Categories
Travel Tips

Dos and Don’ts of Alpine Mountain Biking in British Columbia

Woman on a mountain bike smiling as she rides down a dirt trail in the middle of a field of flowers in British Columbia

Today’s guest post is from Robyn Goldsmith.

British Colum­bia  is home to an increas­ing num­ber of absolute­ly spec­tac­u­lar alpine moun­tain bike trails. Among oth­ers in BC, Ross­land has the Sev­en Sum­mits, Rev­el­stoke has Fris­by Ridge and Key­stone, and Whistler has the new­ly built Lord of the Squir­rels. Moun­tain bik­ing in sen­si­tive alpine areas is con­tro­ver­sial for good rea­son. Some alpine trails are pur­pose-built for hik­ing, and bik­ers have changed the char­ac­ter of those trails by rid­ing them.  As alpine rid­ing increas­es in pop­u­lar­i­ty, its impact also increas­es. How­ev­er, by adher­ing to gen­er­al rules of con­duct and respect­ing the alpine envi­ron­ment, we can help ensure that we don’t destroy alpine trails and that they stay open for rid­ers to enjoy in the future. 

The Dos:

1. PACK OUT YOUR TRASH

Yes, I know it seems obvi­ous, but it’s the most obvi­ous human impact and quick­est way to enrage peo­ple. Be mind­ful of your gra­nola bar wrap­pers, your stray gloves, and any­thing else you bring with you.

Woman on a mountain bike riding along a ridge trail overlooking mountains and green valley

2. DONATE TO THE CLUB THAT MAINTAINS THE TRAIL

Alpine trails are incred­i­bly expen­sive to build and main­tain, and see a lot of use over a rel­a­tive­ly short sea­son. If you’re not sure who main­tains the trail, check on Trail­forks and look for the ‘Trail Kar­ma” button.

3. RESPECT ALPINE WILDLIFE AND PLANTS

Don’t leave food out to attract ani­mals. Don’t approach wildlife, and stay on the trail to pro­tect sen­si­tive plant life. 

Three mountain bikes laying on the ground and two mountain bikers standing and looking out over the mountain valley

4.  RESPECT TRAIL CONDITIONS AND TRAIL CLOSURES 

If a sec­tion is mud­dy, don’t widen the trail by rid­ing around it. If you know the trail has been ham­mered by rain, con­sid­er rid­ing else­where. Like­wise, if a trail is closed, stay off of it.

5. PROVIDE TRAIL CONDITIONS REPORTS 

If you encounter a prob­lem on the trail, con­tact the local moun­tain bike club and let them know or cre­ate a report using the Trail­forks app. 

Silhouette of mountain biker riding on trail with mountains and trees in the distance under a bright blue sky

6. BRING ADEQUATE GEAR 

Be pre­pared for a long day and weath­er that can change quick­ly. You don’t want to be caught 12 km out with a flat and no spare tube, stand­ing in the pour­ing rain… with no  rain jacket. 

7. BRING A VEHICLE THAT CAN HANDLE THE ACCESS ROAD

A lot of British Columbi­a’s  alpine moun­tain bike trails are accessed by way of fair­ly rough log­ging roads. You *may* be able to make it in a low clear­ance vehi­cle, but why both­er with the has­sle and poten­tial for disaster? 

Mountain biker riding through trail in the middle of field of flowers in early morning

Don’t Do These Things:

1. DON’T BE A DICK! 

Use com­mon sense. Be respect­ful.  As a moun­tain bik­er choos­ing to ride alpine trails, you are rep­re­sent­ing the entire moun­tain bike com­mu­ni­ty up on the moun­tain.  Yield to hik­ers,  and leave the trail the way you found it… or in a bet­ter con­di­tion for the next rider. 

Alpine rid­ing is the whole pack­age — beau­ti­ful views, great trails, and phys­i­cal chal­lenge. As it grows in pop­u­lar­i­ty, we moun­tain bik­ers have a respon­si­bil­i­ty to respect the frag­ile alpine environment.

Hap­py trails, everyone!

About the Author:  Robyn enjoys all things out­doors and reg­u­lar­ly blogs about and pho­tographs her adven­tures. She lives in Rev­el­stoke, BC, where she works as a lawyer. Fol­low Robyn on Insta­gram, and on her blog, Scenes from the Trail.