Biking

Activity Category

Vernon, B.C. – The story of the Okanagan Valley can be told through a natural corridor that runs along the valley; moving from the Syilx (Okanagan) band to gold-rush-era miners and turn-of-the-century rail lines. Today, the former Canadian Northern rail corridor once again connects communities from Coldstream to Kelowna, this time as the Okanagan Rail Trail. It’s a unique addition to the ever-expanding bike trail system of the Okanagan. 

Experiencing history has never felt so hands-on and as adventurous as it does in Cranbrook, B.C. After a short, smooth and scenic flight with Pacific Coastal Air, we landed in a new kind of paradise, and eager to explore the history of the southern Rockies region, we wasted no time.

With our rental bikes loaded in the back of our truck, we drove down Highway 3 and past the famous Burmis tree to try out the fairly new Crowsnest Community Trail, a 23-km, non-motorized route connecting the communities of Crowsnest Pass.

Not sure what I expected when I selected Level 2 on the power mode switch. Helmet strapped on, I took my first pedal stroke and with a surprising burst of energy my electric assist mountain bike burst to life. Now that’s more like it.

It’s often the little things that make the heart grow fonder in relationships, but that, I discovered, can also apply to your old home city. I recently made a return visit to Medicine Hat where I hadn’t lived in more than two decades only to find the city had changed – a lot.

We woke up for a day of adventure, feeling energized and ready for biking Kimberley’s trails. The natural beauty of the Rocky Mountains surrounding Kimberley will have that effect on you. Riding a bike puts me in a positive state of mind and I knew it was going to be a memorable day as we set out to explore the area on two wheels.

With our rental bikes loaded on the back of our SUV, we headed out from Kootenay Mountain Works bike shop eager to take on the Community Forest everyone was raving about in Cranbrook. As we neared Cranbrook, we turned north from the city towards the Eager Hill trailhead. We were immediately greeted with a sun-kissed hillside of blooming wildflowers and the scent of Ponderosa pine.

#OkanaganExploring Sipping his morning pick-me-up out of a coffee mug featuring a photo of his family, Sun Country Cycles owner Ricardo Smith was gracious enough to meet me as I began my Vernon cycling journey. I arrived first thing in the morning and the Sun Country parking lot was already full of customers - either dropping off their bikes to get serviced or picking up rentals like me.

The Cypress Hills rise 600 metres above the surrounding prairies making them the highest point between the Canadian Rockies and the East Coast. The unique mix of climate, geography, and ecosystems create a home for an extensive diversity of plants and animals. The entire area is also steeped in rich history with archeological evidence confirming human habitation as far back as 8,500 years.

Visiting Sooke felt like being a tourist in my own town. It’s only 45 minutes away from where I grew up, and there’s no place I feel more at home than the west coast of southern Vancouver Island.