Originally published on PinkBike Jan 5th, 2023
Coming from the west coast, I didn’t have super high expectations for the level of riding in Atlantic Canada. The trails looked fun from a distance, but I didn’t plan the trip with the best riding in mind. I took it as more of an opportunity to see the other side of Canada, get immersed in the laid back culture, and check out a completely different scene.
I knew right away my preconceived notions of the region were way off
Wentworth, Nova Scotia
Day one kicked off in Wentworth, Nova Scotia. Following that first ride, I knew right away my preconceived notions of the region were way off, I definitely underestimated the riding here. The Wentworth Valley in Nova Scotia is not only beautiful, but the recently completed gravity trails are super well thought out. In terms of intermediate flow trails, the machine-built progressive blue-level riding in Wentworth out matches anything similar at my local trails on Vancouver Island. These types of trails are very inviting for new riders, yet fun for all skill levels. It’s this sort of trail development that supports tons of growth in our sport. They’ve got it right!
The Wentworth Mountain Bike Association has been clearly crushing it and I could feel the positive energy while out riding with an extremely stoked crew of locals. Everyone who came out to join us just wanted to have as much fun as possible! It was a big train down the trails all day. For those at the beginner to intermediate level, the Wentworth network is an incredible place to take your riding to the next level.
White Rock Recreational Area, New Brunswick
From Wentworth, we headed to New Brunswick. Along the way, we stopped in to ride the White Rock Recreational Area in Hillsborough. This is a really sick trail network surrounded in gypsum rock. It wasn’t just cool looking but pretty grippy too. The Hump Day Riders crew was stoked to show us all their hard work on some pretty rad jump lines and bigger features! I had fun chasing Yves Caissie around as he boosted big off all his lines all afternoon.
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A view from the GoPro, following Yves down the unique jumps line amongst a picturesque white landscape.
Sugarloaf Bike Park, New Brunswick
Once we got to Sugarloaf Bike Park for the 2022 Mountain Bike Atlantic Summit and Festival, I couldn’t believe how small the hill was. The great thing about mountain biking though you don’t need a substantial vertical to have substantial fun – just good trail building. The lack of elevation is part of what made the trails so impressive. It was honestly better than many of my local chairlift access trails. It’s inspiring to see management properly invest in a professional crew like Gravity Logic to design the trails up there. The beautifully shaped berms and jumps on Sugar Daddy (blue flow) and Supa Sweet (black jump trail flow) make them very addicting. Every trail on the hill was well designed.
Predictable, consistent, and progressive jump lines are found all throughout the park. Get ready for the best day ever!
If there’s anything I learned about the riding style in Atlantic Canada, it’s that the builders are really smart at utilizing the elevation they have to work with. It’s never wasted with fall line sections that can easily erode, and the steep technical lines weave through rocks and roots in a thoughtful way. You don’t have the big descents you get on the west coast, but you have more than enough downhill for laps you want to keep smashing out all day.
Another takeaway I had from the trip was the overall good energy I felt the whole time. The riding scene on the East Coast is much smaller than in BC, the locals kept talking about how this festival was the biggest gathering all year, yet it has less people than a regional race at home. Just means that things can only get bigger here.
Everyone seems to know each other, and I loved the vibe of seeing people from all walks of life support each other to work towards a common goal of growing and supporting their mountain bike scene.
The mountain bike community in Atlantic Canada is powerful and the growth will continue. I can’t wait to visit again!
A special thanks to a MTB Atlantic for the rad trip!
– Mark Matthews
Photography by Tim Foster (Dose Media)