Saddle up for a wheel good time

In Revelstoke, a cool breeze kissing the cheeks, warm sunshine on the back, and some of the best scenery in all of B.C. passing by on either side awaits cyclists

A cool breeze kissing the cheeks, warm sunshine on the back, and some of the best scenery in all of B.C. passing by on either side await cyclists in Revelstoke. Longtime local cyclist Brian Abear best sums up why both old hands on mountain bikes and newcomers riding street cycles will be glad they took the time to tour around Revelstoke. “Cycling around Revelstoke offers spectacular scenery at a pace that allows the rider to take the time to look,” Abear explained. “On a cycle tour you feel the spray of the waterfalls, the chill in the air when the sun goes down, or the warmth of the sun on an early morning ride.” Over the past couple of decades the wealth of cycling trails and routes in and around Revelstoke has built up to the point where the Chamber of Commerce boasts on the adventure tour section of its Website that a person could go out biking every day during the summer months and never once ride the same trail twice. Trails and cycling tour opportunities abound for every age and level of ability. Within town the casual rider can enjoy an early morning jaunt along the Revelstoke River Trail (click here for Flickr photos) — being mindful of pedestrians and dogwalkers who also share the popular pedestrian/cycling route — as it winds alongside the Columbia River through the greenbelt. During high water periods for the Illecillewaet River that flows along one section of the trail, one might catch a glimpse of a muskrat pair waltzing in one of the pools near the old railway bridge abutments while, balanced on one leg, a great blue heron stands chaperone. Both the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 23 offer several relaxing long-distance cycling ventures with wonderful viewscapes for either an early morning or evening ride. One bit of advice is do not ride the highways during the holiday long weekends when traffic is heaviest. With that cautionary note in mind, west from Revelstoke along the TCH to Three Valley is a nice 40-kilometre ride (round trip) over the period of a couple hours. Make a point of stopping at Three Valley for lunch, either in the restaurant or as a pleasant picnic session while taking in the Three Valley Gap Historical Ghost Town tour. Riding east from town, the Albert Canyon Hot Springs about 35 kilometres away makes a fine destination. Bring swim wear and a towel and enjoy a relaxing soak in one of the oldest natural hot springs in use in the Revelstoke area. Other than near the eastern access, none of the highway hills close to Revelstoke are too steep to create problems for the average cyclist. Highway 23 North to the Revelstoke Dam does present a workout for the leg muscles on the way to the LaForme Creek Bridge and Martha Creek Provincial Park about an hour’s pumping one way. But then there’s that cool rush of air on the downhill return to enjoy. Winding south on Highway 23 to Shelter Bay, there are interesting “detours” the visiting cyclist might want to consider along the 50-kilometre route. First is Begbie Falls located just a few minutes outside of town, turning left onto Clough Road and then following the road for about a kilometre to the junction of Clough and Begbie Falls Road. It is a bumpy ride along the undeveloped Begbie Falls Road but the view of the falls at the end of path is worth seeing. About seven kilometres south of town on the righthand side of Highway 23 is the entrance to the Mount MacPherson network of nordic ski trails that double as mountain biking trails during the summer. A highlight attraction is the Beaver Lake Trail that includes an interpretive rainforest feature. Mount Revelstoke National Park features many hiking and cycling trails. Information on suggested routes for both the novice and expert mountain biker is available at the Parks Canada office. One cycling experience that even the most jaded mountain biker will enjoy is the Summit Parkway Run. At least one local adventure tour outfit includes this in its entertainment package for riders. What the Run involves is a motorized trip up to the parking area for the Meadows in the Sky at the summit of Mount Revelstoke. Cyclists can then coast down the 27-kilometre road back to the foot of the mountain, enjoying both the scenery and the rush of wind along the way. As mentioned before, there is a huge number of mountain biking trails of all descriptions and levels of challenge around Revelstoke. Some, like Boulder Mountain or the Standard Basin trails, will take a rider high enough to touch the clouds. For more information on wheeling around Revelstoke, stop in at the Parks Canada office at Third Street and Boyle or at the Chamber of Commerce tourist information centre in Grizzly Plaza off of Mackenzie Avenue.