature of a winter riding adventure, it can be unforgiving.
Getting a well-rounded story ‘across’ to the media with details based on facts is not easy and so I say ‘Bravo’ to Wayne Bishop from 2 Wheel Revolution for taking the plunge and interviewing with CBC recently about the process of getting GROOMED WINTER FATBIKE TRAILS in Manitoba Parks.
*Btw, CBC used lots of Gregory McNeill’s excellent pictures from a Fort Whyte photoshoot with Wayne and Adrian Alphonso.
*Btw, it is unfortunate that the CBC did not get a quote from someone at MB Parks or let’s say someone at Riding Mountain National Park, which now has designated and groomed (thanks to the ‘Dead-Ox Groomers) winter fatbike trails. Instead, they have a quote from someone at Windsor Park Nordic Center (a private ski location in Winnipeg) speaking of worry that fatbikers would “damage the trails” … hmmm, where to start in response to this ill-informed comment … well, let’s just say a quick Google search and one can quickly be educated to exactly the opposite.
Wide-soft tires + low tire pressure = floating on top of groomed skate ski or fatbike groomed trails = fun for everyone!
Check out this video from one of our weekend group fatbike rides at Grand Beach Provincial Park on groomed skate ski trails (which MB Parks gave us access to when they had stopped grooming in March) … notice how we float over the snow and can control our speeds (we have brakes).
Many of us have been involved with direct liaison, education, advocacy and coordination with Manitoba Parks over the last few years and while the process has been slow, they have recognized that fatbiking is growing rapidly in Manitoba (as it is in the rest of the world!) and that we should have access to some winter trails in Manitoba Parks.
That’s why most European XC ski locations are embracing fatbikes on their skate ski trails and welcoming the funds that the fatbikers bring with them (membership, shopping, eating, etc).
Now, even though basically all of Europe’s XC ski community has embraced fatbiking on skate ski groomed trails (I am going to Norway in January to race in the “Fat Viking 175”, which is all on joint ski/fatbike trails) …
… more joint use winter trails in Norway (what a progressive sporting nation!) 🙂
… it has been a much slower process in North America.
The reality is that the situations vary from locale/city/province/state depending upon whether the place is private (money talks) or government (park, etc) and the mindset of the XC skiers in that area.
Check out what’s been going on at Cable, Wisconsin (home of the world famous ‘Birkie’ XC ski race), where winter groomed fatbiking trails are abounding (both specific and shared with XC skiers) and they have had a huge fatbike race there for the last four years … last year the Fat Bike Birkie had 1100 racers line up for the 24/48 KM race held right on the Birkebeiner Ski Trails. Btw, even after 1100 fatbikers racing on their skate ski trails, they were skiing later that day. 🙂
In the meantime and also to create ‘fatbike specific’ winter groomed trails, many places across North America and the world are getting into fatbike grooming using groomers like the “WildCat Groomer” made by a company in Wisconsin:
Here in Manitoba, there have been groomed fatbike trails out in ‘West-Man’ and RMNP thanks to the ‘Dead-Ox Trailblazers‘:
Which has lead to sweet group fatbike trail rides like this …
Hopefully, we can move forward with good, friendly and informative advocacy to establish access to groomed winter fatbike trails and support those who are making it happen … for starters – Wayne Bishop and 2 Wheel Revolution:
1. Consider making a “cost offset” donation to 2WR to support grooming costs
2. Consider being a 2WR supporter or member
3. Get out to one or all of the Manitoba Fatbike Race Series events and race or ‘take part as a rider’ and/or support.
4. Support your local bike shops and advocate through them for trail access.
5. Be friendly with everyone you meet on winter trails and yield to them all (you can steer and use brakes) 🙂
Here’s Allan Gilleshammer riding across the ‘Green Bridge’ near the Forks on “The Day After” the snowstorm that hit Winnipeg over Christmas – a slick view on “Shovelling-Fatbiking Day” … formerly known as Boxing Day! 😉
The winning photographer this week? … Gregory McNeill of course! He’s got an awesome eye for the special scenes all around us, that he captures all while riding his fatbike!! 🙂
Bonus Photo: here’s Allan … all smiles during his ride:
This past Sunday was a great day for us fatbikers in the Winnipeg area of Manitoba, as we got the chance to ride GROOMED WINTER FATBIKE TRAIL again in our own ‘backyard’ on one of our favourite trails … (former Bur Oak Trail – now called “Oak Ridge Trail) at Birds Hill Provincial Park!
Now we’ve ridden this trail in the winter before, having packed it by snowshoe and then riding our fatties slowly round and round and round until it was possible to ride with ‘flow’ … so it was today with a bit more packing making it more groomed than usual.
I first connected with a crew of six riders new to me and most of us regulars. They called themselves the “Pinoy MB Fatbibers” and Tito, Drex, Sam, Trek, Jovil and Ador were keen to check out the trails, so I lead them around the main track …
The early morning lighting and fresh snow on the trees had created those special winter vistas that you only really get to appreciate when you are out on the trail.
After a fun ride with the Pinoy Crew, I connected with more arriving fatties …
Once again I link up with a new crew, but this time most were regulars (Peter, Greg, Janice, etc) and off we went …
Of course, it wasn’t long before we connected with our very own fatbiking ‘Photo-ambusher’ Gregory McNeill … Actually, it’s always a good time for a hot apple cider break when Gregory’s ‘at work’!
Once we turned back toward the south, the bright sun made for some surreal views …
We cruised the newly groomed sections and put in the tougher effort to ride to the narrower and tighter curved sections that had only been snowshoed in so far …
A full lap of all the trail sections takes 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours depending on conditions, pace and number of hot apple cider breaks :-). Anyways, back to the trail head we went …
Just in time for me to connect with two new fatbikers who had just arrived, but missed another group of regulars who were heading off lead by Keith Holm and “Lou Fatinsky”
Angie W. and Chris F. showed up ready to roll with goggles, mitts and balaclavas at the ready (excellent start!). So I lead off onto the main groomed section … north from the trailhead parking lot, but accessed first by going out the west side of the lot by the trailhead sign and then taking the first right onto the singletrack trail for a short east leg of 100 metres before the trail heads north and west.
Chris was right behind me on the way out so he was in view of my rear GoPro video camera.
Chris lead us back and Angie followed with a wide smile on her face the whole way! Yup, the saying is true … “Everyone who rides a fatbike wears a huge smile”!! 🙂
We met up with Keith Holm’s crew and more introductions to our fun community of fatties were in order and partaken.
To top off our day’s adventures on the trail, we had a close encounter with Mike on his fat tire unicycle … that guy’s got skills! 🙂
Back at the trailhead we all marvelled at our amazing luck to have taken part in the first real day of groomed winter trail fatbiking in the our local Winnipeg and Eastern Manitoba area! Good times and more ahead! 🙂
Wayne Bishop and his 2 Wheel Revolution have done many things in the past and been involved in many different types of racing, from mountain bike racing to scramble motor cross and fatbike racing.
One year ago, a few local fatbikers got together for a ride at the Grand Beach Trails. Bishop’s name came up, and a few of us had good things to say about him. ‘He is a good man’ was the common theme. The group then decided to support him as best they could from then on.
Today, many local racers and enthusiasts appeared at Bird’s Hill Park’s Bur Oak trails, to pack down the trails with snowshoes, as per Bishop’s request. Sunday, 8:30 a.m., ‘be there’ – was understood.
After the snowshoe people (snowshoers) did their ‘thing’, more fatbikers appeared, to do their part and ride the trail, further packing the snow down as per Bishop’s request. Some of the snowshoers had family commitment and other commitments for the afternoon, so the torch was passed on to the cyclists.
Wayne thanked those he could today, but it is we in the community who thank him. Without him, this would never have happened.
A lot can happen in one year. You just need the right people. 🙂
Alrighty folks, there is some serious fattie fun to be had tomorrow, Sunday 11 Dec 2016, at BHP Park on the Bur Oak Trail! 🙂
Wayne Bishop and 2 Wheel Revolution are planning to be out at Bur Oak by 9:00 AM and packing-grooming the trail by various means (snowshoe and fatbike) until around 11:00-ish.
Fat bikes only, please (borrow, don’t steal, one if you have to). Narrow tires (less than 3.0 inches – though 3.7 and more is ideal) can and usually do ruin soft snow trails. Remember the Park Pass!!” Btw, it looks like at least a ‘six-pack’ of fatties are already planning (says Fbook) to attend.
There are lots of great pics and vids yet to be shared from our 5th Annual Winnipeg Global Fat Bike Day Ride. But first, here’s some up-close and personal snaps of my fellow Winnipeg GFBD Fatties as they make Ride Bys and give High Fives as they cross the Esplanade Louis Riel Bridge enroute to our group photo-shoot rendezvous with Gregory.
Yes Charles, we always include you too bud … but, hint – crowd source! 😉
* Btw, that’s the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in the background.
During the summer, whether they be trail runners, hikers, or dog walkers, local people enjoy the Bur Oak trails at Bird’s Hill Park.
Last Sunday was no different, with a friendly invitation sent out via Social Media for fatbikers to meet-up at 1 p.m., and take it from there.
I was there, Pete appeared after seeing my car, and we just started riding the trails and talking. Nice easy pace, talking about everything. With fatbiking, you can go as fast or as slow as you wish, and it’s so quiet in the wilderness that you can have a conversation with someone even if they are in front or behind you.
Dave from Stony Mountain appeared, proudly riding his new Rocky sportin 4.8 tires, and the three of us continued around the course.
There was light snow cover, so the large tree roots were still exposed in some areas, and these can be slippery and tricky to go over. I just prepared myself to put a foot down and took my time. No rush out there. I still wiped out a few times.
The trail is getting better groomed with the fatbikers. We met one trail runner, who was friendly and helped us take some pictures of some newcomers to Bird’s Hill Park (BHP). Igor and his friend were curious about what we do, and I let him ride my bike – I think he’s hooked.
One lap down, and Steve H. and Dave Bartel appeared back at the parking lot. Steve was using 5 p.s.i. front and rear on his CAAD with 4.8s, and he had no problems with the roots. Dave was happy he finally got to ride his new Salsa in the snow!
10-15 cm of snow is predicted for the next few days, but this will benefit the trail. Wednesday night’s 6:30 ride will be interesting with all of the snow – the fast people will be forced to slow down for a bit 🙂
Some riders are heading out to Birds Hill Prov Park today, Sun 4 Dec 2016 at 1:00 PM to check out the sweet Bur Oak Trail – complete with a fresh dusting of new snow. 🙂
Look out for Gregory and his ‘photo-ambushing’ skills! 😉
It should look a lot like this (enjoy) …
Btw, Bur Oak is a BHPPark recognized winter trail for FATBIKES ONLY! MTBs would just leave grooves behind ;-( So bring your fatbike and keep the tire pressures low (less than 10 PSI) and enjoy the fun! 🙂
Our 5th Annual Winnipeg Global Fat Bike Day Ride was a Big Fat Blast! We had over 75 riders connected with our main ‘Media Loop’ and our 3 separate routes after that all ended at our chili-fest hangout!
There lots of pictures and videos floating around already, but for now … here’s our Group Picture captured again this year by our very own fatbiking photographer Gregory McNeill: