The Winnipeg Free Press newspaper on 31 Mar 2018 included an article called “A Reason to Ride” using some of Blake Anderson‘s excellent pictures he took during our “2018 ‘Alfred Barr’ Lake Winnipeg Fatbike Crossing & Campover“.
The 17 Wing Winnipeg Air Base “Voxair” Newspaper 21 Mar 18 Edition has an article called “Fatbikers Ride to Remember SAR Tech MCpl Alfred Barr” based on the reporter Martin Zeilig interviewing me and using a few of my pictures.Among the quotes he used were references to our excellent Leaders Team (including our British friend Patrick Stevens from Sweden) and key supporters Robert Paige of Xtreme Sports Medics and Dave MacDonald of ICSOS.
He did not quote my mentioning of how important was Kevin Champagne‘s snowmobile and sled support for transporting key supplies out to our camp and back! He also mentioned our American friend Thomas Woods who joined us, but obviously misplaced your specifics Thomas).
The Voxair also included a colour picture with a double line of fatbikers riding across the lake. They mistakenly mention in the caption that “Major Tom Kolesnik ‘leads’ the fatbikers …”, when in fact at the lead of the line of riders is Kurt Lehmann and Rick Shone.
Here’s a link to our CBC Radio-Canada ‘le tele journal’ TV story about our Lake Winnipeg Fatbike adventure (in French and some interviews in English including Keith Holm, Jeff Hobden, Kathryn Adams, Patrick Stevens and me):
Robert Paige (President of Xtreme Sports Medics and our weekend Safety manager) got called away from town yesterday, so it was just me (and my Mr. Moonie) being interviewed by John Sauder doing a weather intro and talk about the 2018 ‘Alfred Barr’ Lake Winnipeg Fatbike Crossing & Campover event, Fatbikes, the Alfred Barr Memorial part and how we will deal with any snow forecasted for the weekend (no biggy).
CBC’s John Sauder is great interviewer, a gentleman, a supporter of the RCAF (he has been an Honorary Colonel of 402 Sqn and 2 Cdn Air Division) and he appreciated the importance of the Alfred Barr Memorial aspect of the event.
Had a fun Fatbike ride yesterday with Simon Koster and his friend Rik from Rotterdam, Netherlands. I offered to guide the two of them around for a local Fatbike ride after a request from a ‘friend of a friend of a friend’ – giddy up of course as they are avid cyclists and interested in trying out a ride on snow and ice (new for them). We made plans to meet at the Forks after lunch – on a day with warmer temps (-2C) … 20+ degrees up tick!
Turns out someone tipped the CBC off, because suddenly Leif Larson is interested and they sent Holly Caruk (video reporter) to meet me and the Dutch visitors for a chat about FatBikers and all the Winnipeggers out enjoying the outdoors at the Forks today … yikes, was the place packed with folks walking, skating, biking and smiling!😃
* Bonus coincidence – David Cobb and his buddy Chris (on a shiny new Fatbike) were at the Forks and ended up in the CBC video/photo shoot … yup Cobber, there’s more visual proof of us riding together! Kinda like we’re buds! 😉
Cobber and Chris had to head home, so I played local guide and off we went on a fun ride that was a lot like our Winnipeg GFBD Ride. We rode by the Canada 150 sign, by the CMHR, over the Esplanade Louis Riel Bridge, down by the Red River below the St Boniface Cathedral for a scenic picture of course …
Then through the Whittier Park trails and down into the Seine River for a good length until past the Tremblay Footbridge … then back to the Forks for beers!
An interesting encounter with media and a fun ride with two nice ‘new Fatbiking loving’ cyclists from the Netherlands! 🙂
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) 🙂
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!
Global TV will be joining the Wednesday night ride this week – meeting at the usual spot – Assiniboine Forest at 7 p.m. If you can make it (and want to be part of their shooting), plan for some riding in the forest and on the Harte Trail.
“Grand Targhee Resort has become the first ski resort in the country to promote snow biking. Beginning this ski season, Grand Targhee will allow snow bikes on their groomed Nordic Trails as long as riders purchase a Nordic ticket for $10 per day or a Nordic season pass for $115. Grand Targhee is also hosting their first snow bike race on Sunday, January 15th to coincide with Teton Valley’s Winter Festival.”
Read more (and see some nice pics, like the one below…)
So… is there somewhere in Manitoba where a similar shared trail situation could work? (even on a trial basis?)