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Frequently Asked Questions

Use the categories below to navigate the various topics we've covered in our FAQ's!

  • What to Wear
    Because we are working with tools, rocks, logs and more, it’s best to wear sturdy boots, ideally steel toed. Your footwear should be as grippy as possible. Please bring work gloves, but if you don’t have any, AMBA has some to provide. It’s always best to wear protective eyewear. You can purchase low cost safety options at various hardware stores. If you will be using power tools, you should also bring hearing protection. For this time of year, always wear layers of clothing so that you can adjust to the conditions (a waterproof or water-resistant shell is also a good idea). During the colder months, we strongly encourage waterproof and insulated boots, in addition to extra work gloves (in case they get wet). For the ride home, you may want to bring something to change into since you may have some mud on you.
  • When to Arrive
    Please try your best to be punctual with arrival. Tasks are divided out by lead trail builders and it’s always best to know what skillsets or interests people have at the outset when dividing tasks. If you are unable to show up at the designated start time, please let us know… a quick Facebook message will do! Trail building events and times are posted by AMBA and in the St. John’s Trail Builders group pages.
  • Tools
    AMBA has purchased many tools to be used by volunteers; however, you might have tools that would be useful. You should label your own tools. Please pay attention to Facebook invites and posts as lead trail builders will post special requests and you might have something on hand that would be helpful. Chainsaws, gas brush cutters and loppers are always in demand. Notify the lead trail builder(s) of any damaged tools immediately.
  • Food and Water
    Please bring your own snacks and water. We recommend bringing everything you’ll want to consume throughout the day.
  • Leave No Trace
    We pack in and pack out all belongings and garbage. If you find garbage that’s not yours, pick it up and pack it out.
  • Work Instructions
    Lead trail builders are assigned at the beginning of each project or build day. Please be mindful and respectful of their instructions. These individuals are experienced in trail building so it’s critical that you follow their instructions throughout the build day. If you are uncertain about a task you’ve been given, please ask questions before you start working. Feel free to discuss ideas you might have with the lead trail builders. They may be good ones!
  • Safety Rules
    There may be others walking or working close to you on the trails. Be aware of your surroundings when using tools to prevent injury. Swinging picks, using chainsaws, etc. present serious hazards to the operator and those around them. If you are uncertain on how to use certain tools, ask the lead trail builders. Be careful of your footing if you are close to a cliff or edge. Don’t work on a task that’s beyond your physical ability. Communicate within your group if you need help with a task, like digging out or moving a large rock. If you are unsure of a task that’s been assigned, please seek guidance from a lead builder. You’ll also notice that on most trail days there are dogs helping with the build, so please be mindful of their whereabouts when using tools, particularly those that require a range of movement such as picks and shovels.
  • Effective Work
    Because all trail building work is completed by volunteers, we ask that the time spent during trail days be focused and efficient.
  • First Aid
    If you injure yourself, please report it to the lead trail builder immediately. If someone is seriously injured or unconscious, call 9-1-1 immediately and ensure the person is kept in a safe and warm position until help arrives. In most cases, you should not move a person that has been injured away from the scene of the accident while waiting for medical personnel to arrive. If the victim is in danger or if the overall situation looks risky and you know that you’ll be able to move the person without harming yourself, it may be necessary to get the person out of harm’s way. The victim should be moved to the closest location that could be considered safe and you should ask them to cooperate if they are still conscious. If a designated First Aider identifies themselves and takes charge of the situation, listen to their instructions and provide help as it is requested.
  • Risk and Liability
    Trail building is physically demanding work. Participation is voluntary and AMBA is not liable in any way for any injuries sustained or damage to personal belongings/tools during trail building.
  • Are there any bike shops in St. John's recommended for mountain biking gear?
    For mountain biking gear, there are reputable bike shops in St. John's that we recommend, including Freeride Mountain Sports https://www.freeridems.com/, Canary Cycles https://www.canarycycles.ca/, Outfitters https://theoutfitters.nf.ca/ and Fun n Fast https://www.funnfast.com/
  • Are there mountain bike rental options available?
    Seasonally, there are mountain bike rental options available in St. John's. Please contact Freeride Mountain Sports for their details and availability - https://www.freeridems.com/
  • How can I connect with the mountain biking community?
    You can connect with the mountain biking community in St. John's by joining local group rides, events, and social gatherings organized by AMBA or other biking enthusiasts.
  • Where can I find information about events and group rides to meet other riders?
    Information about events and group rides can be found on AMBA's website or social media channels - www.ambanl.ca/events, www.instagram.com/amba.nl/ and facebook.com/AMBA709
  • Are there social media groups or online forums?
    There are social media groups and online forums where local riders discuss mountain biking, share experiences, and plan group rides. Strava https://www.strava.com/clubs/586831. We also recommend you download Trailforks and look for the following trail networks: Pippy Park Richmond Hill White Hills
  • What types of mountain biking are popular in St. John's and Eastern Newfoundland?
    Cross Country (XC), Trail, All Mountain (Enduro), Downhill (DH), and Fat Biking are popular types of mountain biking in St. John's and Eastern Newfoundland.
  • Are there specific trails or areas dedicated to certain types of mountain biking?
    Specific trails or areas, and times of year, may be dedicated to certain types of mountain biking. For enduro and downhill riding, White Hills is your best bet. For XC and fatbiking, try Pippy Park. For more technical riding (a mix of XC and downhill), try Richmond Hill.
  • How are the trails categorized in terms of difficulty levels?
    Trails are categorized based on difficulty levels, including green (easy), blue (intermediate), and black (difficult). The green circle, blue square and black diamond indicate different degrees of difficulty, relative to the trails in that area. Green Circle: Easier. Blue Square: More Difficult. Black Diamond: Most Difficult. Double-Black Diamond: Extremely Difficult, Use Extra Caution. For the best overview, please review the IMBA Trail Rating Difficulty System.
  • What types of terrain can riders expect to encounter?
    Riders can expect a diverse range of terrain, including challenging climbs, flowy descents, and rocky and rooty technical sections. The Avalon region of the province features a combination of steep, technical oceanside views (e.g. White Hills Trail Network) and entry-level park trails located within the city limits of St John’s (e.g. the green trails in Pippy Park.)
  • What trails offer an overall, general introduction to mountain biking in the area?
    There are three main trail networks in St. John’s: White Hills, Richmond Hill, and Pippy Park. Learn more about them below and via Trailforks. Pippy Park largely features green and blue trails, while White Hills and Richmond Hill feature blue-black+ trails.
  • Can you provide more details about each of the three main trail networks in St. John's? What are the unique features or characteristics of each trail network?
    Each of the three main trail networks in St. John's offers unique features and characteristics, catering to various rider preferences and skill levels. Pippy Park is an urban park with a mix of old horse and cross-country ski trails, featuring a variety of single and double track loops, as well as shared-use trails. Ideal for cross country riders, Pippy Park provides both green and blue trails, offering an endurance challenge amidst beautiful forested scenery and ponds. From certain points within the park, riders can enjoy scenic views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean. In 2025, Pippy Park will be the host location for the Canada Games as trail development continues, led by AMBA, Bicycle NL, and other community organizations. Primary Trail Type: Cross-Country Richmond Hill (Southside Hills): Technical singletrack in the Southside Hills above Kilbride. The trails have a decidedly old school vibe with lots of rocks, roots, tight turns and steep pitches and are sure to keep even the most experienced riders on their toes. The area is mostly wooded but there are several places that offer spectacular views. The trails are well drained and suitable for riding when wet. They can be ridden in the winter depending on snow conditions. The area can be accessed from the end of Densmore's Lane, the end of Old Petty Harbour Road and from Huntingdale Drive. Primary Trail Type: Cross-Country AKA: Richmond Hill, Southside Hills East White Hills: Located by the ocean, the East White Hills Trail Network provides a thrilling experience for advanced riders seeking a challenging Enduro loop. The trails offer spectacular views of Quidi Vidi and Cape Spear, which is the most easterly point in North America. Intermediate riders can also enjoy the trails but should be prepared for challenging climbs and descents filled with steep rolls and drops. It is advisable for riders to assess the most technical segments before descending. Advanced riders will find the trail filled with various challenges, including a technical switchback climb through the forest, revealing ocean views and large slabs of granite on the descent. The most challenging segments involve steep technical rock faces with features such as rolls and drops. First-timers are encouraged to stop and assess their line before attempting these sections. This is a shared-use trail so keep an eye out for hikers. PrimaryTrail Type: A mix of All Mountain/Enduro, Downhill and Cross-Country.
  • Are there any beginner-friendly trails or sections for those newer to the sport?
    Yes, there are beginner-friendly trails or sections available for those new to the sport. A great new rider trail is the Waterfalls trail in Pippy Park. For general skill-building, you can visit the City of St. John’s pump track located on the Boulevard.
  • Are there any family-friendly trails that I can enjoy with children?
    Family-friendly trails can be enjoyed with children at the Waterfalls trail or any of the satellite trails around that area. Depending on your children’s skillset (if they are blue trail friendly,) you can also try Bucket Seats and Highliner in Pippy Park or Bayline in White Hills.
  • Where can I find detailed trail maps for St. John's and the surrounding areas?
    Detailed trail maps for St. John's and the surrounding areas can be found on AMBA's website www.ambanl.ca/ride and trailforks www.trailforks.com/region/white-hills/ , https://www.trailforks.com/region/pippy-park/ and https://www.trailforks.com/region/richmond-hill-13822/
  • Are there any apps or online resources that can help me navigate the trails?
    There are apps and online resources that can help navigate the trails, such as Trailforks and Strava. You can specifically join the White Hills Trail Network Strava group here https://www.strava.com/clubs/586831
  • Are trail markers or signage available to assist me while riding?
    Trail markers and signage are mainly available at Pippy Park and Richmond Hill to assist riders in finding their way on the trails; however, signage is limited and it is recommended that users familiarize themselves with the routes ahead of time and be prepared to use apps, such as Trailforks, for navigation.
  • Are there designated parking areas or access points for each trail network?
    East White Hills - Oceanside: A gravel parking lot can be found at 24 Cadet Rd. You will need to climb Chicken Hill, along the dirt road past the Department of Fisheries and Oceans building to Satan’s Witch, down Upper 190, up Thorlock and up Oceanside Climb. Pippy Park - there are various entry points along Allandale Road. You can also park on Penetanguishene Road or McNiven Place Richmond Hill - the best point to start is at the end of Old Petty Harbour Road. A central entry point is at Densmore’s Lane. Know your plan as you may need to return to your car by roadway (a common plan by other riders)
  • What is the typical riding season in St. John's and Eastern Newfoundland?
    The typical riding season in St. John's and Eastern Newfoundland usually extends from May to November, but it depends on precipitation levels in the fall and snowmelt in the spring. AMBA will make a formal announcement around White Hills trail opening and closing specifically.
  • Are there any specific weather considerations for mountain biking in the region?
    Riders should be aware of weather considerations, including rain, wind and fog. Riders should be prepared to ride on wet roots, rocks, mud, and navigate through puddles.
  • Are the trails accessible and rideable throughout the year?
    The trails are generally accessible and rideable throughout May - November, but weather conditions may impact rideability. There is a great volunteer movement around winter fatbiking if there is enough snow. Keep an eye on AMBA social media channels for up to date trail reports for White Hills, Pippy Park and Richmond Hill.
  • Are there any specific guidelines for riders during wet or adverse weather conditions?
    During very wet or adverse weather conditions, riders are encouraged to avoid trails to prevent damage and maintain trail sustainability.
  • Are there any specific trail etiquette guidelines that I should be aware of?
    Specific trail etiquette guidelines are essential to ensure a positive experience for all trail users, including for shared-trails, which we have many of. Key guidelines include: Yielding to uphill riders and hikers. Keeping a safe distance from wildlife. Staying on established trails to protect the environment. Smile and be kind and courteous to others you encounter. Leave No trace (including dog waste and bags!) Do not take/create shortcuts. If a shortcut/path has been closed or covered, do not reopen it. Report trail hazards to us at info@ambanl.ca
  • Are there rules/recommendations regarding right of way and interactions with trail users?
    Yielding to Uphill Traffic: When encountering other trail users, mountain bikers going downhill should yield the right of way to those riding uphill. Uphill riders may have a harder time maintaining momentum and may need the right of way to safely navigate the climb. If you stop on a trail (e.g. to check a trail feature) be aware, mindful and respectful of others, especially those who may be approaching at high speed and/or with limited visibility. Move your bike off the trail, ideally somewhere an oncoming rider will see it, alerting them of your presence. Announcing Your Presence: When approaching other trail users, such as hikers or runners, it's polite to announce your presence from a distance to let them know you're coming. You can use a bell, call out "on your left" or "passing on your right," or use any other audible signal to avoid surprising them. If you are in a group, it’s also polite to let hikers know if there are other riders behind you. Slowing Down and Passing with Caution: If you need to pass another trail user, slow down, and pass them with caution, leaving enough space to ensure safety for both parties. Avoid startling or scaring other trail users by passing at a reasonable speed and being courteous.
  • How can I ensure I respect other shared-trail users, nature and wildlife while biking?
    Etiquette is only part of being a responsible rider, here are a few other good practices: Always stay in control and be attentive. Leave no trace. Never leave anything behind– on the trail, at the trailhead, or in the parking area - this includes packing out your trash, respecting private property, and minimizing your impact on the environment. Staying on Marked Trails: To protect the environment and prevent trail erosion, always stay on marked trails and avoid creating new trails or shortcuts. Respecting Wildlife and Nature: Keep a safe distance from wildlife and refrain from feeding or approaching them. Preserve the natural beauty of the area by not littering or disturbing the environment. Moose are common in Newfoundland. Do not approach moose, especially if there is a calf. In many cases, it’s advised to turn around and go the other direction of a moose. Communicating with Other Riders: When riding in a group, communicate effectively with your fellow riders about obstacles, trail conditions, or changes in pace to ensure a smooth and safe ride. Being Mindful of Trail Conditions: Be aware of the trail conditions and any posted closures or restrictions. Avoid using the trails during very wet or adverse weather conditions, as riding on muddy trails can cause damage. Check to see if a stopped rider is ok before passing and continuing your ride. Finally, be positive! Mountain biking is fun. Excitement and a good attitude are contagious– the more you spread them, the more people will respond positively.
  • What are some safety tips for those riding on unfamiliar trails in the region?
    Wear helmets and appropriate protective gear. Carry essentials with you. Don’t go alone, or let someone know your plan - use navigation apps, and inform someone close about your riding plans.
  • What essentials should riders carry with them while on the trails?
    Water, snacks, charged cell phone, tools (spare tubes, pump, multi tool, plug kit), and first-aid supplies.
  • Are there any local regulations or specific rules that I need to be aware of?
    It is the law to wear a helmet in Newfoundland and Labrador. Bicyclists are also supposed to follow the rules of the road if commuting to a trail network.
  • Where can I find information about emergency services and first-aid resources?
    Please call 911 in the case of emergency. Please note that cellular service can be intermittent in some areas of the three trail networks. If you’re riding alone, please consider safety features such as Strava’s Beacon or Apple’s Emergency SOS calling capability on their latest devices.
  • How often are the trails maintained, and by whom?
    The trails in East White Hills are regularly maintained by AMBA and dedicated volunteers. Check out our link to get involved! https://www.ambanl.ca/get-involved The trails in Pippy Park are maintained by the Three Pond Barren Groomers The trails in Richmond Hill are maintain by a private group of dedicated volunteers dedicated to that network
  • Where can riders find updates on trail conditions and closures?
    Riders can find updates on trail conditions and closures through AMBA social media channels, and Pippy Park MTB Network. Users are encouraged to submit trail condition updates through Trailforks as well.
  • Does AMBA host any events or are there any competitions throughout the year?
    AMBA hosts various events and may be associated with competitions throughout the year, which are announced on our website events page and social media platforms. The St. John’s Enduro Series holds two races per year in the White Hills trail network. More info can be found here: https://sjes.ca/
  • How can I stay informed about upcoming events and activities?
    To stay informed about upcoming events and activities, you can check AMBA's event page on our website and follow social media updates. Follow https://www.facebook.com/stjohnsenduroseries/ for race information.
  • What is a pump track?
    A pump track is a continuous loop of berms and "rollers" (paved mounds) designed for riders of all ages and abilities. Instead of pedaling or pushing, riders use an up and down pumping motion to propel themselves forward, making it a fun way to develop biking and riding skills.
  • What and where is the pump track at Quidi Vidi Park?
    The pump track at Quidi Vidi Park is the first of its kind in St. John's, developed through a collaboration between the City of St. John's, Avalon Mountain Bike Association (AMBA), and Canary Cycles. It is located on the Boulevard here.
  • Who can use the pump track?
    The pump track is suitable for bicycles, skateboards and scooters providing a broad recreational amenity for the community.
  • How does the City of St. John's support the pump track project?
    The City of St. John's provided the land to build the pump track and contributed $195,000 to cover the building costs.
  • How was the pump track project funded?
    The pump track project was a community-led initiative supported by AMBA. AMBA raised approximately $125,000, including a $100,000 donation from Canary Cycles and a $15,000 grant from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador's Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, and Recreation's Active NL Fund.
  • What are the benefits of the pump track?
    The pump track offers opportunities to grow the cycling community in St. John's and provides a fun way for individuals to challenge themselves, socialize, and stay healthy and active.
  • How often are group rides scheduled?
    Group rides may be scheduled regularly throughout the riding season, offering opportunities for members and mountain biking enthusiasts to come together and explore the trails as a community.
  • Are group rides open to all skill levels?
    This depends, group rides are typically open to riders of all skill levels, including beginners, intermediate, and advanced riders. The goal is to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone to enjoy the sport and improve their skills. However, please research the ride and trails in advance of joining,
  • Where can I find information about upcoming group rides?
    Information about upcoming group rides can usually be found on AMBA's website, and social media channels. Facebook will list upcoming group rides, along with details about meeting locations and ride difficulty levels.
  • Are there any camps, skills clinics, or recommended training - for any level?
    AMBA may offer skills clinics and training programs catering to various skill levels, including beginners, youth, and families. Information about these clinics can be found on AMBA's website or through event announcements. Contact us to let us know if you would like to see more of these!
  • Does AMBA offer programs specifically designed for women+*, beginners, youth and/or families?
    AMBA aims to help increase the participation of women, youth, and families in mountain biking on the Avalon. We will promote opportunities for these groups to safely learn and develop mountain biking skills. AMBA may offer social rides, skills clinics and training programs catering to a range of groups. Contact us to let us know if you would like to see more of these! *Note: The mention of women-specific programs is based on AMBA's commitment to increasing the participation of women in mountain biking, as stated in their strategic plan. The term "women+" intends to be an inclusive definition, including trans women and those that are nonbinary, gender non-conforming, and any others who identify as a woman; diverse gender identities and expressions.
  • How does AMBA support beginners and intermediate mountain bikers?
    AMBA plans to work with community stakeholders to locate, fund, and build a mountain bike skills park to focus on building bike skills for people from newcomers and intermediate riders, to more advanced riders. AMBA is also continuing to seek opportunities to develop trails that are accessible and fun to riders of all skill levels.
  • How can I contact AMBA?
    Email us: info@ambanl.ca Facebook: AMBA709 Instagram: amba.nl
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