BC Bike Race returns to give Campbell River another shot in the arm

Seventy-five per cent of the 525 cyclists who will compete this year come from outside of B.C.

A gruelling mountain bike race, featuring hundreds of riders from around the world, is returning to Campbell River for a second straight year.

Last year, the BC Bike Race cycled through Campbell River for the first time since its inception in 2007.

Organizers were so impressed with the city that they decided to return.

“We feel that Campbell River’s extensive and diverse network for mountain bike trails has been a great addition to the BC Bike Race,” said Malina Parmar, director of production for BC Bike Race, in a report to city council. “Welcoming BC Bike Race has been an excellent way for Campbell River to promote these local gems and expose the city as an adventure tourism destination to the mountain bike world.”

Seventy-five per cent of the 525 cyclists who will compete this year come from outside of B.C., opening the door to international marketing opportunities.

The riders will race in and around Campbell River on July 2 – day two of the event which will take cyclists from Vancouver to Whistler via Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast and the Sea to Sky corridor.

Each day riders put in 70 kilometres of biking then spend the night at a base camp in each of the host communities.

Campbell River will accommodate the riders at Robert Ostler (Foreshore) Park.

The city also waived rental fees at the Community Centre which organizers expect to use for meals and award presentations.

Prior to that, the cyclists will pedal 33 kilometres through the Snowden Demonstration Forest, tackling the Lost Frog, Mudhoney Pass and Riley Lake trails.

The BC Bike Race crew was introduced to Campbell River through one of the event managers, Martin Ready, who was born and raised in Campbell River.

Organizers, who liked what they saw, spoke as a delegation to city council in October 2010 to seek out support for the event and the rest is history.

Tom Skinner, BC Bike Race general manager, blogged daily during last year’s edition of the race and had high praise for the Campbell River leg.

“Thanks to an array of amazing trails, and a warm and welcoming community, Campbell River made its mark on the BC Bike Race with style,” he wrote on his blog during last year’s event.

That’s good news for the city because BC Bike Race participants not only help promote the community but also bring in revenue.

“Our philosophy is that we wish to support the communities that support us and this is reflected in where we spend our money,” Parmar said. “On average, our expenditure on food is over $40,000 per day and this is entirely with local businesses. Most of the racers and their support teams purchase extra meals and snacks throughout the day, adding up to thousands of extra dollars spent at local businesses.

“Further, numerous participants upgrade from tenting accommodations to hotel rooms each night, allowing us to involve more business.”