I want to ride my bicycle ~ I want to ride my bike ~ I want to ride my bicycle ~ I want to ride it where I like
~ Queen, Bicycle Race, Fat Bottomed Girls

Friday, December 9, 2011

SG Review: Mountain Bike Vancouver Island Map Book

We are very lucky in BC, you can pull into just about any town and find some dirt to roll around in. The issue is, if you are new to town or just visiting it can sometimes be hard to find the trails that we cherish so much. Most of the time you have to either hook up with a local, get the local shop to give you general directions or just go out and explore and hope you find the good stuff. Well, not if you are heading to Vancouver Island - just pick up a copy of the Mount Bike Vancouver Island map book and hit the trails.

Thanks to Daniel Cammiade if you come to Vancouver Island you no longer have to worry - he has done all the leg work and GPS'd just about every trail on the island and put it together in an 'easy to slip in your pack' book. It's not only tourists that will get use out of it either - I have been riding on the island for many years now and it has helped me find my way around a few new areas, and has got me stoked to go up island and try some new (to me) trails. Now that I have the book I can just pull into town, pop into the shop to see if there is anything new that I should try (Good luck, Dan has been releasing a new version of the book every year ... adding new areas and updating it with any new trails) and then just head out to spend more time on my bike. That is what it's all about right?

When I first got the Mountain Bike Vancouver Island book I was surprised at how well they documented the trails. Not only that but there is a ton of great information about each area, everything from elevation changes to general information about the area and trail descriptions. One of the most useful features is the "Suggested Loops" - I have done a few and found them to be pretty spot on, gotta love that. There is even mention of local spots to shower, good pubs, accommodations, places to eat, bike shops and a history of the area....now that is thorough!

I really love that someone has taken all the energy and time to create this book. I can't even fathom the time that he has put into it, all the great photos, fact gathering and most of all, all the time on the bike he must have had to endure to be able to get all the GPS tracks ... that is hard work, but I guess someone has to do it! I like that it is on a ring binder, it makes it so easy to keep open and read. Other map books that I have seen are more like regular books - I find them harder to read because it just wants to snap back closed, but with the rings I can just flip it open to the spot I need, lay the book on a stump and try to figure out what trail I am on...so much easier.

While there is a lot to like about this book, there are a few things that I would like to see changed in future printings. I would like to see the map graphics updated, what is in the book works but I really love the look of the forestry maps that I grew up with down in the states, I just found them easier to read. There were a few graphical issues that I saw ... little things that others may not notice but that bugged me and when I talked to Dan last he showed me a very early copy of next year's book ... and most of my complaints had been fixed ... Awesome. The only other thing is the size, it's a little long for my liking. I know it is larger to make it easier to read and fit all that awesome information in it, but it does not fit in the map pocket in my hydration pack, so I have to put it in the main storage compartment, it takes more of a beating in there, but I won't go for a ride without it, always be prepared as my Dad used to say.

I would also love to see an electronic version of this book for my smartphone, something that will utilize the built in GPS so I can easily see where I am and map the best route out, that would be amazing. Just download the area you are going to and have it easily accessible no matter where you are, this would be perfect for a geek like me.

So what I am trying to say is that if you ride a bike on Vancouver Island ... you need this book. It does not matter if you are just here for a few days or have been riding the island for years ... you will find something new, save time and get on the trails faster.


Riding area's in this years book:

Partiidge Hill, Hartland (Dump), Terra Nova, Harbourview, Broom Hill, Burnt Bridge, Shawnigan Lake Quarry, Cobble Hill, Tzouhalem, Maple Mountain, Prevost, Doumont, Mt. Benson, Abyss and Extension, Top Bridge, Hammerfest, Qualicum Beach Middle School Trails, Port Alberni, Sproat Lake, Cumberland, Forbidden Plateau, Snowden, Beaver Lodge lands, Gold River, Saltspring, Hornby and Quadra Islands

Where can you buy this book?

If you want to get a copy before heading to the island you can get it off of their website:
I hear there are a few copies of the 2011 left - MEC, Russ Hays and Oak Bay Bikes may still have some left...so pick them up while you can. Once the new version comes out most good bike shops will have them in stock.

How much does it cost.


What is the meaning of life?

Go ride your bike...

What will be new in the 2012 Mountain Bike Vancouver Island map book?

There will be new areas outlined in the book, at the time of this review they are looking to include Menzies Mountain in Campbell River and more trails on Quadra island, and if we are lucky some trails in Metchosin and maybe even Ucuelet.

Not only that but multiple page maps will fold out instead of having the binder in between...this was one of my complaints about the current book and very happy to see it changed. Dan says there will also be a better layout along with some formatting changes, no huge changes as the current layout has proven to be very popular.

I can't wait to see the new area's and will pick up one of the new books for sure and I recommend that you pick one up as well. 

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