Up the creek with a Rocky Mountain Blizzard

by Raymond Parker on November 23, 2011

in Adventure, Cycling, Photography, Touring

rocky-blizzard-up-creek

Up Cottle Creek

(click to enlarge)

I chose the hard-tail Rocky Mountain Blizzard from among the Richmond-based company’s 1993 line-up, to act as my mule on a trek to the northwest corner of the North American land mass, planned for the following year.

I was flat broke at the time, so sponsorship was key to the success of my idea. Rocky Mountain Bicycles was the first to accept my audacious proposal, followed by Kodak Canada, Jandd Mountaineering, Mountain Safety Research and North Island Custom Images.

Continuing with the photography theme this week, the accompanying image was made during winter training, as I acquainted myself with the strange new machine (my first, and only mountain bike to date).

The location is Linley Valley, which runs through the heart of Nanaimo, between Hammond Bay and Rutherford Roads. It was saved from residential development in 2003, by a campaign spearheaded by the Nanaimo Area Land Trust; unfortunately, not before the loss of the picturesque little farm at the seaside end of the valley. Where it once nestled, a wide strip of blacktop now thrusts up into the hills, promising a car-friendly haven.

I can’t remember how I hauled my medium-format Hasselblad camera and unwieldy Tiltall tripod into the snow-clad glen—possibly by backpack. I positioned them on the far side of Cottle Creek and set the timer, before leaping back across the creek to grab my bike and mug for the camera. (The resulting image—printed using a filed-out negative carrier—exhibits the emblematic Hasselblad notches, visible at the left border of the film.)

That was a fun winter, with many more adventures in the backwoods of the Mid-Island. As for the Blizzard, well, they (literally) don’t make ’em like that anymore.

Richard Edge November 24, 2011 at 8:32 am

Good post. Reminds me that I need to get out and put my Agfa medium format camera for some winter shots this year.

Richard Edge November 24, 2011 at 8:35 am

That should have been “put my Agfa medium format camera to use” 🙂

Raymond Parker November 24, 2011 at 3:12 pm

I haven’t shot any film lately, but I still have a 35mm Nikon and a Zeiss Ikon medium format camera.

Wish I had a medium format film scanner (the image above was scanned from a print with a flatbed scanner).

lee kenney November 25, 2011 at 11:56 am

Ah the Blizzard, got one rescued, repacked, painted Luftwaffe flat blue [for camouflage purposes,] A prestige, drop frame perfect for an old guy. Bikes have feelings and I feel giving them a trail to ride is sort of like bringing a dog home from the S.P.C.A. I digress, there was snow mentioned! I’m bad with links but check out site” Cycling into the Dark” via randobarf. At last report some where near Merritt and has discovered that hand dryers are his friend. In my cycling career I’ve found creative uses of the hand dryer on body parts.

Raymond Parker November 27, 2011 at 2:56 pm

The trusty Blizzard is my winter bike
of choice. Mind you, I’m not planning on tackling the Dempster Hwy. during deep-freeze.

For that, the Into the Dark cyclist has made the right choice in the Pugsly — maybe even a bit of overkill. Too bad he hasn’t given us a full list of components. It’s not clear if he’s running derailleurs … which don’t work too well in blizzard conditions.

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