This past Saturday BC Bike Ride kicked off as mountain bikers from ten different countries set out to stretch their legs and warm up on the world famous trails of North Vancouver. Perhaps a bit of an ambitious location to call a ‘warm up,’ but Olympian and all-around great guy, Adam Craig thought it was great – “Welcome to Canada, this is mountain biking here!” Led by seasoned guides from Endless Biking and BC Bike Race Bike Patrol, the riders rode a variety of laps on Mount Fromme that included classics like Expresso, Dream Weaver, Seventh Secret, and Crinkum Crankum.
“I’ve got a soft spot for riding on the shore, it’s awesome there and it’s cool,” says Adam, who is along for the whole week of BC Bike Ride North. “Any biking road trip around BC should start there in my opinion. That’s kind of the port of entry and that’s where some of the best riding in the world is, so it would be rude not to! I’m glad we got to go out and have Andreas [Hestler] show us around, it was a treat!
The next morning riders headed to the airport where they boarded the private planes that would take them to Prince George and the official start of their ultimate road trip experience. Stepping off the bus and getting straight onto the waiting planes may have been a thrill, but better yet was watching the landscape change as we flew north. “The flight up was awesome, I really, really love flying over mountain ranges and terrain, especially that you have a bit of familiarity with, so it’s always interesting. We flew over Whistler and the Pemberton Ice Cap, and just looking at places you’ve been, it was beautiful.” Adam – like most of the riders – has never been this far north. “And then seeing the landscape change as we travelled north and made it over the coast range and kind of out into the foot hills and into the rolling hills and the upper Fraser River Valley – it’s pretty neat way to tie it all together like it’s obvious that you’ve travelled.”
Prince George was our first stop along the incredible Route 16, which connects budding mountain bike meccas like Burns Lake, Smithers, and Terrace – all locations full of incredible purpose built singletrack. This is the new frontier of mountain biking! Otway and Pidherny are two of the main riding areas of Prince George and we made time to explore both of them.
The Otway trail network offered smooth and sandy undulating bench cut trails that crisscrossed to create what seemed like a never-ending combination of loops that spread out from the Nordic centre. With so few people riding them the trails were in incredible condition and our riders hit up a classic loop suggested by the locals Ben Yeager and Jacob Mullen, that included Curves, Espresso, Missing Lynx, AC/DC, and Tornado Alley.
The Pidherny trails stepped things up a notch with a little steeper and looser favourites that included The Kitchen Sink, Lazy Susan, Flow Job, and Ditch Pig. This network also offered up some unique and well-crafted woodwork, especially the 16-foot high hand built woodwork on The Kitchen Sink, constructed by Mark Trumphour and Shannon Moldowan.
Post riding beers in the afternoon sun gave everyone the chance to socialize and chat about their day and the incredible riding they had just experienced before heading into downtown Prince George to enjoy dinner on the patio at Crossroads Brew Pub. As the sun set over Vivian Lake our convoy of buses and bikes finally arrived to base camp for the evening and we were greeted in true PG style by some of the locals, complete with a DJ and some great summer evening hang out vibes.
Riders are now settling into their new base camp on the edge of Kager Lake, just outside the town of Burns Lake – and at the heart of their incredible trail network. For the next two days, the crew will experience camping with ride in/ride out access to a unique and diverse trail selection. Adam echoes the sentiment of most of the group when he says, “I haven’t been this far north and I’m excited to see what goes on up here!”