.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

Old mountain bike + older logging loads = a good afternoon.
By:  Vesta Mather   (2010/09/15)

So I’ve been road biking for a couple summers now, and have really been enjoying it. Some of the best things are the large range of territory that can be covered, always being able to find somewhere new to explore. So when I was at my families last week, without a road bike or any paved roads to ride on, I decided to dig out one of the 25 year old mountain bikes and see what kinds of riding I could find on the fairly old (and mostly unmaintained) logging roads in the back woods. There was lots of distance for some-out-and back, but I am really a much bigger fan of doing loops and not retracing my steps. So with my Dads help, we found the possibility for a 30 or 40 k ride from the house to the camp (cottage to southerners) on the other side of the lake, over a variety of maintained and unmaintained roads and old skidoo trails.

Photo of the topo map I took before the ride for reference, mostly needed in the middle area (circled) where there were many more side “roads” and trails, than shown which I mostly managed to avoid long detours on.

I scavenged together everything I needed; water, snacks, camera, and phone, just in case I needed to make some calls and find out where I was (if I had reception!)

Ready to head out.

One of many puddles/lakes across the road, usually caused by beaver dams. Some I could ride through along the edge, but this was definitely a walker – I carried the bike to try and keep it dry, and the water reached the bottom of my shorts.

“Drive at your own risk” – this was actually one of the more maintained sections of the trip, which were actually a lot less pleasant to ride since there was often washboard and lose gravel. The old bumpy unmaintained roads were much more fun, although I'm sure shocks would have made things better overall!

A “selective cut” which had happened after the map I had was published. Almost thought it was the right way to go, but the compass on my phone saved the day!

A pond created by strip mining, at the end of what I thought was the right path. This was one of the places I actually got reception, so I called home to ask Dad if he had any idea where I was (nope!), and did end up having to backtrack just a little bit.

Evidence of other travelers on the roads....fairly fresh moose and bear prints.

...and a tiny baby toad

Success at the end of the journey! After 4 hours through sun and rain, it’s very difficult to lift an old heavy mountain bike at just the right second for the self timer.
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