I'm just a guy who has a passion for producing videos that capture the adventure of all forms of cycling (especially fat biking) and other outdoor endurance pursuits.
“If It Was Easy Everyone Would Do It” is often heard from those who enjoy meeting difficult challenges and persevering when others might not.
This is what motivates me as an endurance junkie and videographer!
“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 Parks, 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 FBM weekend 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 150”, 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) 🙂
So we only started taking notice of viewer stats last month (with over 7000 views in November), but check this out … as of today, we’ve had exactly 1000 site visitors this month – making 10,000+ views of FatBikeManitoba.com in December, including some new viewers over in theNetherlands – “Hallo, mede nederlanders fatbike fietsers”! 🙂
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 … Bur Oak 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! 🙂
Alrighty folks, there is some serious fattie fun to be had tomorrow, Sunday 11 Dec 2016, at BHP Park on the Bur Oak Trail and you have options to choose from or combine! 🙂
First up, 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. Then we are off to Pineridge Hollow for brunch at 11:30 to 12:30. All fatbikers and/or supporters are welcome to join the trail work/riding and brunch. Then we will head back to Bur Oak for more fun …
Second up, Jason Carter has been coordinating folks via our FBM FBook group to meet at Bur Oak at 1:00 PM for (I quote):
“Masters of Mud & Snow: Fat Levels Ride #6 – Sunday December 11 at 1:00 p.m. at Burr Oak Trail, in BHP. Get ready for a completely different trail experience now that we have real snow! Bur Oak is smooth, fast and loads of fun in winter! The idea is to build skills for longer expeditions during the holidays. BYO food, hot drink, and/or cash for post java brew. 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 in the PM.
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.
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:
Thanks to Jason Carter and Keith Holm for organizing and leading rides, along with help from Brian Dyck, Charles Burchill, and ‘Big Lou’! 🙂
Giddy up ‘Fatties’, it’s time for 5th Annual Winnipeg Global Fat Bike Day Ride on Saturday December 3rd 2016 starting at 11:30 AM at the Forks. We had 70+ rider out last year and we had a blast, so let’s make this year bigger and better!
We will meet at The Forks Canopy/Tower Atrium area at 11:30 AM, organize and head off on our ‘Media Loop’ at 11:45 (led by Jason Carter, Keith Holm, myself and others) to ride across the Esplande Louis Riel Bridge to arrive at 12:00 at our usual Group Photoshoot on the East side of the Red River down from the St B Cathedral, where our very own Gregory McNeill will be waiting to capture our gathering and then we will ride south behind the St B Hospital to the Norwood Bridge and the “Green Bridge” back to The Forks.
There are then three riding route options: SHORT “Hop, Skip & Jump”: Forks to the BDI Bridge and ‘Casa Fat Tom K’s Place’ for a “Chili-fest” pitstop. Route 8 kms via the Churchill Parkway with Lori and Tom K leading.
MEDIUM “When Ducks Skate”: Forks to the Assiniboine Park Duck Pond and back to the Forks, then south via the “Hop, Skip & Jump” Route to the “Chilli-fest” pitstop. Route is 26 kms to Tom K’s Place, with Keith Holm leading with assistance from Brian Dyck and Big “Lou”.
LONG “Barclay-Burchill-Gauld Maraton”: A special “Quest” Route designed and lead by Jason Carter. Route is 42 Kms and my take as long as 3 & 1/2 hours to return to the Forks (less for speedy and crafty folks), then south via the “Hop, Skip & Jump” Route to the “Chilli-fest” pitstop or via vehicle if you parked at the Forks.
This is a ‘Fat Bike’ event, so ideally you will be riding a fat bike (3.7 inch tire width +), however if you don’t have one yet, you have a few options:
1. Sign out a ‘Demo’ Fat Bike from a conveniently located Bike Shop – White Pine Bicycle Co (http://www.whitepinebicycleco.com/) located in the Forks Terminal Building. Brendan at WhitePine has offered them for free use in connection with our GFBD Ride and will be there at our 11:30 gathering.
2. Ride your MTB and we will welcome you to see what all the fatbiking fun is about … we know you want one! 🙂
So I did something today I hadn’t thought to do since we started our FBM website last December 2015 … I checked the website STATS. Well now, thanks to Gregory McNeill’s cool pictures and more sharing with our FBM FaceBook group and FBM Twitter account, our visitors and views are SKYROCKETING this month … and hey New Zealand, we know you’re watching! So come on over and join us for some fatbiking fun and adventure! 🙂
* End Nov 16 Update … the “Gregory’s a Star” effect = almost 7000 views!