We live in the wilderness (in case you didn’t notice). Literally, we have 12 square kilometres per person of wild landscapes, untamed animals and often dodgy cell reception—and that can be all within city limits. The City of Whitehorse has over 700 kilometres of trails that connect neighbourhood to neighbourhood, so how do you navigate? Where do you go when mountain biking, and do it safely?
Trail braiding isn’t only a concern with early-season wet spots … it can happen any time someone goes off-trail; so, as they say “Ride over, not around.” If there is a large tree that needs to be removed, inform the City of Whitehorse; or, if it is small enough for someone with a handsaw to remove (and you don’t have one with you), post to the CMBC Facebook group. Many people carry small, foldable saws in their packs to help keep trails clear and to do their part in trail stewardship. Trailforks has a trail report/condition feature, which we may start to see more of in the future as it becomes more populated with trails For example, a trail can be reported as closed or there may be a caution for a downed tree or some other issue (contact the City of Whitehorse by phoning 668-8325 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org).
Which way do I go?
The major biking areas have signs and also show the designated way of travel on the Whitehorse Trails phone app. Make sure to follow it! The person coming up always has the right-of-way. Some trails are only single tracks, which means there’s only enough room for one bike. Trails are also multi-use, so there can always be people hiking the trails.
Spring/summer means wildlife, particularly bears. And, like any adventure in the Yukon wilderness, you should always be prepared. Having a bear bell on your bike can be a good idea; it’s also useful for riding partners to hear where you are or to let other bikers know you’re coming. Bear spray should also be carried, either in the drink holder on your bike or on your backpack (not inside your pack).
For more local information about events and trail conditions, visit www.CMBCyukon.ca. And for more information on mountain-biking etiquette, visit www.imba.com/ride/imba-rules-of-the-trail.