Listen up all you bike jockey’s — there’s a new event in town.
Slated for this Saturday (March 23) in deep Errington on the Hammerfest trails, “the event is called Island Bike. It is not a competitive event, it is a coming together of all the mountain bikers on the Island and Gulf Islands and it is an open event for all riders,” explains longtime local bike booster Kebble Sheaff.
Those interested in participating simply show up, sign in, then head out for guided group rides tailored to their riding level.
“I think it’s going to be a neat event,” said Sheaff, adding that “the racing numbers continue to shrink each year but the riding numbers keep growing, so my feeling is this event will continue to grow. The idea is you go to different towns and go on a ride with their local guides.”
Being the first-ever such event in these parts, Sheaff said they don’t know what to expect on Saturday.
“We could get 50 people show up there could be 300.”
The ride leaders will be from Arrowsmith Mountain Bike Club. There will be food and music going all day, “and there will also be a bit of a bike expo,” with companies like Giant and Trek on site to show their latest and greatest.
The inaugural Island Bike will be staged at Tranquility Woods camp site starting at 9 a.m., “but you could show up whenever and ride and ride.”
“This event,” points out Sheaff, long one of the driving forces behind AMBC and a co-founder of the storied Hammerfest races, “is free.”
“If it works out the way we hope, it will be a cool day of hanging out and meeting new people and riding the best trails Hammerfest has to offer.”
Looking down the road Sheaff says the plan is to move the event to a different community and to be hosted by a different club each year.
A heads up the 20th annual Hammerfest XC race goes this Sunday (March 24). The Hammer XC is stop two on the seven race Island Cup series, and Sheaff said he’s hoping to boost the XC numbers with the event the day before.
Cost to ride the Hammerfest XC is $20 per rider. Registration gets underway at 11 a.m. and the race start at noon. There are three categories: Beginner, Intermediate and Expert. Beginners do one lap of the 8.5 km course, Intermediates, two and Experts three.
Sheaff said as it’s so early in the season there could very well be some pro riders in the mix.