The North Shore of Vancouver, BC, is a wonderfully challenging quagmire of a riding destination. Its fame yet relatively low number of visitors make it especially unique. One could make a good argument that it might simply still be overshadowed by its prior fame as a treacherous series of the hardest obstacles possible, mixed with copious amounts of rain.
Legions of riders make the trek to Whistler, only a couple hours north, but only a small percentage of those actually stop in to ride the Shore. Is it the lack of a chairlift to reach the trails? Or is it the wet wood, which threatens to send even the most careful of riders directly to their collarbones?
The region’s trails were initially renowned not just for the nests of shiny and slick cedar roots crisscrossing the riding line, but for the elevated bridges that allowed the bikes of the 1990s to make it down those same tracks. We have all seen imitations of this woodwork pop up on everything from race courses to old rock quarries. When taken out of context, woodwork can be a point of contention. However, on the actual North Shore, the wood work has a very real purpose.
One of the original classics, Ladies Only, is not a particularly difficult trail, especially when considered within the scope of the rest of the trails on the North Shore. However, it’s a quintessential “classic”, as it is filled with wooden features. Over the years, the trail has been more and more dialled in. Modern trail bikes are far more competent than the hardtails and URT bikes of yesteryear. This all comes together to make what was once an absolute pucker-fest into a trail that might be described as “a fun challenge”.