Monday, August 8, 2016

Matsqui Trail

Me cycling on the Matsqui Trail portion of the larger Trans Canada Trail.

This summer my husband and I have begun to ride our bikes with more purpose. It all started when I heard a story on CBC radio about the Kettle Valley Railway trail which winds east from Hope BC along the Coquihalla River, into the Okanagan valley. We are not road riders so discovering trails like this old railroad are real finds. One can ride along for miles and never encounter a car or a brutal hill. Because these trails were designed for railways, the grades are gentle and in some cases it's barely noticable that you are gaining elevation.

Our first hurdle was finding a good bike rack. We settled on a tray-style, hitch mounted design that allows for quick loading of bikes that are of different sizes. We chose a BC made product and bought it from Lifecycles in Abbotsford. The store owner Harv, was helpful and encouraging. He's a way more extreme rider than we are but he did not mock us or anything so that was good.

Our first outing was to the famed Othello Tunnels near Hope BC. The drive there takes about 90 minutes and the ride itself was only 8km return, so as my husband pointed out, the ratio of drive time to biking time was a bit out of whack. The trip to Hope and the relatively short ride were still a lot of fun and we felt our maiden voyage was a success. The path through the woods above the steep canyon of the Coquihalla River was like a dream ride from childhood.

This weekend we rode the Matsqui Trail near our place in Abbotsford. It was a much better drive to ride ratio. 15 minutes there and 2 hours riding. We rode about 14km with little stops along the way to check out the river and pick a few blackberries to eat. The trail sits atop the dyke that protects farmland from the river. The views are beautiful on both sides. The Mission Abby bell tower is visible from the Page Road trailhead, we didn't hear the chimes, maybe next time. The weather was quite gray but still suitable for riding. We left the dog at home and enjoyed racing eachother on the way back. We're both a bit competitive.

View through Othello Tunnels on the Kettle Valley Railway also part of the Trans Canada Trail.

Dramatic views of the Coquihalla River canyon from the Kettle Valley Railway along the Trans Canada Trail.
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