The Huckin’ Eh Upchuck cross-country mountain bike race last September was not for the faint of heart with it’s tough hill climb followed by a challenging downhill descent. The first Upchuk of 2018 is June 17, the day after Tour de Smithers. File photo

The Huckin’ Eh Upchuck cross-country mountain bike race last September was not for the faint of heart with it’s tough hill climb followed by a challenging downhill descent. The first Upchuk of 2018 is June 17, the day after Tour de Smithers. File photo

Big bike season on Bulkley roads and trails

Tour de Smithers and Upchuk coming up during bump in SMBA membership.

The snow is mostly gone at mid elevations and around town it’s easy to see that the bikes have been pulled out and readied for use.

The Smithers Mountain Bike Association (SMBA) has been as busy as usual getting the various trail systems ready for regular use and planning special events for the summer season. Kristen Brewer, president of the SMBA, said there are already a number of activities underway as well as some special events in the planning phases.

The weekend of June 16 and 17 will be a busy one with the Tour de Smithers backroad bike race on the 16th and the Upchuck Race on the 17th. The evening of the 16th will feature the premiere of The Moment, a movie about the origins of mountain biking in B.C., at the Old Church at 7 p.m. Brewer said that they were hoping to have people come out from Smithers and other local communities to enjoy the sport.

In addition, the group is running it’s popular Sprockids, a volunteer run program which teaches kids how to mountain bike safely and properly every Wednesday evening. This year, there are between 50 and 80 kids who come out once a week from May to June.

There will be at least two more races later in the summer but the details are unavailable at this time.

A work bee will be held June 10 with a new group that is volunteering to do some trail work. People who might be interested should get in touch with us by email at information@smithersmountainbike.ca.

Like other activities in the community this spring, there appears to be an upsurge in interest and membership. Brewer said that while traditionally SMBA has seen around 160 members for the season, this year there were already over 170.

“So far we’ve had tons of people out,” she said.

According to Brewer, the trails are in very good condition.

“They’re in really great shape. We had a wonderful spring so far, way better than last year. The Bluff Trails are almost completely open and we hope to have the Ptarmigan Trails open pretty soon,” she said earlier this month.

She added that it would be some time before the Piper Down Trails higher up on Hudson Bay Mountain would be open, but that was normal.

In order to find out the status if various trail networks, people can check trailforks.com. There is a website and an app for cell phones.

Brewer said that people can check the app when they are out to see if a particular trail is open.

“You can also send information in, such as if there is a tree down. It’s live updated so it will tell you if the trails are open or closed. It will give you the status and it will tell you where you are on the trail. There is a board at McBike. There is our website and we share that information on Facebook,” she said.

SMBA will be offering weeknight group rides on Wednesday nights. Details will be available on the website.

While there was a sighting of a couple of grizzlies on the access road to some trails that were not open yet, Brewer said two weeks ago it is not a concern since people should not be using those trails while closed. If people see a bear they should contact a conservation officer. Riders should always be with a friend or with a group.

“We have not had any reports of bears in the Bluff Trails in the last few weeks,” she said then.

Being calm and in control of your emotions when coming across any wildlife. Always carry bear spray and consider a bear banger. More ways to safe in bear country can be found at env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/misc/bears/.

sports@interior-news.com

Smithers Interior News

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