King of the Scene
|CALM BEFORE THE STORM: Cumberland, Vancouver Island (Lisa McGinn)|
What It Is: Once a thriving and then depressed mining settlement, today this funky town of 2,800 near Vancouver Island's eastern shore is an emerging mountain bike destination where you can still score a bed at the local hostel for under $25.
You Should Go If: You're looking to check out a relatively undiscovered area that has a mix of intermediate and advanced riding options, and is only 25 minutes from lift-served trails at snow-capped Mount Washington.
Don't Miss: The Buggered Pig/Bucket of Blood trail combo, a challenging cross-country adventure that includes many low-level features to help build courage and skills. Bucket of Blood was the name of local pub at the turn of the century, while Buggered Pig got its name from the piggery once located at the base of the trail.
Local Knowledge: The Cumberland Community Forest Society has bought 164 acres of land and counting, and has embraced the local mountain biking community, encouraging further trail development in the area.
Quotable: "None of the trails here are overly long so you can mix up your ride plan," explains Jeremy Grasby, a local trail builder and owner of the Riding Fool Hostel. "It's not really a beginner area, but it's a great place to build your skills because there are low-level, above-ground features on almost all the trails."
Shoptalk: Dodge City Cycles on the corner of Second Street and Dunsmuir Avenue (www.dodgecitycycles.com; 250.336.2200) offers top flight service, has a fleet of rental bikes, and is a great source of trail information.
Crash Pad: The Riding Fool Hostel on Dunsmuir Avenue (www.ridingfool.com; 250.336.8350) is run by local mountain biker Jeremy Grasby, who was course designer for Stage 5 of the BC Bike Race. The clean and affordable hostel is only a few blocks from the trails, has free wireless Internet, and as the name suggests it is very biker-friendly.
Getting There: From Vancouver International Airport take either a 35-minute puddle jumper flight to Comox and then drive 20 minutes to Cumberland, or board a ferry in Tsawwassen or Horseshoe Bay and enjoy the scenic trip across the tranquil Strait of Georgia.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication