Our Canadian warehouses will be closed for the Holiday season beginning December 12th 2023 through till January 2nd 2024. While we're away, your friendly neighborhood bike shop is ready to help!  

Words and pictures by Melanie Chambers - Liv Ambassador

Leaving Toronto

The cat was the last to go into the van; and as expected, Tom peed on Paul. Luckily, the handy whipes were exactly where I put them. Creating predictable systems is key to surviving a two week road trip across Canada with a partner, a cat and a six month old puppy. Before leaving, I took Farley to the dog park to exhaust him--it worked. He passed out in the back of the car, amongst the bed sheets and pillows, immediately. Finally ready to leave Toronto for Rossland.

Eight hours of driving--pee breaks, and chomping on crappy gas station candy, we finally topped in Blind River for a real meal—Mad Mat’s, serves up hearty sandwiches, and owner looks oddly similar to Guy Fieri, the host of Diners. Drive ins and Dives. Take the dog for a quick pee, walk the cat, and we’re off because I got a 7pm bike date in The Soo!

Sault Ste. Marie, home of the current Crank the Shield three day stage race. I reached out to Velorution Ski and Bike to find some ladies to take me and my Intrigue Advanced Pro 29 on a tour of the Hiawatha Highland Trails. Danielle, an employee, replied immediately: “let’s shred Melanie! There’s some amazing stuff happening in The Soo.”

Five years ago Danielle and some other ladies began the Titty Tuesday ride series—a six week spring warm up. It took off. What began as a few dozen women has turned into upwards of 50 to 80 women. What? Oh, and she’s a mother of three kids, all little badass mountain bikers. My mom never took me mountain biking!

driving on coast

With two other riders, Chris and Stephanie, we take off onto the rooty and tight trails –damn I wish my handlebars were shorter as I narrowly miss the trees. Chris is ahead of me jumping up onto the banks of the berms, and flicking his back tire off the rocks—it’s more arm work than legs!

Eventually we run into Andre, a legendary trail builder, whose doing some work on the future Farmer Lake Mountain bike trail network, a 15-km multiuse trail. “We’re breaking ground really soon and it should be done before the end of the summer,” says Danielle. The Sault Cycling Club and other partners are also building a three-kilometer urban track downtown to ensure kids have a nearby trail.

mountain bikers

We scoot off eventually we bump into a group of four guys on the bridge crossing the Crystal Lake; one rider is wearing what looks like swimming goggles and an 80s-like yellow and pink shirt; hmm, Miami Vice? Turns out he owns the bike shop, Velorution.

It’s dark by the time we arrive on Jack’s doorstep—if you can believe it, another employee stepped up to help us out. On this rainy night, he offers up his barn for the night; good thing—it’s 10 pm and I’m too tired to unload the van and put the bed together.

Sitting on door step

We have a beer on the porch and talk bikes and travel. Jack from England just moved to the Sault nine months ago. Working at a bike shop and riding these trails, he says he’s hit the jackpot. That night I wake up with the cat on my head and the dog snuggled into my stomach—so have I.

NEXT UP: Thunder Bay! And backtracking to North Bay!