Photo credit: Norm Lee | Flickr
Biking the North Shore
Let's face it: mountain biking is in Vancouver's blood. Kids grow up in the sport because it's a legitimate extracurricular school activity. The city breeds world champs and medal-winning Olympians who probably eat dirt for breakfast. Plus, there's a camaraderie among Vancouver mountain bikers that's pretty hard to find elsewhere.
We also have the famous North Shore, where freestyle mountain biking was practically born. This is like the Holy Land for mountain bikers. With Mount Fromme, Cypress Mountain and Mount Seymour as major anchors, North Shore riding makes single-track look like kindergarten. Imagine the most difficult, technical terrain you can find—fallen logs, boulders, huge ravines, combined with man-made obstacles on fast-riding trails, most of which are well-maintained by Vancouver's active mountain biking community.
This isn't to scare you away. There are plenty of intro trails to get you started. Check out www.trailpeak.com, a great resource for North Shore beginner trails, or try hooking up with the Vancouver Mountain Biking Meetup. Another great resource for mountain biking enthusiasts is the locally-produced NSMB.com, complete with forums full of locals to answer your questions.
Below are a few North Shore trails to whet your appetite.
Stupid Grouse Trail (Cypress Mountain)
Rating: Easy to moderate
Teaser: We like Stupid Grouse Trail only partly because of its name. But with dips and natural obstacles, plus a couple of fast, flowing sections thrown in for good measure, this trail is best for beginners who just want to get a taste of Vancouver mountain biking.
Other recommended trails: BLT Trail (moderate), Family Guy (moderate)
Pipeline (Mount Fromme)
Teaser: If we had to pick one classic trail on Mount Fromme, we'd choose Pipeline. This is a popular and constantly maintained trail with classic North Shore features: ladders, a few skinnies, and a teeter- totter. All this to say that although it's not an easy intro course to mountain biking, it is a great intro to North Shore-style riding.
Other recommended trails: Seventh Trail, Upper Oil Can
Boogyman (Mount Seymour)
Teaser: Best left to experienced riders, Boogyman delivers exactly what you'd expect from a challenging North Shore trail. Plenty of rock faces, ladders, hucks and A-frames provide a wide array of obstacles to work up a sweat. If you can't jive with the last, super-steep section (meant only for advanced riders), take the Pangor exit instead.
Other recommended trails: Ned's Atomic Dust Bin, Bridal Path
Air Supply (Mount Fromme)
Teaser: For those with a death wish, Air Supply welcomes broken wrists, concussions and other abrasions and is open for business. Just kidding (sort of). This strictly pro course features a series of gap jumps, narrow ladders and a swivel teeter-totter. We're including it here because it's by far one of the most impressive courses out there, and it represents the limits North Shore riders continually push year after year.