ECMTB – State of the Stoke in 2019

Sam leading the charge down Keppoch Mountain.

Trail Building Everywhere…

Real, honest to goodness, legit trails. What a time to be a mountain biker! There are so many great trails, from old school gnar to buff new flow.

Keppoch Mountain in Antigonish, NS has really taken off in the past few years. If you are in Nova Scotia and you like to shuttle up and shred down, it really is a blast. We were lucky enough to be invited to the Mountain Bike Atlantic roundtable discussions hosted by Keppoch, and while there had a chance to try out their new Switch Craft and RiverSide groomed trails that Shoreline Dirtworks built earlier this year. It is eye-popping fun. Big stuff.

Keppoch has since built more singletrack, opened up a new section of the property and even hosted a music festival… how cool is that?! Much more to come too. Their drum is always beating (or is that a bodhrán?).

ECMTB at Keppoch

Members of the Mountain Bike Atlantic advisory committee gearing up to descend Keppoch Mountain.

Members of the Mountain Bike Atlantic advisory committee gearing up to descend Keppoch Mountain.

The Railyard at Victoria Park in Truro, NS, was groomed for fat bikes this past winter and this spring they buffed out the loam on quite a few trails as well. Turning old school rooty tech into flowy rippers. They’ve really been working hard on these trails and with support from the town of Truro, this place is shaping into something great.

We held an ECMTB meetup there and were thoroughly stoked by the riding and reception we got:

ECMTB at the Railyard in Victoria Park.

Great turnout for the ECMTB group ride at the Railyard in Victoria Park.

Over in Prince Edward Island, the PEI Parks crew have been doing some amazing stuff at Brookvale and Bonshaw / Strathgartney. These are some of the flowiest endorphin-releasing trails that we have come across in Atlantic Canada. It is worth the trip from wherever you are!

Railing berms at Brookvale in PEI.

Railing berms at Brookvale in PEI.

We see some glimpses of hard work and hard won dreams over in New Brunswick as well. Our good friend Gary Crowley and the Saint John Trail Miners keep us up to date with Rockwood Park efforts, which look great and we hope to visit soon.

McIntosh Run, Halifax, NS… we saved this for last because we are proud to have a calloused hand in the efforts here. The stewards of this unique landscape, McIntosh Run Watershed Association, have worked tirelessly to ensure this area is protected from future development. Another key aspect of their efforts is to upgrade existing trails and build dozens of kilometres of new singletrack, so this gem of a trail system may be enjoyed for generations to come.

If you want unique. If you want grip. If you want challenge. McIntosh Run has it. It is very much like no other. Folds of granite with steep rock faces and endless ridges to ride. The granite has grip for days and is rideable when many other trails are a sopping wet mess. The area was burned out by a forest fire a few years back and is now populated with bushy scrubs and eery stands of dead trees. It certainly challenges both our riding and trail building skills.

Talking bikes while soaking in those views at McIntosh Run.

Talking bikes while soaking in those views at McIntosh Run.

ECMTB crew contributing to the trail building efforts at McIntosh Run.

ECMTB crew contributing to the trail building efforts at McIntosh Run.

Building Communities

You need more than just trails to forge a vibrant mountain biking scene, you need folks building communities. We see this in action all over Atlantic Canada.

We see trail builders raising small armies of volunteers to build and maintain their local trails.

We see trail stewards engaging the public and government to enable land agreements, trailhead access, and resources for materials.
There is also a myriad of ride clubs and trail groups building their own MTB communities all over Atlantic Canada. Gathering weekly for some shared stoke and a post-ride/build beverage. Groups like Rigid Riders in PEI, Trail Miners in Saint John, AVMBA in the Annapolis Valley, and Codiac Cycling Trails in the Moncton area of NB.

On the ECMTB forum, we keep a calendar of any and all-mountain biking events. It is chock full and, to be honest, is a challenge to keep up to date with all the fun events going on in Atlantic Canada.

ECMTB also hosts many events to bring folks together and 2019 was no different! Our annual Fitz Camp-n-Ride at Fitzpatrick Mountain in Scotsburn, NS is a highlight of the year for us and this past year was no exception. Nothing like a hard-earned climb washed down with a nice, adrenaline-fueled descent. Repeat that four times and it’s on to beer, bangers and tunes by the fire.

Enjoying Fitzpatrick Mountain lookoff at the annual ECMTB camp & ride.

Enjoying Fitzpatrick Mountain lookoff at the annual ECMTB camp & ride.

Each summer, when the days are long, we hit the road and take our Halifax based Tuesday night group rides further afield. It’s always great to ride some different trails and meet folks we usually only see online. This year we did another one of these meetups at the Railyard and had over twenty riders come out. The folks in Truro are great hosts too, showing us all the goods.

Solid crew out for the ECMTB ride at Victoria Park.

Solid crew out for the ECMTB ride at Victoria Park.

Thanks to @murrdog (aka PEI Bike Guy), we made it over to the Strathaganza MTB fest in Strathgartney, PE, and whoa boy, what a blast that was! A solid weekend chock full of group rides, enduro-style races, burgers, beers, bonfires and classic mountain bike movies projected outdoors. They have an awesome thing going there. We’ll be back again next year, that’s for sure!

No better way to wind down after a full day of fun at Strathaganza.

No better way to wind down after a full day of fun at Strathaganza.

At Keppoch, they hosted their very first Gravity Fest. This was combined with the Nova Scotia Summer Fest so there was some great maritime music to go with the two-wheeled shenanigans.

Sam leading the charge down Keppoch Mountain.

Sam leading the charge down Keppoch Mountain.

The Town of Kentville hosted their second Canada Cup Race at The Gorge in August. It takes a serious organization to put on an event of this scale and Trailflow and the Town of Kentville, volunteers, et al. put in the hard work and pulled it off again. It just keeps getting better each year.

Thanks to everyone who made this a great year of mountain biking and contributed to the State of the Stoke!

Just one of the many stunning views along the Saltmarsh Trail in Dartmouth, NS.

Just one of the many stunning views along the Saltmarsh Trail in Dartmouth, NS.

East Coast Mountain Biking (ECMTB) is a community of avid mountain bikers that aim to promote mountain biking and trail development in Atlantic Canada. We organize group rides, trail builds and other fun events through our online forum at www.ecmtb.net.

We want to hear what you love about the MTB scene too, so feel free to join the discussion in the State of the Stoke thread on the ECMTB forum.

Contributed by Derek Rolls / ECMTB

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