Mountain Biking Vancouver

North Shore riding at its best

Most cities build public trails for mountain bikers. So does Vancouver, Canada, but they also turn a blind eye to the construction of unsanctioned (and remarkably well-maintained) trails. The result is more than 400 miles of downhill and cross-country singletrack within a half hour’s drive of downtown. First time riders start at 3,900-foot Mount Fromme, a cedar-covered peak woven with trails on the northern edge of Vancouver. For a sane sample of the elevated sidewalks, optional tabletop jumps, and cobblestone rock gardens that have come to define North Shore riding, beeline it to Ladies Only. It's one of dozens of trails off the Mountain Highway, and a mile long downhill that winds through classic Vancouver scenery: babbling brooks, massive forests, and even lawn art. The builder, appropriately named Digger, stashed a sloth and flamingo in trailside trees.

YOU NEED: A four-inch travel bike, a trail map, and two hours to ride the Ladies Only loop. You can get the first two at On Top Bike Shop, which is five blocks from the trailhead (bikes $65/day). Post-ride burgers and brews come from the Black Bear Pub, a neighborhood joint that’s riding distance from the trailhead.

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