My Favorite Ride
Published June 17, 2011
By Kevin McMahon
The water tower trail entrance (the one painted by Graham Herbert) is just down the road from my place so in a couple of minutes I can be rolling through the moss, gently climbing towards the summit. Most places on the island are not much further away than this from some of the best riding around. Such is the nature of our island.
Over the years people’s foresight has left the centre of Hornby Island undeveloped except for the work of our local, diligent mountain bikers who’ve created a network of around 80km of trails. Because the trails are almost entirely created by mountain bikers, you know they’re excellent for riding.
My favourite ride leaves from the water tower and then climbs almost continuously via Sawyer, Jessies Trail, Colts Foot, Washing Machine, North Wind, and Four Dead Aliens to Inner Ridge. Inner Ridge is a sweet section of singletrack that skirts along the edge of the upper reaches of Strachan valley. It rolls across gullies and twists through mixed forest making for a fun, fast ride. Then it’s back to the climb along Summit, which has recently undergone some much needed water diversion and trail smoothing work.
Then you’re at the summit, about 300m above the beaches. The view from top of the mountain is one of the perks of riding Hornby. Most of the rides at some point will likely include the fantastic views across Denman Island to Vancouver Island in the distance. I often like to sit at the top for a spell and watch the world unfold far below.
Finally, my favourite trail on the ride—Outer Ridge. This trail is smooth and rolling with excellent views through the arbutus and douglas fir. It runs right along the cliff edge and so demands your full attention in places. There are swooping downhill turns followed by short climbs leading back out to the edge. I particularly like these short climbs that extend the ride and break it up by giving you a little more vertical to use up on the next section.
I like to then hang a left off onto GFT and then bomb down Summit to Strachan road. I ride up Strachan for a few hundred metres then hook up with Jessies trail through the ferns, across ford creek and finally a right on Sawyer to complete the loop down to the water tower.
This is but one of the myriad of rides you can put together on the mountain. There really is something for everyone up there!
On a related note, check out the Spring Classic Mountain Bike Race happening June 25th and 26th up in the valley.