A Week on Vancouver Island

A Week on Vancouver Island

Winners of Mountain Biking BC’s “Bikes and Beer” contest learn about Vancouver Island time and what makes it tick.  Words and photos by Robin Munshaw Day 1: Taking our time on the drive up the east coast of Vancouver Island, we got to know Rachael and Aaron as they went through the later stages of climate shock. “It was snowing this morning in Calgary”, Aaron tells us, looking intently at the rain pounding on the windshield. Rachel has entered the Mountain Biking BC “Bikes and Beer” contest every year since its inception. This year she decided to enter Aaron’s name and, karma rewarding the good deed, he won. Though they live in Alberta, the two winners were no strangers to BC, though they hadn’t spent much time on the coast. “We ride in the Kootenays a lot – Kicking Horse, Mount Seven, Panorama”. With direct flights from Calgary to Comox and Nanaimo, it ended up being faster for them to fly to Vancouver Island than to drive to Golden where they usually ride. We’ve come to Vancouver Island to spend a week exploring one of the densest regions of trail networks in BC. Our first stop in Campbell River was a great place to begin the journey. James Durand, founder of Swicked Bikes, met us at the shop and took us to a quick lap on Radar Hill so that Aaron and Rachael could get acquainted with their new Rocky Mountain bikes, on loan from Endless Biking. After a few wet trails, we rolled back to Swicked to get dry and swap stories over a pint at Beach Fire...
Accessing the Remote Reaches of BC’s Chilcotin Single-Track

Accessing the Remote Reaches of BC’s Chilcotin Single-Track

Words and Photos by Sam Egan British Columbia’s Chilcotin region is a wild pocket of mountains and forest, lakes and rivers, and some of the most remote single track in the province. Warner Lake was our trailhead destination, tucked into the South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park northwest of Gold Bridge, and a float plane chartered through Tyax Adventures was our shuttle vehicle for the adventure ahead. We arrived the night before our flight, just as the sun was setting behind the rolling hills of Tyaughton Lake, and snagged a few spots at the closest of the many Recreation Site camping areas en route to Tyax Lodge. With a 7:30am flight the following morning promising at least 50km of backcountry terrain to cover, we retreated to our tents early after briefly reviewing route options and gear choices for the following day. Catching the first flight of the day proved a bit awkward, with the lodge still sleeping there was no one to consult on protocol until we were already late for our ascent. Scrambling to disassemble wheels from frames and pack everything into the little plane, camera bags and phones were mostly locked out-of-reach in the scramble to get going. There wouldn’t be much of a view until we reached the alpine anyways, as shifting overnight winds had blown in smoke from forest fires elsewhere in the province.   After leaving the smoke behind in the valley below and double-checking ten wheels, five bikes and five packs were on the lakeshore, our pilot bid us farewell and expertly sailed into the horizon. One member of our party had completed the...