Dec 29, 2012

Urban Fatbike Adventures - COP Eastlands

It's no secret that we love exploring Calgary by bike. But come winter, many folks simply have to put away the bike and patiently wait for spring to come. Not us! This is the first in a short series of posts all about Urban Fatbiking in some of Calgary's wild places.

Come wintertime, Calgary's famous Multi-use Pathway System (MUP) turns into an epic snowy singletrack network the traverses this city in every direction. You can literally ride completely around Calgary on the trail networks.

Todays ride started in Edworthy Park, heading west along the tracks to the Calgary Olympic Park "Eastlands" cross country trail network, and back again.

Eastlands Trail Map
Starting into the Eastlands at its east end, at the parking area at the bottom of Sarcee Trail, the loop taken was basically, Slim Shady to Turtle Soup, to Supersize, to Ridgerun, Lame-o, Beater, Beaver Fever, to Jawbone, down Oasis, and back to the start.


Sticky snow.
The loop has been walked on by hikers so traction was quite good around the entire loop.  Climbing up through the ravine on Turtle Soup was really nice - no wind, no noise, just the crunchsqueak (that's my word for the sound fatbike tires make when they pack down snow) of my tires on the snow.  The only spot too steep for me to ride was Lame-o, which sometimes gets me in the summer too, so no biggie.

But once at the top of the trails the real fun began with the downhills offering nothing but slip sliding fun, snow covered bridges, and even a babling brook down the Oasis trail.


Dead car on Beater.
One thing I am learning (quickly) is that braking on fatbikes is a lot different than almost any other bike I've ridden.  The way you use the brakes reminds me an awful lot of how you use your brakes in cyclocross - which is to say, not much and not very often - you just have to surf it out and look ahead!

Once at the bottom I decided to head back the way I came out except instead of riding along the tracks I decided to pop into the Sidetrack trail which basically parallels the tracks but runs up high on a tight little single track.  There were other bike tracks present and it also looked like some folks have been working on the trail to open up the tight areas - cool!  They even created a new link about halfway along that smoothes out the trail no matter which direction you ride it.

The Eastlands Trails are easily accessed via the parking area at the bottom of Sarcee Trail and are a fine enough place to start.  The trail network can be ridden in a few different ways offering a couple loop options depending on where you decide to go.  

A Strava map of the entire ride is here.

We have a small handful of fatbikes available for rent - just call the shop for availability.

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