The Hub Cycle Spokebenders, the Town of Truro, the County of Colchester and the provincial Department of Health have teamed up to buy a Snowdog, a small tracked vehicle pulling a sled, which they will use for grooming narrow forest trails.
The 13-horsepower machine and sled cost a total of $5,000 with the bikers, the municipalities and the province each paying a third of the project.
“We’ve been looking at these on the Internet, we’ve seen other places use them and thought wouldn’t it be great to have one here,” said Bruce Roberts of Hub Cycle in Truro.
Roberts says bikers can move along okay in shallow snow or firm snow but often end up waiting for a thaw-freeze cycle to firm up the surface of deeper snow.
“Once it freezes we can go anywhere but with the Snowdog, if someone has time to do the grooming, we could be out the next day,” he said.
He says several members of the Spokebenders are willing to volunteer as groomers but just who will do the grooming hasn’t been worked out yet with the town.
[Fat bikes taking Truro by storm, Jan. 2017]
Town staff currently groom trails for skiers in Victoria Park and the Cobequid Trail in Lower Truro.
Roberts says bikers are careful to avoid those tracks.
“We would wreck them so we stay off them,” said Roberts. “But some of those trails, I hardly ever see any ski tracks out there so they could groom some of them for fat bikes.”
Other narrow bike trails like Lyme Disease, Trash Talk, Dive In or Pandemonium would also be suitable for the SnowDog.
Town employee Brian Sullivan does the ski grooming for the town with a snowmobile pulling a drag that is two metres wide.
“I can’t get into a lot of the single track trails – just recently I came to one of the narrow bridges and the snowmobile won’t fit,” says Sullivan. “With the Snowdog we can fit on the single track trails, we can turn around trees, we’ll be able to get to more of those places.”
Roberts spoke to Larry Anthony, maintenance supervisor with Truro’s recreation department, and together they applied to and were approved by the province for funding through the community recreation capital grant at the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage.
Peter McCracken, regional manager of community sport and recreation with the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage said the province likes to fund projects that fulfill a community need.
“This project will help create more active living and recreation opportunities here in and around Truro,” said McCracken. “It is particularly important that this will support a local group and allow them to do more of the activity they like to do.”