A stalwart group of cyclists showed up on a rainy Saturday morning to participate in the 2013 Tour de Bella Coola. In true west coast spirit, spring showers couldn’t dampen their plans to cycle the upper valley with friends. By the time the bus arrived at the bottom of the hill, riding in raingear was soon dismissed as drier air moved in from the coast.
Weather, be it friend or foe is a key piece of the outdoor experience; you just got to love it! That westerly breeze welcomed dryness, but now created a strong headwind for bikers to muscle through. A sure test of athleticism, this new challenge would mark 2013 as the windiest ride and generate some disgruntled comments: “I found myself at a standstill on that longed-for downhill stretch”, “I thought for sure I would be blown off my bike”, “that wind was brutal.”
The tour is meant for all ages and fitness levels as there are pick-ups at three 15km sections. It was inspiring to see a good number of youth and new cyclists. Special thanks to Steven, Isla and Olin Hodgson from BC Parks for their work as the support vehicle. The smell of burgers cooking, and a toasty fire at Grizzly Tours was a warm welcome for the riders; thanks Leonard Ellis for your hospitality.
And of course, the Tour would not exist if it wasn’t for Rick Ratcliff. With his enthusiasm and engineering skills crafting the essential bike racks for transporting up to 60 bikes, Rick is essential to the ongoing success of the tour.
No matter how many times you do the tour, this annual event is never the same. You can make it what you want, a leisure tour, an athletic challenge, or a family outing. What the Tour de Bella Coola is though is a true valley experience. In the prettiest time of the year, mountain vistas, budding trees, sweet verdant smells, spring song birds, riverside rest spots and more, this journey down the valley on bike is a must for everyone!! Next year try it out…experience your home! Thanks to Active Communities Bella Coola; a Bella Coola General Hospital Initiative.