With a few exceptions, the vast majority of my riding for the past 3 years has been done solo. Coordinating schedules, varying skill levels, and riders with different goals can all make it a bit tricky to quickly throw together even the simplest of trips. However, after the dark internet connected Pat and I, I’m starting to understand that riding with strangers can be quite a good time. Pat was in town for work and I was able to juggle some shifts to open up an afternoon and the following morning for an overnight bikepacking trip- so with little planning two strangers set out towards Myra Canyon and the Kettle Valley Rail Trail for a much needed escape.
The snow has been reluctant to melt for some time in the valley, especially at elevations above 1000m or so, so I was skeptical on how rideable the rail trail would be. The internet won again after I creeped some photos tagged at the Myra Canyon Trestles, and quickly realized the section we planned to ride would be good to go. From the centre of the city, riders can quickly hop on the Greenway Trail which almost immediately enters scenic forested areas accompanied by the rush of Mission Creek, and offers few reminders of the busy city streets to the West. After a few hike-a-bikes and plenty of great riding, Pat and I emerged just south of Scenic Canyon Regional Park, and began the much less enjoyable climb up to the trestles. It takes a reasonable 24km from Mountain Equipment Coop to reach the Myra Parking lot, at which point the fun really begins… and by fun I mean cool views, gigantic trestles, and a couple tunnels.
After 4km of good times, we reached the storm shelter near the southern end of the canyon which would act as our home base for the night. We made some mochas to shake off any chills we had from the light rain that had been teasing us all day, and ventured further down the trail to see what the snow was up to. It turned out there was still plenty of snow out towards trestle #5 and #6, so we ended up heading back to our shelter to eat too much food, before slipping into our sleeping bags for the night. Both Pat and I were hoping for clear skies, and we were eventually graced with a fantastic starry view late in the evening, which was especially welcoming after the gloomy and rainy day we had during our approach.
“Sometimes it’s just a good idea to ride bikes with people you meet on the internet” – Pat Valade
The next day we bombed back into the city on McCulloch Road, complete with frozen toes and hands, before wrapping up our little jaunt with some coffee and breakfast burritos. Jealous? You should be.
Planning to go bikepacking with a stranger you only know from the internet in the near future? Here are some tips from Pat and I on how to make the most of it. You can trust our suggestions are extremely valid.
– Establish some clear goals or objective. In our case, we just wanted a quick overnighter, no huge distances, but definitely to get out of the city.
– The small talk is important to get to know eachother, which will ultimately lend itself to the kind of trip you will have. Early on in our ride we realized we both liked to stop for photos and to eat lots of snacks, so we did.
– Start with an overnighter to avoid disappointment… luckily we killed it. What’s next?
For more awesome photos and bikepacking adventures follow Pat on instagram: @bikestachevalade