North Vancouver is always a hard place to ride. The heavily armored trails are constantly rugged and pounding. It demands the most of the suspension, bike, and rider. If everything isn’t working perfectly, the North Shore trails can be frustrating. And, for me, it was this time through. Nevertheless, the trails in the Shore remain as an elusive, intimidating challenge. If you can ride well on North Shore’s prime offerings, you can ride well anywhere.
For our first ride, we (Thermo, Scott, and myself) headed to Mt. Fromme for the easier Pipeline/Baden-Powell/Griffin combination. Fromme has seen changes. Pipeline now has an extended raised split wood build-up complete with a teeter-totter. As usual for the Shore, the new construction standard is very high. Further down, Baden-Powell is being/has been pacified to make sure that the connector trail is easier than the trails that feed it. Not to worry, though. The original harder lines have generally been retained. Plus, even a pacified trail in North Vancouver is far harder than any legal trail in the Bay Area.
At the bottom of Baden-Powell, as we pealed off our pads with the other riders preparing for the climb, a middle aged man rode up on a full suspension mountain bike.
Middle Aged Man: “Can you tell me where Bobsled is?”
The man was asking about a trail on the lower mountain.
From the group: “Just up the hill a ways, on your left.”
Middle Aged Man: “Just a short ways up?”
One of the collected group: “Yes. But the trail is closed. They are doing work on it.”
Middle Aged Man: “You don’t understand. I’m the Mayor. I’m riding up to check in on the work.”
At least we gave the right answer.
We talked to the Mayor (of N. Vancouver) at length. It turned out that his son was an avid mountain biker, works in a bike shop, and is Fromme aficionado. He goes to school at UCSC. The son definitely had the Mayor’s ear. The mayor explained that they were decommissioning some of Fromme’s trails and rebuilding them to be solid and more stable.
“People who know how to build trails” are building the realignments. Indeed, some of the Shore’s trail-building veterans are involved in the renovations at Mt. Fromme. Later we were told that 500,000 Canadian Dollars are being spent on the Fromme trail project. (We didn’t verify this number; it seems like a lot of money.)
Later, on Griffin, we saw some of the work being done. Beautiful and solid structures were under construction. The new build-ups are North Shore taken to perfection. Some lines were easy enough for a progressing rider while others will give even the most skilled riders pause. On our bikes we were able to roll some of the new lines and new woodwork. The recently finished stuff rides better than it looks.
Bobsled, we read, was being reconfigured into a fast new school style trail with flow similar to Half Nelson in Squamish. There’s really not much like this at Fromme. The new version of Bobsled seems certain to be very popular.
All this work, but they won’t be building a parking lot. Mountain bikers will still have to park several blocks down the hill in the neighborhood and ride up. But that is a minor complaint. At Mt. Fromme, a good thing seems to be getting better. You got to like that!
More pictures are here.