"Hello, I am Julien, the Marketing Intern of BC Bike Race, I come from France, Here you can find all my incredible adventures in British Columbia, the legendary Canadian place for Mountain Biking, Enjoy. "

Monday, October 4, 2010

Road trip on pacific islands with BC Bike Race and Island Mountain Rides


I spent my first week at the office discovering the city, familiarizing with the culture, and looking for accommodations.  In fact for me everything was new: New country, new city, new landscapes, new people, new language, new money, new food, new work, new way of transportation, new mountain bike trails… new life!
I remember this special afternoon when Dean Payne, (president of BC Bike Race) and Andreas Hestler aka Dre (Marketing director) both talented mountain bikers, asked me to be in there next road trip around Vancouver Island. I felt very excited about riding bikes and having great times with my colleagues during one week. My first reaction was something like “yes, yes, I want”. At this moment I didn’t realized how big would be this unbelievable  experience

Monday: day 1: the Pacific traverse

At the end of the afternoon, I grabbed gear& bike and left the office with Tom Skinner (Operations at BCBR) & his huge pickup truck for the Horseshoe Bay.  We began our road trip with BC Ferries; it was time to left Vancouver & the continent for Vancouver Island. After 2 hours of beautiful traverse between islands and mountains, we arrived at Nanaimo, Middle East coast of the island. Nanaimo was the first stage of the BC Bike Race 2010.

Tom drove us straight to the north of the island; we arrived in the night at Cumberland, one of Bc Bike Race’s bike camps. Cumberland is also a small historic village of the Island, people are very authentic and friendly! We spent the night at the Riding Fool Hostel, a heritage building restored in a hostel, bike shop and café. The hostel is a legendary place for mountain bikers, just a few minutes away from the trails. The owner, Jeremy Grasby is a legendary mountain bike pioneer who uses to ride trails with his singlespeed.

I met all the road trip crew in the night: An authentic band of great mountain bikers, mostly from BC. All have a strong riding experience, several are sponsored by famous brands and most of are pretty party fit. I also met Dave silver professional Photographer and Dave Norona movie director, for our road trip. After a couple of beers and funny vibes, it was time to sleep before the riding orgy.

Tuesday: day 2: Smooth single tracks of Campbell River


Tuesday was our first day of riding. We met Martin Ready and Mike Manara from Island Mountain Rides. The entire trip was organized by this local MTB trip company which uses 12 years of Vancouver Island knowledge to guide you on the best mountain bike places. “If mountain biking is your religion then a pilgrimage to Cumberland is a must!”

After a delicious brunch made with salmon bagel in the local café, we grabbed bikes, jumped in Van & pick up, destination Campbell river, 1H at the north of Cumberland.  Everybody has fun of my “euro style”: small handlebar, small tires, Lycra short and hardtail bike.  “My mountain bike hazing”, in fact everybody has a big mountain style with baggy short and 160mm full suspension bikes. I was not very worried about that, I just wanted to ride.


We have ridden all the sunny day in the wild trails of Campbell River. Martin warn us at the beginning “Save your water guys, here are no Starbucks coffee”. Campbell River is a world class place for salmon fishing but also a premium quality for singletracks. The trails are tracing around lakes and rivers in the rain forest. All the day we have riding only single tracks … so good! I was impressed by the riding level: everybody was riding fast but without the racing spirit, the only way was pleasure in the peaceful nature. 

We finished the ride along the river with a fresh beer and great memories of this first beautiful day. We met James and Chenoa from the local Bike Shop Swicked Cycles and finished our night in an oceanfront restaurant for a burger and a couple of beers. Great times

Wednesday: day 3: Legendary trails of Cumberland

After a sweet night in the Riding Fool Hostel, I changed tires and stem, wear baggy short and BCBR jersey for best all mountain performances! Martin and Mike guided us in the best trails of Cumberland. They tell us the mystic history of every unique trail, we hit all the day wicked technical trails such as Broadway, Tea Pot, Thirsty Beaver or Bear Buns. My favorite was the unreal Tea Pot made by long shores, jumps over the roots and huge corners across the jungle! I couldn’t stop myself at the end of the day and chose to follow warriors like Dre for a last big climbing before the ultimate trail of the day: Bear Buns. What an awesome technical downhill “Cherry on the cake” to finish this amazing session.

After riding at the local pub “the Waverly” for a great dinner & party time. I enjoyed the local vibes, bikes inside, salads & homemade burgers, old school jukebox music, nice ladies. The night was crazy, too much for some of us, who awake Thursday morning with a little hangover…

Thursday: day 4: Shuttle/downhill at Forbidden plateau

We awake with the spirit a little bit shacked by our crazy night. Program of the day: shuttle for technical downhill profile trails at Forbidden Plateau. We grabbed IMR’s van and Tom’s pickup for this wide forest area around the Comox Lake.  The shuttle was perfect for us after 2 intensive days & nights. I tracked best lines and jumps with all the crew. Greg McDougall of Harbour Air and whistler rider Dave Burch joined us by helicopter during the day. My riding buddy Marc “Cooney “Campbell saw my rodeo stunt in a rocky downhill section: no crash but great thrills!! We ate sandwich and relaxed in a beautiful point view at the top of the mountain. Thanks to Greg I had my first helitrip with Jeremy: flying above the trails and back in Cumberland like a star, what a great experience!


We left Cumberland on the evening to catch the ferry for a paradise cabin on Denman Island! Every travel magazine would be jealous of this place: Comfortable rooms, pacific view, private beach, sunset and huge dinner (fresh salmon and salads) made by Martin and Jeremy. We finished the day drinking island beers, and listening the magic song of whales in the sea. This perfect day will stay in my mind forever!

Friday: day 5: Unlimited trails of Hornby Island


I awoke with a magnificent mustache mark! Be careful if you’re not the last sleeping! After eating a double back flip omelette, we caught a new ferry for Hornby Island. Between Sea and Sky, Hornby island is the supreme Pacific spot for mountain biking. The unlimited smooth trails are just unbelievable! "Four Dead Aliens" or "No Horses" are some of the best I have ever ridden. I felt like a kid in a candy shop all the day. If you can stop yourself between two incredible trails you just have to enjoy the view above cliffs and ridges. 

We were also fascinated seeing a hippie beach and the smallest bike shop of the world on this wild island. We grabbed fresh beers & tapas in the local pub for the after ride. We finished our trip by a last night in the magic cabin. Last beers and memories of the best riding trip of my life.
Thanks all the guys of the trip for these great times, in particular Island Mountain Ride and BC Bike RaceI have appreciated riding with great riders in awesome places, but I have also learned a lot about the Canadian culture and the mountain bike religion. Here mountain bike is not just a sport but a way of life. 


  1. beautiful pictures, great place for cycling.
    I'm dreaming of a time bcbikerace and maybe one day I go there.
    for now is quite expensive.

    Miguel Romão

  2. Hi Julien.

    it sounds like you have the best job in the world! Enjoy yourself and keep telling us what it's like to ride those amazing BC trails.

    I've ridden them myself, and I long to come back to them.

    Happy riding!

    Sydney, Australia.