By: Hamish Baird
FVMBA Director, Chilliwack
When riding Vedder Mountain, and your chosen route has taken you down either Black Hawk Down or Electric Lettuce, you are faced with a choice of how to finish your lap: you can either take the left trail, “Femur,” or head right to take “Allan’s Trail.”
In 2016, Ali Chapple and Ernie Kliever walked a line through the forest on the lower west side of Vedder Mountain. Their goal was to provide riders with an alternative to Femur, which up until now, had served as the sole trail on which you could finish your ride on Vedder (unless you went down Dilemma). Now, don’t get me wrong, “Femur” is a great trail, but it was getting A LOT of traffic, and it was getting fairly worn out. A new trail was needed.
So, with a line walked, mapped, and approved (internally), the FVMBA submitted an application to RSTBC to enter the formal application procedure. Cue an unknown wait time to receive results that don’t always return the way that we expect, or want, especially on a mountain as popular as Vedder. However, the need for an alternative line here was clear to all and we received the positive news a little sooner than expected.
Then tragically, in 2017, Allan Findlay passed away. Allan was known to many riders on the coast in BC, and exponentially more amongst the Scottish riding community where he grew up. He was an exceptionally talented rider, close friend to many, and fervent believer in good times. His passing left a hole in the lives of all that knew him, and it only felt right to try to construct this line into a memory of Allan.
Throughout the late 2000’s, several keen young Scottish mountain bikers advocated for, and built a small pump track on the campus of Edinburgh’s Heriot Watt University. Allan was amongst the most frequent patrons of the track and became a close member of the community that it fostered. “Allan’s Trail” has been constructed with this idea in mind: fast corners, pumps, fade-aways, and the odd small jump or drop. A trail that everyone knows and likes.
So, if you find yourself at this fork, and choose the right option for the last trail of your run, start pedaling, and pass Allan’s Sign. It is decorated with a Scots Pine Tree and cairn to show Allan’s memorial atop of the infamous “Golfie” trails in Innerleithen. Pump through the small rolls and drop down into the trees once more, submit to the ebb and flow of the trail, give a wee smile, and spare a thought for Allan.