King of the Scene

British Columbia reigns on the mountain biking scene for a damn logical reason: it's just that good. We profile some of the best—and some of the least-known—fat-tire hot spots.
Cycling the River Runs
HEAD DOWN, HEARTRATE UP: Cycling the River Runs Through It trail near Whistler (Jason Sumner)
What Is Freeriding?
The nature of freeriding makes definitive definition difficult, but in general terms itÂ’s the free-spirited middle ground between downhill and cross-country mountain biking. Freeride bikes typically weigh at least ten pounds more than their cross-country counterparts. The beefier construction and added suspension travel (usually six to eight inches front and rear, versus the three to four inches allotted to full-suspension cross-country bikes) allows them to stand up to the pounding of jumps, drops, and the occasional crash. But unlike most downhill bikes, freeride models remain light enough to be pedaled uphill. The style of riding runs the gamut, but usually involves large drop-offs, jumps, and manmade stunts and obstacles such as elevated bridges, log rides, and teeter-totters.

Unless you've been living under a bridge in the woods—and not riding over one—you've heard by now that British Columbia is among the world's premier mountain biking destinations. Canada's westernmost province has earned Mecca status in the fat-tire world, and if you don't believe it just ask the 20,000 people who showed up at Whistler's base-area village for July 2007's Crankworx Slopestyle finals. It was a banner year for the judging-based Super Bowl of the adrenaline-fueled freeride scene, which broke event attendance records and drew all-time-high number of riders to the famed chairlift-served Whistler Mountain Bike Park.

But riding in British Columbia is not the sole realm of Red Bull-swigging teenagers wearing full-face helmets and riding 40-pound freeride bikes. This year also marked the debut of the B.C. Bike Race, a seven-day cross-country epic that led an international field of riders on a testing 300-mile journey from the southern tip of Vancouver Island up into the mountains around Whistler.

Together these two events shined a bright light on BC's stunning variety of mountain biking terrain. Whether you're looking for skill-building beginner singletrack or a courage-testing expert adventure, British Columbia is a must to-do on any mountain biker's life list.

Here's an insider's look at six of the province's top riding destinations, all within a daytrip of cosmopolitan Vancouver, the country's third largest city.

Published: 10 Sep 2007 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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