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Kinetic Family in the Yukon: Ride On

August 11, 2014 in biking, Exercise, Outdoor Activity

On the Alaska Highway

On the Alaska Highway

With its awesome natural beauty, the relatively short flight, and the opportunity to visit family, Whitehorse, Yukon has been a choice summer vacation destination for us time and time again.

Our summer trips are often filled with many wonderful activities and over a series of blog posts we will share our experiences and highlight some of our favourite things to do in the area – perhaps a quasi ‘list of things to do’ for future travelers considering a visit to the land of the midnight sun.

Best Mountain Biking Destination

It’s no secret that Whitehorse, Yukon is an awesome place to mountain bike. With recent features in Impact Magazine, Get Out There, and Outside magazine naming Whitehorse as the Best Biking Destination in its 2013 Outside Travel Awards, the Yukon is becoming highly regarded as a world-class destination for mountain biking enthusiasts. It’s not hard to see why. The abundance of well-maintained trails surrounding the city combined with the extended daylight hours during the summer make for a kick ass getaway where you can get your mountain biking fix pretty much anywhere, anytime of day.

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Schwatka Lake in the background.

Our most recent trip took us through the trails around Grey Mountain and the Riverdale area which were pretty much right in our backyard. There is plenty of trail variety so it is suitable for different levels of ability, ranging from from easy and very wide cross country trails to more challenging and steeper singletrack. The most exciting trails are the singletrack along the many lakes and along the Yukon river. Many of the trails often led to something or somewhere picturesque and whether you’re biking or hiking you’re bound to see beauty.

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If you can BYOB (bring your own bike) then you’ll enjoy the comforts and familiarity of your own machine but if not, there are several local bike shops and companies in town that rent mountain bikes for as little as $35/day (24hrs) or weekly rates are available if you really want to get your fill. We’d recommend Cadence Cycles on Wood street or the Kanoe People (yes, they have bikes too) as our previous rental experience s with them have been outstanding. There is also Icycle Sport which has been a local mainstay in town for years but we have yet to use their services.

On The Road

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There were also a few days where I opted to ride on the road rather than the trails. I called the local bike shops in Whitehorse in advance of our trip to see what, if any, rental options there would be for road bikes but it turned out that it wasn’t really an option there so I rented a bicycle travel case from a bike shop in Vancouver before we left and packed my own bike to take with me. Different Bikes in West Vancouver and Speed Theory in Vancouver are a couple of shops that rent travel bags/cases.

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The downtown area of Whitehorse is cyclist friendly with dedicated bike lanes on the main roads and traffic is generally light. Once you get out of the city and ride the seemingly endless highways, it gets very pretty. The vast scenery and quiet open road makes you want to ride on forever. A good long ride will most likely be an out and back (return the same way you came) route. The views were outstanding both ways and riding on the highways felt like I had the road all to myself.

There you have it. Ride on in the Yukon.

LINKS:

The Whitehorse Recreational Trail Guide (trails for mountain bikers and hikers) is available in iTunes or in the Google Play store.

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Golden Ears Park & Ride

July 29, 2013 in biking, Exercise, Outdoor Activity

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The ride to Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge, B.C. was long and enjoyable. I started my ride from Mundy Park in Coquitlam and stopped briefly in Pitt Meadows to meet up and continue the ride with my good friend, Reggie, who started his ride from Langley. I had never cycled out this way before and having already made a couple of mistakes on my route to meeting him it was nice to have someone there to bike the route with.

My first blunder on this trip was not having a current cycling map. I’ve been carrying around a very outdated one (>10 years) which obviously doesn’t show where the new bike lanes, streets and bridges are. This led to my second little blunder on this ride which was on the Pitt River Bridge as I failed to recognize that there was a very nice and completely separate bike lane on the north side of the bridge. I didn’t realize it existed until I saw it while riding along the shoulder lane on the other (south) side of the bridge. Riding eastbound on this side was a bit unnerving as vehicles, especially big trucks, would get really close and the shoulder lane had a lot of rocks and debris so I was trying to avoid traffic on one side and road debris on the other. Not fun. At least now I knew I had a safe lane to bike across on the return trip back.

I have an older phone that doesn’t run the latest apps which I imagine would have been useful for finding proper bike routes and lanes. I find the new Google Maps to be quite good for cycling routes and there are probably a lot of other cycling route map apps out there too. If you know of a good one, please post it in the comments below.

Once I met up with Reg and we figured out our way, the rest of the ride was very enjoyable. Riding along the roads of Ridge Meadows towards Golden Ears Provincial Park, I began to realize how much of an equestrian community the area is, with horse crossings pretty much on every road we took and a couple of horse riding clubs/associations along the way. Once we got past all the farm land we made our way on to Fern Crescent which is the road that leads into Golden Ears Park. I really enjoyed this portion of the ride with its undulating roads and it was cool having the trees shelter us from the sun’s unforgiving heat.

We didn’t take the same route back as we found some new(er) roads and bike routes (not on my map) on the return trip . We also made a pit stop to refuel with a late breakfast at the Wedge Bar & Grill at the Meadow Gardens Golf Club before we went our separate ways back home.

And yes, I took the proper bike lane back over the Pitt River bridge.