Words/Photo: Vinay Menon.
Monsoon skies building up on our hemisphere, I got chasing the sunlight on another. The B.C shores were insight, right in time for their summer. With a new frame from Polygon Bikes India and a blazing custom kit from Psynyde Bikes, the Canadian fest began.
Fresh off the gluey Manali dirt, my tires were yet to flake off the desi silt. First up on reaching Vancouver were the North Shore trails! Still running on an Indian time frame, I followed MTBBC’s Martin Littlejohn and crew down on their backyard run. New features and packed dirt set up the theme of what was in store for the rest of my B.C time. After warming up on North Van trails, Whistler and its celebration of mtn biking – Crankworx was on my schedule.
Stepping out of the Greyhound bus into Whistler Village was like jumping into a mtn biking tornado! Frenzied riders, new gear everywhere, bosses of the sport signing autographs, kids with lil bikes and big smiles! Crankworx brings in a special vibe into the usually mellow Whistler town. Teaming up with veteran Photog & FRM Photo editor Malcolm Mclaws thru the Crankworx days and riding the park all week got me speeding through my Whistler stay.
Next up was the Sunshine coast! An island with less humans, prime trails and home to some of the best riders in the world, Sun Shine Coast is a ‘must visit’! Malcolm set me up with his RV for the days on the island. With a spot overlooking the valley,I’d wake up to the echo of Coastal crew’s theme soundtracks from their videos. Coastgravitypark is one of a kind. The parks backyard vibe will let you push your riding while rubbing shoulders with the Pros. A shuttle van drop on the mtn top followed by quick descents was the schedule through evening. Adding to the epic times, I got to catch the ”The Backwoods Jam”. A mega dirt jump session hosted by Logan Peat. Wicked trick trains all day lit up the CGP backwoods.
Next up was Whistler again. This time without the Crankworx chaos and bright skies. Making way for the fall season, the park trails were getting tacky. Shorter lift lines and tackier trails meant more laps each day! Continuing the drizzly days, it was time to join Andrew Baker on his home trails of Squamish. It was an AM game while in Squamish. Kevin Landry led Baker, Rob Dunnet and me to a new trail he’d discovered. An hour of steep climbing got us to the top of the mtn. With bears possibly lurking in the woods, steep loamy trails were our escape route. Massive trees, hairy rockslabbs and tacky dirt kept my short travel bike stoked! Squamish has some of the funnest tech trails around, add some rain in the equation and things will get interesting!
In search of dry weather, a north bound bus to Kamloops was set next. Reaching Loops I caught up with Joe Beeser of ”Loose Riders Kamloops”. A social media powered community of mtn bikers, ‘Loose Riders Global Alliance’ has been uniting riders from around the world. With chapters spreading over 50 nations, ‘Loose Riders’ is all about havin a good time and gettin loose on your bike! While in Kamloops I teamed up with the ‘Loose Riders Kamloops’ crew. After logging laps on Harper and Rio, Silverstar Bike Park was buzzing on a dry and sunny day.
With Loops dust on my hubs, I made way to Vancouver for some North Shore rips before heading back to India. Whom would you follow on the North Shore trails? How about the ”MTB Hall of Fame” inductee, ”Dangerous” Dan Cowan! Cruising down the legendary trail network and stumbling upon old skinnies 20ft high in the forest was educational! New trails on the Shore are more about speed now than super tech ladder bridges. Fresh trails dug by the ‘NSMBA’ crew was a delight to spin on. Good to see municipality approving mtn bike trails on the shore. Hopefully we’ll be able to see similar movement in India as well.
With Canadian summer coming to a close, it was time to head back to India. Straight onto the lower Himalayas. Spiti region on an AM mission is up next! Big shout out to everyone who made this Canadian summer a fun one!