One day on The North Shore and I'm back in the room!

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  • One day on The North Shore and I'm back in the room!
  • Ooops, bit of an essay there!

    In summary: Bored of MTB, visited North Shore, MTB is teh awesum again. 8)

    Not afraid to admit I was pretty down on MTB in the last few months, the motivation to drag myself out on the same battered and soggy trails that I’ve been riding for ten years just wasn’t there.

    This translated into a bit of a jaundiced view of all the new kit that was coming on to the market, dropper posts? p’ah! 6″ full sus frames? Pointless! Big powerful hydraulic brakes? No need!

    But still, I bought a second hand Pitch in preparation for a trip to Vancouver, couldn’t really be bothered though, a previous short visit to the north shore to ride the ‘beginner’s trail’ (Bobsled) just seemed to be to be a glorified Spooky Woods, nothing wrong with that but not enough to inspire me really.

    However, this time I had another day on the shore. A misty damp looking day, figured it would just be like any day’s riding in Scotland. However, within 1 run of Bobsled, and 1 run down ‘Floppy Bunny’ I was getting a feel for the trails, lots of rock work, lots of easy woodwork and lots of wee drops and jumps.

    I then got chatting to some random dude on the winch back up and we rode Pipeline together. It started with a lot of woodwork, I’ve never had to concentrate like that for so long (it was wet and slippy) and the sweat was pouring off me, reminding me of the taste of hair-filtered helmet sweat (horrible, but reminds me only of good rides). After that it was pure rocks, roots and occasional mud. My new buddy was a bit slow but I owed him this trail as I wouldn’t have ridden by myself (no-one knew where I was) so I was happy to wait for him.

    The new (to me) Specialized Pitch, which on the Edinburgh trails had seemed like a ponderous squashy lump, came alive, I felt I could just pick it up and place it whereever I wanted on the trail, and had to check the urge to drop off every lip I saw as I never knew where I was going to land. Thanks to those who recommended a medium, I was dubious, but on those trails you want something small that can be turned on a dime. The Maxxis ADvantage tyres seemed perfect for the job. I can also, as an aside, recommend Black Tusk Jerky Mountain Mix as a trail snack, teriyaki flavoured nuts, berries and jerky? Knocks ‘omni flavoured’ Clif Bars into a cocked hat!

    By the end though, I was hankering after a dropper post (the locals all swear by them but usually run Reverbs as they are cheaper in Canada!) and am already thankful for the big new SLX brakes I put on. I could even be persuaded to fit a shorter stem and some wider bars.

    I’ve potentially got three or four more day’s riding out there next week so might try and get some pictures. With Canadian affiar doing return flights for £350-£500, and the North Shore trails accessible from the city centre via the excellent public transport system, I would SERIOUSLY suggest a trip out, I’ve not been this excited about MTB for a long time! 😀

    Premier Icon althepal

    Nice one mate. Itching to do something similar but might have to wait a few years till I’m 40 and can justify it to the missus!


    Well if you head up there again, Ladies Only is a much better trail than Pipeline, especially since Digger pretty well rebuilt it the other year, and you rode past the entrance a few feet before Pipeline.


    love it out there 🙂


    Was a few years ago for me,But was the best riding of my life.

    Premier Icon ton

    sounds like you are having a good time mate.
    looking forward to you write up and photo’s of your jaunt……they always make good reading. 😀

    Another rainy day but more new riding buddies including Morgan Taylor from who took some nice photos.

    Excuse the ‘danger face’ on that last one, went in a bit squirrely and was just holding on for dear life trying not to end up in the water with the heron!


    That looks amazing.

    Good pics – its hard to get decent ones as its always so dark moody in there…

    I love the shore. lived there for a year a few years back. My first ride was a night ride in the snow on expresso – that was a lesson in humility… 👿

    Makes you realize how shit we are as riders are in the UK!

    Premier Icon bigjim

    well jell! looks awesome fun

    Premier Icon ton

    fantastic mate.

    Premier Icon Rusty Mac

    Fantastically jelous, that looks awesome!

    I’m off to get my bike built back up so i can practice my “Danger Face” at the weekend.


    I wanna go!

    Premier Icon big_scot_nanny

    yup, that looks ace!

    Premier Icon scaredypants

    I bloody hate wet woodwork

    I’m out 😥

    Makes you realize how shit we are as riders are in the UK!

    Oooh, I don’t know about that, just makes you realise how much better we could be at trail building, some of the best builders out here barely ride apparently, its like an activity in its own right.

    Superb, Ian! Mojo is back!. It’s my 40th in 3 years, looks like the perfect present to myself would be a wee trip to the shore…….. 🙂

    3 years

    Or sooner Greg, if I can set myself up somewhere with space for folk to crash… (I’d have ridden more this week but had some very productive job interviews 8) )

    Good point – trail building is an art form there.
    Although to be fair its much more simple as not multiple private land owners and all crown/council land. And they actually have a dialogue open with the authorities….

    still I got owned big time for the first 6 months of living there!


    Myself and the girlfriend did a mini tour of Canadia a couple of years ago and we took the bikes.
    I got to ride in quite a few places including Banff, Jasper and Whistler but I didn’t make it over to the North Shore which I’m quite gutted about.
    Its my 40th next year so the BC race (and hopefully another week or two travelling around after) is already in the diary as a pressie (consolation) to myself for hitting that milestone.

    Absolutely love Canadia and the Canadian people.

    Brilliant, mr ezzi, hope you land on your feet over there! Never been to Vancouver, but I absolutely loved Toronto, and anyone who’s been to both reckons Vancouver is off the scale better!.

    All the best mate.


    WTF? alien landscape!!!

    We need to get our trails sorted NOW!!!!!

    Premier Icon robgarrioch

    Top-notch Ian, if you could bottle some of that regained keen-ness & bring it back with ye… Presuming you are coming back (?), give me a bell & you can have a 50mm stem oan-the-free. Happy days :mrgreen:


    Good story and some great pictures too. A good friend of mine got me into north shore stuff back in about 2000 and after watching films like Kranked and NDX repeatedly a few of us started building and riding some stuff here in the UK. With some other stuff that was built close by meant we had a great little UK shore thing going on for a couple of years. It all got taken down eventually (that’s another story) but we finished in style and a group of us did a 3 week trip to Whistler / Vancouver Island and finished with a week on the North Shore – amazing. I actually preffered the North Shore to Whistler in many ways, it just had an amazing feel to it and quite simply makes you ride better – if you are lucky enough to live there then hats off! Enjoy and keep the ride reports coming 😀 I’m loving trail riding at the moment and haven’t ridden any woodwork for a while but will certainly get over there again at some point – your post is a good reminder of why..

    Premier Icon jimmy

    A trip to Vancouver & Whistler in 2005 completely rejuvenated my love for MTBing. Not only the riding there, but also makes you 100% confident on UK trails and opens your eyes to new lines and possibilities.

    Hmmm, need to go back…

    Premier Icon Coyote

    Rode a bit on Fromme back end of last summer. Fantastic place. There’s is something so very special about the North Shore… I miss it 😥

    Yep, the Shore is amazing. I was wondering today which riding I preferred – Vancouver or Whistler. I think for all out fun times, I’d probably choose Whistler, but the Shore is a much more exciting memory / experience. Nothing in the UK (or Europe?) comes close from what I’ve seen.

    I remember that Heron bit being reeeally sketchy (much harder than it looks)!

    Aw, I want to go back now…

    Premier Icon bigjim

    Hmmm maybe I should have pushed a bit harder for that Vancouver transfer in my last job…


    Hopefully doing a year of Uni in Vancouver, and I can’t wait 😀


    isnt teh heron on ladies only? love it out there


    Remember: Its just as wet as Britain, bring all your waterproofs and wet weather gear.

    You have to pedal up things, and sometimes in to and out of the trails, if you can, bring something designed to do this (i.e. a Specialized Pitch, even with the suspension unlocked and flat pedals it seems to muscle its way up the climbs, even Mountain Highway which is a tarmac horror story…)

    Big brakes, with sintered pads. I’ve been warned already how quickly I’ll munch through the pads on my SLXs.

    Bus #210 takes you from city centre to the foot of the trails in 25 minutes, costs $3.75 and takes bikes 8)

    Stop and talk to anyone you see, I’ve done it twice so far and have ended up riding with new people. I haven’t accidentally tried to follow Wade Simmons or Andrew Shandro down anything thankfully…

    isnt teh heron on ladies only?

    Yep, we rode Seventh Secret, Ladies Only and Big Stupid/Skull depending who you talk to. Most of those pics are on the fire road climb or on Ladies I think.


    memories 🙂 🙂

    Phew, first night ride of the year, that was an experience! I couldn’t find anyone to ride with, none of my buddies have lights or pedallable bikes, so I started up the long fireroad climb by myself, fairly confident as a veteran of many solo night rides in Edinburgh and even one through Glen Tilt at 2am. I also half expected to meet folk up there and felt sure a full hipflask would ingratiate me into any group.

    However, neither the Pentlands, nor Glen Tilt, have large predators hiding in the dense tree cover. I wasn’t spooked until I stopped at the top of Ladies Only to fiddle with my light and pad up. I hadn’t seen any other riders by this point and I remembered a cougar had been sighted a couple of times on the trail running parallel to Ladies Only, called Pipeline. At that point I got the willies a bit and wondered just how stupid I’d been coming up by myself.

    I decided to dally a little in case anyone else was coming up the road behind me. As I had a sneaky whisky and cigarette I saw lights in the trees as someone descended Leppard, but also lights coming up the fireroad. My new buddy (wether he liked it or not!) was easily won over by someone to ride with and the offer of some nice ‘Scotch’ (I hate that word…).

    Now that we both had a buddy, and it was a nice night, we had no excuse not to hit the harder trails, Seventh Secret, Expresso and Lower Ladies Only (not my photos).

    ‘Expresso Smooth’

    The top of Lower Ladies Only (from this photostream

    The Lower Ladies rollercoaster, I don’t know if it was the same bit as in the photo, but I went into this too casual and almost got sent skywards, its almost a halfpipe in the middle!

    I can also confirm trail dogs are great fun if they’re well trained. ‘Meg’ had obviously learnt the hard way to either wait patiently behind the tentative rider, or cut the corner and get way in front. Being passed by a dog feels exactly like being passed by another rider it turns out, shaming 8)


    Thanks for posting the pics, it’s over 10 years since we rode the shore and this takes me right back there. The Shore is in a league of its own but we headed over to Cranbrook when we were there and at the time they were building some really crazy woodwork including stopping teety totters to create launches on drops. 🙂

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