Lila bikes

spring 2020 when the COVID-19 restrictions begin to relax, I was eager to get back on my mountain bike and introduce my nine-year-old daughter, Lila, to the trails of St. John’s

by Bruce Drover

~ This was going to be a proper introduction to mountain biking in St. John’s for Lila. Last summer I took her to Whistler, BC, during Crankworx – one of the worlds biggest bike festivals. I rented her a full suspension bike and put her in lessons. She rode the lifts, met the pros, and got autographs and free swag.

Whistler was fun and all, and the gear was top notch. but it didn't hit the spot like local trails

I love Whistler but it was an unrealistic place to start. I wanted her to earn her turns by putting in time on the pedals and the wrenches in her home town.

Lila had outgrown her previous bike and we began our search for a replacement.  I came across a 2011 Rocky Mountain Reaper that would fit Lila on NL Classifieds.  The fork was blown out and the brakes didn’t work. It was perfect. Lila loved the idea of a project bike and couldn’t wait to try it out (on a flat grassy area since it had no brakes).  She couldn’t have been happier!

We started by searching our garage for spare parts. We had everything we needed except a new fork and pedals which we bought at our local bike shop.

Rosie is not the only riveter! Lila's Rocky Mountain Reaper earned her a spot in the FlatOut Bike Service and Repair Shop.

Soon we were underway and Lila was getting to know the local trails. There are three main areas for riding in St. John’s: Pippy Park, White Hills and Richmond Hill. 

Pippy Park has some easier trails with more gentle grades but can still be quite rough.  It also has the Wisdom Tree. Richmond Hill and White Hills are more advanced. St. John’s has a lot to offer the mountain biking enthusiast, but it is easy to get in over your head if you are not familiar with the trails.

child with bike standing next to a great tree
Lila, her refit Reaper, and the Wisdom Tree at Pippy Park

If you are interested in trying out some of the local trails this fall you can check out some of the following resources to help you on your way:

  • Avalon Mountain Bike Association has links to trail maps and information on how to get involved in trail development an maintenance
  • The Trailforks mobile app will help you navigate to the trailhead and find your way around the trails. They are color coded and rated in a similar fashion to downhill ski trails
  • Bicycle Newfoundland and Labrador (BNL)  is the official governing body for the sport of cycling in Newfoundland and Labrador.  Organized events have not yet been re-instated. Check them out for updates.

And of course, visit your local bike shop to help you get the right equipment for the riding you want to do.  Good advice and after sales support comes standard when you buy local.

child with bike wearing flatout shirt in front of grafitti wall
You can't be local for trails, or for swag!
awesome trails of the Avalon!

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Bruce Drover

Bruce is an outdoor enthusiast, an avid mountain biker, a photographer (photos are his) and a really fun dad. By trade, Bruce is an engineer. He and Lila live in St. John's with Susanne, and Thomas and James of FlatOut Bike Repair and Service.