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Whistler Shop Now Open for our 20th Season!

We’re a little late opening the Whistler shop this season – it’s our twentieth season in the bike biz, and to celebrate we’ve had our heads down working on renovating the store.

All new displays and cabinets, and a new floor!

All new displays and cabinets, and a new floor!

We’re still setting up, but the shop is open for business, including repairs.
Come on by and say hello!

newshop2_1

Let’s see how long we can keep everything organized…

Posted by pete, 0 comments

Surly Pugsley First Impressions

So, for whatever reason I haven’t gotten a ski pass yet this year.  Not sure why.  I’ve been doing an alternate-recreation winter: snowshoeing, some XC, lots of photography down in Squamish.  My aging dog likes it there and the gas is 5 cents a litre cheaper.  I digress.

Mid-winter and we needed something new around the shop, so I ordered up a shiny Surly Pugsley.  These fat-tire bikes have been around for a while now, but we’ve seen zero demand – I think everyone assumed there’s just too much snow here for them to actually work, myself included.  The recent cold dry spell provided some perfect conditions for testing the Pugsley in prime winter snow.

First, the bike itself.  Ordered on a whim, NRG – Surly’s Canadian distributor – had it in the shop the next day.  The hardtail fully rigid 4130 steel frame and fork (made in Taiwan) is built around the huge 3.8 tires, with funky bends in the rear triangle, an 80mm bottom bracket, special front derailleur bracket and a custom 135mm spaced front fork (the Pug runs a rear hub up front, so the front and rear wheels can be swapped if the freehub cacks out).  There’s a touch of Rube Goldberg, but it’s all functional and executed superbly.  Assembling the bike with the stock parts kit was smooth, fabrication-free event.  The final bike, with it’s bright yellow paint and huge black tires is beautiful.

The Bumblebee

During my first spin around the parking lot I was somewhat surprised to find that despite the Salvador Dali inspired seatstays and fork, the Pugsley rides just like… a bike.  I was expecting a ton of rolling resistance from the massive tires, running at just 7 psi, and a lot of general squishyness.  Instead, the Pugsley rode like any other bike – until I got to the end of the lot, and went up and over the snowbank.  Hmm, maybe there’s something to this.

Next day I headed to the Whistler Interpretive Forest, to tackle the Cheakamus Lake road.  I thought I’d start with a road well traveled – and packed – by skiers, snowshoers and the occasional snowmobile.  (Side note: don’t get a Pugsley if you don’t like talking to people – everyone wants to know what this thing is.  I hadn’t even left the parking lot and people were taking pictures of it leaning against my truck.)  Once I started up the road I tried to ride into untracked snow, and my suspicions were confirmed:  the Pugsley may be a ‘snow bike’ but it’s no powder bike.  A foot of fresh stops you dead, just like any other bike.  But, if I stayed in the centre of the track, where the most traffic had been I could ride – slowly, gently – up the road.  Pedal circles, grasshopper!

I made it a couple of klicks up the road, just past the entrance to the Farside trail where a lot of the snowshoers branch off.  The less compacted snow and a slightly steeper pitch defeated the Pugsley, so I turned my attention to the Farside.  Dropping in the the ‘singletrack’ I discovered one of the drawbacks to riding in deep snow: my less-than-agile old dog got in the way and I dropped the front wheel off the packed trail and stopped dead.  I instinctively put down my foot, immediately post-holed up to my thigh and slammed my other knee into the top tube.  So, don’t do that.

Once I was rolling on the trail, the sore knee was forgotten.  Going down on the Pugsley is an entirely different ballgame.  Smooth and steady is still the name of the game, but once the bike gets rolling it starts to feel a bit like it’s planing.  It was fun and controllable, and with firmly packed snow I even rode up all the small climbs.  It was fun enough that I turned at the bottom and rode up the Westside Main.  This road sees heavier use so uphill traction was less of a problem, and the ride back down the Riverside trail was a ton of fun.

The next day I just rode around Pemberton, and went to the winter festival – I found a picture of myself on Flickr:

Photo by Dave Steers

For my second real ride I headed up the Duffey Lake Road, to check out the old logging road into Cayoosh Mt.  Traction on this well traveled road wasn’t too bad, but I still found the tires prone to breaking through the cold compacted snow and into what felt like ball bearings.

Beautiful day for a Bike Ride!

A couple of times I had to push, but I think that’s par-for-the-course with this style of riding.  It’s all slow and steady.  Walk, ride, you’ll get there.

The steepness of the road here was about the traction limit. I made it right to the end of the road. Mt. Cayoosh looms above.

The ride back down was, again, a blast; once the bike gets up to speed all the sliding around disappears and the bike feels smooth and controllable.

Attention to detail: Thumb shifters for use with gloves or mitts. They work really well! (I checked for all you XC racers, no, they don’t make a 10 speed yet).

Funky bent seatstays. The fork looks like that too. The bike rides straight though!

So, what’s the verdict?  Honestly, I don’t think I’ve spent enough time on the Pugsley to really rate it.  For certain types of snow, namely hard, well packed snow it works really well.  If you’re thinking of ripping trails like you do in summer, it’s not going to happen, at least here in the Coast Range.  Even if you can find a trail that’s not blocked by bent-double trees, you just can’t ride through snow that deep on a bike.  Now, if you had a crew of guys with fat-tire bikes keeping a trail clear and packed, that might work…

For now, I’ll be sticking to groomed tracks and well compacted logging roads.  I’m going to try the Lillooet FSR up past the Hurley and the Sea to Sky trail, but I think the Pugsley will really come into its own a little later in the winter when we start seeing some melt/freeze cycles.

Pete

 

Posted by pete, 2 comments

On top of the world

In the last few weeks the days have been getting shorter and colder, so a bunch of dirt bags and I thought it was a good idea to try something new and get a few more peaks under our belt.Our adventure was greatly rewarded with a few new peaks and some epic single track .
Here’s our adventure into the land of the lost

 

Posted by seebass, 2 comments

Pinnochio

Posted by JI in Photo, Photos and Videos, 1 comment

The “Top of the World”

From our friends at the Whistler Insider Blog:

Dreaming on the “Top Of The World”

TAG: Amped-Up Adventure, Must Dos Posted by: Feet Banks

 

By Chantelle Pellerin

Everyone has the potential to experience at least seven dreams a night. That’s seven opportunities each and every day to connect with yourself on a subconscious level. Seven chances to learn about, and perhaps transcend, who you are.

A friend mentioned she had found a way to gain control over her dreams, to manipulate her “imaginary” experiences while asleep. Apparently she was dreaming about being a painter. In the dream she focused on her hands, on the brush slowly moving up and down. According to her, that triggered a sense of awareness in the moment and allowed her to “take hold” of the rest of the dream, co-creating on a conscious level all the experiences she desired. I decided to try it. Reminding myself that night as I lay in bed to “look at my hands…”

Several hours pass as I lay there focusing on trying to fall asleep. Then several more. When slumber finally finds me it is too-quickly shattered by the sounds of the morning world. I’ve barely slept a wink… may as well go biking then.

Whistler Village—so many bikes. Beautiful, shiny bikes everywhere and the people beside them all smiling like lottery winners. Our home sees about 15,000 two-wheeled visitors each summer, many of them here experiencing their own dreams firsthand. With every grinning rider coming out of the bike park I begin to forget my restless night of failure.

Sitting in front of the Village Gondola, sipping perhaps the world’s greatest caramel latte, I am approached by a man with a golden ticket – a single-use Peak Chair ride to the “Top of the World.” The man explains this $15-upgrade from the regular bike park pass is mine free if I will join him and few select others on what he assures me is, “the ride of a lifetime.”

You don’t need a full night’s sleep to recognize the value in that. The spirit of adventure flows through the Whistler valley like the weather. I’m in.

I’m also the only woman in our group of 8 lucky winners, and the sleepiest. We ride a white unicorn (or is it the Village gondola?) on a 4,931ft ascent into clouds punctuated with dazzling mountain peaks. We point out wildflowers and bear cubs below, the views so amazing it’s hard to believe they’re real, even while riding a unicorn.

We unload then climb higher still, our bikes strapped to the seatbacks of the Peak Chair. “The Top of the World is a place for people to experience something unique”, the man explains, “A place where the only limitations are those we place on ourselves.

Ascending, the greens of summer give way to the sun-cupped starkness of giant white snowfields as a brisk alpine breeze sweeps off the summit. The entrance to the Top of the World bike trail is gated by large drifts of snow. Mist and cloud swirl around us, shrouding everything but path ahead. I peer over my handlebars, notice that I am looking at my hands, and everything clicks. “Dropping.”

 

The 5,614 foot descent of the Top of the World begins by meandering through fields of large volcanic boulders. In the winter, this snowy patch is known as “The Cakehole” although on a bike the technicality of it feels nothing like a cakewalk. Surging endorphins swirl my senses like a sugar rush as I dream-ride through the Double Black Diamond-rated terrain. The Cakehole… I sooth my nerves by imagining each boulder frosted with dollops of icing and sugar spinkles. Aren’t Black Diamonds a girl’s best friend?

After the rocks, we ride into flow-y chocolate-like single track of “hero dirt” with plenty of space to let ‘er rip a bit. Magically on cue, the sun pushes through the clouds, illuminating a dreamy palette of coloured wildflowers peeking up through the heavy rocks. It feels like a far-off European landscape I ‘ve only ever seen in childhood movies like The Sound of Music. I feel the urge to yodel from the mountaintops. That has always been a dream of mine. Why not?

We continue past bubbling streams, cake-batter mud and rocky roads weaving in and out of trees. The landscape so familiar under a blanket of snow is now so exposed and stripped raw, so new. Gazing over the bars I feel myself falling in love with the Whistler alpine again, from a new and totally different perspective.

Realizations fly at me with each berm and perfectly sculpted corner. In total control but moving so quickly I truly understand just how amazing the Whistler Blackcomb Bike ParkMaintenance Crew really is. They’re dreamers but they also make dreams come true every day, their own, their guests’, the mountain’s. After a 17.16 kilometer descent of almost too-good-to-be-real riding I arrive at the GLC in a pleasant daze. The sugary adrenaline of the day mixes with sleep deprivation to give the world a gauzy, floating sensation. What just happened? Did i really luck into test-riding North America’s first lift-accessed single track bike trail?

I continue riding. Home, to bed, to sleep beside my dog, to dream. I forget about trying to control anything, my hands tucked comfortably under the pillow. We all have the potential to experience at least seven dreams a night. But in Whistler we can experience them all day as well.

Sterling Lorence Photo

 

Posted by JI, 0 comments