King of the Scene
What It Is: An expansive, 60-plus-mile trail system west of North Vancouver that includes Mount Fromme, Cypress Mountain, and Mount Seymour. This is the birthplace of the famous freeride movement, which spawned a entirely new genre of equipment.
You Should Go If: You want to take on the challenge of the acknowledged flashpoint of freeriding, where log rides and bridge crossings are the norm. This is also prime testing ground for area-based bike manufacturers such as Rocky Mountain and Kona.
Don't Miss: The fun-filled 15-mile cross-country loop on Mount Seymour that combines Fisherman's Trail, Bridle Path, Old Buck, and Severed Dick. The final leg earned its grimace-inducing name from day's past when there was a nearly unavoidable tree in the middle of a steep gravel shoot. For another classic North Shore experience, head to 7th Secret on Mt. Fromme, a 3.1-mile adventure with lots of ladder and bridge crossings.
Local Knowledge: Concerns about erosion and the need for new challenges were the original impetus that lifted many North Shore trails off the ground and onto logs, bridges, and teeter-totters. The man behind the revolution was "Dangerous" Dan Cowan, who built such famous North Shore trails as a Walk in the Clouds and Circus.
Quotable: "A lot of people go to Whistler, do the ski lift thing and think, 'wow that's gnarly,'" says James Wilson, owner of Obsession Bikes in North Vancouver. "That's nothing. The North Shore has stuff that is off the charts. But there is also good beginner terrain, and it's that range of options that I think has really generated all the notoriety for this area."
Shoptalk: North Vancouver has numerous shops, but two of the best are the Deep Cove Bike Shop on Gallant Avenue (www.covebike.com; 604.929.1918) and Obsession Bikes on Lonsdale Avenue (www.obsessionbikes.com; 604.985.2213). Obsession Bikes owner James Wilson and his staff provide mechanic services for the seven-day B.C. Bike Race.
Crash Pad: The ideally located Riverside B&B on Riverside Drive (604.929.1310) is biker-friendly and an easy spin from the trails of Mt. Seymour.
Getting There: From Vancouver International Airport, it's a 45-minute drive through the city and across Burrard Inlet on the Arthur Laing Bridge to North Vancouver. Once in North Vancouver, head to the end Riverside Drive where you'll find the Mount Seymour trailhead.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication