There is a way to connect the singletrack in Edworthy Park to the singletrack in Bowmont Park, turning two relatively short rides into one with a sufficiently acceptable length. Sufficiently acceptable also happens to be one of the highest compliments that one can give most singletrack in Calgary. However, in the pursuit of sufficiently acceptable, there is also grave danger. A prime example of urban mountain biking, any rider attempting the connection between these two trails risks traumatic personal injury.
Momentum. The suspension compresses, coiled in readiness. The apex of the corner approaches. A pump of the handlebars pushes the tires deeper into the dirt. Then release. Like a kid pumping a swing to get higher, go further. Faster.
Like a visiting a museum to remind yourself how we are descended from an intrepid fish-creature that dragged itself onto the shore from a primeval sea, it can be similarly enlightening to revisit our cycling ancestors. In many ways, the bicycle design that we ride today is little changed from the first bicycle-ancestors to crawl out of the proverbial primordial sea. And, just like those early fish-creatures (tetrapods), the ancestors of the modern bicycle took on some surprising forms.
There is a strange ritual that’s observed every April in the mountains of Canmore. The months of snow and stationary trainers create an urge, an inexorable drive, that pushes the cyclist to ride. With snow covering the valley until late Spring, there is only one trail* available for those possessed by that powerful call to ride . For almost a month, waves of riders will mechanically pedal up the Smith-Dorrien road, otherwise known as The Gap.
*used in the loosest sense of the word