Travellers' Tales: Riding on Ice
By Lucy Watherston
Yesterday was a beautiful winter day in Winnipeg: -7°C, with little wind. So I went for a ride. For several years now, our city has been building winter skating and walking trails on the two major rivers that pass through the city, the Red and the Assinaboine. These trails start at Forks, where the two rivers meet.
Every year, the trails vary in length depending on the temperature and the water levels at the time of freezing. This winter, we had a very cold December and early January, which with low water levels on the Assinaboine have made for some lovely trails.
Cycling on these icy trails is wonderful. You get a view of the city that one does not normally get. You see people skating, walking, running, and of course cycling.
Many of the cyclists use fat bikes, but if you stick to the skating trails it’s not really necessary. I use a converted single speed, a Trek mountain bike with two-inch studded tyres.The trail down both rivers is about 6km.
This year, the Forks staff hope to have the length close to 9km once it’s finished. The trails are adorned with spruce trees and warming huts. The huts change from year to year, the designs chosen by an international competition. Yesterday they were building a pop-up restaurant on the frozen river, so there will be an even wider choice of post-ride food and drink than usual.