Mountain biking isn’t just for the mountains. Especially considering ours are still covered in snow! Here in Calgary, Alberta we have the fourth largest urban park in Canada. Nose Hill. The real beauty of this inner-city park is that if you explore it enough, you’ll find epic trails that make you feel like you’re out of the city – even though you’re just steps away from schools, gas stations and family homes.
Forecasting weather here in Calgary isn’t a science, it’s a random suggestion of possibilities that could (or could not) occur during a specified time frame. Winter and Spring weather often collide for what feels like months, so when we wake up to sunshine and bluebird skies in April – we load the bike rack and don’t travel far.
Arrived at our favorite little trail and he’s ready to pedal. He’s got the gear. The big boy bike, with a bell of course. The helmet. Goggles and gloves just like Dad. Pink kicks. And his tow rope tucked away in his hip pack. The cutest little bike shredder ready for some fun.
The shoulder season is visible and can be felt all around us on the trail. The leafless trees, the patches of snow lingering, dry grass and the somewhat muddy trails. The crisp air is warmed by the sun beating down, and there is hardly a cloud in the sky. It’s not the prettiest season and Spring is near, but it’s likely to snow again – so we appreciate these rare days that are perfect for riding.
The ride has begun and it’s all about the downhill. That’s all you really need for the bike ride to be memorable for him. He is mad for the downhill. Winding through rolling hills, meadows and mixed wood forests. Twisty corners and roots or rocks to dodge. We joke that he’s braver and wilder than Mom and really, it’s hardly a joke at all. He likes to be the leader (ahead of his sister) and you’ll often hear Dad call out “good line Ry!”. He’s focused, and his face always shows his determined nature.
And it doesn’t matter if you’re riding in the city or in the mountains, you know there will be a climb! It’s not a long loop, only 2.5 km and it’s the perfect split of uphill and down. Thankfully for this little rider, the uphill is a breeze (with a little help from Dad) and those strong 5-year-old legs. Mom wishes she could get a tow!
Made it to the top with a belly full of pride and the adrenalin pumping. Feeling on top of the world, or at least the city! It almost seems like we can see all 11 square kilometers of the park from where we stand. We can see downtown, the airport and if we look carefully – our house! The park is well used with walkers, runners, other bikers and many 4-legged friends. Nose Hill Park feels quite wild, especially down in the coulees, despite being surrounded by dozens of neighborhoods. It’s a beautiful view.
We get back to the truck and guess what they want to do?! Another lap! So off we go
And the best part about an inner city bike ride? 10 minutes away from the ice cream shop.
There still may be snow in the mountains, but we got outside, rode some trails and had a blast. So get out there, you don’t have to go far for an epic ride and for the best family memories to be made!
Story and photography by Alison Black of Calgary, Alberta.