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TORCA opens new beginner bike trail to public

The Hey Bear loop was introduced with a ribbon-cutting in Terrace
TORCA opened their new beginner bike loop, Hey Bear, to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Kids’ Poker Ride event on May 25. (Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)

There were smaller bikes than usual at the Spring Creek trails last weekend as young eager riders lined up to try out the new beginner trail in Terrace.

The Terrace Off Road Cycling Association (TORCA) officially opened their new beginner bike loop, Hey Bear, to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Kids’ Poker Ride event on May 25.

“It was amazing. This is the first time we have kids and families being able to ride together on a beginner level trail, [it was nice] just seeing everyone else smiling, getting out with their family,” says Tyler Wilkes, president of TORCA. “We just wanted to make sure they were happy and having a good time.”

Stocked with juice boxes, cookies and hot dogs, Wilkes says this was also their first kids’ event and was taken aback with its “no tears” success. They had stations along the path set up with snacks and stickers to encourage kids to complete the loop.

A member of the Terrace Search and Rescue team was also riding the trail in case of any injuries but no bandaids were needed.

READ MORE: New bike loop won’t be open to public until Spring 2019

Now that the warmer season is here, many families and beginner riders can ease into the local mountain biking scene with a relatively easy 2.3 km trail. Many of the trails around the area are rated difficult. Until now there wasn’t a place for somebody to learn.

“The trails [here] are technical and challenging. It’s really hard for beginners to get into the sport and it’s not very fun if you’re pushing your bike the whole way or struggling, falling and getting injured,” says Wilkes. “The motivation for us has been just creating a community­—seeing how many more people are out enjoying it and the impact it can have on businesses and tourism.”

Wilkes says the sport is currently growing throughout North America and becoming more mainstream, so having more people registered as members with TORCA will pave the way for more funding to maintain and build more trails.

“[In the last] seven years or so, we’ve more than tripled the size of the internal network here on the Terrace mountains… [it’s more than] just about putting shovels in the ground and digging dirt,” he says. “The more people, the better, and especially if we could start having young families out there learn that from the beginning of their mountain bike careers, they can then grow up to take over the trails at some time.”

READ MORE: Trail tips for the muddy spring season

The trail was completed last October, but needed to be closed off for several months to let the ground “settle in” and allow the soil to harden.

The excavation process cost $100,000, which was half-funded by Recreation Sites and Trails BC. TORCA was able to pay for the rest with grants, fundraising money and with the help of many sponsors.

The annual Rusty Chain Poker Ride also took place the same day, with a record-breaking number of participants of 95 adults and 22 kids. Tyson Norrish was crowned winner of the event.

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(Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)
(Natalia Balcerzak/Terrace Standard)