A rider rides a ‘fat bike’ in the snow. A proposal to make trails accessible to fat bikes by grooming South Canoe trails when snow gets to about four inches receives nod from Salmon Arm council on Dec. 14, 2020. (Contributed)

A rider rides a ‘fat bike’ in the snow. A proposal to make trails accessible to fat bikes by grooming South Canoe trails when snow gets to about four inches receives nod from Salmon Arm council on Dec. 14, 2020. (Contributed)

‘Fat bikes’ to hit groomed Shuswap trails

Snow in 2019 prompts bike group to explore need for grooming, city OKs one-year pilot project

The South Canoe Trails may see more cyclists riding in the snow this winter.

Salmon Arm council gave its unanimous approval on Dec. 14 to a one-year pilot project allowing winter grooming of trails for ‘fat bikes.’

Fat bikes are those with wider, ‘fat’ tires, providing more stability and traction on varying surfaces, such as snow.

Coun. Tim Lavery, council’s representative on the city’s Greenways committee, said the committee gave its enthusiastic support to a proposal from Brian Browning, who said he was considering buying a Utility Rokon motorcycle that could be used to groom trails for use by the specialized bikes.

Browning’s proposal and details on winter grooming for fat bikes can be seen on council’s Dec. 14 agenda under the Greenways committee minutes.

He said to ride a fat bike requires some sort of packed trail or less than four inches of snow. “At least my old legs do!” he wrote.

Browning said he would be willing to purchase the motorcycle and insurance until the fat bike group can raise the funds to purchase the motorcycle from him or buy one of their own.

Read more: Riders overcome dusty trails of Salty Dog Enduro

Read more: Taking a stand against Douglas-fir beetle in Shuswap’s South Canoe trails

Depending on snow falls and once the trail is established, he wrote, there may be only one or two grooming sessions a month of two to four hours. Signage would be placed at the trail heads so no one would be surprised by the grooming.

He said winter activity is usually concentrated on the trails below the three-kilometre mark and the communication tower. The fat bike riders have created a map showing they plan to loop out farther than that. Browning also said the group is open to any changes to the proposed routes.

Browning’s proposal has received the approval of the Shuswap Cycling Club as well as the provincial government’s Recreation Sites and Trails BC.

At the Dec. 14 council meeting, Coun. Debbie Cannon said she had been contacted by several people about the proposal.

She termed the proposal “exciting” and said it would provide more use of the trails, which are in demand more than usual because of the pandemic.

“This is a great initiative.”


marthawickett@saobserver.net
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