On a recent trip to Kaslo, I was struck by the number of motorcycles zipping down the highway — sometimes up to a dozen together, out for a group ride along winding roads and through mountain passes.
Kertis Broza, the owner of Infinite Powersports, thinks Revelstoke can become a centre for motorcycle tourists, so he is organizing the first ever Revelstoke Motorcycle Festival this weekend, Sept. 9-10.
“Basically, I wanted to put something together to get all the bike genres to ride together, or be together,” he said. “Basically, I have a good route laid out for whatever you’re riding. Everyone heads off for the day, goes on the rides, and that evening everyone gets together to tell their tales from afar.”
It’s that simple. The festival is open to anyone with a motorcycle, whether its for highways only or dual sport. The ban on off-road vehicles in the backcountry means there are no rides for dirt bikers.
The plan is for people to meet Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and split up into groups for one of several group rides:
— Revelstoke to Kaslo and back: a six hour ride with a stop for lunch on the shore of Kootenay Lake.
— Highway 23 North to Mica and back: a 300 kilometre ride on a road that gets less and less traffic the further north you go.
— An off-road route that will explore the Downie Creek Forest Service Road, followed by a ride to the top of Sale Mountain. This is for riders with a dual-sport bike.
A few volunteers have been recruited to lead the rides. “The routes are quite self explanatory as far as the directions but I have someone on the dual-sport end to tell them when to turn around,” said Broza.
The rides will be followed by a barbecue at Glacier House Resort.
On Sunday, the plan is for a big group ride up the Meadows in the Sky Parkway starting at 10 a.m.
“I drove up there the other day in my pickup and I thought it was such a cool ride right beside our town,” said Broza. “I thought it would be cool to show everyone that and get a big group shot at the top.”
Broza hopes to turn this into a big festival that will attract many bikers to Revelstoke. “I think our twisty roads and the scenery is what does it. It dawned on me the last couple summers, I had a couple people that had come here from Edmonton and stayed here for three days in a hotel and just do day rides,” he said. “They were just freaking out. They thought it was so awesome the roads we have here. We have to turn this into a destination.”