Fall riding has to be my favorite time to ride. Sure it’s cooler, sure it may rain/snow a bit more, and sure some are already dreaming about skiing, but for me this is prime time! The trails are mint, not too dry, usually not too busy, and the scenery is second to none. Here in Kimberley the trees are turning, the leaves are falling and dustings of snow are on the mountain tops. Late September and through October are usually sensational here. Powder magazine starts coming out in September again and I love reading them, but I’m still very much into mountain biking.
It’s all about the layers. This has been said for skiing, and mountaineering, but is very important for fall mountain biking. Early morning can be below freezing with the afternoons getting up over 15 degrees celcius. A friend and I entered into the Bootleg Bikefest a few weeks ago here in Kimberley. This was an official grand opening of the new trails at Bootleg Rec site. We rode in the endure event. On the long climb up (although most shuttled, I like the climb…) it was cool to start until we warmed up and needed to remove our jackets. Once about half way up the clouds came in, the temperature dropped close to zero, and it started to rain/wet snow. Jackets were back on I was wishing I had one more layer.. Speaking of layers, I wore a long sleeve thermal top with biking shorts. I chose not to wear tights but easily could have. Once at the top, now sweaty, the jackets definitely stayed on for the ride down. This day I was warm enough that I wore my regular 100% bike gloves but, have recently been wearing my Dakine Rambler Glove as the temperature starts to drop. I find the Dakine Rambler to be the perfect for warmth, breathability, and grip..
Oh, I almost forgot my Dakine Slayer knee pads… I know these are a protective item but I do find they keep my old knees warmer and less achey..
Now one of my favorite pieces of gear that I’ve ever owned is my Marmot Wind Shirt . Mine is an older model, like myself, but still works as good as the day I bout it 20 years ago. That’s right 20 years ago when I used to get pro deals.. This lightweight jacket insulates, wicks moisture, repels water, and is super light. Not too mention extremely durable. I’m not the most extreme person, but I have put this little jacket through a lot with skiing, biking, hiking, touring, or what ever I’m doing. If it gets wet it dries in no time. For $100 it’s a no brainer. It is definitely my “go to jacket”..
October was riddled with fantastic rides around Kimberley and Cranbrook. The temps were great in the high single digits, mostly sunny and the views were amazing. You really have to experience it here in the east Kootenays to really see it. The vibe is very cool around town this time of year as well. While most are still biking, the anticipation for the ski season is starting to ramp up. Take a fall bike trip I’m sure you’ll love it. My family and I went camping/biking in Invermere the first weekend of October. Again, the biking was outstanding. Nights were dropping just below zero with the afternoon rides in the low single digits. We ended up riding Koloosifier, twice, well because the kids freaking love it.. I can’t say I mid it very much either. See our blog on riding Invermere for more information.
Fast forward a few weeks to today, November 12, 2018 and we were riding in Cranbrook and the temperature was hovering around zero with a bit of snow on the ground. We rode in the Cranbrook Community forest on Bonehead, Upper Roller Coaster and Green Chicken.. Some great riding but definitely had increase the layers. I again had on my my Dakine Rambler Glove , Dakine Slayer knee pads, and my Marmot Wind Shirt . I also added a pair of tights for my legs and a skully under my helmet. What a fantastic ride in mid November here in the East Kootenays. Last year my last ride was November 3, 2017. The forecast is looking decent for riding for the next week or two as well.
Hopefully you are getting some great fall riding. I know my riding season is nearing the end, but ski season has already begun in the Rockies and scheduled to open in less than a month now here in Kimberley. Embrace the cooler weather, you would call these days balmy if it were ski season. So just layer up and enjoy the best riding season of the year, Prime Time, Fall Time..