Mountain biking gains foothold in the Comox Valley

WatchIf you ride a mountain bike, Cumberland is the place to be. The area is known around the world for its diverse trails. Dean Stoltz has more.

The Village of Cumberland has changed from its coal mining days. The main street Dunsmuir Avenue is bustling with people and traffic and these days more than ever, the favourite mode of transportation is on two wheels.

“The trails continue to get busier every year. Last year, we were upwards of 100,000 visits and this year, we expect that to continue to grow,” Nathan Kwan with United Riders of Cumberland said.

The popularity of mountain biking has soared in the area in the last few years and people come from around the world to ride nearby trails.

Jeremy Grasby opened the Riding Fool Hostel back in 2003 when he predicted a mountain bike culture would grow in the community.

“It was pretty quiet,” Grasby said while describing that year.

“It was just us and a handful of friends out there riding and building. The downtown core was pretty vacant.”

Now Grasby said you can see the bikes rolling in and out of town.

Cumberland has a rich history as a coal mining town but it never really recovered after the last mines closed in the 1960s. Now the population is rising again, currently over 4,100, many of them coming because of the lifestyle.

“People never ever used to come to Cumberland because we were the forgotten community, because we’re off the beaten path,” Cumberland Mayor Leslie Baird said.

There are now over 100 kilometres of mountain biking trails right on Cumberland’s doorstep thanks to land use agreements with two forestry companies and the village.

“Working at the bike shop in Canmore I get people coming through all the time just being like the ‘hype is real, you got to go check it out.'” Christopher Fast said. Fast was visiting Cumberland Tuesday from Canmore, Alta.

To sign up for a United Riders of Cumberland membership or to make a donation, visit their website.








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