Tall Gigabike riders taming Vancouver’s hairy North Shore trails
I just had dinner last night in Vancouver with two tall (6’7” and 6’9”) Zinn customers, Layne Nadeau and Byron Tokarchuk, and heard inspiring tales of the riding that is now possible for them since they got their XXXL Zinn Gigabikes. The Vancouver North Shore trails are notorious for their steepness, slipperiness, dropoffs, stunts, and general technical challenge. Trails that are labeled blue (i.e., intermediate) on the North Shore would be labeled as double black diamond anywhere else. There are maybe two loops in the area that could be called “cross country” trails; everything else is an incredible network of freeride trails, many of them build high off the ground on skinny wooden Ewok-village-type structures with teeter-totters (even curving ones) in them.
Byron had broken many 26-inch-wheel bikes trying to ride these trails in the past, and he ended up broken sometimes himself. He said, “With my high center of gravity, the short wheelbase, little wheels, and overall size of the bikes, I would have my butt pushed back so far and low that my navel was on the rear tire, brakes fully on, and I’d still go over the bars on steep drops that smaller riders could roll no problem. And there were moves that I just couldn’t make, like a steep drop with a must-make right turn followed by a quick left down a log. But when I got my Gigabike, I could do those things and finally understood what a benefit the bigger wheels, longer wheelbase, longer top tube, longer cranks, and generally better balance of the bike makes.”
Layne said, “After I got my Gigabike, my wife asked me why I was not coming home bloody from mountain bike rides anymore! I used to be so scared on those trails and would go out fully padded up, because you can break an arm here on a zero mph crash; I felt totally naked out here in Lycra with all of this granite below me. I have a lot more scars from riding the North Shore on 26ers than I do from playing semi-professional rugby for years! But now that I got my Gigabike, I can ride this stuff and not hurt myself!”
Layne’s success on the mountain bike inspired him to get into off-dirt riding as well. He’s now got a Zinn magnesium road bike, and on Saturday I’ll ride the Gran Fondo Canada from Vancouver to Whistler with him.
Thanks for reading.