02 Nov The Lillooet Loop – In October
All that was said was “The weather is perfect for a fall ride – How often can you go to the interior of BC at the end of October?”
We were coming to the end of a sunny warm week of weather in southern BC. It was ripe for a “Last Ride” and we took advantage.
The down-side was most of my riding friends had their bikes already put away for the winter. Not me! And this particular weekend was why I keep it tagged year-round. But another friend – whom suggested the ride – was right in there. We met some buddies for a mid-morning coffee as we wanted it to warm a little bit before we took off. By 9:30am we were on our way, sun shining and wind & leaves blowing.
Fall riding can be a joy. The colours, leaves and the coolness delights the senses. Coffee and gas in Pemberton, then off for what we thought would be the coldest part of the ride. It was. But not intolerably cold. Temperatures for the day ran between 6-15 C. Road conditions were good and my new Dunlop Roadsmart 3’s worked very well in those conditions.
We got to Lillooet at lunchtime finding that on Sunday there isn’t much open. So we hit the only crowded restaurant in town for a nice lunch.
The entire loop was around 600km – we went clockwise – with the weather being mostly sunny with a little high overcast clouds in the Pemberton valley. Coming in on the #1 was a windy affair. Chilliwack being the worst and quite bad at that. All-in-all, a great day of riding to cap off the year.
Dealing with the Cold
For the past month several of my riding friends didn’t want to get out early cause “It’s Too Cold!”.
This is where a little proper gear comes in handy. Let’s start with the basics; Winter riding jacket – I recently got the Scott Turn ADV, very warm and comfy. A few good under-layers helped. One can even go electric for warmth.
Pants – I wore textile overpants with just wool long-johns underneath. Boots – Alpinestars WebGT are my winter boots. Dry and warm in any conditions that I’ve been in. Gloves – Standard winter gloves were fine. I didn’t feel it was cold enough to run my heated gloves.
There are a few other little things that help; something to protect your neck like a bandanna, knit tube or, in my case, I wore a micro-fleece with a high turtleneck. Some proper under-layers make it comfy. I prefer thin wool whenever I ride – hot or cold, it just makes for more comfortable riding. If you have the capacity, bringing a thermos of something warm to drink or hot-pockets in case of severe cold. These things along with stopping a little more often to stop the chill will make for fun riding. Just remember to ride for the conditions – for us the sun was out but the road was cold. It was tempting to go a little quicker but I’m sure the tires would not have liked it.
Andii, Behind the counter
The Lillooet Loop
If you have not done it, it’s a good ride. Just be prepared. Too early and the roads won’t be perfect (sand or gravel), too late and frost may be a problem. Either way it’s an all day ride and one enjoyed by many riders.