Rocky Mountain Blizzard

Stock Rocky Mountain Blizzard, 1993

(click to enlarge)

This 1993 Blizzard was hand-built in Vancouver from True Temper OX3 chromo steel. It was, and is, a perfect backroad touring bike, sporting braze-ons for a rear rack.

In 1992, I finally began began planning a cycle tour I’d been contemplating for years—a tour of the North. I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go at first. I’d visited Alaska, the Yukon and Northern British Columbia in 1976, in a rattletrap 1959 Chevy pickup. We’d gotten as far as the Yukon’s Eagle Plain, where the Canadian military were constructing a bridge over the Eagle River (the Dempster Highway now goes all the way to Inuvik, on the Mackenzie Delta).

My plans didn’t include the Dempster. Maybe I’d fly to Watson Lake and descend the Stewart-Cassiar (Highway 37), the main focus of my wanderlust.

Then a friend suggested I take the ferry from Port Hardy, at the northern tip of Vancouver Island, to Prince Rupert, then board the U.S. boat to Skagway, Alaska. Cool! I could ride over the legendary White Pass.

Rocky Mountain Bicycles were one of the first sponsors to come aboard the “Three Borders Tour,” as my friend dubbed it.

My main contact at Rocky Mountain was Larry Ruble, leader of the “Everest” development team at the company. We had worked together at Cap’s Cycle, in the late 60s-early 70s. Ruble had a custom fork built for my bike, with low-rider braze-ons and double eyelets to carry the low-rider struts and fender stays separately.

The Blizzard carried me 3500 kilometres on the northern expedition, over two months, surviving roads like the wild track into Telegraph Creek, in northern B.C.

White Pass: Three Borders Tour, 1994

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Either side of my northern trek, though suspension was making its debut, perhaps it was my expertise as a telemark skier that allowed me to survive some pretty gnarly descents on Vancouver Island trails.

Further testing its adaptability, as well as my own, I rode my first 200 kilometre randonnée on the Blizzard, in 1994. In 2005, I completed its conversion into a “rando bike” of sorts, riding on a full series of 200, 300, 400, and 600 kilometre brevets, in 2006, earning my first Super Randonneur medal.

Rando Rocky, 2006

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It remains one of my favourite rides—we’ve covered a lot of ground together—and has become my winter bike of choice. The name says it all.

New: Rocky restored.