Its been a few weeks now, but a bit of elbow grease and a bunch of new parts have the C'Dale up and running again. The owner is going to be pretty happy when he gets his hands back on it. Its going to be a great reliable bike and easy to maintain.
Upgrades from stock include:
I managed to save the crankset with some love and also serviced the headset and hubs. Its all done now. All thats left is to take it out and get it dirty.
Its been a number of years since I last visited Backus Woods, a 4300 acre old growth Carolinian forest, so I loaded up and drove the few minutes past Turkey Point to the trailhead a week ago. The trails here can be best described as unpolished rough-around-the-edges XC ski type trails. Its mostly wide singletrack that is fast and open that criss crosses a main fire-road through the property. The forest is a unique area that is home to many species of at-risk plants and wildlife and has some of the oldest living trees in Ontario.
The trail system is well marked with signposts along the way, telling a story of nearby plant or animal life. Each trail intersection also has a nicely detailed map to keep you on route. The Wetland Trail has a number of boardwalks along it taking you up and over the swampy areas.
There is no groomed singletrack out here, its rough cut mountain biking at its finest. Riding out here takes me back to when mountain biking was more about exploring and being in the outdoors than buff singletrack and strava times. Its the type of riding I did in my younger days, no worries of distance over time or shaving seconds off my last run, just good ole mountain biking.
The forest is full of gentle rolling hills, wetlands, a sugarbush, and a slow moving creek. You could create countless loops using the interconnected trails and main fire road to do a ride custom suited to your time / distance needs or spend most of the day winding through the woods and finding some gems that are not on the map.
At the south end of the forest is a rest area with a plaque outlining the restoration of the wild turkey population in Southern Ontario in 1984. The covered picnic tables are a perfect place for a break or a picnic.
Further south from the forest is the Backus Mill Conservation Center, a place with historical significance surrounding the War of 1812. The Backus Mill gristmill was built in 1798 and was in operation until 1957, one of the few that survived the War of 1812. The surrounding Heritage Village is also a unique look back to a simpler time. I remember coming here as a child during our "pioneer days" program in public school. We spent a day dressed as pioneer children, attending class at the old school house, then doing chores common for kids during that time period.
A quick jaunt to the opposite side of the mill pond will get you to the old pioneer cemetery. Its a bit of a creepy area with gravestones scattered along the hillside, many of which has been cracked from age.
After spending some time checking out the village and cemeteries, I got back on my bike and headed north to return to the trails. More time flew by as I wandered the trails back towards my truck, enjoying the solitude of being the only person out there. The only sounds were the light crunching of dried leaves under my tires and the occasional clang of my derailleur finding another gear.
I arrived back at my truck, with the 1800's miles behind me now. I'm really enjoying these exploration / adventure type rides that I've been doing recently. This one was particularly awesome because of the historical significance of the area. If you have never been to Backus Woods, its worth a shot, even if its for mostly exploring the history of the area and the riding is secondary.
This bike was a Kijiji deal gone right. I spotted it on the local Kijiji listings late one evening for $40. Needless to say, I was in my truck burning rubber up to the sellers front door. I only rode it a few times, it was more of a cool vintage piece to keep in the garage than anything. I ended up trading it even for an old touring bike years later. I can't remember the full spec on this bike, it was 100% original though (except for the tires). It had the old Bio-Pace Shimano cranks and rear U-Brake, it even came with Club Roost bar ends!!!
Its hard to believe that I bought this bike 13 years ago, seems like just yesterday I was still riding the first few budding trails at Turkey Point on it. This bike was my go-to ride from 2003 until 2007 when it was put into semi-retirement with the arrival of my new 2008 Avalanche. In the years following it cracked and GT replaced the frame under warranty, even though it was well outside of the 5 year warranty period. It was a great bike, a friend on the trail. I still miss her some days.
I got out again at Turkey Point this morning. Nearly no snow left and trails are riding fast. A few icy corners on Saudwinder and The Burn but good otherwise.
I ventured over to the West Side as well, rode West Ridge, Root Rock, Slipped Disc, West Ridge, Pettifogger then out to Eco. There are a few downed trees on Root Rock and Slipped Disc and things were getting a little soft in the late morning as the temps were rising. If you are going to hit up the West trails, do them early in the morning after a good freeze up overnight, otherwise they will be sloppy.
Made my first trip up to Dufferin Forest back in the summer of 2009. What a great place to ride, have not been back in years. Might have to revisit the Duff for 2016.
Here I am riding my 2008 GT Avalanche 1.0
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.