Canada. Freeride. Northshore. Skinnies. Giant hucks. No landings for said giant hucks. These are some of the thoughts that cross the minds of many mountain bikers not intimately familiar with the riding north of the 49th parallel. And I’ll admit it - I was one of these people too.Old woodwork has been replaced with massive amounts of dirt on Heckyl and Jeckyl. I usually consider trails this jumpy to be new school, but the trail is several generations old now.
Discovering mountain bikes in northern California in the mid-1990s, my friends and I were exposed to endless media of the Froriders as they shredded wild lines all over BC. As impressionable adolescents, we were all thoroughly convinced that the average trail in BC, and likely the rest of Canada, was something to make even the most seasoned of riders fear for their lives. You know the drill - type 2 fun, full commitment, travel insurance, the whole deal. Trails that have obstacles that might seem within grasp, only there is something inherently wrong with the trail, raising the difficulty factor to levels beyond us mortals. To this day, I am still struggling to understand that yes, there are normal trails all over Canada - and lots of really, really good ones!Rocky Blondin, president of the FVMBA, showed us a few of the trails. Thanks to the FVMBA for helping to keep these trails alive!
One of my favorite things to do while traveling and outside of cell service is to peruse Trailforks. In particular, I love reading the descriptions of the trails that I’ve heard of, but have yet to see myself. The BC region is chock full of such destinations. In the case of the Woodlot, I’d heard about a couple of the specific trails, and assumed they were actually on the Vancouver Northshore. Not the case! Turns out there is a whole valley east of the Northshore. It’s called the Fraser Valley, and it’s loaded with amazing riding. Woodlot mountain biking trails
Located on the border between the cities of Mission and Maple Ridge, the Woodlot was once known for hundreds of gnar-gnar skinnies and woodwork, as well as a mine field of “one hit wonder” jumps that were built to be hit (and filmed) merely once. I had this idea in the back of my mind, but figured with it being a legal riding spot, things would have to be pretty tame. So many old dinosaurs in the woods, I couldn’t help but imagine the tires (and wheel sizes) that have passed over this in prior generations.
It’s always interesting to see how old school riding areas can be re-imagined, especially through the lens of an ever-changing sport. Bikes have sure changed since the Y2K era, as have riding styles and preferences. Some blue trails now are more advanced than many “double blacks” were two decades ago. However, some trails remain the exception, and have always been gnarly. These stand the test of time.
Checking out Hekyl and Jekyl was a treat. It’s a very new school take on an original Woodlot trail, and with a timber line running through the trail’s current path, it’ll be interesting to see how it withstands the upcoming harvest. The creek beds near the trail still bear the remnants of prior trail iterations, all with cedar slats far enough apart that better resemble train tracks than any sort of “bridge” that we might want to ride nowadays. Heckyl and Jeckyl is a modern freeride masterpiece.
I left the Woodlot stoked to see that many of the original skinny lines, while not heavily ridden, are still in existence. And there are some (fully legal!) jumps that helped quench my hucker thirst. At one point, I remarked to Logan, Morgan, and Rocky that these legal trails were gnarly enough to dwarf the trails in the USA that could land their American builders jail time should authorities discover their handiwork. Luckily, Canada is far more accepting of healthy recreational pursuits. Well spaced out, public jumps. Can life get better?
Finding Freeride Flow in the Woodlot Produced by: Jeff Kendall-Weed @jeffweed.Filming: Logan Patrick Nelson@loganpnelson
.Photography: Morgan Taylor @foundinthemountains.Trail Advocacy: FVMBA Support the FVMBA!Supported by: