Why take an eMTB on iconic trails in Squamish, Kamloops and Revelstoke? Here’s a better question: Why not? Especially when your goal is to explore further, climb longer, and show up the next day with a smile, ready to go all over again. While American Ryan “R-Dog” Howard and German Kathi Kuypers might be professional athletes (Kuypers rides for Trek Gravity Girls and R-Dog for Trek C3 Project), they still crave the same thing every rider wants: to ride more and to have more fun doing it.
Western Canada is cultural and stylistic mecca of North American mountain biking, and it delivers the goods. Insistent mountain ranges approach the Pacific coast, and that means British Columbia boasts destination-worthy trails for every style of rider. Says Kuypers, “Where I live, farmers destroy my trails. In Canada the farmer himself rides bikes. Everybody is stoked on riding and super helpful if you have any questions.”
The duo saddles up on a pair of Trek Rails, the Wisconsin company’s latest electric mountain bike. The plan: squeeze in as much riding as possible on some of the region’s famous singletrack and see where an eMTB can take them ... laughs and La Croix included.
The Rail uses Bosch’s Performance Line CX, the company’s most powerful and efficient electric drive (think strength-to-weight ratio). The system features an easy-to-use 625Wh Powertube battery integrated into the frame. The electric assist is fully user adjustable, and the battery recharges quickly and maintains a long holding power and lifespan. Light and tight, the components provide an organic feel and the nimbleness of a traditional mountain bike.
Fully charged and ready to roll, the pair start their tour in Squamish, in what many consider the home of BC mountain biking. Soothed by cold, misty fog within the marine shadow of Howe Sound, northwest of Vancouver, there’s and eternity of two-wheel options here.
A city sign claiming “Guaranteed Rugged!” greets them at the edge of their next stop, Lillooet. Kuypers describes the fast, loose Della Creek trail and its dusty ridge riding, agreeing that, “the trails and nature showed me just how true this slogan was.”
This is an area where freeride originated, and Kamloops Bike Ranch is full of tables and big hits. The Ranch also offers downhill and competition tracks where Kuypers and R-Dog chase each other, testing themselves and their bikes. East of here, Mount Mackenzie hosts Revelstoke and trail Fifty-Six Twenty, named for the total elevation lost–5,620 feet–over 15k to the bottom. Thanks to serious riding skills boosted by these electric bikes, they lap speedy ascents to the top, ready for lots of berms, jumps, rollers and tabletops the whole way down. Kuypers is thrilled. “The grin on my face was big, as you can imagine! The track is like a rollercoaster, [it’s] endless flow!”
As a finale the next day, in Kelowna they hustle up Rocky Screech trail at sunset for a golden vista over Okanagan Lake and town. The handlebar views absolutely live up to the hype.
Kuypers and R-Dog experienced a lot, and they leave BC with recharged bodies. The electric bike proves another tool in their toolbox, something that increases the three F’s they--and everyone else--wants: Further, Frequency and Fun. These hardcore riders have shown that these pedal-assist eMTBs open mountain-bike riding to everyone, whether that means more miles during the lunch hour, on a parenting break, for vacations, training, or injury rehab.
Between Airbnb layovers and Tim Hortons stops, their riding has also shown that heading north of the border is more than worth it. For many, riding like this will be a trip of a lifetime. R-Dog puts it best: “When you give two athletes eBikes and no schedule, you can count on riding some epic trails!”
First Things First
Thinking about a trip to British Columbia? You should be. If this video hasn’t been enough to get you salivating, whet your appetite on Mountain Biking BC’s Inspiration page. Check out all the region has to offer, and we dare you not to go.
First, you need to know the weather conditions in western Canada. It’s a temperate rainforest along the coast and can be first-rate or fickle (hey, it’s Canada. It can snow any day of the year). R-dog and Kathi visited during September and saw everything from dusty and warm to damp and foggy, with moderate changes occurring as they moved inland.
Come by air, land or water–British Columbia is easy to get to. Remember your passport, and consider bike luggage guidelines and fees. HelloBC.com is a great source of information.
Forgot a key piece of your repair kit? Local shops are also a great source of trail intel. Find one near your trailhead and support them so they can support you.
Bosch shops: www.bosch-ebike.com
Trek shops: www.trekbikes.com
All shops: www.singletracks.com
BC has a robust tourist infrastructure, and bike-friendly accommodations come in everything from dirtbag to five-star. Some hosts even provide amenities like bike washes, rentals, and secure storage. Many of the listings we found allow for in-room spooning (bike), if that’s what you prefer.
If you’re after long-distance rides, look at hut-to-hut or lodging options.
Does the two-wheel frenzy have you dreaming of an après bike micro? Investigate a bike-and-brew pairing at a tasting room near your new favorite cross-country lap: Hello BC Mountain Biking and Brewery Getaways