Fall is the perfect season to enjoy outdoor activities like mountain biking!

  1. No more need for insect repellent, bugs are all gone by now!
  2. Gone are the days of heat waves! During the fall, the temperatures are much cooler, so it’s an ideal time to move outside. Long climbs will sure seem less difficult. Don’t worry about the wind! On the trails the trees will protect you.
  3. The scenic beauty is breathtaking! The mix of colors from the leaves and the amazing points of view around Mont-Tremblant will offer you the best subjects for your pictures.
  4. Because the holidays are over, there is now less traffic on the trails. You will have the trail network all for yourself (or maybe not after this article comes out!).
  5. The mountain biking trails are often less soft and muddy. As the nights get colder, the soil becomes hard. It’s easier to ride on and perfect for learning!
  6. The pleasure of riding in the dark. As the sun sets earlier, the after work outings usually end in the dark, creating new and exciting challenges. Plan ahead by bringing along a headlight suitable for mountain biking.

Now come along and join Vélo Mont-Tremblant on the trails this fall!

How to achieve the experience you want? Given the fact that it’s not pleasant to find yourself on a trail that is not what you expected, there are a number of factors to consider when planning your rides.

Obviously, you make sure you have water, a map, a bike in good condition and, if you know how to use them, an inner tube, a pump and some spoons. It’s usually a good idea, as well, to choose the trails you’ll ride depending on how much time you have and your level of capability.

What is often forgotten, or not done when the network of trails we’ll use is unfamiliar, is to plan bearing in mind the weather of recent weeks and of the day itself. More and more people are aware that it’s better not to ride when the trails are wet, to keep them in good shape. However, some trails allow us to ride sooner after rainfall than others without worrying about making conditions worse.

Having said that, I’ll add some advice to help you make the most of our network of trails.

  • Construction or repair work can result in trail closures; check the trail report before your arrival.
  • On hot, sunny days, use shady trails along the rivers, like La Lynx or La Diable. Taking a short break and soaking your feet in the water is refreshing. Avoid places without much shade, like the Critérium and the Jim Minty.
  • Following rain, choose trails like Deer Mountain, Jazz, the Diable, Ecureuil and Chouette, which drain well. This will reduce your impact. Avoid the Gorge, Geai Bleu and Sciotte, where some sections are more at risk.
  • Lastly, in spite of everything, we sometimes run into mud. In contrast to what many believe, it’s often better to ride through it instead of going around it. Bypassing the muddy sections causes erosion and widens the trails unnecessarily.

Write to us when in doubt or if you want more specific information on the state of the trails. It’s always a pleasure to plan well!

As seen in the Tremblant Express journal.

It’s not always easy to find the energy to service your bike properly after a spin. However, cleaning it after each ride is ideal and takes less time than if you leave it for long periods of time. In addition, you will avoid the premature deterioration of your components.

We usually take more care of our bikes when riding in muddy conditions. However, it is equally important to wash it during dry weather. Mud and dust are abrasives and can speed up wear on parts.

At a minimum we should be paying special attention to the the drivetrain (chain, tray and cassette). Keep it simple!

Rinse with water. Avoid the temptation to use a pressure washer as it will push dirt into bearings, bushings, etc. If you use a hose, avoid putting the spray directly on the bearings (cranks, hub and suspension). If you use a bucket, using warm water will help remove dirt.

Clean, if necessary and time permitting, the frame and components with a spongy rag and soapy water (dish soap does the trick). Use a degreaser on the chain so that everything comes off. Spin the cranks to cover the whole chain. Take a stiff nylon bristle brush to remove stubborn dirt.

Dry your chain with a rag or let it air dry.

Lubricate to prevent rust. Use a wet lubricant if riding in wet conditions.

Remove the excess lube with a clean rag.

Add to your routine lubricating of your pedal springs to prevent wear and ensure that your foot always disengages well. You can find an aerosol lubricant in the shop.

To speed up the cleaning of the transmission, there are products that degrease and lubricate at once. You just have to apply it and let it work it’s magic.

If you ride a lot, it’s best to do an early and mid season shop tune up to prevent any issues that could arise. If you ride less frequently and unless you have a specific problem, you shouldn’t need to bring your bike to the shop for a tune-up. A tune-up before storing your bike for the winter is recommended. It will help to keep your bike in good condition when next spring rolls around.

by Valérie Goyette

With most winter sports, you’re more likely to have a good experience if you check the maintenance condition of the trails before heading out. Fatbike trails, which have to be groomed, are no exception. Here’s some information to help you plan your outings.

HOW DOES GROOMING WORK?

There are two kinds of trails: single track and double track. These latter include the P’tit Train du Nord and the multifunctional trail. They are maintained by a grooming machine.

The single track trails are first packed down by snowshoeing and then widened with a shovel. About 25 cm of snow is needed to cover the ice of autumn, the roots and the rocks. As soon as there’s enough snow, out comes the snowmobile grooming machine. If all goes well, it takes about two hours to tour the full network of trails. If winds have been high, sometimes the groomer has to get out a shovel to allow the snowmobile to pass.

WHO SHARES THE TRAILS ?

Double-track trails are shared with cross-country skiers. On one side there are the twin parallel tracks for classic skiing and on the other, nice corduroy for skate skiing. It’s this latter that should be used. You’ll have to cross the classic tracks; it’s inevitable. When you do, try to cross at a perpendicular (90°, or a right angle) to avoid damaging them too much. Don’t forget that it’s easier for you to brake than it is for them, so be courteous and give them the right-of-way.

Some single-track trails are shared with snowshoers. We like them a lot cause they help pack down the snow.

Walkers without snowshoes, however, damage the surface in a way that’s hard to repair. Suggest they try a better experience. Maybe they don’t know it, but winter walking is allowed on the P’tit Train du Nord and on some trails in Domaine Saint-Bernard. No walking allowed on the multifunctional, but now there’s a nice trail on Le Géant golf course, starting from Tremblant Resort.

WHEN ARE CONDITIONS AT THEIR BEST?

First off, the harder the snow, the better. If it’s cold, that’s good. One small hiccup: dry snow softens the surface and makes traction more difficult. Wet snow hardens faster when it’s cold. If it’s warm, however, the snow changes to sugar snow and there again, traction becomes quite a challenge. In these situations, avoid steep slopes where you need good traction to get up the slope.

After a snowfall, double-track trails will provide good conditions more quickly than single, because the machinery used is heavier than on the other trails.

Grooming is usually done at night, which is why trails are closed then. Please note that if you set out on your fatbike too soon after the groomer does its work, you don’t give the surface time to harden.

WHERE SHOULD I START OUT?

Single-track trails are easily accessed from the Village, the Resort or the tourist office located at the intersection of montée Ryan and rue Labelle (which boasts a traffic circle now, but used to be called “the four corners”…and sometimes still is).

  • From the Village, take rue Séguin. The La Truite trail is on your left, just after the entrance to Circuit Mont-Tremblant.
  • From the Resort, take the multifunctional trail before meeting up with the Chouette Sud on your right, or on your left, the Pékan which leads to the Lynx.
  • From the “four corners”, there are options on the east side and west side of montée Ryan so as to avoid Villa Bellevue (double track).

Double-track trails are available starting from the Village, the Resort, the four corners, “centre-ville“  and even La Belle golf course and Le Maître golf course.

Let’s just note here that you don’t have to like mountain biking to appreciate the single-track trails. With its oversize tires, the fatbike provides better stability. And of course, the rocks and roots are covered by the snow.

WHAT’S WHERE IN THE TRAIL NETWORK?

 

Steep slopes

  • Cachée, both directions
  • Grand Pic, starting from the Jackrabbit Bridge
  • Les Pins Ouest, leaving from the Diable
  • Chouette Sud, on the Belvédère side
  • Belvédère, from the multifunctional trail

Beside a river

  • Diable, Lynx, Sciotte

The most beautiful view

  • Chouette Sud

The musts for trying single-track trails

  • Labyrinthe and Les Pins Est are the flattest
  • La Lynx runs beside the multifunctional trail so you can ride back on it easily if you prefer to do so.

Make sure that somebody knows your planned itinerary, particularly in winter. Cold prevents come phones from working. Always bring along a bottle of hot water to be sure that it doesn’t freeze.

ADVICE FROM THE “HEAD GROOMER”: PHILIPPE POIRIER, CYBERCYCLE

Traction is the key to success on the upward slopes. If you push suddenly and too hard on your pedals or if you stand up on your pedals, you decrease the pressure on your tires and don’t stick to the snow. Remain seated, lower your centre of gravity and stay centred to create equal pressure on your two tires. Pedal slowly but surely.

Be careful braking, too. Avoid blocking the tires to keep better control. What’s more, careful braking does less damage to the trails.

As seen in Tremblant Express journal, January 2018.

The fatbike is here to stay. The increase in users and the growth in the number of trail networks in Québec tell the tale: the demand is there. No need to be a mountain biking fan to enjoy it. It’s enough to like playing outdoors, to want some variety in your outdoor activities depending on conditions and the number of people, or to want to keep your thighs in shape for the coming summer.

If you’re among those who like to bike on snow, here are a few questions to ask yourself before you buy a fatbike.

On average, how many times a winter do I fatbike?

Despite the increase in demand, it can get expensive, particularly when you already have a mountain bike, a road bike, cross-country skis, downhill skis, etc. An entry-level fatbike costs about $1,000 in a specialty shop. You’ll find some that costs less, but don’t forget that the good makes have thought differently about the geometry and the components, to ensure that you have a good experience.

Do you live close to a trail network?

The fatbike is a big bicycle. The tires, which are a minimum of 3.5” wide, take up a lot of room and don’t fit onto a regular car bike rack. Some makes have thought of accessories (basket and cover) so that your big bike can be transported by car and be protected from road salt, but those have to be considered when you’re drawing up a budget.

Do you have a place to clean and store your fatbike?

As with any bike, it needs cleaning, regular maintenance, and a warm place to sleep. The more you bike on the road, in the salt and slush, the more loving care your bike will need.

In the meantime, renting is always a good option. In Mont-Tremblant, there’s “bike-in/bike-out” and the bike is washed, stored…and some shops will even credit your rental against your purchase if you decide to buy one. What more could you ask?

Having said that, let’s add that if you have any concerns, visit a shop. They’ll enlighten you!

 

As seen in Tremblant Express journal, December 2017.