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Mountain bikers converge on Vancouver Island for the BC Bike Race


Mountain bikers from around the world have travelled to Vancouver Island for a multi-day race series moving between several communities.

The BC Bike Race is an annual event on the coastal trails of the province. Each day the course moves, and this year’s event is entirely based on the island with races in Duncan, North Cowichan, Nanaimo, Cumberland and Campbell River.

“We felt that Vancouver Island had the goods. It had the single track. It had the communities,” says BC Bike Race emcee Dave Howells. “For anybody that’s a keen mountain biker from around the world, this is where they want to be.”

Roughly 600 riders representing 35 countries are taking place in this year’s series, and visitors say they’re impressed.

“So many trails. So many more than we have in England” says Kathy Beresford from the U.K. “And obviously the communities look after the trails so well.”

“It’s gnarly. A lot more technical,” says American rider Caroline Dezendorf. “The vibes are amazing and the people are really cool.”

“Instead of doing three races, do this,” adds another rider, Greg Heyes from North Vancouver.

The BC Bike Race spent the first three days based in the Cowichan Valley. A basecamp was set up in Crofton with more than 200 tents, and the Duncan and Cowichan Chamber of Commerce says many families are involved too, staying in local accommodations as well as the camp.

“People were coming for advice on where to go, where to eat and what to see. So the economic impact is huge,” says the chamber’s president, David Van Deventer.

A North Cowichan councillor says one of the community's priorities is to grow the sports tourism sector, and the BC Bike Race is an example of that at work.

“The thing is then they see this and they fall in love and they come back next year, and the following year, and they tell somebody, and they keep coming back,” says Coun. Chris Istace. “It’s about setting the roots.” Top Stories

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